The back of our first home overlooked land running along the Seymour rail line. A derelict house with a family connection stood. Jono thought we should reclaim it and I agreed.
The dismantling began with the floorboards and internal doors it was Jono’s quiet work. The old tin roof and timber trusses were next. The old weighted tin would become legendary for forming external walls on our soon to be home shed.
With the help of an old cherry picker we began the chipping away of the red bricks, hand made from Seymour clay circa 1890. The mortar was soft and generally easy to remove although some 18000 bricks and a life interrupting saw us take our time.
After a fair amount of experimentation we used a petrol powered air compressor with a chisel attached to clean the bricks. Welding the handle back together just kept on happening. I will not miss the hot Seymour summers with the dust flying off the throbbing air compressor, the endless rows of bricks and the dryness in my hair.
Old houses of this style were not big on windows and we would remove six of them alongside the external doors. The internal timber doors, skirting boards and double hung windows look wasted from years of abandonment. Layer on layer of paint holding to the aged timber. A heat gun, industrial mask, custom clothing and tools fashioned by Jono provided the means for completing the job and the results were amazing. I gleaned a real satisfaction seeing the timber return to its original life form.
When our first son was born we would lay him on a blanket or in a pram nearby to where we were working, The project had begun some eighteen months before he was born and he would be seven years old and have three younger siblings when we finally put down the tools. It was a huge project; happily I now see and feel the energy we poured into this and the protection it affords us.