Chapter 25 “The Last Belda House”

Way back in 1972  we created the first “Belda House” and since that date, we initially rented then purchased, painted, knocked down walls, added walls, furnishing, curtains, blinds, carpet and flooring, lighting, gardening you name it.  All while in the early years “Mr Belda” Neville had a full-time job.    Every weekend was spent on a “project” somewhere.

Having created the 3 main centres of Belda School of Deportment and Modelling – “Belda House” in Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch, while our family home was in Riverton, we would pack up most weekends and travel to one of the centres to work.  Leaving Friday night (I was able to sleep in the car with the children, while Neville drove) and returning home on Sunday evening!

All up over the years we created 13 “Belda Houses”.

To run our business out of and also very importantly, eventually had 3 home environments for Dayan and Bonita.  At each Belda House they had their own rooms, toys and familiar surroundings so they always had a home.  Part of the houses was for personal use and part business – a home away from home, which made all the hard work worthwhile. So most of my working life I have “worked from Home”

Which is still true to this day.

In April 2017 our son Dayan, asked us if he found a property in the country with two houses on it would Neville and I come and live with them. Neville was a “YES!” right out of the gate ….. and me ….. well it is fair to say did not jump at the idea, being a city girl all my life. However, we started looking together and found a suitable property in Leithfield – just 40 mins out of Christchurch – on an acre of land, all planted out with fruit trees etc. With two houses, one the main house and the other a Cottage.

The Cottage had been rented out and nothing had been done to it for years and it housed two adults (seniors) 2 very large dogs and 5 cats! all living inside. You get the picture. The garden was complete overgrown with Flax and MASSIVE cactus covering the windows. To say it was a shock would be an understatement but    trusting in Neville – as always promising me “I will make it prefect for you – you just have to give it time”

Having extreme faith, coming from a larger house into a cottage with all our personal belongings and all our business and Beauty for You stock – was a daunting task as this just doesn’t fit.  So a lot was put into storage and we set the garage up as the Beauty for You warehouse.

We set about step by step making it home – Neville first tackled the garden which was mainly stones, overgrown cactus – that huge one had to be cut down piece by piece with a machete – and it was poisonous if it touched you, your skin would break out this was a mammoth effort, poor Neville managed this all on his own.

We then got a wee digger in and went for it – to clear all the section beside the cottage which was the area we were going to take care of.  Neville had kept all his fruit trees in bags as we always knew we would shift, so we had a good start – now 4 years later and 50+ fruit trees in place, a wall of Camellias and Polygala plants down the entire frontage, also a bay of Camellias, Azaleas, Heuchera, all now flourishing – a joy to look at.   I added pots of colour along the front as well.  Plus with an orchid out the front with more trees, beautiful blossoms and hundreds of bulbs – what a picture.

Our friend Shaun created a beautiful wooden sign for us which hangs proudly in the tree out the front.

Our neighbour beside the house has beautiful horses, who come right up to the fence – what a magic sight – she is an equestrian rider as is her daughter.

It has been the best move we have ever made and having Jody and Dayan within walking distance is great.  Neville is here to help with tasks on the other side of the fence with Dayan as well.  Dayan has introduced bees to the property and is a master bee keeper – yummy honey, along with hens, plus our two puppies a great place for animals.

We have also been blessed with Jody and Dayan having a beautiful daughter Aaliyah join the family.  Plus Thane, Dayan’s son comes out to the country every other weekend.

We all have a wonderful peaceful environment to live and enjoy.

Once we got the garden established the next goal was to start on the cottage and since joining hands with Organo and my new role as VP of Beauty Divison, we moved the Beauty for You Stock into a 3PL operation in Christchurch as all the beauty and Organo orders are now shipped out from there.  This is great, the first time since 1972 Neville is not having to pack orders.

In March 2021  – Now we were able to start on the 1st stage of development and that was having a cabin built off-site and lifted into place (mind the trees…!) This Cabin was to house the Colour by Dezine colour chips to secure them as a special part of Beauty for You – Organos future.  Plus have additional storage I needed for our joint business with Organo.

The name “The last Belda House”  was aptly chosen by Neville – as once installed he painted the inside – announcing “that was it”.

We are here to stay and this is definitely “The Last Belda House”

March/April 2021 – Next on the development was to create a fantastic new office and Studio  (the front half of the garage and the back half of the garage is now the most awesome walk-in dressing room)  Neville designed the space for me and oh what a result!  We had Kitchen Express in Christchurch manufacture the fit-out and it works a treat.  I have what was a wardrobe all shelved out so that is where all my files are – tidy out of sight!  I also have a cupboard at the end of the long L shaped desk which opens by a bifold and there is all my Pidgeon hole it out for all the current work.

The stunning white furniture creates a professional space to work in and the large wall unit at the back is my backdrop for Zoom Meetings.  Lighting designed for videos and also special lighting for the zooms over my screen.  Sunshade blind necessary and lovely large white blind.   The amazing floral arrangement on my desk was created – and gifted to me by my dear friend Astar – who truly is “A Star”

I can happily sit in this space and work and create!!

Through the large sliding door from my office – along the tiles leads you into my Studio, a peaceful space all white with splashes of colour.  From the stunning light fitting which reflects light in the room and when you walk in (in a colourful top) the light reflects those colours.  A colourful floral arrangement fills the corner of the room and as it is a Beauty studio an appropriate ladies face picture adorns the wall.  I have all my skincare and makeup on trollies that I can roll out – and work on future Colour developments.

This is a restful place to read a book, or when I have people to come and visit,  plus space for sharing what Beauty has to offer.

This part of the story would not be complete without an update of our wonderful two puppies.  I keep calling them puppies but in fact Bella is 15 and Cindy is 12.

It has been a stressful year so far for these two, Cindy, who has walked everywhere with Neville and on really long treks over the years, always keen to go, she had quite a few teeth removed late last year and started to go downhill.   She suddenly started to put on a great deal of weight, her diet had not changed and she completely started to shut down.  Off to the vet, we have a lovely vet named Kate just up the road in Amberly and after Ultrasound, bloods, X-rays you name it, everything was ruled out.  We tried natural therapies as well.  Then she suddenly went deaf, quickly followed by blindness.

What a shock, back to the vet further testing Scans, more bloods it was discovered she had Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (sards) is a condition that causes rapid and irreversible blindness due to changes within the retina. This condition develops over a period of 30 days or less, though some cases may come on more gradually. In many cases, the blindness associated with SARDS seems to come on almost overnight, as animals suddenly reach the point where they can no longer compensate for their decreased vision.

There is nothing that can be done but to keep her loved and protected.  She has managed to find her way around the house – essential we don’t shift things, she has her track.  She lets us know when she wants to go outside and has very long sleeps.  She wines when wanting cuddles and will drop off to sleep immediately when picked up.  Unfortunately, she is still overweight, not through eating and refuses to go for a walk – plonks her butt down and that is it!

Bella, had a lump on her tummy that had to be removed which was fine and has always had sensitive feet and skin, with lots of hot spots.  Kate has now got her on an injection that works wonders – no more skin issues.  Then she snaps the ligament in her leg (had done the other leg many years ago)  so off to see Kate again, to have the operation to have repaired (they do wonders with this surgery) she is almost back to normal.

Neville was commenting that he wasn’t getting his walks in now with 2 puppies not able to walk, I suggested he get a mountain buggy to take them out in….  What a great idea – and good old Trade me produced the ideal buggy.  They both now enjoy their rides out in the countryside and Neville gets to enjoy the great outdoors again.  He gets lots of stops from people obviously this is quite a novelty.

That concludes this Chapter –  but there will always be more …  as new ventures in Leithfield and with Organo continue.