Shirley Harring

writer, farmer advocate, madwoman

Restoring Orwell: December 2015

December 8, 2015

First, the Flood.

Within 24 hours of moving into Orwell, she flooded. One of the biggest freakish rainstorms in Brisbane saw many homes inundated with water. Upstairs, in the original house, all was fine. The problem lie downstairs. See, Orwell is built into the side of a hill, with the rear of the property looking back upwards to what was the original backyard and stables. In the great subdivision of 1930, Orwell gave up the stables and the land, and over the years, McMansions have been constructed to capitalise on the view.

Flooding Ascot

The drainage requirements in old homes is subjective. Anything pre 1975 falls into one set of council law, and post 75 another. One of the homes behind us was re-built post ’75, and hooked into the pre-’75 plumbing. It enjoyed a 2014 renovation and extension – into the same plumbing system and certainly not constructed to cope with the hard water and storm water run off that gathers on a modern rooftop.

Flooding Ascot

We had a very, very wet housewarming.

Orwell Ascot

The rear of Orwell was very neglected and run down. It boasted a row of 80’s-planted hedging trees that had grown sky-high. There were several frangipanis that seem at least a century old, and a Bougainvillea of equal age growing over the old outhouse. Add to this 30 years worth of self-sown randoms. It was green and leafy, yes – but it was also dark, dank and damp.

It all had to come out so the plumbing and drainage could be replaced (not our cost) from the property behind to down, under our block and out to street level.

It’s great that it’s fixed and after 4 months of swearing plumbers (not to mention many a night of crossed fingers to ward of broaching storm clouds) we can finally take stock of what’s to do in the grounds. However, it’s left us with this as a landscape.

Orwell Ascot

Orwell Ascot

Orwell Ascot

I guess the terracing begins next.

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