(image: relaxing in Nightfall’s private section of Christmas Creek – these sun-filled days of swimming are almost back)

Main tent footings poured, tick; water pipes laid into trenches, tick; lower trench filled, tick; insulation into the roof of guest tent one, tick; trees trimmed over solar panels, tick … yes, without mud everywhere, at the moment there’s almost a sense giddy exhilaration building Nightfall’s luxury tent accommodation.

Seven months of continuous and unseasonal  south-east Queensland weather appears to finally be over for our mountainous Gold Coast hinterland retreat. Even the forecaster on the radio last week supported our sense that something was changing: “It’s pretty questionable if we will get any significant rainfall for the month of August” he said. Needless to say, we did more than cheer.

These last few weeks of winter have been spectacular – clear blue skies, crisp cool mornings and some delicious warm day-time interludes, one of which even led Steve to dive into our deep creek swimming hole for a dip.

After living for what seems like an eternity with drizzle, rain and mud, it’s hard to put into words the full impact of this change. We can finally traverse Nightfall’s construction site without gumboots and progress jobs which have been stalled for months.  A new energy and lightness also fills our souls, as well as a happiness, which has caught me off guard. Have I been unhappy?  No, but perhaps working so hard to always stay positive and look on the bright side has somehow masked the true extent of the doldrums which come from prolonged difficult times.  The contrast now of sunshine and lightness is revealing to true extent of what has in fact been quite a challenging period.

Building without mud is so much easier and faster. With the main tent footings poured last week, all is now ready to begin assembling the four portals which make up the frame for Nightfall’s main tent. The 6mm thick steel sections each weigh hundreds of kilograms, but hopefully, with the ground now drier, we’ll once again be able to use machinery to help hoist them into place. As you might remember, Nightfall’s previous two luxury tent frames were raised with the assistance of a dozen or so friends and neighbours because it was just too muddy for machine access.

With a little luck, no more rain and some warm sunshine, in the next few weeks we might even find our hillside on the banks of Christmas Creek dry enough to lay the plumbing pipes into trenches and place the gravity-feed water header tanks up the hill.

Fingers crossed!

(images – pouring main tent footings: Lamington innovation – the concrete chute extension crafted by a neighbour; our trusty ‘dingo’ mini-loader has saved many a day – in this case carting concrete to fill the far side footing)

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(If this is the first time you’ve read our building Nightfall blog diary, you might be interested in looking at other entries and the rest of our website.  As with on-the-ground construction, our website is also a veritable work in progress.  New images and information are added as we progress.)