Heaving Chests

No, I’m not envisioning the two buxom brunettes who once ably ran the Cat Head Inn; short of breath from hoisting yet another fresh keg of Burrow Hill cider up onto the bar. For the sake of propriety, not on this occasion at least.

Actually, we’re moving house. The heavyset hirsute blokes who effortlessly heave chests of drawers around are scheduled to arrive here with a small fleet of pantechnicons in just under a month.

Over the past number of years I have filled our Melbourne home with furniture I’ve made to the point we can barely move: Climbing into bed does actually involve climbing and excursions to the lavatory need to be strategised well in advance.

So we’re off to more commodious habitation in the gently undulating foothills of the Australian Alps to traipse barefoot through the lush green grass, cuddle koalas and spar with kangaroos! Actually there’s been a decade-long drought in the region, the koalas have Chlamydia and we’re more likely to encounter a kangaroo in the local shop. But it’s the country and that means lots and lots of space!

The simple task of sharpening a chisel in my current ten-foot-by-ten-foot workshop involves a tiresome Game of Fifteen, but not for much longer! I will soon be occupying a large shed with more than enough room to swing a cat in – which reminds me, I must get a good mouse-savvy moggy for the place. Do pet shops even exist in these times of heightened animal welfare awareness? Perhaps I should do the politically correct thing and recycle a used cat from the local animal shelter (which is also where I’m getting the goat from).

NW_view_of Australian_Alps_01a

My sister, who lives in Greater London, was looking at some photos of our purlieu and remarked “Don’t see any neighbours”! Whilst my sister may suffer from autophobia, I am not in the least bit daunted by remoteness, and happen to thrive on solitude. However, should I ever feel the need of companionship or require urgent assistance, I am told there’s an affable neighbour about a mile to the south who will respond to three gunshots fired in quick succession… that’s assuming I don’t actually hit him.

NE_view_of Australian_Alps_02a

As a result of the forthcoming upheaval, I will be absent from this confluence for a period whilst I establish ‘phone – and more importantly – internet connectivity at the new domicile. It looks like we will have to settle for basic wireless broadband: When I went to the local telco to enquire about hooking us up with an optical fibre connection or at the very least, fixed wireless, the staff fell silent, swapped glances with each other and proceeded to fall about laughing.

Well they won’t laugh so freely when they encounter me out walking my splendid new billy goat in my olive green galoshes; you mark my words!

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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22 Responses to Heaving Chests

  1. Mark Cass says:

    Good luck on the move Jack. Fingers crossed they get you hooked up to the waiting world el pronto; I’ll miss the latest updates from Pegs and Tails.
    All the best,


    • Jack Plane says:

      Thank you. I’ll continue posting on some topic or other until the movers drag the keyboard away from me, but as far as the ash bureau or any other furniture-making is concerned, that’s it until I set up at the new location.



  2. David Webb says:

    I too wish you the best in your new digs. I love your writing and the insights into the period furniture you build and so knowingly write about. Please keep up the good work and let us know what interests you, as it interests us also.

    From Kentucky where 1700’s is about as old as it gets.

    Dave Webb


  3. Jerry Olson says:

    Good luck with the move. A craftsman as skilled and prolific as yourself deserves room “to swing a cat in”. Here’s hoping you are able to secure reasonable Internet access as I look forward to all of your post’s.


  4. Eric Rusch says:

    Allow me to join the others in wishing you a speedy move and pleasant adventure Mr. Jack Plane.
    I have come to enjoy your offerings, and will wait patiently until they return with a steady pulse.
    The pictures of your future surroundings are beautiful, and may inspire you to new heights !
    All the best from central Florida.


  5. Paul B says:

    Best of luck.

    I look forward to new posts but I’m still gleaning new info from your older projects. As I gain hands-on experience, they get easier to comprehend.


  6. One thing to try when you are established in your new abode is something I enjoyed doing when I was merely but an innocent child, that is to tip toe bare footed over the frosty paddock and place your near frozen feet into a fresh steaming cow turd, the sensation is unbelievable.

    Good lick with the move Jack


  7. Jim Pallas says:

    I look forward to bigger and better builds with the inspiration from your surroundings.
    Good fortunes


  8. Marilyn says:

    That’s funny .. when I read your post title I thought a big hairy chested guy. Ah well, its all in your perspective.

    Yes, yes on the recycled moggie! Hopefully you also believe in feeding the critter even though you want it to be a mouser.

    Good luck with you move. I hate moving, but getting a better shop would make it all OK. Maybe we’ll get to see the new shop??


  9. Dave Ray says:

    Good luck with the move, Jack. From the look of the place you’ll need more than one goat. The size of the shop sounds great. How is the actual living area? Looking foreward to your posts as you establish your new shop.


    • Jack Plane says:

      Hopefully the horses will keep the grass down.

      In anticipation of the move, I have jettisoned a fair bit of my furniture recently. The new house is larger than the present edifice, so there’s theoretically room for me to make more furniture.

      Thanks for all the well wishes.



  10. Claire says:

    Bravo Jack. Congratulations on your move to the bush – also known as God’s country, even to an unbeliever like me.


  11. I sit in sheer terror at the thought of movers moving your beautiful furniture. Best of luck, and crack the whip!


  12. LD says:

    Congratulations on the move! (A clever rationale for building more furniture.)

    Perhaps you should also construct a saw pit, so the fellows with the hairy chests and large muscles will have something to do after the move, besides drinking beer?


  13. /dev says:

    But, but, but… the lemons!

    Wonderful projects, wonderful posts. Good luck with the move.



  14. Idske says:

    Hope your move goes according to plan! Btw, I live about 20 miles from the M25 and they fell about laughing when I asked when we could expect ‘somewhat faster’ broadband as they keep telling us it’s coming. They literally said I was in the middle of nowhere so maybe in 5 years or so – perhaps I should show them what the middle of nowhere really looks like…


  15. Buxom brunettes, heaving chests…aaahhh. Thank goodness, we never get too old. Do you have Nordic Rats in Oz or are they some sort of small marsupial? Are you taking that lemon tree with you?
    Dennis Laney


    • Jack Plane says:

      We have some exceedingly odd and unusual marsupials and mammals here (plus a selection of introduced European species such as foxes, rabbits and rats etc.) including plagues of those Nordic nasties.

      I planted the lemon and lime trees here and will miss them. However, with our climate, it won’t take long to establish more fruit trees at the new place.



  16. Carl Joseph says:

    Wow, looks like a wonderful place. All the best with the move and I look forward to reading more of your writing in the near future.

    Take care,


  17. Happy travels Jack and good luck with the move. Perhaps a few more Walnut pieces now that you will be in the vicinity of those old gold rush plantings.


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