Wherein I whitter on about general stuff that’s been achieved lately.

Chapter 1: A Shelf for Games

As we were building the staircase frame, it made sense to build the recessed games cupboard in what will one day be the games corner of the living room.

Here it is plasterboarded, filled, painted and full of lovely plywood shelves.

And full of lovely games. Actually I need a few more games, from the look of it. Recommendations welcome.

Chapter 2: The Push To Get The House Signed Off

Here is a picture of the safety railings we put in in order to pass a basic check on building regulations. I mean, it was about time anyway, really.

Note the absence of the spiral staircase. In a two storey building with an attic, you are not allowed to have a proper staircase up into the attic.

Chapter 3: Meanwhile, In The Bedroom

I filled, sanded and painted the ceiling and walls.




Julian chose the colour. I love it. It’s cozy AF.

Chapter 4: Just Nice Pictures From Around The Place

Here’s the state of the landing, which was a junk pile for ages and is now nice.

Here’s a general view of the nicest bits.

Here’s a corner of the cloud mural and a nice corner cupboard with nice plants on.

And here’s the view, in the best bit of spring when it’s going green but the leaves haven’t yet blocked the rest of the valley from view.

Here’s Jack enjoying his catnip bed.

Here’s a hellebore I really thought was going to do nothing and then it burst into life and was the most beautiful thing for months.

Chapter 5: FINALLY

After years and years, we finally moved our electric boxes onto our own damn land.

Chapter 6: Baskets

I took a basket making course. Because of course I did.

I made two baskets. I took to it as you would expect I would take to a new craft. I will undoubtedly make more baskets, but really what I was after was experience in willow weaving so I can make cute little hurdles and other garden structures. Apparently dogwood is good for that and best used green. Next spring then…

Chapter 7: The Hogwarts Wall

A million years ago Anthony gave me a bunch of oak kitchen cabinet doors he’d taken out of some rich people’s kitchens. I finally got round to using them to make a wall of removable panels to hide the under-eaves storage.

Chapter 8: Julian’s Triumph Garden

I’m not sure what prompted us to get on with this area, aside from that we wanted to move the bees, but anyway, Julian took it upon himself to dig it over, and one thing led to another…

Sarah and Steven were here at the time, and Sarah, who is stronger than her tiny frame would have you think, took shovel in hand.

Before he knew it a wall was being built.

And the whole slope remodelled and planted with dogwood for future hurdle-making.

The bees did get moved and that compost frame collapsed, but I haven’t taken a picture, sorry. It looks amazing though.

And finally, Rick-Next-Door found this photo of the gardeners working in the garden of Stansfield Hall down the hill (of which our plot used to be the walled garden) The slanty wall in the background has the long stone staircase behind, for those who’ve climbed it. And the curvey wall and gatepost are the same now. I reckon this was taken in the 1860s, when Stansfield Hall was extended and remodelled. I also reckon it’s possible that stone roller on the left is the one I’ve got outside.

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This is old news by now but that’s how I run this blog these days. You get told when I get around to it. Sorry. There’s more stacking up behind this, too. But I’m too busy doing all the things to tell you about the things in a timely fashion.

Here’s me sewing the first of many 6 meter plus seams on the gigantic curtains.

Here’s me after I decided this warranted moving the whole table into the middle of the room to I could hoik the 6 meter curtains over it as I went along.

This is very easily the biggest thing I’ve ever sewn.

I laid them out on the floor in order to have room to staple them to the bits of wood that were going to hold them to the frame.

And then up the scaffolding and bolted the said bits of wood to the said frame. It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be and looked great.

While we were about putting them up we noticed we have a F***ING ROOF LEAK. I hate everything. I am really, really, really hoping I can get Andy to just come and deal with it. I swore I would never get on that roof again and I meant it.

Anyway, on with the show. I’d designed an opening mechanism that meant hand sewing 20+ little plastic loops I scalped from a dead tent and runing a cord through them, and through a pulley, to draw the curtains up into the corners.

This job was kind neither to Julian’s bad shoulders nor my bad back.

But we got it done and it worked really well.

The curtain drawing mechanism worked exactly like I had hoped. It makes opening and closing them really quick, and holds them back far enough not to block light unnecessarily when they’re open.

And the curtains had the unexpected benefit of being an amazing backdrop for photography! Here’s Julian and their bonsai oak tree.

And if you have fast enough internet, here’s a little movie for you.


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General Stuff

Here’s one of those generaly stuff updates where I cram in some pictures that are not of progress per se but just of life.

Before Christmas we went to the festival of uplighting at the new RHS garden at Bridgewater near Manchester. The place is lovely, if somewhat unfinished. We are looking forward to watching it grow up.

We’d been to the lighting up of RHS Harlow Carr, which was also great. But I think I like Bridgewater better. Just feels kind of fresh.

I am so very going to get a set of uplighters for this garden the very next time I feel like I’ve got money to burn. Yeah right.

Also I took a few photos of just How We Live Now because you never photograph stuff like that (always photographing the pretty or interesting stuff) and then you forget what it was like just in normal life. So here’s a bunch of normal life. It’s a mess.

I do look forward to not sharing my living space with all my tools and equipment.

And the junk I have not got round to taking to a charity shop.

But that day seems a long way off.

We try to make small havens of normality amongsth the building site.

But they get just as cluttered as everyplace else.

Oh, lastly, here’s an update on that glass painting I did in order to leave it out all winter face up and see how it fared. So far so flawless, even through several hard frosts. Nice job, Pebeo.

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The Stairs

Well, it was time to take that leaning rowan tree down anyway, and I’ve long had my eye on some of its bits to make a staircase from. Luckily, Ben was also keen.

So we spent a day taking it down and stripping the likely pieces of bark while it was still wet.



Hopefully we’ve got enough pieces for all the newel posts and railings and stuff.

There’s quite a it left over, I’ll have to go up there and cut it up for firewood some fine day.


In happy anticipation of it all being done very soon, we moved the paddle staircase into the middle of everything.

Ben made a design and sketched out a beautiful 3D model.

We raided the reclaimed wood pile to start construction.

Ben made great progress! Everything was going swimmingly!

The turning stairs were in and we were all feeling really positive about it when I measured the headroom between the stairs and the beam above.

Not legal. Far from legal. Supposed to have 2m clearance and had like 180cm. Ugh.

So we looked at what was going on and it turns out the wall was at least 10cm further out at the top (where we measured it) vs the bottom (where it mattered). So I was telling Rae about this and she said she had a guy with her THAT DAY who was seeking a crooked straw wall on which to test his new gadget-in-development for making straw walls utterly flat and plumb. I signed up immediately.

The guy was lovely and the machine worked beautifully.

Unfortunately, even with that and with trimming the turning stairs, we were still nowhere near 2m clearance. So we’re going to redesign the whole thing, with two turning stairs at the bottom and two at the top, which is GENIUS and feels like absolutely the right decision. I can’t believe I didnt’ think of it, but thank goodness Ben did!

Anyway, then the project stalled and I’ve been working on other things of no relevance to this blog. Sorry.

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The Cloud Mural

With the possibility of a proper staircase becoming more and more real, it was time to deal with this big area of unfinished ceiling before there were all banisters and whatnot to get in the way, while I could still put in a false floor to put working platforms on.

Plasterboarding was exactly as much fun as it always is. Boy has it lost its shine as an activity.

I really can’t tell you how much I dislike plasterboarding.

If I never plasterboard again in my life it’ll be far too soon.

Painting, however, I’m not sick of that yet. Good thing too because I spent an entire week doing test pieces on scraps of plasterboard in order to get good enough to dare start the real mural.

Great big wonderful thanks to Mural Joe on Youtube for the techniques. I’m pretty pleased with it. Gonna do Julian’s office ceiling too. One day…

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