Monday, July 25, 2011

Moving Your House

That isn't a typo: I did actually mean to write about moving the house, not just moving house.
We all did a serious double-take the first time we drove up towards the Sunshine Coast and saw a whole lot of movable houses -- removal houses, as they are called -- on the side of the motorway that are for sale. Ok, I'd seen those programs on TV where they use big trucks and move houses to new locations, but I recently discovered that buying a house that's ready to move to your selected location is a regular way of house buying here. (Well, I don't actually know anyone who has done it, but I do know a builder who recently connected up a house for someone who bought one of these.)
A website for a company that is involved in this type of business states that house removal has been around in Australia since the early days of colonial history. At that time houses and buildings were transported by horse and dray.
According to this company houses are categorised according to the following: Queenslander and Colonial (Built prior to 1946) houses, Post War (Built between 1946 and 1960) and Semi Modern (Built from about 1960 onwards) houses.
Qld colonial removal house post war house relocation Semi Modern house relocation
    Queenslander / Colonial
Post War            
      Semi Modern 
One example of a house that is for sale is a three bedroom post-war house that costs between $60,000 and $100,000. Of course, there is small print, which states that the price includes the house and a provision allowance for delivery within 100kms and restumping 600mm out of ground based on a level site and standard soil conditions.I love this bit..."Extra costs will apply if the house is required to be cut into sections smaller than standard...or transport over water."

The advert states:

"Three Bedroom Post-War. This is a very solid and spacious post-war home with robes in each of the three good sized bedrooms. The kitchen is clean and tidy and in good original working order. The solid weatherboard construction home has plenty of character with great looking polished timber floors, and timber casement windows, and be sure to check out the huge living area. Plenty of room for all the family, and a timber porch provides a welcome entry. Just connect to services on your new site and move into or rent in no time at all. Inspections by appointment, so call to arrange yours now. Area (Approx): 144m2."
For someone who has an unwanted house on land, the relocation of the house is an alternative to demolition. The demolition is expensive and creates waste that needs to be removed. If you sell the house instead, you save on those costs, and can make money instead.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ordering Coffee in Oz

Moving to Australia there were a whole lot of things that I thought would be different and that would take getting used to.
It didn't for a moment cross my mind that ordering coffee would be something that I'd have to learn my way around! Okay, so there were bigger things to think about, but for someone who enjoys coffee, knowing how to order a cup of coffee is pretty important too.
I have realised that I'm not the only one trying to figure this out as many of the coffee shops have brochures available that explain their coffee and other drinks.
The easy option when ordering is a cappuccino -- yes, a cappuccino is a cappuccino, even in Australia.
But if you're ordering anything else, there are some explanations needed. So here are a few (thanks to the brochure from Gloria Jean's Coffees):
Flat White (in other words, coffee with milk!): Espresso with steamed milk. Plain and simple.
Long Black (that is, coffee without milk!): Rich, intense espresso coffee lengthened with hot water. Bold, black coffee.
Short Black: Gloria Jean's Special Espresso Blend coaxed to yield the essence of fine coffee. Wonderfully intense & aromatic.

So those are the basics, but special coffees and other hot drinks are huge here, and Zarraffa's Coffee is one of the places where the menu is something of a minefield of choices. There are the drinks, then the strength, the flavours and the extras. And don't forget about the milk options (full-cream, skinny, soy or light soy).
So you could start off choosing something like caramelised cappuccino or white chocolate mocha. If you need a serious wake up call you could ask for a triple shot of coffee, and then you can add flavours such as caramel, hazelnut, irish cream, butterscotch and peppermint.
Then it's the extras which can include whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate powder, chocolate or white chocolate flakes, chocolate or white chocolate fudge and caramel fudge.
Whew, sounds more like dessert than a cup of coffee!