I love my friends

Bit of a surprise weekend up at the land, since a few people at a recent party said they were free. I decided, what the hell, might as well get a few things done, since Barbara was free to come and tell us what to do with the roof. Good thing we did decide to go, really, because on arrival, we found that a giant gash had appeared at the bottom of the slope of the marquee roof and was channelling all the water from that side of the roof down onto the cooking area. Awesome.

Marquee reparis

Still, a quick tarp over that end of the building solved it (good thing we have so many tarps lying around) and the end result is that I spent the weekend moving stuff out of the marquee, which was really unsuitable for use in winter anyway, what with condensation just pissing down all over everything all the time. So a timely message from the universe actually spurred me to do what needed to be done. We got everything sensitive out and what’s left can stay there til we get the top shed waterproof and cleaned out to take it.

All cooking activities now reside in the new caravan, which is also a great little social space, suitable for about half a dozen people to sit around and drink wine of an evening.

caravanIt doesn’t have a battery yet, but it’s delightful by candle-light (and LED lantern). We are deeply grateful for the donation!

It also serves as a guest bedroom, for which Alec is particularly grateful, though at -2C he about froze last night even with an all weather sleeping bag, a feather duvet and all his clothing. Still, better than a tent.

cribbage in the new caravan

Elmo and I made use of it Friday night to play cribbage during the very very long evening. It’s too dark to do much else by about 4pm, so we play a lot of games, including Roborally, which I highly recommend if you’re a bit of a nerd. Hours of fun. Sometimes too many hours and we give up before someone wins.

roborally

We managed to disengage the wood stove from its pipe in our living room and get it into the back of the van, though it was going to be a nightmare getting it down the steps to the house.

stove transport

getting the stove down the stairsIt took Barbara’s sack trolley and four people to get it down, but it wasn’t all that bad in the end.

It ended up on the porch, since I’ll have to build a plinth to put it on, and install a backboard and all sorts, to meet building regulations. And prevent my house from burning down. All very sensible, really.

While contemplating the interior of the house, placement of bed relative to stove, etc, we got to thinking of space saving alternatives for the bed placement, including slightly raised, enough to allow storage and possible seating underneath, but enough headroom to sit up in bed. There didn’t turn out to be enough height to achieve that, but Elmo had a hare-brained idea for a bed on a pulley system that could be raised and lowered, horizontally, not drawbridge style. I, of course, immediately dismissed such a ridiculous notion. Then I spent a day contemplating it and an evening designing it, so now we’re going to do it. There’ll be eating and a table underneath, so a nice space for socialising and eating, and also a workspace for me, but just clear the table and crank down the bed at night. I’m quite excited, having worked out all the engineering. It’s not even that hard.

Anyway, Saturday night it snowed a bit, and stayed pretty cold all day, but really sunny and beautiful. It makes such a difference to my attitude, a bit of sun. And the mud all covered over with beautiful snow and frozen hard. We got lots done, moving stuff out of the marquee, nailing down roof felt, moving the caravans further along the track (less in view of the neighbours, who must fear a gypsy encampment sometimes) and just generally tidying and organising stuff.

caravans

Elmo climbed up on the roof and caused a very amusing avalanche of the ice and snow that had stuck to the tarp.

avalancheAlec and stewI think the Montmorency cherry trees I am about to order will do ok in the walled garden; there was some concern that they wouldn’t get enough cold hours to fruit properly, but it seems to be a couple of degrees colder in the walled garden than outside it in winter. It was also a couple of degrees warmer in summer, which I think will be good for Montmorencies, which do well in parts of the US that have large seasonal variations. Time will tell.

Ok, so I’m hopefully back in the saddle in terms of going to the land to do interesting stuff and then writing about it here. Sorry for the lapse. I’m sure it will happen again. I’ve only got a couple of trips up there planned over the next couple of weeks, but I mean to get the place in a good condition to have work parties all winter, so hopefully we’ll be getting lots done and even maybe move in before spring.

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