Being a teacher certainly has its perks. When the Easter break came along I decided to head to Utopia for the week.
Utopia is a family shack that we bought at the start of 2011. The sign on the front of the shack labels the building ‘Utopia’ and from the rumours I hear, it is bad luck to change the name…so Utopia it is!
It is very much a classic old shack, crappy brown carpet, walls and ceilings that aren’t perfectly flat, and a bathroom you have to go outside to access. It is perfectly charming. As a family we have been there many weekends slowly getting the shack ship-shape. The plan is to rent it out as holiday accommodation, as well as enjoy it ourselves. So in bits and pieces it is slowly getting there.
I spent my week doing a few odd jobs but mostly just unwinding after a stressful start to the teaching year.
To start with, being the Easter long weekend, some friends and family also had time off. So my brother and his wife, as well as my friend Yvonne came up and spent a few days at Utopia. We mostly just spent the time lazing in the sunshine, reading great novels, walking along the beach and through the bush and kayaking in the Swanport river.
On a few occasions Yvonne and I also popped down to the local bakery to enjoy a coffee and some food – we timed this well with our friend Em who works at the bakery, so that we went just in time for her lunch break. We also found a few opportunities to visit the local tavern for a drink or two with our friends Em and Dave.
When the water was calm I took the sit-on-top kayak to the beach (all of 50 metres away), put Pippi in her lifejacket and went for a paddle. It was so relaxing to be out on the kayak, with the water glass, the sun out and complete silence. Pippi wasn’t overly fond of these outings, but I don’t think she hated it too much.
When I wasn’t out on the water or reading a book I was doing odd jobs about the place. I filled in some holes in the doors where door handles had been changed & painted over them, I pulled plants out of the bush garden to form a little path from the back of the shack to the back gate, and another one to the shed, I cleaned. Then I had this fantastic idea!!! Towards the back of the block is an open sunny spot that is kind of flat and I decided it would be a fabulous spot for a sunset deck. I had lots of old timber that could be used, but was lacking tools, skill and strength, at this point I asked my friend Dave nicely if he wanted to help me out with a project. Within a few hours we had made an awesome sunset deck/daybed. Its fabulous!!!!!!!
I also spent some time tidying the shack, putting linen on the beds and taking photos for advertising material. It isn’t a hotel or anything fancy, but it is nice to be able to provide people some info and pictures about the place if they are considering renting it for a holiday. So I made a cool Utopia Flyer with a description, pics and info (if you want to have a holiday at Utopia..let me know!!!)
I did have one rather entertaining incident… while sitting in the backyard soaking up some sunshine, I could hear lots of birds twittering around the yard. Then I heard a bird behind me, it sounded like the bird went into the shack. Cautiously I went to investigate, and sure enough a bird had flown into the shack and was terribly distressed. It kept trying to fly out of a closed window (many of the windows of the shack are painted shut…we’re slowly but surely fixing this). So I was thinking, “oh no what do I do, how do I get it outside?” Every time I got within a metre of the bird I freaked out … for those who don’t know me, I have this stupid irrational fear of birds!!! So after trying to get the bird outside and freaking out every time I got near it, I went across the street to my friendly neighbour Richard. Lucky for me, Richard was home and had no fear when it came to birds. Within a few minutes me problem was solved! Phew!!
The lesson I learned from this experience… don’t leave the screen door open!
After a week of relaxing (and one brief incident of terror), it’s now time to return to reality, until the next adventure…