I’ve travelled to the future (currently nine hours ahead of GMT) and landed in an unfamiliar world. I’ve moved to rural Tasmania and I’ve bought an old gold rush bank building. It’s a whale of a house and it needs a lot of renovation. In the garden is an old shed which has been used for various things over the years. A dairy, I think; a stables; a home for sheepdogs, a rabbit fur outlet, serving the Australian hat industry and the burgeoning snooker table baize sector (I had no idea that snooker and billiard balls glide over iridescent rabbit fur).
In the main bank hall, flat to the street in the manner of Wild West towns, there’s the original vault with a Chubb door, made in Victoria Street in London. The vault, with its low arched ceiling and two feet thick walls, is lined with sandstone shelves that will at some point have carried the weight of gold. I can date the building back to 1856. It has, at various later times, been a supermarket, a barber’s shop and a farmhouse of sorts.
I’m here to prove to myself that you can teach this not-quite-old-yet dog new tricks. I’ve called the house MINA for reasons that will soon emerge and I’m planning on hosting something in this most unlikely and remote of venues in the near future.
In the meantime, I’m consulting for brands here in Australia and internationally, in between learning how to build and renovate. The last several years have been a period of change for all of us. Brexit, COVID, plus more than our own shares of personal challenge. For me, the question is whether refurbishment or reconstruction is the right approach. I’ve chosen to up-end everything. Whether it’s the right choice remains to be seen, but that’s in the nature of time and choice, eh? It was ever thus.