SOMETIMES CAREER CHANGES COME OUT OF THE BLUE. THIS WAS THE CASE FOR CAROLYN KIDD,…
This is the story of one of the city’s best-known florists Loulou Moxom and why she gave up a dream home just eight minutes from work to start a new dream in Collector.
My name is Louise Olivia Moxom ( it’s been Loulou for so long now ) I’m 45 years old and co-own Moxom and Whitney Florist with my ever-patient, often perplexed but very forgiving best friend Belinda Whitney.
I’ve been married four times. The first two are so long ago that I’d rather start with my third husband, my beautiful Jason – he died of cancer just six days after we married in Clare Holland House – he was simply incredible, larger than life and his determination to kick cancer as hard as it was kicking him is the only inspiration I could ever need for the rest of my life….
And my fourth husband – Dale, just so happens to be my first love, a boyfriend whom I met waaaaay back in the late eighties when he was a strapping member of Her Majesty’s Royal Household Regiment and I was your typical girl, having a ball in London. We met, we dated, we loved, we parted ways.
I have two children. William is 24 and serves in the Australian Army, he is posted in Brisbane and not a day goes by when I don’t feel my heart ache for him. His visits home are precious and needed to feed my soul. Tory is 23 and studying nursing here in Canberra. She recently left home to live with her boyfriend. It seriously took a long time to convince myself that my little mate was not actually ever coming home. Our visits to Kmart are legendary on Snapchat! I miss her but love watching her grow up and become an outstanding woman. Her absence in our strangely echoey house played a massive part in our huge decision…
My dad died in January 2016. It was horrendous and an event that instantly brings me to tears every time I let my memories get the better of me. It was on the drive to Nelson Bay for my father’s memorial service (it’s about a 5.5-hour drive – yeah – fun times indeed ) that I was scrolling through Wastebook when an ad popped up featuring a house for sale.
It was a beautiful heritage house that had been beautifully renovated about a 45-minute drive out of Canberra. I loved it. I zoomed, scrutinised and fantasised…I could see Dale and I there – in the country, growing flowers and greenery for the shop…Oh oh! It had a separate guest house! Here my beloved mother could stay or I could hold little flower arranging classes. There. Right there is where the crazy took over!
I hounded Dale and to my surprise he loved it and we soon found ourselves driving out through the country to inspect it. I loved it, everything was perfect! When does that EVER happen right?! But then Dale saw it (Dale is now in the building trade) he saw the roof had a slight dip in it. “It adds character,” I said. “It needs replacing,” he said, “AND it’s heritage-listed and the garden isn’t really big enough to grow the quantities of flowers you need…”. Yep, there flew that plan right out the window but not to be outsmarted by a saggy roof I suggested that thing that I think sends sane and kind-hearted humans to the brink of crazy.
Yep, there flew that plan right out the window but not to be outsmarted by a saggy roof I suggested that thing that I think sends sane and kind-hearted humans to the brink of crazy.
“WHY DON’T WE JUST BUILD OUR OWN HOME AND THAT WAY WE GET WHATEVER WE LIKE?”
And the epicness began.
The renovations in our home that had been stop-start for two years now all had to be finished. The garden needed serious attention. We had to find somewhere to rent reasonably close to where we were going to build but where the hell that was who knew?! We had to find an agent….I cannot tell you how quickly it all had to happen and did happen.
I had lived in my beautiful Dickson home with Jason. We had so many happy years there – always chaotic, always full of laughter and love. His death left us raw and very shell-shocked. Tory developed glandular fever with the stress and was unable to finish her final year at college. Will threw himself into his pre-admission fitness training after spending his previous four months helping us care for Jason and me. Outwardly I think I looked like I was coping but inwardly I was just existing. If it weren’t for Belinda and my other best friend Jus and my children I don’t know how I would have got through it.
Finding Dale after nearly 21 years apart was a beautiful and unexpected gift. Together we renovated the home that Jason and I had shared. I had already started the renovations that I’d planned to do with Jason, it seemed so wrong to change the bits he was so looking forward to having – a black and white tiled floor and a mini library. When Dale moved in he and I planned the latter stages of the renovations – it seemed so bittersweet to finally finish and have this amazing house just to have to sell it to start all over again. But here I am, sat in our rental in Collector – doing just that!
We had created an amazing home with two guest bedrooms, a private dining room, new laundry and super cool master with walk in wardrobe through to the most Block-worthy ensuite of all time – marble, concrete, double shower, shower seat…the whole shebang. It was with a very heavy heart indeed that the day came to move out (well actually it took three days, three really shitty rainy days with a shivering, sooky Staffy who refused to leave my side and made the rental van smell like a teenagers bedroom with the added fragrance of “wet dog”). We had found a beautiful “nearly acre block” in Collector, and it turns out a lot of my friends had seen the same block but here we were, signing our names on the dotted line – land owners indeed.
I really, really cried on that last drive out from my “eight minutes away from work” dream home to the sight unseen (yep, hadn’t even stepped inside the rental before moving in – that’s how down to the wire we were with finding somewhere to live!) 43-minutes away from work, rental house in Collector.
Say what you will (everyone else in my world did). Reactions ranged from “Why?”, “What were you thinking?”, “You’ll hate that drive!” to “Stay where you are!”.
I also couldn’t believe the reactions we got when we went public after telling trusted family and friends (read – when we posted our intentions via Facebook ) I was seriously peeved. The people that are in my close inner circle – they got it, they know me…the people who THINK they are in my close inner circle – different story…
Those are the very people that are making me love the drive to and from work each day, heck, thanks to them my knowledge of Justin Bieber tunes is ever-increasing as are my Nicki Minaj rapping abilities. They are the people who make me want to grow the best pumpkins of super awesomeness for the Pumpkin Festival and to just quietly and effortlessly slip into the lovely rhythms of a tiny little town that I really want to start a fresh chapter in, with my rather dishy husband.
Meanwhile, Dale and I have started to plan this dream home. We love the look and feel of barns so have settled (I think ) on two barns – one for us and friends and family and one set up as a granny flat that doubles as a little meeting hub, place to learn, share ideas and cups of tea or glasses of tall and cheeky gin and tonics…I don’t know really. I just know I want to live closer to the land, I want to grow beautiful flowers for the shop, have a picking garden and think about what our future looks like.
I wish my dad was around to listen to our ideas on the build and to tell me he was proud. I hope that Jason’s warmth and beautiful soul follows us on our new path as he was always up for an “adventure” but I also hope that a little piece of that love has stayed behind at Dickson and that the new occupants of our cherished home feel just as magical within its walls as we did.
I hope Dale and I develop a new arm to our relationship. We already have such a beautiful story and yet our future, as it stands, is some sort of lovely pipe dream carefully drawn up in a sketch pad – I’m hoping our little team of two handles the next several months with humour and bucketloads of energy…Well, that’s the plan.