Another place to renovate

The silver Ford Spectron pulled up in the driveway of the khaki green cottage.

I looked out the window to catch my first glance of the new dump we had bought.

We had only lived six months in our previous house and in that time we had transformed it from an old, run-down 1930s bungalow to a modern comfortable dwelling in a sought-after suburb.

This would be the same. Only this house was in a small country town in the central highlands.

The new house was a picture of neglect. The front lawn was a forest of long brown grass and weeds that we waded through to get to the front door.

The roof, red-brown with rust, contrasted sharply with the new front door - clean and white.

Dad put the key in the lock and the door swung open revealing a dim interior. I was struck by the musty smell.

The carpet was threadbare and the wallpaper a faded yellow.

In the kitchen, the floor was covered with black and white checked lino and the Masonite walls were flaking paint of indeterminable colour.

''This place needs a lot of work,'' Dad commented after a long, unbroken silence.

Personally, I liked it how it was. It was perfect. It would be a shame to ruin such a place. But that was just my point of view.

I knew the procedure. We would renovate it - or rather, Dad would renovate it, then it would be sold.

''This is nothing. You weren't alive when we were at Fentonbury. Now, that was a dump,'' said a low voice beside me.

Bob had always told ''in my day'' stories to try and impress me with his experience.

The new property was huge.

Eight and a-half acres of bush, an explorer's paradise. At least, it was for an explorer like me.

Over time, the property slowly became presentable. We bought a sheep to mow the lawns. Crowbaaaa was quite tame and it followed us everywhere.

By now, Dad was buying building materials for the renovations. There were large quantities of materials which I did not even know the names of. I didn't really care; all I knew was that they would ruin my dump.

I also heard that the trucks from up the back of the property were going to be removed. I was disappointed; I liked playing in their rusted shells, pretending I was actually driving.

With the new changes being made, I could no longer sleep inside the house. Bob and I bunked down out in the shed. This was a great adventure for us, although the nights were pretty cold.

Six months passed. The house was fully renovated.

We loved exploring the property. Mum wanted us to learn to do stuff but Dad, a willing accomplice to our exploits, let us spend our time digging around in the old derelict saw mill with its thick, heavy layer of sweet-smelling dust.

I can't remember what it was about, but one day Bob and I got into a real scrap. Several angry words were exchanged and soon we were engaged in a full-on fight.

Bob was bigger and stronger than me, but I was more agile.

The advantage went to and fro.

One minute Bob was on me, the next, I had extracted myself and was viciously attacking him.

Then it stopped abruptly. The hose was on us.

''If youse dogs don't get off each other, I'll whip ya down to the pound,'' yelled Dad.


• By Zinzan Smith, Year 12, King's High School



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