Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Laughing in the wind

It’s been cold recently and misty. There is nothing like an empty house on a cold misty day. Bare boards echo, windows let in stray draughts, the wind catches on the eaves and whistles. Cows make strange noises as they push up against the fence right below the front windows as they reach for the choicest morsels of grass.

My brother-in-law asked if we had considered double-glazing in the extension. After I had finished laughing, I asked him if he though we should do it before or after installing windows that fit properly, latches that close and the occasional screen. In Queensland I would rank insect screens far above double-glazing. But seriously, this is a house that still has holes in the floorboards where kitchen pipes came through. A couple of windows don’t close properly, there are still some bare rafters and unclad walls, most of the skirting boards still need to be replaced as do architraves and a couple of doors. Double-glazing is an affectation that hasn’t even crossed our minds.

On the other hand we have magnificent views of the misty valley. Some days we are sailing above the clouds. Perry’s Knob and Mount Marrow become islands that we could navigate our way around, anchor and dip into the cold, swirling water. Other days you can see every detail of the farms below and the occasional car sliding between fields.

A few nights ago a vast red moon hung suspended in front of our newly painted windows, simultaneously glorious and eerie. At night the lights of Ipswich trace the distant horizon and we can see who has popped out for the evening and left on their outside lights. In the day, we are garlanded by low denim and yellow hills and crowned by unlimited sky. A hillside of dry grass waves in the wind and a dam seems to disappear as it reflects a passing cloud.

“Who needs double-glazing?” we declaim as the wind snatches the words from our lips. The windows rattle and a shower of elderly putty patters dryly to the ground.

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