Friday, 27 November 2015

Our trip to the local forge

Well we're still not up and running with the internet. Good old BT can't come out for at least another week and calling them only gets through to Mumbai. 

James was being difficult giving me no Christmas present ideas, then inspiration struck and he decided wanted a cordless gas nailer. So it came and I let him have it early and he's used it to start putting the floor down in the cabin. We'd used a few evenings the week before to put the insulation down, so we're getting there. It's looking good and I'm excited! I've got some pictures of the inside of the cabin with the insulation down but not of the floor yet.

Last weekend we made a quick visit to the local forge which is home to three artisan blacksmiths. It's about a mile up the road and the forge has been there since the 16th century, imagine that! All the things that have been made there over the past four centuries. The original forge is still there and what's more they still use it sometimes. There were some beautiful examples of their work and I was sorely tempted by some of it. They are hosting some days when you can get hands on and learn some basic skills. You come away having made a fire poker and a few other bits. Now that's something I'd love to do and it's £150, which I don't think is unreasonable. We'll see how finances get on, it's definitely something to think on for the future.

One of the blacksmiths made little man a leaf and he was over the moon, he has shown everyone! 

We're having a short trip away soon to Bruges, so I'll post some photos and I hope to get a few Christmas presents while we're there. Bad timing for a trip to Belgium though, but you can't let these people put your lives on hold.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

We're still alive!

Unfortunately a tree limb came down in our lane a whole ago and brought our phone line down with it! So no internet and therefore no posts. It's been like the dark ages and our mobile phone signal is just enough to receive a text message or sometimes a call if you're in the right room so no looking on my phone either. Today I'm working in town so I have nominal 3G and here I am. We've done a few cool things so when I can get to my mums I'll do a catch up post and read a mountain of email offering me all sorts of loans and inheritances from my previously unknown uncle in Nigeria, that sort of thing.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Bread wrap recipe

Yesterday evening we had one of our favourite dinners, pulled pork in homemade wraps. I originally got the recipe out of Paul Hollywood's Bread book. There are excellent recipes for all sorts of different breads and they've all come out well, which says a lot more about the book than my skills at baking!

The recipe is as follows:-
250g white bread flour
160ml cool water
5g salt
5g easy bake yeast
15g caster sugar
20g butter

Add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast to a bowl and rub the butter in. Add most of the water and mix with one hand, adding the remaining water as required to produce a smooth dough. Knead for 5-10 minutes, then place in a oiled bowl to rise for 90 minutes. Tip the dough onto a floured surface, knock back the dough and divide into six pieces. Roll into a circle and fry with a teaspoon of oil for a minute or two each side until lightly browned. 

My little helper has no fear and climbs up to help even though she can't walk yet!

To be honest although I have made them by hand, now I dump all the ingredients in the bread maker and leave on a knead and prove cycle. It takes all the time and effort out of kneading and rises beautifully. Then I just divide into six, roll them out and fry them. They taste amazing and the kids enjoy them. James pulled some spring onions out of the veg patch and along with some grated cheese and salad leaves they made a great accompaniment to the hoisin pork.

When I was in Crete I bought James a little set for making Greek coffee, there's a little copper cup with a brass handle that you set in the embers of a fire to boil the coffee. It works great on top of the woodburner and I made the wee man a hot chocolate and set it to heat and he loved it.

This weekend we've been varnishing the interior of the cabin. We have finally managed to do two coats of white in the smallest room and painted a coat of yacht varnish throughout the rest of the cabin. Next job is to treat and varnish all the floorboards, then we'll be able to put the insulation down and lay the floorboards.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

To the pub for dinner

Yesterday evening we went out for dinner after the kids were asleep to our local pub, The Live and Let Live. It's about a 15 minute stroll away over the common. The only things you have to remember are a) wellies and b) a torch, as it's black in the country at night.

It's a beautiful thatched, timber framed building. It's lit by lamps and has the most amazing atmosphere, you could have stepped back in time a few hundred years. We sat upstairs and the ceiling is woven willow below the thatch. As we walked home we were in a contemplative mood (brought on by wine, without regular consumption it makes you quite wobbly). We decided we are so lucky to live in such beautiful countryside, within reach of a great pub and so many wonderful English towns. I only wish I could persuade more people to visit and enjoy it with us! I don't mean to sound conceited, only content with where we are in life right now. 

I took this one off their Facebook page. We live over the brow of the hill in the background.

Today we had more painting help, James' dad and sister popped in and painted the final coat on the outside of the cabin. I am so grateful for the help, it saves us many days of painting in the evening. I managed to finish the first coat of white in the bathroom. We are going to leave the other two rooms plain wood, but the steam from warm water won't do the wood any good in the bathroom so it's having a coat of oil based paint.