Birthday cakes and banshees

woman's weekly doll

I have a recurrent excited stomach feeling, like when you’re a kid and you know it’s your birthday and you’re going to get presents but you haven’t been given them yet.

It’s also equally a feeling of dread, like you’d get from the fear that no one will in fact come to your birthday party, leaving you shunned by your peers and the ubiquitous Women’s Weekly birthday cake un-admired – perhaps the greatest travesty of all.

There’s a reason for this 1989-era nervousness in the pit of my stomach.

Because we bought a house.

A real house, with an art deco verandah and a mad wailing banshee motif on the wall. Seriously.


Actually, the jury is out on whether she’s a banshee or some other breed of flying woman. Maybe a Valkyrie. Check it:

Banchee edited

In the words of Shakespeare, who no doubt never had the pleasure of being presented with a Woman’s Weekly birthday cake but did nail the excitement that comes with waiting:

…so tedious is this day
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child that hath new robes
And may not wear them.

To be honest, the banshee was nearly a deal-breaker.

In planning the weekly househunt, it had been a big week: I’d been away in Horsham paying tribute to the matriarch of the Rule family in a sad but fitting ceremony.

By last Saturday, I was perhaps understandably not across the weekly househunting tasks. Add to that the start of the rowing season and… well… #firstworldproblems.

When I saw the banshee/valkyrie/random flying woman in the pictures, I actually removed the house from the favourites list, and was preparing for another weekend of disappointments.

But, well, upon closer inspection it turned out to be pretty much what we were after. Two bedrooms, two living areas, back deck, shed. Good location, right near a train line, all renovated… awesome.

Importantly, it matched our criteria: It’s in the purple circle, it has yard to address the puppy conundrum, it has enough wall for the oar and the horses of Natimuk Road.

We get the First Home Buyer’s Grant but no stamp duty concession – and with the finance pre-approval and preliminary work we’d done, it was actually a reasonably stress-free experience.

We put the offer in at 3pm. We got the house at 5.30pm. It’s taken until now for this to sink in (and pay the deposit) to be brave enough to tell the world.

This was also the first property we had both agreed on since our first hunting week, when the Mt Lawley cottage opposite the Coode Street caught our attention.

If you’d like to check out the detail, here’s the property:\

The tab has been open on my browser every day this week, even while I was traipsing about the corridors of New Parliament House in Canberra during a two-day marathon summit earlier this week.

The Swede, who was not overly enthusiastic upon the start of our house buying escapades, became addicted to Grand Designs during my absence and is scheming interior design features for the house.

But before we get the keys, we’re in a strange limbo. I’ve lined up pest and building inspections (the latter possibly being overkill but it’ll put my mind at ease). We’ve got a settlement agent called Jackie. Phil the finance man is getting things sorted. They’re talking to the Paragon mob who listed the house.

To be honest, being a buyer at this stage is largely a spectator sport. You put up the cash, and all these property lemmings spring into action. It’s quite remarkable.

A brief segue: At the end of the block we lived on for 30 years on Natimuk Road in Horsham, there was a house with a hedge. One of the big, high deep green hedges that are rare in regional Victoria. When I walked past the hedge, I’d run my fingers through the leaves as I walked, and they’d be tinged green and smell sharply of fir trees.

27 natimuk road

The house was a huge sandstone-coloured art-deco number on a giant block with stained-glass windows. We never saw anyone go in or out of it.

Mezza (who now has two sons and epic abs thanks to a serious dedication to being generally awesome) and I would swap ghost stories about the house, it’s mysterious owners and what had potentially happened in it.

When I saw 56 Brady Street – my house, I guess – I was reminded of the place at the end of the block on Natimuk Road.

It doesn’t have the hedge, the small windows or lingering ghosts (I don’t think).

It does have the magnificent verandah bollards that I loved so much as a kid.

I am a supremely happy girl.

56 brady street


1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. the house looks lovely, can’t wait to see it with your own touch. Hmm trip to Perth with truckload of furniture looks on the cards! There’s a Jacobean Lounge Suite & Cedar Chest of drawers that need a new home? Have car, have trailer (sort of), will travel 🙂

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