I’ve been rediscovering my inner domestic goddess who had been hidden by the convenience of Go-Jek combined with exhaustion after long days shooting villas. It’s nice to have her back! I’m cooking again, gardening, and enjoying home life. Sadly, I don’t have as much free time as I would like. Home-schooling my young ‘uns is very time-consuming. Plus my husband had dengue for the last week, so I was doing some single-parenting while he slept as much as a koala.
I moved to Australia at 18. I didn’t know anything about cooking, so my mum sent me a book that loosely translates as “cooking for people with no idea”. It described me perfectly. My then-boyfriend/now-husband knew how to make half a dozen meals. Great for our first week living together, but by the fourth week, it was getting a bit repetitive! So, I practised, and learnt and stuffed up, and tried again. A little like my introduction to photography! These days I may not be Martha Stewart but I do enjoy putting together a lovely meal.
Meanwhile, the dangers of Covid 19 finally seem to be understood in Bali. The Indonesian Government has announced that the annual migration of Muslims to their home villages for Idul Fitri has been cancelled. No doubt this is a good idea. Millions of people taking planes trains and automobiles for hours and hours across the archipelago is a recipe for disaster.
In Bali, each local government is implementing its own rules regarding Covid 19. Some have banned people from entering and exiting their villages, others have set up check points and are ensuring all people wear a mask (no mask = do push ups on the side of the road!). My own village in Canggu has just started doing that and has installed gates to close off the village from 9pm to 5am.
Many small organisations are working to help the 1000s of families that have no income and no food. This unofficial list includes many of the organisations. A lot of local businesses are distributing pre-packed lunches or food packs to take home. It’s inspiring to see so many people willing to help.
Bali is not a small island. You need some transport to get around! It’s usually hot and the sidewalks are often in bad shape or non-existent! Even getting around Canggu requires transport much of the time.
I recently bought my first scooter. Riding a scooter is almost essential for living in Bali. It certainly makes life much easier. While a car has its advantages (staying dry in the rainy season), there are also lots of places where there’s no room to park and sometimes you can’t even go down some narrow lanes. Plus, scooters are a blast to ride!
Scooters can be hired cheaply, especially nowadays with a massive oversupply and no tourists to rent them. There are scooter rental shops on all the main streets. I’ve always preferred to pay a little extra and choose one in better condition (brakes, steering, tyres, shock absorbers, indicators, lights etc). After riding more than my fair share of thrashed barely-roadworthy scooters, it was time to buy my own.
We had been told a month ago that our building application was in limbo as we needed a government-issued document for our application that no government department would issue! Department A said Department B had to do it, and vice versa. Fortunately, that highly-frustrating snafu was resolved, and it seems we’ll be getting the document soon. Of course, hard to say how long “soon” is, but we remain positive! Our consultant Lily is confident we’ll have the entire building permit approved in about 2 months.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about window frames. We’re going to have a lot of windows in our home, particularly the main building. The plan is to have large windows on both sides (facing the pool/garden on one side and facing the internal courtyard on the other). They will open up to allow great airflow because we don’t have that in our current villa.
I’d been planned on using black metal window frames. They are all the rage these days, and look fantastic. I’ve shot quite a few villas that features them (e.g Mandala House, and The Starling Villa) and I’ve always loved them. I planned to incorporate them as a feature in our home.
But lately I’ve been thinking that they might outshine another feature that I really want to highlight – the massive wall on the outside of the staircase. 6 metres high, facing into the internal courtyard , it was always destined to impress. However, if it is surrounded by a lot of black metal windows, it might get lost.
Other options for the windows I’ve been considering are using other colours (grey blue, rose gold, white) and other materials (aluminium, wood). So many decisions to make! Fortunately, I have some time to think about what looks best.
A tiny part of the window porn I’ve been collecting as inspiration!
Pouring cement – 13 truck loads
A lot of work on our build is done by hand. It’s often cheaper to pay for more manpower than to bring in a piece of machinery. However, for this particular job, we needed to bring in a big cement truck because it’s time to pour the floor of the second floor (and the ceiling of the ground floor). While we had recently used human power to build all the cement columns (see this video), this next stage requires pouring a lot of concrete at the same time. The whole section has to be poured and dry in one day, so we need a pump truck and a cement truck.
The day came and it was time to pour the concrete. The pump truck set up position with a massive hose from the truck onto our building roof. Our builder Agus had arranged for 13 cement truck loads to be delivered in small intervals so the workers could pump out the concrete onto the roof. Each load took 10-15 mins to be spread onto the roof while the men worked feverishly to spread and smooth it out. Like a delicate choreography, as soon as one truck was empty, it would leave and a new full truck would take its place.
Checking the plans
I’ve been visiting the site regularly. Even with the self-imposed lockdown, I’m still trying to get to the site. I’ve been checking the work that is being done, trying to foresee any potential issues, and stop them from occurring. I just noticed that the plans show the garden will slope down (like the rice field that this land once was). When we were looking for ways to reduce costs, we changed the garden plans so it will slope down rather than be flat.
However, now that I look at the build, I don’t think this will work. I need a place for my kids to run around and play. So, I’ve been speaking with Agus, and as we are building, the workers will keep all the old construction rubble and use that to fill in some of the land below where the garden will be. That will allow us to raise the level of the garden so it will be flatter.