A busted ute canopy

service bodiesI know I’m going to sound like someone just trying to avoid the consequences of their actions, but this really wasn’t my fault. If anything, it was the fault of the guy who sold me this ute in the first place. It was in perfect working condition, he said. Almost brand new. Barely used. What a load of bull.

Yesterday, at about three o’clock in the afternoon, I was driving to an appointment from work. As you’d expect, the roads weren’t particularly busy or anything, which was a good thing, since without my knowledge, the ute canopy that had come with this car when I bought it second hand was buckling under the pressure. Sitting in the driver’s seat, I didn’t feel it at all when the thing broke, spilling its contents out the back onto the road. Thank goodness, it only caused a minor dent in the front of the car behind me – an accident like that could have killed someone.

Although I’m pretty annoyed about the whole thing – causing someone else to have an accident is never a nice feeling – I have to look at this from a practical point of view. In my line of work, everyone needs cars with functional service bodies. It’s just a part of the job. Problem is, at the moment I really can’t afford anything too fancy. I mean, there’s a reason I bought this car second hand. So I spent a couple of hours this morning scouring the internet, looking for a high quality company that can work with my ute to find a solution.

At the moment, I’ve found a couple of Melbourne based companies that look like they can handle this kind of thing, but they all deal with these amazing aluminium ute canopies. I feel like something that high quality is going to be a little out of my price range. Worth a shot though.

The farmer and his livestock shed

livestock shedIt’s not easy, making a living from creative work. People keep telling me I could get a bit of work as a copywriter to keep myself financially stable, or maybe I could branch out a bit and do some editing. Living at home doesn’t help much. At least I have my own little space in Tamworth, granny flats are actually pretty cool.

But I’ve made my decision, my resolve is strong. I’m going to make money from my short stories and books about Tamworth, even if they’re often rejected. I often spend half of my entire day writing and half looking for places that’ll accept my writing, often with no stories accepted for the day…but Ingrid Righton managed it. So can I!

And alright, maybe it doesn’t help that I’ve taken a vow to only write stories about people in Tamworth. My last tale was about a man who worked hard at his farm to keep his family fed and afford a livestock sheds. Tamworth has a rather large farming community and most them have a few heads of cattle. This famer works so hard that he ends up pushing his family away and eventually ends up travelling to a foreign land.

Look, it sounds a bit odd when you sum up an entire short story in just a few words. It’s meant to be a heartfelt tale of wonder and woe, from the perspective of a broken man who just wants sheds for his livestock.

Writing from the perspective of a farmer was tough. I had to capture the proper tone of elegance, but lacking in permanency. That one took me an entire day and about six cups of coffee, but I got there in the end. No one’s yet accepted it, but I’m hoping to submit to some leasing offices to feature on their blogs, as a cautionary tale of working too hard and falling in love with a material thing.

My next story is actually a novella, about a woman who was one day late to her tax return appointment and how it causes her life to collapse. It’s not farming, but at least I now know all about tax returns!

Before and after the property staging

property stagingRetrospect: the kind of gift that would’ve been nice to have before you went and made a big mess of things. Though that would defeat the purpose, yeah, yeah…

Anyway, the old shack is sold and I’m living in a new places with fewer electrical problems and a door that doesn’t throw in the towel in a stiff breeze. Life is good from that perspective, but once again the old junk mail has given me pause for thought. There are people in Melbourne who do property staging, if you can believe it. Wasn’t too sure of the meaning when I read it on the flyer, but apparently they come around to your house like those people on the housing shows that Nina loves so much and make it presentable. And not just shifting around the sofas either. These people do full interior decorating, wallpapering, making sure you have the nicest taps so that people can walk around your home and gush about how they want to pay MORE than the asking price, probably. I guess if you’re good enough, you can get the price up from the get-go.

I still can’t believe I sold my old place. Pretty sure if I got Melbourne based property staging experts in, they’d faint in the doorway. It’s not MY fault, because I have been taught in the ways of DIY and I can do basic stuff. It’s just that when the door is coming off its hinges, the wallpaper was bought at an antiques roadshow and the decking is a crumbly canyon of ankle-grabbing death, there’s not much you can do to improve it. I should visit the old place and confirm my suspicions that they knocked it down and started again. Still, I would’ve liked to know what a property staging professional thought of the place. Maybe if we just moved the sofa over the hole in the wall, put a nice rug over the decking…things may not have been too bad.