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!


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.


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


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.


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.


Birthday pies replaced birthday cake.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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:


He’s just adorable.


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.


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