Australia · books · family · history · memories · native Australian birds · new year · pets · piano · renovations

The things you find under the carpet!

Mr Magpie Lark disappeared from my garden for a while, but he’s returned for the new year.

As this is my first post for 2022, first of all, I would like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year. Hopefully, this will be the year that the world regains some form of normality. But let’s not talk about that.

I made a very interesting discovery yesterday which I would like to share.

Since the last of my children moved out of home (then moved back again – twice – with promises that it was definitely his last move home,) we have progressively renovated the house. Last year, the old kitchen was completely ripped out and replaced. We have also repainted rooms, replaced the old, worn carpet with wood-style planks, and installed deeper, older style skirting boards in each room.

The latest room to have a spruce up is the lounge room. Over the years when the children were little, I told them the lounge room is otherwise known as the quiet room, and they have all adhered to the rules – no boisterous playing and no food in the room. It is in this room I have French polished furniture which I bought many years ago when we lived in Sydney. It is also the room with the most bookshelves, so could also be known as the library. The antique piano lives in this room, so if anyone feels inclined to make a noise, they are welcome to play the piano, gently.

Before Christmas, we repainted the lounge room, so all the room needed was new floor coverings, and yesterday was the day the installers arrived to continue the wood-style flooring into the last living area of the house. Exciting!

The bare cement slab after the old carpet was removed.

One installer, Zac, had been to my house before, to replace the floor coverings in my office. They had only been here long enough yesterday to remove the old carpet when Zac asked, “was this house built in 1994?” I told Zac that we had built the house then and had lived here ever since. He told me he had found some newspaper under the carpet, dated March 1994.

Apparently, before real newspapers were mostly replaced by online news subscriptions, it was common practice for carpet installers to put a current piece of newspaper under the new carpet so future occupants of the house knew either when the house was built, or when the last floor coverings were laid.

Bronte checking out the new floor.

The carpets were laid throughout our house before we moved in, therefore, I hadn’t known the installers had slipped a tiny piece of history under the flooring, to be found at a later date. But of course, I insisted Zac leave our find in place!

We now have a new, tightly secured floor, except for just one plank. Zac left the fifth plank along the north-eastern wall loose. If he had glued the plank in place it would have destroyed the paper, and that just wouldn’t do!

A little piece of history.
father · friends · music · old house · piano · spiritual · vision

Revisiting Ghosts of the Past

The Old Home

“The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts”. ~ Italo Calvino

When I had the chance to wander freely around the home and garden of one of my best friends from my childhood, I did not want to miss the chance to take photos, lots of photos. Who knew when I would have an opportunity like this again, if ever?

It surprised me just how many features of this old house, built in 1915, had remained with me for all of these years, and upon seeing them again were just how my memory had remembered them. Now, I wouldn’t have to leave my memories to chance, I would have photographs to remind me.

As we didn’t have access to the inside of the house (yes, we checked every door!), my photos were taken mostly through both windows and flyscreens, so please excuse the poor quality of most of them. You will, however, be able to make out some of the features, such as the old fireplaces and wooden floors.

Neglected Features

It was an absolute stroke of luck when I aimed my camera at one of the windows to take an inside photo, when I happened to notice I had a “person” also in my photo. Can you see them, on the left hand side this shot?

Ghostly Image?

The light of the day shone at just the right angle to pick up Adam’s reflection in the glass. With all of his worries about the old house being spooky, he got a kick out of seeing his own “ghostly” image in one of the photos!

Back in the days when this old home had been loved and cared for by my friend’s family, there had been a lovely old piano in one of the rooms. I had asked my friend’s father during one of my visits if I could “play” the piano. I explained to him that I didn’t really mean I could play the piano, I just liked mucking around on them, because I loved them so much.

He asked if I would like to learn a tune. Of course, I said yes!

During each of my visits from then on, we would have a “lesson”, and true to his word he taught me how to play my first tune on the piano.

My own children have heard this story for years and I have taught each of them how to play my song. To this day, that tune is the only one I can play, although I have an old piano of my own and two of my children can play, one of them being Adam. I wish I could tell you what the tune is called, but I haven’t got a clue!

Of course, I had told Adam that this was thee house where I had learned how to “play piano”, showing him exactly where it had been in the house back then.

With the old house now being unoccupied the rooms were bare, so you can imagine my doubt when Adam went ahead of me, peered through a window, and announced, “Mum, here’s your piano”!

Ghosts of the Past

How could that be? What were the odds, that within this old empty home, the one piece of furniture remaining would be a piano?

Can you see it there, all alone against the wall?

Who knows whether it was “my” original piano or not, but it was indeed a piano!

Maybe Adam was right, maybe the home and garden did have spooks in it. But one thing I know without a shadow of a doubt, I wasn’t afraid, just filled with the joy of revisiting my old memories and resurrecting some ghosts of the past.

“Apparitions are often confused with hauntings. The difference is that apparitions are “live” (intelligent consciousness) and hauntings are “recordings.” ~ Loyd Auerbach