Sunday, 30 October 2016

Our weekend in Woolacombe

Last weekend we all went away for a long weekend courtesy of The Sun (a newspaper for those not in the UK). By the time we booked there was a very limited selection and so we booked to go back to North Devon, having only been there relatively recently. We went down late on Friday night as we had to wait for school to finish and as google maps predicted the journey time would be at least an hour longer if we went directly after school we took the little man to his swimming lesson first then had a McDonalds and  left around 5. It took about 4 hours as the traffic was horrendous near Bristol.

The caravan we stayed in was clean and had everything we would need for a weekend, although it had a distinctively early 90's feel, I've never seen so much peach or fake pine and the gas fire was as I remember friends having in their houses when we were kids. The kids loved it mind and the little man called it a camper van all weekend. The site was immaculate and not at all dated.

The first day we went to Woolacombe beach, which is beautiful, clean and had a little cove two minutes away that was packed full of shells. I spent ages gathering them but the kids got bored before me and we had to move on, shameful, they need to learn the joy of shell collecting!

In the afternoon we made the most of our National Trust membership and went to Arlington court, which has the national carriage collection. Now I've read more romance novels than is healthy for an adult female and I just loved seeing all the different types of carriage I've read about; James and the kids not so much. The house however was lovely, really homely and the NT have once again removed all the ropes to allow you to wonder the rooms and get a real feel for the place. In the former nursery old toys are on display and the kids are encouraged to play with them all. In the evening we went to the local chip shop and had some local fish and chips, they were tasty as always.

Sunday was spent looking around some small coastal villages and towns and we finished the day in Ilfracombe harbour buying fudge and having the cobwebs blown away.

Monday was very wet and windy but we left after breakfast stopping at another National trust property, Tyntesfield near Bristol to break up the journey. That was another great day out, it had a great shop, and NT do a good shop! It also had beautiful walled vegetable gardens, the pumpkin display was awesome, I found some varieties I want to grow next year and so many apple trees, there was a display of heritage apple varieties to taste and some men on hand from a charity that promotes them. Again the house was beautiful, very grand and had an art display that lots of people enjoyed, though it's not my thing.

So it was a relaxing weekend away from the house and work and I would definitely book another Sun weekend.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The water-tight milestone!!

Today we achieved a major milestone, the extension is water-tight. Over the last fortnight we have managed to get the bay window roof finished. A very kind carpenter and his brother (James' friend) stepped in to get the roof on after the builder who did the house and the one after that didn't turn up to do it. We decided to put a fibreglass roof on, I love the look of a lead roof with mop rolls, but after our luck with contractors recently we just wanted it water-tight and decided to cover it ourselves until we decided what we want done. We're pretty pleased with it now so it may well stay.

James spent hours routering the wood so that the fibreglass corner pieces would fit flush to the roof. Then came the fibreglass bandage and then fibreglass matting with a resin covering. We sanded the covering once it had hardened, painted the next layer of coloured resin, sanded and painted again over  the course of a few days. Yesterday James fitted the lead flashings, pointed it all in (covering the end of the concrete lintel with lime mortar) and today painted them with patination oil to stop white lines running onto the roof over time.

Today we also fitted the oak plugs into the stable door and used a piece of oak to plug the gap above the door. It means that there are no longer any holes in the structure and we are weather-tight. 

Little man has been at school for 6 weeks now and I cannot believe how well he has been getting on with learning his letters. Today we did a spelling game together and he managed to sound out lots of simple three and four letter words. His writing is coming on beautifully too, it's unbelievable how fast he's gone from only knowing the letters in his name to the foundations of reading. 

James and I have been trying hard to spend a bit more time engaging with the kids in some one-on-one time. It's very easy when you're so busy with work and building to overlook the children and let them entertain themselves. We're lucky that they join in for most building and gardening related activities but we wanted to try and play a few more games with them. I'll be honest at times and say that sometimes it's  a bit repetitive playing holidays or ice cream shop with them but they love it.


Saturday, 1 October 2016

We have grass!!

This photo is nearly a week old and it's even better now, but the point is... the grass seed has actually sprouted. I am so thankful, I will not have to spend another weekend with the rake, the roller and a spade (and subsequent blisters).

I've had a pretty uneventful week, James has continued to plasterboard the upstairs extension. 

I managed to get the rock wool insulation in the loft space on Thursday night. First it was rolled between the joists and then on top at a 90 degree angle. We thought that the hardest part would be putting the insulation between the joists but the final layer was way harder to do. It's hard to roll it out and not go through the ceiling once you can't see the joists and not back yourself into a corner. Plus the face mask to protect your lungs from the fibreglass makes it unbearably hot and did I mention itchy?! Fibreglass is the devils material, looks soft but hurts like hell. Anyway once the heating is up and running it should be toasty warm in there.