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  • gillianvann

When you know, you just know

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

There's an amazing scene in the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels movie (the 1988 one) where Lawrence asks Freddy what it is he wants (to go away) and Freddy turns to the Riviera ocean view and responds with "this! this is what I want!" When we got out of the car at Piney Ridge I got the same feeling standing in the guest car park. The crazy paving reminded me of the terrace at a friend's home in the French Riviera and the ledge overlooked a green paddock, framed with beautiful old gum trees. That feeling of "this is what I want to see every day" came over me.

I didn't take a photo that day but here's a wonderful photo I took one winter morning. The paddock adjacent to that car park we named "Riviera".

The paddock in the photo is called "Borie's paddock" named for our dear old darling Rhodesian Ridgeback Boris, who died of old age not long after we arrived on the farm, and is laid to rest under that large gum tree, also known as "Borie's tree".

happy old boy at Sunshine Beach, 2013

Love at First Sight

As the kids say, WYKYK. We immediately loved the place, and when we walked into the grand entrance hallway we were in awe. I believe I said to my husband, "we don't deserve to be able to buy a place like this". It was unkempt, smelly, broken; a genuine "renovator's delight".

“We are so buying this house.”

We were standing the cellar, musty and a little bit wet (oh yes, it flooded regularly for the first 3 years) and we both just looked at each other with glee. We had done a fair amount of renovations already, but a home of this magnitude and impressiveness was irresistible. You can count on one hand the number of gorgeous sandstone "mansions" that Queensland has to offer. We couldn't believe that such an old, historic home like this was 1) not heritage listed and 2) sitting on the market - unsellable. And so we did what we'd always done: we bit off more than we could chew and took a giant crazy leap of faith.

overgrown and falling apart

We were all smitten, and spent the rest of the trip home excitedly planning our next move. Within the month we had made the decision, made the offer and made plans to start the process of emigrating our Queensland clan to Sth Australia.

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