Sunday, 19 November 2017

Gathering next years wood and learning to ride

Last week baby girl and I visited with friends on my Friday off to make the Guy for the bonfire. Can you believe it's something I'd never done before?! In typical fashion the kids joined in for a few minutes then lost interest and played in the sandpit. The adults however enjoyed finishing the job. Some of the guys even briefly made the Guy 18+, show's we never got past the teenage stage!

The next evening we did the bonfire and fireworks; unfortunately we missed the Guy going on the fire, apparently he went up in seconds.

We had another big moment last weekend, big man learnt to ride his bike. He is naturally cautious and the fear of falling was holding him back, but with some encouragement he got it.

This week the kids had to go to school dressed as a superhero for Children in need day on Friday. Now as you guys know I'm super tight and it grated that I had to buy a costume for a single day at school, it goes against my anti-consumer sentiment but I know it's important for kids to feel they fit in so I bit the bullet and ordered a costume. Which to be fair he loved.

James' workplace had a family open day yesterday and it was so interesting. I confess I didn't anticipate it being so good but watching the huge machines at work was great and seeing a factory line was fascinating. We couldn't see his office unfortunately, but that's not where all the work happens anyhow ;-)

Yesterday James went off with a mate to cut up some Ash that had come down on a neighbours land last year. The neighbour was kind enough to say we could have the wood if we could get it out. Now they were a few hours longer than I expected as it was inaccessible but the pickup came home loaded with wood and filthy. Today he's split it all ready to season. There's more to get but it will have to wait for the land to dry a little. The wee man helped and baby girl was sat with me in our bedroom watching the boys and shouting encouragement from the window. 

The kids went to another local friend's house for a few hours this afternoon and I got the opportunity to write an essay for my training program at work. The program should finish at Christmas so it's the last push to do yet more essays and portfolios. Unfortunately there is no qualification at the end of it so it seems a pointless amount of work, but it means my employer is funded to train me so I just have to put up and shut up.

Apart from that the weekends at the moment are spent in cleaning the house, the chickens, the kids etc and doing some work from home online. Come the new year we want to focus on the  growing season and eating the outside sorted.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Fourth bedroom coming together, a new door and lights wired...coming along nicely.

I've been lax again in keeping up to date with the house goings on. 

Last month we finally fitted a shower in the bathroom and now there's just the skirting to be fitted.

The wee man's shelves are all painted and they are now choca with toys. We had a bit of a sort out and the hallway is now lined with toys that need to find a new home. The kids keep getting them out and playing with them; typical, they've not been touched in over a year! 

James has been ploughing away splitting the room that had once been part of a bedroom and the front hallway. We're making a small fourth bedroom/study and an en-suite for our room. The stud wall is up, insulated and plasterboard. 

He has also been putting up insulation and plasterboard in the hallway between the original beams. The plan is to get them cleaned eventually so that the old oak and the craftsmanship can be on display. There's a lot of beautiful beams throughout the house that have been painted black that we hope to one day strip back.

You can see the very old wallpaper on the nine beams

The best bit of all is that James has wired in lights in the hallway so you can walk around at night without falling up the step into the extension. The only issue is that you can't yet turn them on downstairs so we have to turn them on in the light or take a torch upstairs for the initial journey as the switch is at the furthest end of the corridor! You'll be pleased to hear there are plans for a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs too.

This week the wee man got a door fitted to his bedroom. He said a few weeks ago that he would like a door for Christmas from Santa. That made James and I feel pretty shit so we moved the job up the queue. I've probably said before that hanging doors is the one job James is crap at (he says this not me) so we have to pay a carpenter to do the job and money is a bit tight at the moment. The guy did an excellent job and I did the first coat of varnish this afternoon.

Whilst I painted and made a stew for tea, James plastered the ceiling in the new bedroom; we're back to being efficient and getting things done around the house.

Here's a pic of pud helping me pot up some seedlings that I'm growing from seed I saved this year from a plant I bought.

Lastly, James got a new car as his last car died. It was an automatic and a Rover so the gearbox replacement was more than the car was worth. We got hold of a stop gap car for £300 to tide us until next year but it kept not starting so we've bitten the bullet and had to borrow to get a newer one. Not part of the plan, but it's essential when you live in the sticks to get to work and earn money. Anyhow, it's 10 years old, but low mileage and James loves it, so it all works out in the end.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Trip to the big smoke and Legoland

We have been at the collecting tokens game again and this time got some free tickets to Legoland, Windsor. The little man is obsessed with anything Lego and particularly keen on Lego Ninjago at the moment (weird that, with all the advertising for the new movie coming out!). As we had to drive all the way there we decided to book a Premier Inn the night before and make a weekend of it.

We took the train from Slough into London and took the kids round the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. I have never been to either as I never went to London as a child and have only been two or three times as an adult, and more to the point I really wanted to go!! 

There were awesome fossils in the Natural history museum and some amazing exhibits at the science museum including the Apollo 10 command module, George Stephenson's Rocket and Wells cathedral clock (oldest working clock from 1386) and a euthanasia machine (I have a morbid fascination).

We also wondered round Hamley's (the huge toy shop) but to be honest that was like a small slice of hell on earth. You have never seen so many people being vile in a confined (overpriced) space. Kids thought it was amazing though, so I suppose that's the point, it's not really aimed at me is it?

As you can guess we totally ran out of time to look round the city so we'll have to make an effort to go back. We walked past the Liberty's building which looks so beautiful, I will make a beeline for it next time.

We took plenty of food for packed lunches to cut costs and had a huge cooked breakfast (wee man calls them roast breakfasts!) to fill us up on Sunday morning and had a fantastic time both days.

Legoland was relatively busy so there was quite a bit of queueing, but nothing too onerous. We had two tired teddies on the drive home.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

General catch up

The bathroom has come along further since last I posted. The tiles have been grouted and the shower enclosure and shower fitted. We just need to fit some skirting and paint the door frame and it'll be done.

I had a great weekend away at Centre parcs for a friends birthday party. We all knew each other and it was so much fun. I even got to go on lots of water slides in the amazing pool complex and the zip wire in the park (under the cover of darkness).

This Friday just gone I was meant to go to one of the health centres I work in on a self employed basis, but James took a day off work and we took the kids to the cinema to see Cars 3. It's the first time baby girl has ever been and apart from being as fidgety as an eel she behaved herself very well! 

On Saturday we invited our local friends to the pub for a few drinks in the sun. The kids entertained each other and one of my friends did the top up your wine glass trick. When I stood up I was the worse for wear and James and I had to herd two tired kiddies across the common, it was a brilliant day though and worth the midnight headache.

I squeezed some blackberry and apple jam making into Sunday after we stripped the local brambles bare, it's a bit hard but very tasty.

James has put shelves into the wee man's cupboard so once I paint them we can start to clear the sea of plastic that has taken over the house and squeeze it out of sight in his room.

I heard yesterday that the portfolio I put together as evidence of my competence to prescribe has passed so all I have to do now is wait and I'll get my hands on a prescription pad some time towards the end of the year.

First day at school was on Tuesday so the wee man moved into year 1 and baby girl has started attending the preschool most days. They looked very sweet together and I resisted the urge to show them off on Facebook.

There we go all caught up x

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Bathroom update

We've been making a concentrated effort to get the bathroom finished. It's had a bath and sink in for the last 6 months or so but it's been undecorated and without the shower or flooring fitted.

The bathroom had originally been designed as an en-suite but we decided to make it slightly larger and make it the family bathroom. As such it didn't have any windows planned and although we could have lived with it that way we decided to put in a roof window. I don't seem to have taken any photos pre-window, but then the light was crap so never mind!

James put it in about a month ago during a hot spell and it look's great, but more importantly let's in natural light and gives an illusion of space. Only problem was he got a bit dehydrated and has given himself kidney stones again! Luckily he has private health insurance with work so didn't have to wait to see the consultant.

So a fortnight ago he plastered the room and I did the painting. Last weekend we laid the floor tiles and the wall tiles behind the bath. We put together the shower enclosure this week, but joy of joys it had wonderful instructions translated (rough interpretation of the word translation) from Chinese and the parts looked nothing like the pictures. Perseverance and two evenings later and we have a shower enclosure. James did some tiling yesterday whilst I popped into town with my mum to get some birthday presents for baby girl, who will be three on Tuesday. Last night James wired in some spot lights so we're well on the way now.

The blade on the tile cutter was blunt and started to break the tiles so today we went and got a new one and some extra tiles. This week should see the shower finished and we can get the grouting done.

We had a day of birthday fun, we gave baby girl the choice of what she's like to do so this morning we went swimming, we had lunch at McDonald's with her best friend and then we popped to our neighbours for a barbecue and the kids all played and we had a drink of wine.

On a quick time hop this week marks a year in my new job. I can hardly believe how quick it's gone.

Monday, 31 July 2017


We've had a week back at work after another lovely family holiday, this time in Scotland. Once again the Sun have done us a good turn as the caravans we stayed in were clean.

On the trip up we stopped once again in York, one of our favourite cities.

We did four days in Eyemouth, not far outside Edinburgh and three days on the West coast at Gatehouse of Fleet.

The weather was beautiful and we only had one day when we were all soaked through to our pants and socks, which if you know Scotland at all means we did exceptionally well!

We spent a few days in Edinburgh and I absolutely loved it. It jumped straight into our list of favourite cities. We walked our socks off, seeing the castle, doing the Scotch whiskey experience, walked the Royal mile and Old town and Princes Street gardens, round the shops and also a fantastic Sandeman's walking tour that took in all the main sights including Greyfriars kirk.

James and I both agree there was so much more we'd have loved to see, but the kids can only walk so far. There were so many good restaurants and bars that we would have liked to visit and one day we'll return on our own.

I couldn't believe how much beautiful countryside was around Scotland and it seems so sparsely populated when compared with down South.

On the journey to the West coast we stopped at a newly re-opened distillery. It was obviously expensively renovated and everything was beautifully crafted. If you're near Annandale I'd recommend a visit.

Gatehouse of Fleet was very quiet and there was little do do that wasn't outdoorsy. We did get to see a neolithic burial mound which was brilliant. 

Well back to it, I'll post later this week on the work we've done in the bathroom.

As always a long procession of photos follows, starting in  Edinburgh and featuring the Eyemouth (and some seal feeding), the west coast, Annandale, two National trust properties breaking up the journey in no particular order.


Feeding the seals

Annandale distillery

Neolithic burial mound - Cairn Holy Chambered Cairn

Carsluith Castle

Deer in the Galloway forest park

York minster

National Trust - Hardwick Hall

National Trust - Cragside