30 October 2013

Front doors are on

The new front doors have been painted black and are now hanging where they should be. It has been 7 years or more since this building was accessed by the front doors, and we have given them a new lease of life, and had new ones imported from overseas. They look smart and set the whole front of the house off, and gave both Ken and I a great deal of satisfaction getting them on there finally. I'll let the pictures do the talking...

28 October 2013

Website is live

Here we go. A new era. The Visible Recovery website is live. You can get to it at http://www.visiblerecovery.com.au. Go on, take a look! We are pretty happy with it. There is a gallery page to be added that has been completed and approved to showcase pictures of the rehab, but that will be here within days. This has been an epic adventure in the true sense of the word. The amount of email traffic that my web designer, Simon Cliff Associates (Koh Samui) and I generated over this project has been awesome. I'm sure it has slowed down the internet speeds on the island...

We wanted it to be a responsive site when people viewed it all via iPhone or iPad too, so all of that had to be factored in. The people that did the coding in the UK have done an exceptional job of interpreting exactly what was required and delivered, and had to deal with the many changes that were requested over the time that we were in development. Personally, I am very happy about it. The whole thing of Visible Recovery is now getting its final polishing, and will be operational and ready to receive our first clients within a short time of now. I would like to thank Simon Cliff and the coders in the UK for an absolutely exceptional effort, they should be proud of their efforts. For us? It's the start. Now that's exciting!

Medical Director supports pre-rehab meetings

Our Medical Director, Dr Roly Vinci, met with us yesterday to see the rehab and to discuss a few strategies. It was agreed that we would set up pre-rehab meetings at his practices to allow us to meet with some of the clients he and his team of doctors have that suffer issues with addiction. This will allow the client to come to a meeting with me at the practice on a regular session basis, for either one to one meetings or group meetings, whichever they would prefer. I would give a presentation on the rehab for them. This will allow the client to get a sense of what to expect at rehab, and the programs on offer in an environment that was familiar to them, and to have questions answered about treatment should they have any. I could then offer the people that wanted to progress this further to a meeting at the rehab to see the place, and to have an initial assessment.

We can also attend the team meetings they have on Mondays to present to the team of doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists at each practice he owns, to ensure that they are all familiar with the processes at the rehab, and what we have on offer there. With direct access to over 50,000 clients, this will assist our intake enormously. We have also been invited to join General Practice SA, a body for primary health care providers here,  that all SA doctors are registered with, and will give us access to all of them for marketing. Dr Vinci is a Director of that as well.

And finally he took us for a tour of a beautiful new practice that he has just opened on Hutt Street. This is just around the corner from the rehab, walking distance in fact. The previous owner was the man that signed Dr Roly's graduation papers from University, Dr Bray, who's family have lived there for years. Such a beautiful building, built in 1885. 

Dr Roly's new practice, Wakefield Medical Centre on Hutt Street. A beautiful building.

23 October 2013

Bedroom furniture is started

Ken and I got stuck in to the skirting in the lounge today and managed to get that out of the way. I got in early and got the two front doors off, and managed to get the locks and handles stripped to allow them both to be painted. Finished undercoating where the doors were planed back to size on the edges when they were fitted, and tomorrow they can both start the process of becoming black and shiny front doors. 

We also had enough time to get a few rooms cleaned down, vacuum cleaned properly, and mopped out as well, so they were ready to start getting the furniture in. We just had enough time at the end of the day to set up the front room beds and wardrobes, and  get a rug on the floor. Really comfortable well made Slumberland mattresses too. Beautiful. It will be even nicer when they are all done and we managed to get all of the beds made with the quilt covers that we have for them. I am loving this process more and more each day that passes now. I am getting more and more excited about the whole thing. Brilliant.

22 October 2013

All the paintings are up....

Are we lucky. I mean really lucky. The house looks like an art gallery, just brim full of beautiful paintings. They have lifted the place enormously. Better than that, Ray Lodge came with his daughter, Serene, today to deliver the last few pieces of art and see it all installed at the rehab. He was really happy to see it all hanging there and obviously very proud that his work could be shown in this way. Such a nice down to earth man. It is a shame that he is so ill with the final stages of cancer, but I am so grateful that he has had it in his heart to assist us in this way. We will certainly be buying a few pieces to keep with Visible Recovery permanently.

Ken and Ray chatting earlier today.

One of the bedrooms...

The hallway...

I got the final camera in the lounge all configured today, along with a network port installed for the new PC as well. The camera system is all up and running in a nick of time now we have these beautiful paintings there. Nice work!

The camera system from my iPhone

21 October 2013

Works of art arrive...

Busy day. Actually, busy weekend too. I have spent the last few days in the roof cabling up cameras for the externals, and finally they are done. I came across the biggest red back spider I have seen as I lay on my belly feeding Cat 6 cable through the wall between the two houses. Ex red back spider I should say. That is all done now, with just one more internal camera in the lounge to mount and we're there.That one will be easy.

The best bit about today was seeing the works of art painted by Ray Lodge (Ken's brother), being delivered. Man they are awesome, and couldn't be more suitable for the place. The lounge has paintings of scenes of Wilpena Pound, which is in the Flinders Ranges in the north of South Australia. It is also an Aboriginal sacred site, so these paintings are very special to us indeed. They lift the place no end. It feels luxurious to say the least, we are just so lucky to have them here. We have done the lounge and the small hall to the main part of the building, and tomorrow we will be tackling the rest.

Gorgeous. The pictures don't do it justice....

The guys started putting the tin back on the roof again as well today. It looks so much better each day I come to work, and that job will be finished either this Wednesday or Thursday. They still have to go and buy some lead to replace the old stuff that was completely had it, so that the joins seal properly. It is looking good though.

18 October 2013


Well it keeps getting better and better this whole thing. The blog hit 6000 views tonight so thank you all. I am truly grateful for your interest and your support. We are going to need it to. There will be a few major events that we are going to put our name to in the near future that can involve anyone here in South Australia and anyone in the UK that wants a holiday! Watch this space...

I set about getting the outside camera's all mounted today, and transferred the software to the newly built PC I put together. Now we have enough guts to do 24/7 recording on all 8 hi definition camera streams with audio on each, and in darkness if needs be. Perfect. All running with a CPU at less than 20% load. Even more perfect. Gotta love Intel i7 4770 CPU's. Be able to stream movies to the TV's at the same time too. Gigabit networks. Can't beat 'em.

Bullet Camera up high on the barge boards on the eastern side...

...and the western side. One on the front as well.

17 October 2013

Range hood is up and running...

The range hood in the kitchen is up and running. What an effort that was, cutting holes in the ceiling and mounting it into something stable to fix to, but we got there in the end. I managed to get the chairs and tables all assembled this morning, and Ken was outside painting the skirting for tomorrow. It all just ticks off the list of the last few days of things that need to be done. Getting there getting there. We are putting skirting all around the newly carpeted lounge tomorrow, and hopefully the tin goes back on the verandah as well. And then a couple of well deserved days off.

I'm changing jobs....!

Our new tables and chairs for the counselling room

16 October 2013

And another thing....

I just want people reading this blog to know that this project would never be where it is today without the incredible input of my business partner, Ken Lodge. He has been an absolute brick through this entire refit. He has been there whenever he could right from the start, as well as managing his consultancy work for a large and established  medical firm, and rebuilding his beloved (and lovely) back garden on weekends. Lucky me, the consultancy finished in June, and I've had him full time since then. I don't know how he has managed it. He has always remained positive, with a fantastic sense of humour, even when we were struggling more than a little financially recently, and he has been so incredibly supportive in that regard. We simply wouldn't be this close to opening without him. But that support isn't all he has bought to the table at all, it goes much further than that.

I needed to say this, as I want you, the readers of this blog, to know that there are two people that have done this, and not just me. I sit here blogging away, talking in the first person sometimes without even a thought to it, but I wanted it recognised that Ken has been an unbelievable find for me over the time that I have known him and worked with him, and that his efforts here at Visible Recovery have been at least gratefully acknowledged and so appreciated by me. 

Thank you so much Ken for everything you have done, and I am sure, will continue to. We are on the cusp of opening a great company together, that will change peoples lives, and I know you are as excited about that as I am. 

Ken Lodge - Director

Fence is in....

The fence look great and I'm proud of how the front of the building is coming along. I managed to get out to buy the cabling for the remaining 3 security cameras today, so that for me will be next on the list. Its all starting to get there. I had a neighbor that I had not met yet come in and have a chat this evening. After we talked, she said to me that her church Minister gives someone in the congregation $50 to sporadically give to someone they think has been doing God's work. She gave it to me, and said to take out my partner and buy him a lunch, or do what I like with it. How brilliant is that? I was nearly in tears. Such a lovely thing to do. Some people are just awesome.

Looking prettier and prettier....

Essential data communication equipment :-)

15 October 2013

Another day of progress

We managed to get a lot done today. Finished painting the front verandah, so the tin goes back on that later this week. We had a delivery of our lounges today as well, and they all look fantastic too. Really pleased with the colour choice with them.

We got a trailer load of rubbish (yes, another trailer load of rubbish...) to the dump. Mainly all the cardboard boxes from everything as we unpack it, so it all had to go. We also managed to get half the front fence up at the front. It looks really great, and we are really pleased with that. One more coat to go on there and that is all done. More tomorrow...

14 October 2013

Carpet is in and fence painted

Wow. The hallrunners are beautiful. the rear carpet has been laid. I cant wait to see the rest of the rugs in the rooms, but they will have to wait until we finish all of the outside. Not long now....

Carpet in the rear counselling room is in...

...and the runner looks great (1 for each side)

We did get the fence first coat on today as well. That took all day, but it will be fitted tomorrow, and then we can add a new final coat in situ. Perfect, they look great, definitely the right decision to sandblast them.

13 October 2013

Veronica Valli's Interview

Veronica Valli is in recovery in the USA and lets the world know about it. Im all for that as attitudes to our disease wont change until people start seeing people that DO get well and live productive and healthy fantastic lives. Veronica has worked as an therapist specialising in addiction for over 10 years; her experience includes working with young people in the criminal justice system, primary care adult treatment, outreach services and in private practice. Veronica has also worked in local government (in the UK) delivering the local drug and alcohol strategy.. 
 I would urge you all to keep an eye on her blog at veronicavalli.com. It is an informed site, and Veronica is an intelligent and articulate woman in recovery, and well qualified to discuss the topics that are bought to the fore here. Brilliant reading in my opinion, and I commend her for her efforts. We met on Twitter!  Anyway, Veronica did an interview with me that has just been published on her blog, and the link to that is http://veronicavalli.com/2013/10/recovery-rocks-simon-bowen/. Check it out.

11 October 2013

Fridge and Ferezer are here too...

Our Fisher Paykel fridge and freezer arrived today. The deep fryers arrive next week (Friday...fresh King George Whiting with a squeeze of lemon, and home cooked chips for luncheon please...yummm!), and the range hood has been sitting in a box ready to be installed since Wednesday. That will get up on the wall next week sometime. Jack Barolo, the plumber, has been fitting a new toilet to our staff bathroom, and tomorrow is coming in to connect up our water supply and waste for our sinks and hand wash basin. Looking lovely. I love it when a plan comes together. 

10 October 2013

Wow...what a day!

Today was huge. In many ways too. Lots of activity here!  I managed to get up early after a really long day yesterday and picked up our sandblasted and undercoated fence and gate parts and they look fantastic. A nice coat of shiny black enamel and that will be done.

Then I had better put in the picture of the front since its been undercoated. We couldnt do much with that today as it was raining, but a coat of Pale Biscuit is happening soon.

Then the air conditioning guys came in and took over ( I think there were 6 of them). They managed to get two ducted systems and a split system up and all but running in one day. They worked their backsides off, and the sparky is back tomorrow morning for a few hours to get the ducted systems commissioned and finished. More pictures for ya....

At 8:30 am this morning...

Ducting everywhere...

Counselling/lounge room split system in situ...

Wall mounted inverter going in...

East wall inverters...

West wall inverters

To top the day off, somehow Ken and I managed to get the stainless drilled for the Laundry, and managed to get the rest of the splash-back up in the kitchen as well. A hard days work, a few deliveries on top of that and a trip to Bunnings and the bank. Well worth the results...

A nice job with the stainless splash-back

Finally... another table

What is it with people? The table that I bought on eBay last week got cancelled because it was in a storage unit in Port Adelaide, and the guy couldn't find the legs to it! Then I found one on The Gum Tree, and we went out to look at a table described as in good condition yesterday, and the legs were chewed to shreds by the family dog. God help me. Finally, we found our table out at Gawler, a really good solid table in great condition too. A bit of a drive out there, but we finally got it back in the end. Looks great in the dining room, and will last for years.

Just the ticket (lhs)

Ken and I have finished undercoating the verandah completely, so we will get it painted tomorrow in Pale Biscuit enamel. It will look nice when that is done. I will get a shot of it tomorrow when I'm there next.

We have decided not to bother with a PR company after several initial meetings with McClusky and Co. This is no reflection on them at all. The cost for us at this time is too great, and we are at the tight end of the wedge. Whilst we would like to get politicians and Councillors to attend our events, the likelihood of that actually happening cannot be guaranteed by them, or in fact anyone, and the end of sitting in Parliament is too near. The opening events will still be happening, but managed totally by us.

I am pretty certain that we will be able to manage a press article and even perhaps a news story with someone locally ourselves, as there is such a great story here.  The other issue is that Drug and Alcohol treatment isn't sexy, shiny, or sensational, so it doesn't really sell well into a government that have just axed 5 million dollars from their health budgets directly to do with drug and alcohol and mental health. I'm sure Ken and I can manage a good news story into press somewhere to gain some publicity ourselves once we get the build out of the way. And that, dear readers, is just showing on the horizon.

7 October 2013

Staff Please!

Its getting to that time where we need to start to plan out our staffing requirements. There will be a need for many people within this business, some people I have already had conversations with. We will need a few at the start and then as we fill, we will need more, so we are welcoming applications for all positions. 

We need to find:-

Counsellors (Mon - Fri) 
Support Workers (weekend, afternoon and night shifts available) 
Kitchen staff (Cooks and Kitchen Assistants)

Counsellors and Support Workers to have experience in the filed of addictions, and/or be in their own long term personal recovery from addiction of some sort. That would be ideal, however all people will be considered on their own individual merits. I also need Kitchen staff, so all you Cooks and Kitchen assistants out there feel free to apply as well. In the first instance, please email a CV and a covering letter to me (Simon Bowen) at firststep@visiblerecovery.com.au. I will get back to all applicants.

Could I ask all of you good readers of this blog to pass this around to anyone you felt might be interested? Please share on Facebook, Twitter, email or any other way that will help us find the right people for Visible Recovery. Thank you all.

6 October 2013

Kitchen splashback nearly done

Just a couple more pieces of stainless to fit in to the kitchen and the splash-back will be all done. It looks great. I've been working away this weekend at sanding down the verandah and filling it all ready for painting. It will look lovely to get that done, as the roof tin can go back on after that and it will finish that job nicely. We can then start on the sash windows around the front and sides. I'm back there today with Victoria to finish that all off, and Victoria will be undercoating and painting the front doors. They will be gloss enamel black when they're done, with lovely brass handles on them, so they'll really set the whole front right off nicely. Pick the front fence up from the sandblasters on Tuesday too, all undercoated and ready to be painted black. More pics tomorrow...

I think Ken and I could go into business putting stainless splash backs up...!