Friday, 16 September 2016

Still no photos

I have no idea what Google are up to with their photos. I can only assume they are tweaking, but in doing so certain features disappear, so I am left unable to upload again! It drives me totally barmy, but I will try to remain zen like about it because it really isn't worth stressing over. I may end up posting a couple of post with just photos.

I picked 7.5 kg of damsons on Wednesday. I made one batch of jam then and took jars round to the neighbours as one of the trees technically belongs to them, but they were more than happy for me to pick the fruit in exchange for jam. There are still plenty on the trees, so I can feel a batch of damson gin coming on next. 
I ended up making 25 jars of jam, plus a part filled one which we will use. Getting the stones out is a bloody nightmare. I wait until I add the sugar and they mostly float to the surface, before painstakingly spooning them out. Does anyone have a better plan? I certainly didn't remove them all, but a good number of them ended up in the chicken run along with a good coating of the fruity syrup - the ladies were pleased. 

We bought a wooden double bed for £20 from Gumtree on Thursday, which I then painted (white of course). It looks very nice in my daughter's bedroom and is perfectly comfortable. I'm going to do a swap with my sister in law - a wardrobe for the white bedroom in exchange for several chicken run panels that are now excess to our requirements. Perfect! 

Our next purchase probably needs to be a new built in oven. I could get the part, but it has really seen better days and I'm wondering if it's a false economy. I also want to buy a big chest deep freeze to go in the utility room, so I can order both to be delivered. 

I have submitted my sketches for the extension I'd like to build, to be considered by the local council in a pre-application process. It seems like a good idea to get an initial verdict on whether it may pass or not before paying for the services of an architect. There's nothing too contentious so hopefully it will be ok.

Jet had his stitches out this morning and the vet is very pleased with his progress. He has to go back in two weeks for ' a cuddle and a biscuit'. I think the vet likes him.

Back soon :) 

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

No longer in the pink

I think I must be boring everyone with my constant talk of painting and decorating! I have to say, I was right royaley hacked off half way through painting that back bedroom so I can imagine it's not hugely interesting to you either!
My plan is to get the house as sorted as we can before the growing season starts, so I can be freed up to start on the plot. I haven't even thought about that really yet other than to keep walking around the three acres in a state of joy and disbelief that it is ours! The view from up there across the Shropshire Plains is stunning. It'll be a wonder if I ever get anything done :)

We had a very pretty sunrise this morning

Photo taken from my son's room, which is ironic seeing as he is never awake early enough to see a sunrise....unless he's coming back from a night out of course!

Today has seen more painting. The front door is no longer a ghastly shade of baby pink! I have chosen 'Lichen', a Farrow and Ball shade, which is a tad more subtle.

We are now only left with one pink wall in the hallway, an extremely pink downstairs shower room and pink tiles behind the Stanley stove (!!) - once they are all gone, we will have obliterated all traces of pink. I didn't used to mind pink particularly but I am a lot less fond of it now.

I also finished off painting a chest of drawers for the white bedroom. We just need to source a double bed and a wardrobe in there now. She had a triple wardobe, but it won't fit round the return on the stairs, so it's in our bedroom.

We've had the piano tuned today too. When we moved in, the removals van was too big to get up the drive, so Mr D and the four removals men had to carry the piano up the garden (it's not a small garden!). Now it's had a chance to settle, we felt it deserved to be properly tuned. It took four hours!

We will also get the chimneys swept in the next week, so we can start getting ready for the cooler weather. One is an open fireplace and the other has a wood burner in it. The wood burner looks like it needs some repair work before being safe to light. So far, I haven't found the house cold at all, which is good considering the large rooms and high ceilings. The weather today started out boiling and then rapidly turned to heavy rain, thunder and lightning. We see it all up here - you feel much closer to the weather and I presume we will to the seasons too, which is great.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Busy day

Well actually it started with a lie in and a cup of tea in bed as Mr D set his alarm to go and let the chucks out, so I didn't need to. No one else around here seems to close them up at night, but I'm nervous that the first time I don't Mr Fox will come and murder them all. Little miss runty is out anyway because she has chosen to roost in the tree, but I feel I would sleep easier at night knowing they are safely tucked up.

Today, we have finished painting the back bedroom - it is now pristinely white and just waiting for furniture and finishing touches.

I have painted my sons chest of drawers from the previous house and added some funky handles. It looks so much better. I also re appropriated our old toy box as an ottoman to give him some extra storage.

The second hand bookcase is on the landing just outside his door, loaded up with some of his books. (I so hate the green of those hall walls, especially as it's teamed up with pink! - eventually it will be a very soft grey)


I have also painted a little bedside table for the newly painted white bedroom and found some pretty floral handles. It looks quite cute in the corner there.

Mr D decided that the ivy on the front of the house was coming down today. We had sliced through the trunk already to weaken its grip and it wasn't one of the 'super grip' ivy types either. We will need it gone when we build the oak framed proch/canopy.  It has exposed the plaque on the front of the house which is a nod to the history of the house. Lord Harlech had the house built and owned all of this land until it was sold off by the final Lord Harlech in the 1960s due to crippling debt! Their family history is a very sorry tale with multiple accidental deaths, alcohol and drug issues and mental illness. The former estate of 200 years  is up for sale for about £5 million.

After re-arranging all of the furniture, I hoovered that area of the house, but after that I was utterly pooped, so had a bath with my home made bath salts. I was then reinvigorated just enough to make a tomato and basil pasta dinner. Half a bottle of red later, I'm feeling relaxed and much less achey!!

Still to do? Too much to contemplate now!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Nowhere nearer to normality yet

Thank you so much for all the kind comments about Jet. Thus far he is doing extremely well and has made lots of friends at the vets! He's such a trooper :)

There is so much to do here that normal things like washing, ironing, cleaning just aren't getting done. We have had lots of visitors so I have been making and stripping beds and washing bedding and towels more frequently than usual anyway. My bedding however hasn't been washed, so I have said to Mr D that we are stripping it today and I will put it on a timed wash so I can hang it out first thing. I just love to slip into a freshly made bed. I have done four loads of washing today already. I think living in the country means more dirty clothes!
The ironing basket will have to wait though - don't feel like it! As will most of the cleaning - decorating makes more mess anyway.

We have a Stanley range cooker which also heats the water and the house, but also have a seperate electric oven and halogen hob. As the range wasn't on, we were using the electric one, but I made an apple and cinnamon crumble cake today with the windfalls, only to discover that the electric oven has packed up - I think the element has gone. I then had to give myself a quick lesson in using the Stanley. It's on and the cake is cooking, but I certainly wouldn't have chosen a cake as my first ever try at cooking in a range oven! I'll take a photo when it comes out....

It looks cooked...  

Meanwhile, we have been working on obliterating the deep purple/Barbie pink combo in the other back bedroom. Three coats of white later and we have gone from this.....

To this....

It still needs one final coat, but it's already so much better. It is a west facing room and not particularly light, especially as we presently have a dozen or so pine trees out to that side which will be chopped down, but are cutting out both light and view at the moment.
There were two wooden shelves in that bedroom, which had been 'pinked' around the edges, so I decided to paint those too. The shabby chic effect was an accident, but we all rather like it, so it can


We have bought some second hand furniture pieces to paint up. So far we have acquired a double bed, a bookcase, a chest of drawers and a beside cabinet for £170. Mind you, I've fallen prey to the gorgeous drawer knob fetish, so that might make them slightly less good value!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Knocked for six

I wasn't able to blog over the last few days because we had had some news which had totally devastated us and I hadn't felt able to share it. We have since been given a possible retrieve, so the news is better now that it was.

As you knew, Jet had had to go back into hospital because his leg had become extremely painful again. He has stayed in because they put him on morphine. On Monday, they did an X-ray to see what was going on in the elbow joint and when the vet phoned, she shocked me to the core. She basically told us that the joint was in such a bad state that the two options open to us were amputation or euthanasia. We were utterly thrown and spent the whole day in tears. Our poor Jet, only 3 years old, the most adorable dog ever might either never come home again or have his life altered forever. This move was meant to be his dream 'retirement' too and he had been so very very happy here over the previous three weeks. It was all so unfair and totally unbelievable.

The vet had said she would forward the X-ray to their ortho expert for a second opinion. Fortunately, he felt it was worth a try removing the plate ( one of the screws had sheared off anyway), flushing the joint out with antibiotic solution and seeing how we went for two months. So that folks is where we are at now. We have collected him home today minus one ridiculously expensive titanium plate.He is moaning constantly but very happy to be home and we are obviously ecstatic to have him home. He has been granted a temporary, potentially, stay of execution and we will all keep our fingers crossed that he heals ok. The leg will always be weak and arthritic and he will be on medication all of his life, which may be shortened too, but fingers crossed he will pull though this to at least have that chance.

On other animal fronts, one of the chickens has a blocked crop so we are treating that too. The runt, who perches in the tree jumped onto Mr D's face the other evening and caused a nasty wound all down one side of his face. Only he could manage that!! The cats are much the same as ever and life progresses!

And I'm still trying to paint over all the pink...

Back soon!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Peace resumes

A truly handsome fellow but too blinking noisy! 

The cockerels have gone! Mr D had had enough, so emailed the lady who had left us the cockerels (admittedly without us requesting her to) and asked her to take them back. This was the email he received back...

Needless to say, it has caused many a childish titter at the double entendres! 

We are now back to five of our ladies and five of their ladies and all is peaceful with the world in chicken land. They are all laying well and enjoying their male-free environment. I intend to improve their chicken run, but I need to get a tree surgeon to remove the ten or so pine trees that are in there first. We brought our own coop which our ladies are using and there are a few other enclosures in there already. I cleaned about 4 inches of chicken poo and sawdust out of them the other day. Not sure when they were last cleaned out thoroughly. I need to rebuild one of the structures as the nesting  box is actually sliding off the side of it! At least they are well enclosed and have loads of space to scratch about in. One of their chickens hasn't yet developed a comb and seems to be the runt of the litter. At night time, she has taken to roosting in the pine trees rather than with the others. The first night she did it, we had no idea where she was. We had even sent Jet in to the run  to flush her out with no success. I then had the thought to look up and sure enough, there she was, a little white blob in the branches above my head. Bless her! 

Unfortunately, Jet seems to have developed his infection again. Yesterday afternoon he was obviously in significant pain and couldn't put any weight on his leg. We took him to the vets and they gave him morphine, antibiotics and kept him in. They will do an X-ray on Monday and we will go from there. The poor soul had just started to make some progress with his leg movement and strength. This is going to be a long haul. 

I haven't done anything much outside yet in terms of jobs - some clearance and cutting back. Fortunately they had cut the lawn before they moved out which was very helpful as our little electric mower is definitely not going to be adequate! I'll borrow my brothers petrol mower for now and then we  will look at buying ourselves a ride on. 

We have had a constant steam of visitors over the last three weeks, which has been lovely  as it has  given us a good excuse to explore the local area, but I now need a period of time to get organised and finish off some of the jobs we have started. Next priority? My youngest needs to be ready for school on Wednesday and we need to book our son his flight to America next month. 

Saturday, 3 September 2016

First room nearly finished

Our son, who has just finished his A Levels, decided to stay in Surrey for August to be with his mates. He hasn't seen this house, so when he comes up tomorrow, it will be his first experience of our new home. We wanted to ensure he had a nice bedroom to come home to especially as this is what he had before.....

From this to this ....

And from this.....

To this....

Au Revoir to the Barbie pink walls and door
Bonjour to a more calming d├ęcor!

His previous room was definitely a single, so we have had to go out and buy him a double bed. One of the things I wanted to do here was not buy new furniture if I could source second hand and fortunately, after looking in multiple thrift shops, I found an excellent second hand pine bed frame. Two coats of white chalk paint and it's as good as new! We did dash out and buy him new bedding though :) 
I'm planning on painting the rest of his furniture and updating the handles - the little football handles date back from when he was about 6! We haven't put all his stuff back in either. It's all in the store room so he can go through bit by bit deciding exactly what he wants to keep. I suspect, he's ready for a whole new feel in his room. 

It's slow progress but at least we are making some progress!