Penshurst is the little town to which we make regular short journeys. This rather long poem I wrote some time ago explains how our connection to the town started.
A volcano erupted in Penshurst thousands of years ago,
There’s a quarry now undermining bare faced Mount Rouse.
In shadow of the mountain was a picturesque but derelict house.
all our money spent we failed to fix it, hide in our shells.
A local builder might have done it within our means
but I met a man in Wonthaggi wearing a kilt, not jeans.
He lived across from my friend, she let him into her bed,
she now says something strange happened to her head.
I listened to words of persuasion coming from that man,
we let him work on our house because he said ‘I can.’
He hassled us rudely, anxious to start, that was good,
but we should have been careful! Oh yes we should.
The bikie builder started quickly, he stopped just as fast,
that soon was the pattern, how long could that last?
Our money he spent, renovations cost a lot,
materials bought, wages paid, he was off like a shot
to Tasmania and Wonthaggi, where he owns a house,
conveniently distant from old Mount Rouse.
A woman in Penshurst, plus the one in Wonnie for spice,
a local woman who fed and bedded him, that was nice,
now he was not in a hurry to finish, he had it made,
worked when he wanted then yelled to be paid.
The little old house, Mountain View, lost most of its soul,
we’d wanted it patched up, he wanted it new and bold.
How long could this go on, not long I’m afraid,
we’d run out of money before his last weeks were paid.
He had said don’t worry, we could pay with half our land,
he denied that, there was no proof, relations not bland.
His frame it is large, his voice big too,
he blustered and bullied, although it’s us who could sue.
The house not to lock-up, so very unfinished,
despite spending poor workmanship its worth diminished.
We couldn’t borrow on it with no contract worth a cent,
and a house worth hardly more than a tent.
So said the agent whose firm had sold it as a house to repair,
but valued it later worth nothing, is that at all fair?
Purchase price even jumped because there was ‘competition’
have these people any cause to feel contrition?
With a house we couldn’t live in, we have to pay rent
for us and two months for the builder who before us went,
although soon he was living in the milk bar so near——–
At least with a kind landlady our rent is not too dear.
Not a good time, perhaps the house bears a curse,
some dark energy that we should have cleared first?
A wrong decision has lead to this situation not good.
Victims of threats and bashings we went to the Law as we should.
The local policeman is supportive, protecting our welfare
in this town with not bad services or location,
where we did not expect much, no high expectations.
We just want a positive outcome having paid more than is fair.
We hoped for some peace as we slowly settled down,
to make plans how we would live in this little town,
not too far from mentally ill son in Adelaide, Melbourne too
so we could visit all family members and our move not rue.
Our builder had his plans for how we should live,
what he has done to our reputations is hard to forgive,
lots of stories were spread, mostly untrue,
but not in our presence, so what could we do?
We haven’t broadcast our story loudly,
we don’t tarnish reputations nor wear poverty proudly.
It’s naïve to think this town full of stories doesn’t want ours
as idle gossip to while away too many boring hours.
It is hard for us to survive with our plans in tatters,
but we have truth on our side, surely something that matters.
Perhaps forgotten, the story continues as stories do,
We hope to finish our house, start anew.
We paid too much for that house, paid builder nearly the same,
he’d like even more but that’s to his shame.
A kind local builder will work for us, a man we trust,
we have faith and hope we must.
There’s a lot more to do, a lot of poor work to undo,
the house if finished will be like new.
With help we might borrow money to finish the place,
sell it then hoping our outlay we’ll replace.
We waited in vain for loan of money promised by our friend,
it is quite amazing that the friendship didn’t end
but she meant well, and the quiet local builder did too,
he accepted work in Warrnambool what else could he do?
We tried to sell the house with materials to help finish it
we were offered land value with nothing for what we put in it.
We can’t sell it for that little although we expect a big loss,
but should we lose that much, a coin we should toss.
The idea of living in that house has lost all appeal,
you can understand why, imagine how we feel.
The house will be beautiful when finished I trust,
a house with history to once more grace Penshurst.
Our lives will go on who knows where,
right now that seems the least of our cares.
Our accommodation derelict, we should never have stayed there,
behind an old shop the cold and the loneliness added to those cares.
Another half year has passed the winter solstice almost here
our house and our problems are in Penshurst still, never fear.
but life has changed dramatically living in Warrnambool,
when I think of that house now and then I still feel a fool.
A local broker has tried for finance, a helpful young man,
He is determined to help, I believe that he can.
Two more local builders are doing quotes I hope.
while we wait there is certainly no time to mope.
There is quite a list of defects to be fixed as part of the quote,
if those builders are keen they certainly don’t show it.
the plan is the same, to finish house, start paying off mortgage,
to move back to that town would certainly take courage.
I’ll sort out my stuff there, greatly lighten the load,
hoping to sell that house quickly and take to the road,
petrol prices making it urgent to move closer to what matters,
to be accessible to family means thinking lateral.
At belly dance I met Liz whose aunt June once owned our house,
she would rock on the veranda looking over at Mount Rouse
while all the cousins raced upstairs in the stables of bluestone,
what a pity that wonderful old building has gone.
Liz’s uncle was not so happy, he took his own life,
leaving behind a family with his grieving wife.
Maybe it is his sad ghost who has tuned into the trouble
that left our small dreams as a pile of rubble.
We ask his blessing and wish him peaceful rest,
with the house we don’t love we will do our best.
It is wrong decisions made by me the root of it all,
I can’t blame others for the tune I did call.
To Auntie June I prayed for an answer to give us all peace,
bringing about completion and wished for release.
It seems a long time our saga with Mountain View,
yet in our lives and the life of the house just a chapter or two.
two years later
We did not borrow money to renovate though we could,
I wanted to but wondered if we should.
The local builders didn’t bother quoting though asked,
we were definitely getting nowhere fast.
slowly emptying shipping containers, the best thing to do.
If Tattslotto we win the story will change,
a rapid renovation then sale is what I will arrange.