Old Houses New Houses

Dear Viva 70 Friends,

It seems that even in a pandemic the world can slow but life cannot stop! This week I finalised the sale of my home on Monday and signed a contract on the purchase of a new home on Thursday.  It’s been quite a week! The Moet is on ice but frankly the celebrations will come later.

I have always felt a joy in creating new gardens and designing new spaces. The Straw House was probably the biggest garden and design project I have undertaken. It was a 12 year love affair and a wonderful creative experience. I feel we are only ever custodians of a place and land and so I have known for probably 2 years now that I would pass on this lovely home to the next owner. I believe houses reach out and and call you.  For me they go way beyond bricks and mortar and functional space. I remember standing in The Straw House all those years ago and looking at the painstaking restoration needed, the bush block where rainwater ran straight down the hill instead of being held in the soil and yet knowing this house called me and it would be a happy house. I will always miss the big views into the valley and the sense of connection to the garden, but I know it stands proud and that the new owner will gasp at those views as the mists coming rolling in.

If you had asked me in February where I would be living in my 70’s the answer would have been swift and unequivocal… a small apartment in a regional city, no garden, lock up and leave, preferably near the beach and I’d be spending half a year overseas and half a year in the funky pad! Sounds great. But the Corona virus has changed the world and me. A safe, familiar nesting place with a few small projects for the next few years is what I need. Energies depleted, a focus on family and friendships, a community I know makes so much more sense. I don’t want to be with people in an apartment block anymore. The world has changed and I can’t see safe travel to Europe being possible for some years. So  the focus is a home where my granddaughter can still romp around granny’s garden and we can take the familiar paths around the lake and she can say say ” Granny can we see the big noisy waterfall and then the little quiet one?”

Yes, I’m staying in Daylesford and my new home is 2 streets away. It’s a much smaller flat block of land with potential to reshape the garden and a beautifully renovated home with plantation shutters, dark polished boards and a sense of elegance and ease. I can put in a new kitchen so that gives me another project. It’s a few steps from the Botanical gardens and no excuses now for my morning walk. Perfect! It feels right for this world in crisis and a woman in her 70’s with big ideas but arthritic fingers that groan after a day of pruning.

Please be patient over coming weeks…Viva 70 may be silent or sporadic as 12 years of life are boxed and bubble wrapped. Moving days are mid September. But with spring, a new home and hopefully a healthier happier world at that time there’ll be lots of new interviews and articles for you to read….. once I’m in my new/old world.

Stay well dear friends ……for those living in Victoria it’s really tough now. We’re missing family and friends as weeks go by and lock downs increase. Safety and keeping well is what matters most. Smile with your eyes even with masks firmly in place and we will get through this.  Find a distraction that gives you peace and hope. As a dear friend said..“Jesus Nora…you bought another house!? A jigsaw puzzle would have been much cheaper!”

With love, Nora


31 July 2020 | Life-Style


  1. So exciting Nora, a new house and garden project for you. Can’t wait to see progress photos over the next X years.

    1. Yes!!! I’m alive again with new kitchen ideas, planting schemes and colour swatches…….this one will be lots of fun and only single storey!!! Yey! Flat garden! Yey! Half the size of my current garden! Yey! Thanks Julia…enjoy summer in glorious Yorkshire…

  2. Wow Nora this is amazing in this Time of Cholera. How did you do it.please, please take and share pictures.

    1. Hi Maureen! In this Time of Cholera indeed…….so far relatively easy….. The Straw House waved goodbye and blew a kiss……the NEW HOUSE smiled and beckoned! When it suits me I become very fatalistic…. the universe delivered…in this time of utter chaos and with spring hovering what better time to have a new project?… and yes there are sure to be lots of photos and stories in this reno. Sending love to you in Canada. Keep safe & happy….

    1. Thank you Robert…so lovely to hear from you…I’m sure your dreams and passions are fuelling your latest projects too… I hope the poetry is flowing and words tumbling…. Stay well..big words these days…. xxx

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