Featured House and Garden

How to build a bench seat: Part One

Matt: Let’s buy a boat!

Bec: We live 200km from the sea.


Bec: We’re not buying a boat.

Matt: What about our dream of buying a yacht and sailing it home from The Mediterranean Sea?

Bec: What are you talking about?

Matt: I told you this the other day. Our retirement plan. We need to practise being boaties, or we’ll get to retirement and be total boating newbs.


Matt: How about we build a BBQ firepit pizza oven area in the back yard, with wooden bench seats and a firepit and a BBQ area?

Bec: OK.

Matt: Really?

Bec: Yep. Let’s go to Masters. But let’s start with something simple. Make some bench seats first. I don’t want to commit to the rest until you’ve proven yourself. Otherwise we’ll end up spending $1,000 on landscape supplies and they’ll sit over by the fence gathering dust. Like the last $1,000 worth of landscaping supplies.

Matt: I am going to build that retaining wall I was talking about, I just need to wait for the weather to warm up a little.

Bec: In summer you said you had to wait for it to cool down a little. Either way, let’s just go.

Matt: OK awesome. But Masters won’t have the range of supplies we need. We need to go to that tradie’s timber warehouse across town.

Bec: Won’t Masters be catering for people like us though? People who are doing little projects like this one?

Matt: Look, if it makes you’ll happy, we’ll go there, but we’ll be wasting our time.

*20 mins later*

Bec: Oh, look at those pieces of wood at the entry there. Outside. On special. They look pretty wide. Aren’t they exactly what we need?

Matt: I doubt it.

Bec: Excuse me (speaking to Masters Guy) – what do you use this wood out the front here for?

Masters Guy: Lots of stuff, but it’s particularly good for bench seating. We’re seeing a lot of young couples come through who buy it for bench seating.

Bec: We’ll take four planks please.

Matt: We only need two planks of this, but it’ll be so annoying because we’ll have to cut it up with the chainsaw.

Masters Guy: We can cut it here for you. Free of charge. Whatever size you like.

Bec: Is the first cut the deepest? HAHAHAHAHAH.


Matt: We need some coach screws now.

Masters Guy: What sort of coach are you building?

Matt: We’re building some bench seats actually.

Masters Guy: Yes, I figured. That was a joke. Sorry.

Bec: Don’t apologise to him. He’s just a bit slow. And jealous of your joke.

Masters Guy: Over in aisle 9.

Bec: What are coach screws?

Matt: They’re like a cross between a bolt and a screw. They’re for holding heavy timber together. They take a while to drill and implement, but they’re worthwhile.

Bec: This project isn’t going to take that long though is it? Don’t you just have to ghhhhzzz the wood together?

Matt: Ghhhhzzz it?

Bec: Yes. You don’t know what that is?

Matt: No.

Bec: Look at my body language – ghhhhzzz it. *Moves arms forward in drilling motion*

Matt: You mean use a drill?

Bec: Yes. Haven’t you seen The Block?

Matt: Is that the one with the twins?

Bec: Yes.

Matt: I hate that show. It’s full of stupid city people trying to build stuff in inappropriate clothing and hairstyles. Speaking of which, the clothes you’re wearing are too good to be working in the yard. You’ll have to change when we get back.

Bec: I will really only be doing light, cosmetic work, and then I’ll probably get tired or bored, so they’ll be fine.

Matt: Sounds right. So what work are you going to do?

Bec: I will move about three rocks, and then I’ll probably sit down and take photos of you working, and Instagram it.

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Matt reveals he is a bona-fide bushie: Interview by Bec

The vineyard’s progress had stalled, so Matt had fewer things to do on the weekend. After nearly 12 months in the country, Bec decided now was an opportune time to test his real rural mettle.

Bec: Which famous bushman are you most like, and why?

Matt: Well to start, the word is bushie. You’re obviously not from here.

Bec: Would you like to have a beer with Duncan?

Matt: Been too busy mustering for that. It’s tough out here.

Bec: What have you been mustering?

Matt: Livestock mostly.

Bec: Specifically?

Matt: Three chickens, one miniature fox terrier and some worms.

Bec: Just how “tough out here” is it?

Matt: Put it this way, Duncan was a sheila when I first met him.

Bec: What speeds have you reached on the ride on mower?

Matt: I think you mean ‘lawn tractor’.

Bec: How calloused are your hands, from all of your livin’ and a workin’ on the land?

Matt: Bushies like me don’t worry about that sort of stuff.

Bec: Didn’t I see a jar of moisturiser on your shelf in the bathroom the other day?

Matt: That would have been deep heat cream, for my eyes. I use that as training for staring into the sun, which I have to do a lot while looking for lost cattle.

Bec: How many wild beasts have you tamed?

Matt: Wild beasts are for shootin’, tannin’ and possibly eatin’. They ain’t for tamin’.

Bec: How many brown snakes have you wrestled with your bare hands, ensuring they came off second best?

Matt: 2.5

Bec: How is that possible?

Matt: I wrestled the third one so hard it snapped in half, upon whence the front end bit me and the back end crawled away while I sucked the poison out. Once that poison is inside you, you have to suck it out immediately. The nearest hospital is a day’s ride away. You can’t take any chances out here.

Bec: A day’s ride on what?

Matt: Ride on mower.

Bec: Do you mean lawn tractor?

Matt: Yes.

Bec: What do you think of ‘city slickers’?

Matt: They come out here in their fancy Rav4s, thinking they can go ‘off-road’ because they’ve parked on a lawn at a street party…

Bec: How fast can you crack a whip?

Matt: When I crack a whip, it’s not the whip you hear; it’s the sonic boom.

Bec: You know a whip crack IS a sonic boom?

Matt: When I do it, yes.

Bec: No, when anyone does it. That’s what the crack is. It’s the tip of the whip breaking the speed of sound.

Matt: Nope.

Bec: It is.

Matt: Well, when I crack a whip it breaks the speed of sound, AND the speed of light. So you can’t even see it. Did you see that? I just cracked a whip and you didn’t see it.

Bec: I didn’t see anything. Nor did I hear anything.

Matt: Exactly.

Bec: Did the gene test end up proving your “irrefutable claim” that you are “related to RM”?

Matt: You don’t need science to prove obvious fact.

Bec: What did the test say?

Matt: I can see the fence needs immediate repair. Hooroo.

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Twelve Indisputable Facts of Life

  1. Nobody knows whether it is actually recycling bin night. One person on the street takes a chance and the rest follow their lead.
  2. The average supermarket avocado has been squeezed by 427 other customers before you buy it.
  3. If your question to your husband begins with “have you seen my…” you’ll only ever get two answers – “I don’t know” or “I don’t know what that is”
  4. The keys are in the same place as your mobile phone. Which is flat. And carefully stored in the bottom of the bucket on the third shelf in the bathroom cupboard – a place you chose last night after the fourth glass of wine so you wouldn’t forget where to find your keys.
  5. You will remember where you put them ten minutes after you need to.
  6. You CAN type at 140 w.p.m. with 100% accuracy. As long as no one is watching.
  7. The incessantly beeping smoke alarm with the flat battery is at the top of the stairs and inaccessible by ladder.
  8. Candles you get from ‘Target’ burn longer, smell nicer, and you won’t need to talk to weird candle shop women, who judge you when you inevitably reject their up-selling of unnecessary candle accessories.
  9. Putting a siren sample in your popular song is a fantastic idea. As long as no one will ever listen to your song in a motor vehicle stuck at traffic lights.
  10. If you want a significantly overweight person to appear out of nowhere, board a plane, and await your long haul flight to London. Have a spare seat next to you. Wait 5 seconds before the plane doors close. Voila.
  11. People who know how to relate to little dogs are the best. They (little dogs) test empathy. i.e. they’re small, vulnerable – everyone and everything else being big. Good people recognise that and adjust their approach.
  12. We all pretend to write down reference numbers given over the phone. Nobody actually does.