Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The joys of Living on a Hill

On yet another hot day, I am in the best place to escape it while I do my blogging. It's 35 degrees outside, and again, I thank heavens for the wonderful invention of the air conditioner!

It's blowing cheerily overhead, noisy but comforting, keeping the overwhelming heat outside from intruding into my oasis of cool...............

I have a big one down in my studio, put in when I had it built, knowing that sweaty hands, and too fast drying paint would take the spontaneity out of getting down there when I felt like it.

The house? Finally we have one this summer and it's wonderful!

The house is well-insulated treated pine on a concrete slab. Because of our position on the peak of a hill, the extreme wind conditions preclude trees from being close to the house, so no shade. We do have wide shady verandas all round, but when the sun moves up and over, the mezzanine floor above begins to bake, and then when sinking in the west, cooks the bedrooms and lounge. The early evenings can be roasting on a day like this, and as the sun drops, I go upstairs to open the sliding door to the west to let the heat out at the top of the house.

I often wonder whether one of those cute little whirly-gigs that spin might be useful, but we are frightened of breaking the seal on the roof.

Heat rises, and it can be a hot box in summer and winter, as the huge flue from the heater runs the full height of the house inside, radiating into that top room. Fuel must be loaded carefully into the efficient solid fuel heater, just enough to make the house snug, without over-heating the upper floor.

My man rule on most things is 'more is best', so I have had to bar him from stoking the fire in winter, lest the top room become unbearably hot. I call him my 'wide-brush man'.

There is only the sliding door with an accompanying window in that room, which faces where the weather generally comes from.

I must be very alert to oncoming storms, because driving rain can pour through the wire screen and onto the wooden floor, dripping through the boards onto the slate beneath, finally splashing and making a hell of a mess on anything nearby.

It took a long time to waterproof that, as that same driving rain would penetrate along the closed sliding door with a similar result. Finally we came up with a lip of wood along opening vertical and the base, creating a drain that ran it back out again.

But our views are stunning. We watch eagles soar past at eye level, and the weather coming from Westernport Bay through to the Dandenongs.

We see snow in winter on Mount Baw Baw and here sometimes, and fireworks at different towns all the way along the Princes Highway on New Year's Eve. During summer, we smoke-spot for the DSE, and I have reported fires on days such as this before anyone else. I have even alerted them when a fire changed direction, running along the mountains 40 kilometres away.

Our outlook changes hour by hour and day by day, with mists in the morning and storms in the afternoon.

Oh, to have one of these............

There, I've waxed lyrical about where we live and the day's nearly over. Lily is pushing her nose under my hand and staring hard into my face, wanting her dinner. No more messing around in front of the pooter, there's work to be done ......


zooms said...

I really enjoyed the virtual tour BH. I love the house and the views, wide open spaces and the image that in the middle of winter, you can both retire to the upstairs room, strip off and enjoy the tropics, presumably without mosquitoes.

Andrew said...

Your views are just so beautiful Bliss. Although such a different place, we too watch birds fly past and the weather rolling across Port Phillip Bay, or even it raining in St Kilda but not here. I don't think I could ever live in a place with closed in views again, be it city or country. I grew up with a view of Mount Baw Baw, close enough to see them building the ski run. Visitors use to wax lyrical about the views, but I never took much notice.

BlissHill said...

Hey Zooms, yes that room can be too tropical to bear sometimes. Mosquitoes? Never. It it;s too breezy to breed many up here, so a mozzie is a rarity.

Andrew, it sounds like you were right up in the mountains to our north. We do take our beautiful views for granted sometimes, and are only reminded when visitors are astounded when they arrive.