Wednesday, January 10, 2007

We are cracking up and seeking stability

Not us personally, mind you, but our house. Like many houses in Sydney the drought is causing major problems. The clay foundation on which our old house (circa 1908) rests is drying out, and this is causing lots of cracking. We've patched over cracks in the past, but this time it seems more serious.

When my mother was living next door we took the opportunity to get a structural engineer in, and it was clear that the side wall was really moving a lot. You could see it kind of leaning away from the gutter. He recommended underpinning with five piers. This involves digging big holes in the clay underneath the house and filling them with money concrete. They have done three holes (you don't want to do all five at once because that might cause the house to collapse) and it is always interesting to me to see how the house is built.

We are built on rock hard clay, no rock underneath, but at least it isn't sand. It is interesting to see how the brick foundation has been stepped out for a bit of stability in two of the holes, like this one:

But this one has two big sandstone blocks used as a foundation:

It really is the renovation you have without any renovation. Biff, Thump and Digger come at seven thirty, they go next door and dig and so forth, we go and inspect, but there is nobody inside our house, no disturbance at all except to our finances. It would be nice to spend money on something else, like a new side fence or some garden design, but it is important to look after one's infrastructure.

Our new neighbours on that side are being so fantastic to put up with all this - they are bearing the brunt of it in their back yard. We all live very close here in the inner city, and good neighbours are very important.

Speaking of neighbours, there was a photo of a neighbour on the other side of our house (we have three on that side, being on a corner) in this morning's Sydney Morning Herald. She is a keen surfer, and was posed with her surfboard under her arm and her two year old son by her side. And then we noticed where the picture was taken - outside my mother's new house! Yes, my mother has a big mural on her house, and the photographer thought it a suitable backdrop.

Finally, little Majic is settling in perfectly. He can walk on the lead, he is learning how to sit on command, and knows just what to do with a bone. I did a cookup for him yesterday so don't feel guilty feeding him out of a tin. He is lying on my foot as I type this.


  1. There was something in the paper yesterday aadvising people to water around their foundations with waste water! I just couldn't figure out where you'd put the water! What you're doing sounds much more sensible - even if a lot more costly.e

  2. heather1:47 PM

    Oh my goodness - I didn't realise it was that bad! I can see why you have to spend the money now, galling as it is! I hope Majic is enjoying the gourmet meals. Rosie is still on the tins I'm afraid...