Shower

Working diligently to finish the shower before the end of August so that Julian has a working bathroom before autumn.

20190801_135355

So much fear paralysis to overcome. Just do it, Grace. Nothing gets done if you’re too scared to even start. You know this…

20190802_183448

I seem to be medium-resilient lately, so I’ve managed to do a pretty good amount of scary, difficult work that I have no clue how to do. It’s almost like the old me is coming back.

And then there’s my comfort zone stuff:

20190807_134439

The handles for gate valves apparently only come in red. I thought of buying old steampunk looking ones on eBay, but then it occurred to me to paint the ones that came with the valves.

20190807_134418

It is fair to say I am chuffed with the results.

20190808_101410

Watch this space for news of the shower mosaic, hopefully coming soon.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Many and Varied Bits of News

Right, here’s a long awaited update. I mean, I’ve been waiting a long time. I don’t necessarily flatter myself that you have. You may have just dropped by because you were bored.

I made some taps!

20190713_153708

I don’t know if they’re watertight yet, because I’ve not quite got round to the actual plumbing yet. But they look really pretty.

20190712_204848

And I assembled and cut and fixed and oiled and sanded everything in readiness…

20190713_174329(1)

And it’s looking pretty fabulous, albeit without any of the actual functioning parts yet. Nor any mirror, tiling, plastering, sides and doors on the cupboards, but progress is progress.

20190713_174309

This sink is so effing cool.

Meanwhile, Julian turned 30 and we had a party, some of which was harry potter themed and all of which was food themed.

20190706_200435

Birthday pies replaced birthday cake.

20190706_202916

I borrowed this awesome dress from REx costume hire, and I am definitely finding the pattern and making myself several of them. Except maybe not the impractical sleeves.

20190706_205129

How many times do you find Newt Scamander, Lucius Malfoy (minus blonde wig) and Scabior nattering in your kitchen?

20190706_210454

And next on the birthday hi-jinx list, a boating trip on Coniston Water in the Lake District.

20190709_114638

This day was amazing. I cold emailed the Arthur Ransome Trust to ask if they could point me toward somebody who might be willing to take me and Julian out for a sail and the absolute nicest guy, Geraint, who answered my email, gamely volunteered his services and that of his wife and their beautiful boat Peggy Blacket, which is a replica of one of Ransome’s own boats that appears in some of the books he wrote.

20190709_141502

Now then, I am not a super-nerd about Swallows and Amazons, that’s Julian’s department, so I will not go on about that stuff. Instead, I will go on about HOW GREAT OUR TRIP WAS because it was truly magical.

20190709_145129

These two fabulous people took us for a lovely sail, taught Julian how to steer and turn and tack and all sorts of genuine sailing skills while I was allowed to just be ballast which suited me fine.

Geraint and Helen are just the best kind of folk, were truly welcoming and enthusiastic about the boat and the lake and the books. The whole experience was ten times better than I could have imagined.

I earned many, many girlfriend points for this.

After the sail, they gave us some tips on finding this cute little hut in the woods, which was the model for something called the Dog’s Home in one of the books. I have been unable to figure out why it’s called that, I don’t think there was a dog involved. But anyway, it was a nice walk and a pretty little forest hut to imagine camping out in for a summer adventure.

20190709_155726

The rest of our time in the Lakes was spent gawping at lakes, unsurprisingly, which was relaxing and delightful. Below is a view of Peel Island, which was Wildcat Island in the books.

20190709_162507

And then we went and walked the pretty, less-touristy bits of Windermere.

20190710_121402

And had a picnic on a rocky point near a castle.

20190710_131830

So that 48 hours in the lake district immediately made my top 10 short breaks ever. I am going to arrange my life from now on with a view to having time for more of that!

Anyway, gratuitous cats:

20190711_103448

He’s just adorable.

20190713_194228

And finally: you know that cherry tree, the Montmorency I practically killed myself trying to source in England and planted about 6 years ago and it never really did anything and was to bushy and vigorous for where it was and really wasn’t pulling its weight in terms of output? Well last winter I ring-barked it to kill it so I could grow a climbing rose up its carcass. It not only survived my botched murder attempt, but it’s finally putting out fruit (as a result of my botched murder attempt? Who knows…) so we will have a cherry pie tomorrow and the tree may well live to try this again next year.

20190714_212609

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Many Things In A Jumble

Here’s a pile of all the news for the last… how long has it been anyway? Seems like months…

I saw a couple of fawns on the lane on the way home one evening. No mum in sight, haven’t seen them since. Hope they’re ok.

20190617_094636

We had a caravan destruction party, invited Rich with predictable results. Nobody destroys things quite like Rich. Good to have you back, mate.

20190622_182335

Managed to lay waste to one of them and strip the other. Everyone worked very hard and hopefully had a good time. Several people suggested I could charge for the right to come and hit things with crow bars.

20190623_144349

Always with the fire and sausages.

20190622_191337

And back to work. Having shoveled a ton (literally) of quicklime into buckets and wrestled it up the hill, I set about making hot mix render. I got good at it by the end. A scholarly paper will follow just as soooooon as I get around to it.

 

20190622_155344

I had trouble finding much instruction on the subject when searching, so I am going to be one source of a detailed what-we-did-and-how-it-went article, at least. Thank every god and Anthony we had a cement mixer. I would have died mixing it by hand.

20190618_140953

Here’s Rae getting at the awkward bits.

20190625_155346

And Miki getting at the only slightly less awkward bits. The whole site was awkward, but they did a beautiful job. It all went as well as one could possibly expect right up until the last day when it all went a bit to hell.

20190625_170143

We ran out of the good sand, ordered some more from a different supplier, it was crap, tried to remedy it with some other sand… hose exploded about 20 times… it was all a bit dire. So we sacked off the last bit and will do it when I’ve had a chance to get some more decent sand.

20190626_153443

 

Anyway, reasons to be cheerful: the roses are all in glorious full bloom.

20190627_131231

20190629_095706

 

And we had a lovely visit from Julian’s brother Paul, visiting from Croatia, hopefully the first visit of many.

20190625_211017

And the weather has been at least occasionally glorious, which Jack wastes no time in exploiting.

20190622_151057

Nor do we. We spent Saturday morning wild swimming at the best place for wild swimming that I know in the whole world. Not telling. You’ll have to get yourself invited to come with us if you want to know.

20190629_130441

And finally, a gratuitous plug for my other business: I Make Everything. I made my own swimming costume after being unable to find anything that a) I liked, b) could keep my considerable assets where I wanted them and c) didn’t cost, like, £400. Go read all about it at my other blog.

20190629_115318

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

That Belfast Sink I’ve Been Storing For Years

I got given a lovely old Belfast sink by Steven years ago, and kept it, I’m embarrassed to say, in the garden. Obviously all covered in weeds. It needed a good clean.

And it needed hauling to the first floor, which I did with Julian’s help and without incident, thank god. It’s bloody heavy.

20190608_180115

Also, countertop fits and is nearly fixed in place (thanks Nic and Rob) on the carcasses I made out of the old sauna interior cladding (thanks Anthony).

20190608_180051

All in all it’s going rather well.

20190609_100532

Except for the hateful, hideous task of rendering the rest of the building, which is luckily going to carried out more by Rae and Miki than by me, but unfortunately, I can’t just go spend two weeks on a beach in Tenerife and come back to find it done, I’ve got to actually help.

20190609_113909

And also do all the prep, so today Julian and I put up four bays of the dreaded quick stage scaffolding. Soon be over.

20190609_132547

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Bathroom Cabinets

Too tired and run ragged to say much, but here is a picture.

Cabinet carcasses made from reclaimed interior of the sauna/site office/bunkhouse as was. Fourth incarnation, not a bad result in the reclamation business.

20190606_191554

Gawd, now I need to get back to getting ready to render the rest of this stupid building.

Why did I decide to build a house?

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off