Category Archives: Regional Victoria Australia

Working Our Way Around The World as Ad Lib Artisans

I’m proud to announce that the new website for our around-the-world building, decoration, and renovation company, AD LIB ARTISANS, is now live at

Please enjoy the FIVE galleries which are full of pictures of our work on various projects in England, France, Scotland, Germany, and Australia.

Mark enameling custom cabinetry that he built in a period home in London

In a future post I will explain how this work has allowed us to work our way across the world over the last 10 and 1/2 months!
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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Europe Travel Plans And A Health Hiatus

The bulbs are beginning to bloom in the garden as I write this from the family home in Norfolk UK. So in spite of the icy temperatures both day and night, spring certainly is on the way. A bit of a health hiatus has been forced on me and these next few lines offer a brief explanation about why nothing has been posted on either blog for several weeks.

All of my writing and photography uploads have had to go on hold for a short time because I came down with pneumonia twice in a 10 week period. I’ve been intensely ill, it’s is so BORING, and frankly, I am sick of being sick. Thank heavens for multiple rounds of strong medication, the wonderful medical care I received from the doctors and nurses at the Ballarat Base Hospital in Australia and the prompt attention of the local NHS practice here in England.

Now, for the FUN news — there are going to be some VERY interesting travel entries coming up quite shortly! We’re about to launch ourselves off into some long-term travelling and we have a wonderful first location for short-term work lined up in Edinburgh at the end of March and potentially into April. We’ll come back to Norfolk in mid-April to do the large pack-up prior to going to the Netherlands on the ferry. Then we will ramble across Germany before our next locked-in time period from the 20th of April until the first week of May in Berlin. We are quite excited about that! After that we will travel around middle-Germany for awhile and then begin to loop back toward France.

We have a longer term assignment of a month or more in Normandy that should have June and perhaps part of July sorted out. And our next very interesting “yes — please do come!” host after our time in Normandy is in rural Tuscany. I have a feeling that we will be there for more than a month as well. Right now I am on the laptop for hours every day, sitting here diligently planning all of our adventures, trying to set up a time-slot for each of the people we hear back from, and shopping for a left-hand-drive car.

We’re leaving a few gaps for pure-and-simple travel in France and I’ll be looking for some more work hosts on our way back across the country toward Italy. And before we leave France this time, we also plan to go down to the Limousin to meet a transplanted British man who is real estate agent and we’ll look at some run-down houses to potentially buy, renovate, and then sell on.

Did you know that the buying and settling/closing process in both France and England takes about 90-120 days??? There are no 30-45 day turn-around times over here the way they do it in Australia or the USA! If we find something to buy as an investment, we would put in the contract and the deposit, go off and work somewhere for awhile, and then come back a few months later when it’s time to sign on the dotted line at the notaire’s office. Sheesh!

We’re going to leave our Brit-drive car here with the family if they are fine with that and take our LHD (left hand drive) car (which we will purchase in the next week or so) over to the Netherlands on the overnight ship. We are already booked and paid for with another lovely cabin and good meals. It is so much more civilised than flying!

Mark got his British driving license this month and I just got my new NHS medical card in the post last week. Ooooo — paperwork and official documents. Such excitement! (grin!) But it just means that we are getting more and more officially European now. We have made no firm decision about where to settle and don’t plan to for many months ahead as we weigh up the housing costs and employment options in each country that we visit.

Life is good over here other than the non-stop cold & damp and the annoying chest infection. It seriously took us over a month to feel like our bodies and consciousness states had arrived in this place and weren’t floating in the ethers on the way over. And it wasn’t just me either. Mark said that he didn’t feel quite right in his body for the longest time.

Even though we have chosen this huge change and were excited about moving back here, this has still been a huge adjustment process. Something as simple as shopping in a new country has been a grand adventure (smirk!) — even for everyday things like groceries or health food items. Buying a car in England took a lot of time for paperwork and bank transfers — and don’t even get me started about how crazy it is to try and get car insurance in a timely manner!

Time to end this now and go make a nice hot cup of tea.

Hope that all is well in YOUR corner of the world!