Stables. For The Manure, You See.

One of the first sheds to go up on the land has finally come down to make way for a more useful, less falling-down shed (or stables).

It was made from bits of Anthony’s old house that he tore down, plus the front and back of an old garden shed that had been on his land. It did its job for about 8 years and then the corner got a bit rotten and it began to lean a bit and anyway, it was blocking the view.

So Julian and I spent much of our easter weekend with lump hammer and crow bar, taking it down.

In its placeĀ  (figuratively, not spacially) we have put a long, low shed of bays to house things like bark chippings and manure and whatever else we need to keep around for gardening purposes.

It’s made from the reclaimed motorway sound-deadening panels Anthony gave me last year and the roof tiles from his old house. The bays are the right size for a bulk bag to sit in each one, filled with whatever gardening gubbins needs storing.

It looks a bit like a tiny stables for baby shetland ponies, which would be cute, but high maintenance.

I did manage to re-reclaim most of the siding from the old shed to put along the back of the new shed, and actually, most of the framing wood from the old shed is in pretty good nick, so that’ll go in a stack somewhere for whatever I build next. I’m thinking of a crow’s nest lookout in the corner of the plot…

The view is still riddled with all manner of junk, but it’s one large shed less junky than it was. Every little helps.

In other news, I grew a fig!! About the size of a fingernail, but still.

The camellia we’ve been nursing along is starting to just about pull its weight.

And the flowering currant cuttings from a few years back have come on very nicely.

And in food news, I absolutely nailed the hot cross buns this year. Nom.

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Gardening Suddenly

I mean, it’s not exactly spring weather in the sense of being warm and sunny. Sometimes it’s warm and sometimes it’s sunny but not yet both at the same time.

HOWEVER there’s not finer way to usher in the spring than to start gardening AS IF it was lovely out. So I have taken the opportunity, created by the moving of the houseplants into the hanging planters, to fill up that space with seed trays. Cosmos, morning glories, sweet peas, sunflowers, more sweet peas, naturtiums…

And while we were getting all excited about this, I happened to check the lockdown rules and it turned out the garden center was open the whole time. Kind of went to our heads. But plants are so lovely, I cannot regret it.

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The Piazza. Or The Atrium. Anyway, It’s Epic.

I can’t quite get my head round living in a house that has an atrium. But is piazza any better? Who knows. Anyway, it’s really remarkably done, after a week or two of having the use of Rae’s scaffolding tower.

I (once again) failed to take any “before” pictures, because who takes pictures of the ugly shit you look at every day that just hangs over you like a dark cloud of obligation? But Ben took this one of the phase just before we put the plasterboard on, with acres of lovely glass fibre sound insulation. How I love it.

I’ve been working on the second half of the ceiling painting as readers will be aware. I painted it in four panels, each two meters by one meter, which seemed like a reasonable size at the time.

I left the edges til last so that I could make sure they ended up matching.

That bit went remarkably smoothly and I quite enjoyed it.

Getting them onto the ceiling at the top of a swaying scaffolding was another story entirely. Many tears. Much swearing. Julian saving the day with extra hands. The less said the better. If I ever do it again I will do it with four people minimum. And not on a scaffolding. Somehow.

Anyway, meanwhile, Ben was making some amazing bi-fold soundproof shutters for the windows, so that Julian can have their work zoom meetings while I am wailing away to Florence + The Machine and using an overlocker at full pelt.

We used official soundproofing glass fiber insulation, but I don’t know that I could sense any difference between it and any other glass fibre insulation. Anyway, it works well.

The doors are made from yet more of the inner cladding from the much-used ex-sauna, same as the kitchen and bathroom cupboards.

And Ben’s skill made sure they close really tight and pass every soundproofing text we threw at them, while looking amazing.

I used a bit more of the wood for the trim, just to tie them in with the barn theme that was emerging.

I think they look very nice. Far better than anything I could have cobbled together. Ben is a treasure.

Meanwhile I also took advantage of the scaffolding to hang the plant-hangers-on-pulleys that I’ve been planning.

I put the boxes together from some boards reclaimed at one of Anthony’s jobs, cut to fit round some cheap plastic plant pots.

After wondering what to do about hanging them (they’re really heavy even without plants in) I figured some sort of sling would be best. (*raids upholstery fabric collection*) So I whipped these up, using some old curtain rings Anthony had given me and some fabric Michelle had given me.

And did a lot of cord loop whipping. Boy, there are particular calluses associated with that which I did NOT have. Fingers very sore afterwards.

Using wood courtesy of Anthony, pulleys courtesy of Tod junk market and shelf brackets I actually bought new (!) I cobbled together a system for hanging them above head height while not requiring a ladder to do the watering.

I am a bit concerned about the weight. They are too heavy for Julian to put up and down even without plants in. And they look a bit bulky. I will probably end up using these troughs somewhere else and designing something lighter for here, but anyway, the pulleys are up and that’s what I really needed to get done before the scaffold went back to Rae.


So here it is. Is it not glorious? Please ignore the stack of 2×3 timber. And the bare straw. And the curtain blocking off the woodshop area of the house. And the fact that only one of the lightbulbs has a shade on it. Things remain to be done, but I am very pleased in general.


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The Second Half Of That Long-Forgotten Ceiling Painting

I managed to borrow a lovely, lightweight, movable scaffold tower from Rae, so NOW NOW NOW is the time to get on with boarding out the rest of this otherwise completely inaccessible space, and now is also the time to be finishing the very daunting ceiling painting Alec and I started back in 2018.

The boarding is going very well and quickly, mainly because Ben is a machine. I am dragged along semi-willingly.

We put sound insulation in both walls so that I can be running 10 sewing machines at full tilt while Julian is on a phone call for work. Right now Ben is working on some bi-fold sound-insulating shutters for the windows that face each other across the gap. Both rooms already have closing doors, so we should be good to go shortly.

Meanwhile, I have some filling to do before we paint the wall and some painting to do before we can paper up the rest of the ceiling painting. Here’s a fun timelapse of me painting one of the 4 panels.

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New Interior Painted Window

I had always planned this to be a stained glass window, but a while ago, somehow I got sidetracked on to glass painting and that got me wondering whether I had a big enough piece of glass lying around (what, you don’t have 90x60cm pieces of glass lying around?) and anyway, long story short, screw stained glass. Takes so long and is so expensive and yeah, yeah, lasts forever etc. I don’t actually know how long glass paint stays bright but according to The Internet, it’s years and years if you don’t put it in direct sunlight, and maybe just years if you do. I’ll certainly be finding out.

Anyway, here it is, it’s lovely and it’s the last bit of space filled in so you can actually shut yourself in an enclosed bathroom now! Such luxury. Better get that extraction fan installed next…

The gold fripperies look lovely in the light from the roof window.

I do wish I’d extended the design right out past the edges of the glass. I wasn’t sure how that was going to look once it was installed. And it’s not coming out now, so, notes for next time.

Anyway, I am super-chuffed with it and ready to make millions more for every window and all over the garden. After I have done some other more pressing tasks.

For more info on the making process, look at my post about it on


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