While we were living in Beijing, our son approached us with the suggestion that we should build a house with him in Australia – where he was living at the time with his – then- wife. We had intended to retire to France where we could afford to buy a house, in rural France of course.

Our house, as it was actually built!

But we had realised that should he settle in Australia, and we would then be unable to see him apart from brief visits every so aften – we anticipated that our pensions wouldnt allow us to really visit him in Oz. So this seemed like a really good suggestion.

So we made a change in our plans, so no more rural France, but rural Australia instead.

Somehow we couldn’t get our heads around the idea of planning the house, or where it might go. We knew that it would be outside Brisbane, as our son and his wife had settled down there and made a start in getting life organised there. But we knew that it wouldn’t be inside Brisbane, but in one of the country villages that were all around Brisbane.

My son and his wife settled on Samford as a start, we of course, had no idea about this, and felt that one village was as good as another.

The planning phase was gone into in our last period in Beijing, and our first phase of our work in the Philippines, which to be honest we were not too involved in. But happily Jake and Caroline (his wife) were more than happy to busy themselves with. So they rented themselves a house in Fig Tree Pocket (an unlikely named suburb of Brisbane) and lived there happily while they tried to buy a property outside Samford.

This proved to be rather hard, as all the flat properties were much more than we could afford, so it was a case of buying an almost verticle chunk of land. Which they finally did, on top of a hill about half way between Samford village and a place called Dayboro.

This property was part of a Nature Corridor, which meant that we wouldn’t be able to clear all the trees as they were protected for koalas – which was fine with us. So all the tree felling was restricted to the actual site of the house, plus about 20 meters all around the house.

So, that was a commitment……. We had a chunk of Australia to our names, and we now had to think of the house, what sort it would be, and how it would be built.

So, a kit house seemed like a good plan to us all, so we found a place near Sydney that made such kits, and our son and Caroline went ahead and ordered a long single room wide house. We would have the section to the East and they would have the section to the West, a much bigger section, as they were already breeding and needed room for a number of kids.

In another installement I will descibe the whole dreadful experience of building a house, anywhere, not just in Australia………….