Thursday, 17 January 2019

Basket weaving course and a busy few weeks

Last weekend a group of friends and I attended a basket weaving course that we've had booked for ages and it was fantastic!

It started early in what would once have been a very grand country house. It's since been turned into a commune of sorts where likeminded people (artsy/hippy types) live in various flats, work the land and get together in the evenings in communal spaces. Part of me thought it was a cool idea, but I'm not a fan of paisley hangings and it was almost a crime how a beautiful house could be botched with unsympathetic renovations. Anyway the people seemed really very nice and welcoming and I'm just too anti-social for communal living so I'm sure they'd not want me there either.

It was great fun and a bit more complex than I would have given it credit for. I'd love to say I could make a basket myself now but I'm not sure I could. I can see how it could become a bit of an obsession; the satisfaction gotten from making something so beautiful so quickly. You could end with a house full of baskets.

I'd like to think we may well book another course soon.

Only another few weeks and James gets to go on the blacksmithing course that I bought him for Christmas. He seems pretty excited and hopefully it'll be as big a success as basketmaking.

A few more bits of catch up...

  • The windowsills are fitted beautifully in the extension.

  • We now have the hot water working after 3 weeks of chilly washes. (BIG ACHIEVEMENT)

  • The kids have been loving the outdoors and den making is the game to play at the moment. 

  • We did another Wassail at Weston's a few weekends past, stopped at the chippy and took a thermos of hot chocolate to keep us warm on another cold evening. The kids had fun, but got a bit tearful towards the end when tiredness kicked in.

  • We have had some lovely family walks to blow the cobwebs through.
  • I had a trip to London to see the Magic Mike show with the girls. It was tonnes of fun and a wonder round Covent garden and Soho completed a great post-Christmas trip.

What a busy few weeks.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

We've had another few months of just run of the mill things. The big work of clearing the land this year has taken most of our time and energy and hasn't resulted in many beautiful pictures. We've also spent lots of time working overtime to pay for the plans for next year.

James has continued to work every evening in the extension and in the last month or so has boarded the ceiling and as of today finished boarding the walls ready for plastering.

On Saturday we have a carpenter coming over to discuss our dining room extension. We've been waiting since August for our turn to have the dining room built and he's finally coming over to finalise the plans before he goes back to his workshop to commence the build.

The pad was laid along with the main extension over 2 years ago and has been waiting for it's day to shine. Hopefully towards the end of Jan we should have an oak frame dining room.

What makes a lovely change is that someone else is going to make, erect and roof it, leaving only the wiring, plumbing and plaster boarding for James (poor James). Once he's done all that we're also going to get someone to plaster it along with the new living room/kitchen. It's such a large space that he's admitted that plastering the ceiling will be too much for him, so I will find a plasterer once the whole area is ready.

During the Christmas break we have finally managed to put some guttering on the cabin. We got hold of an IBC a few months back and can't wait to see it full. Only one side got done with bits lying around, with a few more fittings we'll do the other side soon.

We've also tried to spend some quality time over the season with the kids. I have taken a few weeks off work over Christmas, I was ready for it!

We've been Xmas shopping, spent lots of time having snuggles on the sofa, been ice skating, walking the hills (traditional Xmas eve activity), written to Santa and visited with all of our favourite friends.

We've determined that next year we will keep pressing on with the house, we hope to be using our new sitting and dining room by the summer. The kitchen is unlikely to be in for a few years. 

We also plan to spend more quality time with the kids and with our friends. I'm also determined to be more selfish with my time; when you have so little free time you need to spent it wisely. I won't be chasing people next year and instead spend the time being a little less stressy by spending time doing jobs when the kids are out of the house so I can be more with them when they're not.

Wishing everyone a year full of joy.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Halloween 2018

It's been a few weeks but I've been away with work so I'm just catching up. 

We decided to have a little party for the kids for Halloween. 

James and I spent the week before making some gravestones and putting together a fire pit in the woods. We made a trip to Bookers and some bought tubs of sweets, there was more sugar in our house than in Tate and Lyle's factory!  We also got some Halloween bits from poundland and spent the day putting it all together. 

A few hours before everyone arrived we hung candles from the trees in jars and hid buckets of sweets around the paddock. Our kids were so helpful and enjoyed the set up with us. 
All the kids had fun hunting for sweets and the adults got to have a good catch up, which I enjoyed, it's been so hectic around here I've not really kept up with everyone. 

Here's hoping the kids will remember it when they get older with fondness.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Repurposed chicken shelter

We had the last week of the summer holidays off work and decided to get some things done. We've both been a bit lost with where to go next with the house so wrote a list of a few things to get done. Now we've made some progress we're both feeling a bit better and I think we've got the motivation back.

One of the jobs we wanted to get done was a new chicken shelter. I think you'll agree the one we made 5 years ago form pallets is past it's best!

When we bought the new land last year, amongst the brambles we found an old oil tank. Unfortunately the digger driver drove into it and left a big hole, rendering it pretty useless for it's original incarnation. So like all tight asses we cut it in two and made two chicken shelters.
The girls took a while to grace it with their presence, but now they're at home.

We also decided to put up the post box we bought at Easter, so used some wood that James got from the 'goods in' department at work (rescued before going to the tip). As you can see the wee man got in on the action. Looks pretty good just inside the gate, I'll put up a pic next time.

The new lawnmower was delivered a few weeks ago and is awesome, it flies round the field and so the grass is looking lush.

Baby girl had her fourth birthday a few weeks ago and did her first day at school this week. She's been so grown up and wee man has settled back in. 

She also had her first haircut and was treated like a princess so loved every moment.

Last weekend we went to a friends wedding and the kids looked beautiful.

Lastly James has MOVED THE BOILER!!! And what's more it works so we'll have heating for winter. That means a vast network of pipes has been removed leaving the house looking tidier and greatly reduces the risk of frozen pipes like last year.