Monday, 29 February 2016

From bad to worse...

ASDA have officially lost the sofa, they won't make me another and I now have to order from somewhere else and wait another few months for an item I've already waited 10 weeks for. Not impressed. Do they even give a toss? No, they couldn't care less.

Then my neighbour rang, a delivery lorry had reversed into my garden wall. It must have jumped at him, it's only been sat there quietly for 150+ years. It's all got to come down and be rebuilt and it's shunted the pig sty too, leaving cracks in the walls, so that'll have to be done too. Somehow he also managed to ding the roof metal sheeting, so it's not lying flat anymore, so that'll need doing. The company say they'll pay if it's a small amount and their insurance will pay if it's larger but we've got to get quotes, more bloody hassle.

Shit day all round and it's always us!

Sunday, 28 February 2016


Today we decided to have an at home day and we had some friends stop round for a quick chat so I decided to make some pretzels. The recipe was another Pinterest find here, they are tasty but definitely a weekend recipe, there's a bit of faff involved.

Here's some pics of the steps.

I also varnished wee man's bedroom door, the one we had hung in about October. I've been meaning to do it for ages but I finally got round to buying the oil/varnish for it. It has brought the grain out beautifully and I'm hoping will protect it for many years.

James gave the greenhouse a good scrub inside and out with some bleach water ready for all the goodies this year.

After the clean up he went to the top of the garden and started to clear the back shed out ready to receive our furniture when the time comes to start the build. I managed to make a trip to the tip with a load of rubbish that we kept for just in cases. Silly really as we always have to get rid of it in the end, but these things can come in handy.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

ASDA anger and Avoncroft open air museum

Well as usual I'm annoyed at a company that I've ordered from. This time it's ASDA. I've waited 9 weeks for a sofa bed and it was promised at the very latest by last Tuesday. Did it come? No of course not, it wouldn't be the Udall household if something went right first time! 
They sent a dispatch email 3 weeks ago, I gave them two weeks and had no contact. I rang to query why I hadn't had the promised 48 hours before delivery call, when the delivery was due in 48 hours. They said they'll ring the day before and they didn't. I rang to say it's due tomorrow and you haven't rang, they said it'll definitely be there! 
It didn't come and I rang a further 3 times, each time was promised a call back in an hour, each time they didn't ring. I rang again and asked to speak to a manager, he said he'd be honest, the manufacturers said they'd sent it and the delivery company said they'd never received it, it's not coming. He offered me a refund, hell no! I said I need it in the next few weeks for my house build and they'd left me with no time to order elsewhere and get it delivered in time. I said if they couldn't find it they needed to get onto the manufacturer and get my sofa made next in the queue and delivered ASAP. He promised to call me in the morning with a delivery date and to email me the agreement within two hours. 
You've guessed what happened next already haven't you? No email, no call. I called ASDA head office in the UK, they said they'd sort it and I got another foreign call centre worker ring me yesterday. He said they're trying to find the sofa. If not it'll be 6 weeks. I told him firmly no, that's the same wait time as ordering from scratch, I want mine made priority. Anyway, he said if they can't find it by Monday it'll be re-manufactured so we'll see what happens then. I tell you it is EVERY time I order anything! 
That's not true, my washing machine died on Modnay and delivered it Friday as agreed, so it's only 50% of the time that I have issues.

Anyway, I've been quiet as all I've done is drive miles to work to do training and been staying away a whole load, I'm shattered, but it will be worth it!

Today we took the kids to Avoncroft open air museum, it's a museum where they relocate  old buildings that are at risk of demolition, then restore them. There are all sorts of fantastic buildings there; an old ice house, a post war pre-fab, a cell block, a medieval mansion, old brick works and chain manufacturers and wee man's favourite a working windmill to name a few. The very first building we came to was a corrugated metal church. The best part? It had been moved from our common, it would have been a few minutes walk away from our house just 30 years ago! It even had names that we recognise on the memorial plaques. 

James loved a showman's carriage that a successful travelling showman would have used. It was beautiful and absolutely huge, I can't believe that horses could have pulled it along rutted roads before the invention of tarmac.

Look at the detail and the painting, not to mention the diddy stove.

There's also the national telephone box collection and you can ring all the phones from each other, fun for the kids.

My favourite was the medieval manor house, it is all oak built, with compacted dirt floors, a fire pit with a suspended chimney and of course none of the windows have glass, but all have shutters. It was huge but the first floor is only on either end of the house so the floor space is less than it looks from the outside.

My favourite, look at the chimney!?

A view of the suspended chimney over the fire pit, no stone chimney breast.

View from the first floor at one end showing the centre of the building is full height and the fire pit under the chimney

You may remember I was saying that I wanted to create a flower bed to the side of our cabin and in the manor house garden they were in the process of creating vegetable beds. They used willow hurdles to delineate the margins of the beds. It is beautiful. I am going to try to replicate this in my garden. There's a willow tree outside our front gate and we have lots of Hazel trees in the garden so I may well manage it.

The hurdles that I'm going to try to replicate

If anyone lives locally they should definitely go and at the moment there's a deal on groupon where we all got in for £6. It would also be a great visit if you're on holiday in the Midlands. One day I'm definately going to let people holiday in the cabin, I have a list as long as my arm of beautiful historical local sights to send people to. England is so beautiful... and cold and wet ;-)

Ice house

Toll house from little Malvern, not far from where we live

The guy had soup on the stove and a jacket potato in the oven for his tea

The front of the pre-fab, pics below are of the interior

Air raid shelter

As an aside if you visit south Wales, St Fagans is a similar site, much larger and even better, I visited all the time when I was at Uni in Cardiff (old before my time even then!)

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Digging in the services and a job update

On Saturday we had a lovely lunch in a nearby pub for my father-in-law's birthday lunch, 82 and not looking a day past 65. The kids got a bit fed up as it was quite a long affair but they behaved very well. We also hooked up the cabin's sewer pipes and also the water pipes both to the cabin and the house. We now have working water and can flush the toilet, yay! We've rang the electrician to wire in the consumer unit and then it will be complete.

As James was digging I was collecting just a small proportion of the massive quantity of rubble that's in our garden and putting it into rubble bags. I managed to fill about 10 bags with just some of the waste in the immediate area we were digging. I think it'll be a life long project to remove it all from the garden. Today we took a load to the tip and they've actually tarmaced the lane to the tip, we managed to get there and back without back breaking jolts. Well done to Herefordshire council ;-)

I've been thinking about making a flower bed to the side of the cabin, as we can see it from the house and it will just come up with weeds if nothing is done with it. I want to make a border for the bed as cheaply as possible, so I'll put some time into thinking what to do with it. I could really do with having a proper design of the garden, but I'll confess I've not much vision.

This week we siliconed in the shower tray. For some reason the silicone didn't go on nicely and was all lumpy. I spent the next evening taking it all out with a Stanley blade and re-siliconed the downward join. I think it may be something to do with the PVC shower wall that we put in. It's incredibly shiny and the silicone just doesn't seem to take to it. For now it'll do but we'll have to see how it goes. Where the tray meets the wall I put on a sticky strip today. It wasn't sticking so I went inside and got my hairdryer to warm up the plastic and adhesive strip and it stuck down nicely. Again it's a case of wait and see how it goes.

This afternoon we had a sit down and the kids played whilst James watched the rugby and I read my book. It was so lovely, it's been months since we've all sat down and done nothing. the best part is that we lit the fire early and the house is so toasty warm this evening.

We also had a bit of a taste of summer for tea, the salsa that I canned last year was eaten with fajitas. Baby girl was not impressed, she's not a fan of fajitas!

Thanks for all the kind thoughts about my new job. I've been super tired as it's a massive learning curve and I'm having to concentrate hard all day. I've also been driving about 5 hours a day as I'm shadowing other pharmacists in their local vicinity; here's hoping in the next few months this reduces a bit. I'm trying to accept that it's inevitable that I don't know anything as this is a totally new field for me, but it is quite stressful being new. Good luck to Emma who reads the blog for her new job coming up, I hope it goes smoothly!

Have a good week all.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Seed swap 2016

This weekend I managed to escape the kids for a few hours and attend the seed swap in Hereford. It was a very wet and windy day and I got drenched just walking from the car park to the theatre. I met a few friends there which always makes an event better. 
There are tables set up in a square with seeds arranged alphabetically according to vegetable. You drop off any seeds that you've brought (I'd sorted mine into envelopes) and then pick up what you fancy.
There were some people there that evidently really knew their stuff and were dolling out information and anecdotes along with their seeds! 

Here a just some of the packets I picked up

After a drink at the cafe, whilst being serenaded by a pianist (a bit loud) we had a bit of a chat to pass the time and then listened to a talk by an expert on saving seed. He had some basic info on the how to process seeds from various plants but his real talent lay on his descriptions of where and how he had gathered the various varieties. He's spent his life in a career making films and seems to have picked up obscure and unknown seeds from all sorts of people around the world whilst on location. I really enjoyed hearing the provenance of his collection. The only problem is you pick the seeds up before the talk and after having heard some of his stories it made me want to try planting more of his seeds.
Our aim this year is to concentrate on planting fewer different veg. I think with the building work being done and a new job I need to reduce the workload. This trip did not aid my good intentions though, I now have way more seeds than I started with and I want to plant them all.
If anyone's interested the speakers website is

I also started my new job today, it was a weird day and I'll have to talk about it a bit later, I have to be careful what I say.