Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween's here!

Halloween has firmly hit our house, wee man was dressed as a skeleton and the kids and I had friends over yesterday to carve pumpkins. They look great and the children were loving every moment. 

I spent yesterday evening painting the bathroom in the cabin and then picking pumpkin seeds out of the crafting remnants. I put them in the oven at 180°C with some olive oil and salt and roasted them for about 40 minutes. To be honest they could have done with 10 minutes less but never mind. They were put in one of my favourite mason jars and they'll be used for snacks this week.

The eagle eyed may notice a playmobil Zebra has been hiding in the pumpkin!

Today is my birthday and we popped into town to get some new tyres for the car and all the other boring little things a family needs. We  also stopped in the entertainer and there were lots of toys on sale. We used the opportunity to discuss what we might like to ask Santa for and then I took the kids off for 10 minutes. I think this is the last year we'll be able to walk around town with a bag stuffed full of toys and the little man was oblivious! 

I got some lovely pressies, luckily my mum and James looked at my Amazon wish list. My mum thought it was odd but happily bought me a book, I'll blame Harry if it's no good...

The kids making me a birthday cake.

James and I are also going to go out for a meal tonight at the local pub so we can leave the kids asleep at our house with his mum for a few hours and we can walk to the pub and have a bottle of wine with tea.

Also a quick picture of the first coat on the cabin. In some lights it's very blue and in some more grey. I tried hard to take a picture inside but it's piled full of insulation so I couldn't get any perspective. Once it's moved a bit I'll try again. Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

I've been on a girls weekend

This weekend I had my first nights away from the children! I went away to Crete in Greece for a weekend with a fellow pharmacist friend of mine. After over four years of children without ever having spent a night away from them it was a big adjustment. It was great to see my friend, she lives up north so we don't see each other often enough and the catch up was fab. Weather was very mixed but still much warmer than home. Now it wasn't the sort of holiday that James and I usually take, it was a lot of time relaxing. That forced me to slow down, so I feel refreshed upon return.

My friend takes selfies, which I don't do but it means you can see that I actually went on holiday, there's photo evidence!

Now at the end of last week I had the door hung for wee man's room by Kev. He's done an excellent job. The only thing I'm missing is a handle as we've changed our mind as to what we wanted and it wasn't on sight for him to fit but I'll order one this weekend. I also need to buy some oil to protect the wood from grubby little hands.

On Sunday whilst I was galavanting in Crete, James' dad and sister came and did almost a whole coat of paint on the outside of the cabin. This week I've finished the first exterior coat and almost finished the layer of wood protectant inside. When the rain stops I'll do the last exterior coat. I'll also get a photo in the next few days so you can see how we're getting on, the pressure keeps me working ;-)

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Today we built the cabin...

This weeks got off to a difficult start with numerous phone calls to the cabin company and some stern words spoken. They did send me the bits on Wednesday, although when construction began we realise there are a few bits STILL missing, namely a few hinges and some draught excluder, nothing that prevented us getting on today.

On Sunday night I got the Ball's blue book out again and made some spicy tomato salsa. Unfortunately I'd left the tomatoes in the fridge far too long and half of them were mouldy, so the quantity produced was reduced. I hate it when that happens, we've just been so busy. The salsa was tasty and I made some wraps on Monday and we ate all that wouldn't fit in the mason jars. The colour is a bit more brown than I expected.

The rest of the week we've been to work and in the evenings we painted the inside faces of the door and window frames as once constructed we wouldn't be able to reach them.  We also put down the bearers and made up the first level of the cabin and levelled it. James also spent Friday evening making up the casement frames so as to take the pressure off us building today. I spent Friday evening having a chat with some girlfriends so I wasn't much help there.

How we started the day

My mum came over this morning to look after the children today so that James and I could crack on and get as far as we could.

We got a pretty good rhythm going with me moving the logs into position and James following behind me tapping them down. The windows and door slotted in, they sort of float freely in the frame to allow for the natural expansion and contraction of wood.

Here you can see how the logs slot into the window and door frames

We only had one major upset. Once we had gotten up to the top of the door a long log slots in that has a small cut out for the door frame to sit in. The bloody idiots had only cut it in the wrong place, honestly what more can you say about the incompetence!? Luckily for me I have a handy husband. They have sent a vast quantity of wrong parts and this worked to our benefit as there was a piece the correct length spare and James measured up and cut the slot in the right place.

The building inspector came round to check progress

Gables up and trusses in

Nailing down the roof

We built the walls and the gables and got the roof trusses in place. We even managed to get the roof boards on, yay. It was long day and we're both knackered, although being photographer there's never a photo of me working, but I promise I do! We need to put on the roof felt and treat and paint the whole thing, followed by putting the glass in the windows and doors. I'm going to pull in volunteers to help us get it all painted before the bad winter weather settles in for good. Luckily I have a supportive group of friends.

Tomorrow we've got a birthday party to go to so hopefully a bit of a rest.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

I spoke too soon - I'm livid

I knew it could not last. All day yesterday was spent constructing and treating the window and door frames. Today we spent all morning getting the differently numbered parts in order, placed on the grass near where the parts were needed.

The first instruction is make up the window and door casements. We find the glass and the hardware, but where is the wood? Not there, we're still missing those parts. I've been sent double the main frames and none of the casement frames. Never mind we can build the rest of then cabin and slot the windows and doors in the frames that we put together yesterday once they're sent.

We got the floor bearers out, having painted them in the evenings and put damp proof membrane on them. We were spacing them according to he instructions and there just didn't seem enough. Why? When the parts list said we needed 14? Turns out the instructions state you need 16. Huh, well ok as they're supporting floor boards we just spaced them out a bit more, no big problem. 

We got the starting row of logs all together and slotted into place. Now it should just fly together, queue starting the next row. Weird, the next row of logs is too long. We scratch our heads and wonder how we could possibly have gone wrong. We can't have shrank the bottom row of logs. I look at James and suggest we check the length of the replacement parts with the technical drawings. Guess what, they sent replacement starter logs for a smaller cabin, 50cm too short. There's no way we can  build when the base layer of logs is wrong.

So the parts list is wrong when compared with the drawings, they've sent double of some stuff, none of others, replaced damaged parts with the wrong pieces and to top it off I've spent all weekend getting it ready only to have to spend all afternoon putting it all away and back under cover. 

At this point I am fuming, I think incandescent with rage may be closer to the truth. If the company had been open I think I'd have had the police round for threatening behaviour. I've got a pretty long fuse but when I reach my limit I fly off the rails. I have sent the lad I've been dealing with an email, that I need a call at 9am tomorrow, come hell or high water. I want someone to come and work out what the hell we need and send them next day to put it together. Will it happen? probably not. I was happy to let James deal with them up until the wrong logs were sent but I'm afraid I'm at the point where I'm calling them, no one can dress down an idiot like me. God help him.

On a happier note I booked a weekend away on the ferry to Brugge for us all to see the Christmas markets, so I'll think of that this evening and not the coming battle ;-)

Friday, 9 October 2015

Cabin colour choices

Today the rest of the bits for the cabin came, luckily for them. I had lost all patience with them and gave them a hard time over the phone on Monday. They didn't help themselves by not responding to my email or answering the phone. Anyway, saga over... hopefully. 

I ordered some paint chips from Dulux online to give us an idea of what colour to paint the cabin. I took a photo to show you. I like the blue/greys and greens best. I don't want it to look like a beach hut, just to blend in with the sky or the land. The top photo is in direct light and the second was taken later in the afternoon once the colours were in shade. I like the second row down, the middle and right colours the best. 

I've had a few days on my own this week as James went away to Milan with work. It was hard work trying to get the kids to the various places they go whilst I'm at work. Luckily my mum was a big help as I don't get home until between 7.00 and 8.30pm. She brought the kids home in the evening, fed them and got them to bed. I got in just in time for a kiss, cuddle and story. It makes me appreciate how much hard work being a single mum must be. Raising kids and keeping a house really is teamwork when you both work. Suffice to say I missed James loads! Here's a few pictures he took when on his downtime. It looks lovely, I was green with envy.

This weekend we'll start constructing the cabin if we can. The weather has been beautiful for October and it'd be great to get it built so we can paint it and protect it from the elements.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Cabin update and conkers

Well as you guys know the cabin had a few pieces missing and damaged when it arrived last week. James left a message last Friday and called all day Monday, never getting through to anyone who could help. Endless messages were passed on with the promise of a call back but alas it never came. Tuesday dawned and James was starting to lose his rag. I gave him a quick ring whilst eating my lunch and offered to ring the company. I maintain that it was just my good luck to have got someone who left my message with someone on the right team, but I managed to get someone who knew what day it was and could probably write his name! After a few stern words as to poor customer service and some worried scrabbling his end trying to find the delivery note with damages marked he promised to deliver the remainder on Friday morning. James laughingly said he knew if he got onto the right person he'd get somewhere, he just didn't know the right person was me.

Friday came and so did the delivery, yippee. Unfortunately the driver from the previous week was a moron and put the wrong damaged part numbers down so the pieces delivered weren't what we needed. I've emailed the guy I spoke to on Tuesday so fingers crossed for the right pieces this week.

On to happier things. Anyone who has had kids will know the pure joy of Autumn conker hunts. At the top of our lane is a beautiful horse chestnut and we've been doing the same route dog walking for the last few weeks. All of a sudden the conkers are dropping and wee man is having a field day filling his pockets. We had to go and do some shopping today and as we were pulling out of a country lane I spotted a glorious bounty, thousands of huge dropped conkers. James spotted me while I dived out and grabbed as many as I could fit into two hands. Wee man was in seventh heaven when I piled them in his lap and they kept him happy all the way home. So now our house is teeming with conkers, I'm afraid some may have to start disappearing ;-)

As pay day has just been I've also ordered a fire guard; baby girl is obsessed with the wood burner and we've not been able to light it for fear of an accident. Little man was never interested in it but then he was a year older than she is when we came here and understood the meaning of no. I'm not sure baby girl will ever understand it as well as him, she cops a deaf ear to me a lot more than he ever has, cheeky madam.

Today whilst shopping I bought some wood preserver for the cabin and started looking at paint colours online. I spent hours looking at similar shades and to be honest there is too much choice. I ordered some paint chips so we can see them in real life,  a screen colour can be misleading.

This week Blossom left her babies for the first time and has started assimilating back in with the other girls. She's bottom of the pecking order so it's hard watching her being ignored. The babies are still sticking together but are getting really big. I still can't tell the sex but I think there are two boys and two girls. One of the girls seems to have some funky head feathers which makes us laugh.

We're off to a kids party with our friends tomorrow so that'll take most of the day. I'll let you know what the cabin company say about the cabin this week.