Saturday, 13 December 2014

One year on from our new beginning

Welcome to our blog following the restoration of our circa 1850 stone cottage on the beautiful rural border of Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

We are trying to live a little more sustainably, bring up two kids and turn a run down house into family home on a budget. I enjoy all the work we are doing to restore our house to it's former glory, cooking, baking, growing our own and preserving the harvest. We aim to be more self sufficient and live more sustainably. I plan to jot down all of our little steps on the journey to making our family home in the hope that one day our children will see them and remember these times with fond memories. So here's my first ever post and where we started.

We moved into our new house one year ago today! 

When you've moved into a house with a seemingly unending amount of work to be done it can seem a bit (read a lot) daunting. 
I remember the feeling of absolute panic like it was yesterday and the thought 'what have we done?' must have popped into my head a million time since. Still, there's nothing like remembering all the things we've done since this time last year to make the panic subside and pride set in.

Starting at the beginning, we moved from a semi-detached town house to our dream home, a house in the country with a bit of land and lots of peace and quiet. 

We had a few problems at the beginning, I have never spent a winter so cold, and I mean really cold! 
The previous tenants had drained the oil tank (literally up on bricks at one end) and due to nationwide flooding we couldn't get a delivery for over a month. Never mind, I thought somewhat naively, we'll use the wood burner. In comes the chimney sweep to admire said burner and instantly condemn it with the phrase 'You wouldn't want to die of carbon monoxide poisoning would you?'. 
When the oil was eventually delivered we burned £600 in 6 weeks (note previous mention of panic and 'what have we done?'). 
How you may ask? Well, as it turned out it hadn't been serviced 6 months ago (somewhat delusional claim from the vendors) and the previous tenant had been burning anything he could find, old cooking oil included and messing with the pump ratio. After the best £60 ever spent on a service we could use our central heating (sparingly) without taking out a loan for the oil costs.

It's only got better from there and in 12 months we have done some pretty amazing things, including:-

  • Having a baby girl (I’m pretty proud of this)
  • Fitting a new wood burner
  • Massive amount of gardening
  • Pointing the side wall of the house
  • Decorating our son’s room
  • Treating the house for woodworm
  • Fixed about a hundred leaky pipes
  • Fitting a new driveway gate
  • Almost finished internally insulating, re-plastering and decorating the baby’s room
  • Redone the ridge line and flashings on the roof
One of the biggest things we haven’t managed to do is secure planning permission for an extension to move our bathroom upstairs, but that’s a saga in itself and I’m sure I can fill a whole series of posts on this subject.

We aim to show how we’re getting along and post how we’ve done some of our projects to help out anyone else in the same boat as us. Ideas and suggestions are always appreciated!

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