Tuesday, 31 January 2017

90's

Lets have some music from the 90's!  I am off to read some Mansfield Park, as I have a half day.









♫ You've got the music in you!♫  
*dances with the dogs*

Have a fab day!!!!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Join the caravan of love...



Whats the story with the caravan?  Come closer, I will tell all.

When we go to Cornwall to look at houses, we will have to stay over night in case we want a second look at anything.  It will be quite hard to find a hotel or B&B that will take a dog and a puppy at short notice.

We had to think about how we could do this.

BINGO - Caravan it is.


We had been thinking of a motor home for a long time, but the thought of MOT's, motor maintenance, car tax.  There is also the thing of where ever you go to visit, we would have to find parking.  A van could be hard to park in supermarket car parks and say we wanted to go to a stately home, their might not allow or be space for a van.  

We have been monitoring e bay for a while and saw exactly what we wanted.  A quick dash down the motorway and it is now ours.  It is in really good nick, but needs a new carpet.  It has already been put to use as a temporary office on the drive.  I bet the neighbours are loving that we have a caravan in full view of the road.  No doubt someone will say we are bringing down the tone!  lol  

Once we have new carpet. We, thats the royal WE, will build into the seat bases, compartments for storage.  Then things wont fall onto the battery.  I have to go through all of the camping equipment and see what we need and what we have already.

The caravan will be stored at a camp site in Cornwall, we call them before we leave, they will tow the caravan out of the storage barns and onto a pitch.  we will hurtle down the M5, just turn up and carry on as if it had been there forever.  Then when you leave they put it back.  It saves us petrol and us having to tow.  Win Win I say.

Then when we have found a house down there, we can either leave it there to store, or take it to the new house.  If the new house is small it could be used over night in our garden as an extra room or it could be used as an office.  Using it has an office has worked out really well this week.  The builders havent finished the kitchen yet.  They are already a week over and eating microwave meals is making me ill.  Not many veggie microwave meals in the supermarket to be honest.  We will get a gas bottle for the caravan at the weekend and then at least I can cook over the weekend and next week.

Its all worked out really well, for once things have happened in our favour.

Now we need to get bits to fit it out with, that we may not have in our camping equipment.

What bits and pieces do you think we need for the caravan to make it comfortable?  What items do you have to take camping with you?  At present I am drawing a blank...

Thursday, 26 January 2017

New to me

picture from google
I was watching Monty Don in one of his TV programmes, where a couple were making over their garden and wished to have a Japanese based garden. 

He sent them to a garden in Cornwall for ideas.  Did you know there is a {Japanese garden} in Cornwall open to the public?  Neither did I.  Its now on my list.  You can buy a season ticket for just £9!  I think that is a bargain.  With this and the {Eden Project} ticket to go as many times in one year.  I think I will be brimming with gardening inspiration!

Is there anywhere else in Cornwall I need to see?

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

January Read Along - Mansfield Park.


Please feel free to join in if you like. I will be posting about it on 21st February.

p.s. I need to find fairy lights for the caravan and a kettle...

Monday, 23 January 2017

Listen very carefully she will say it only once...




Another sad day, Gordon Kaye, who played Rene in Allo Allo, has passed away.  

Lolita read along

picture from google

I am behind blogging about this.  We made a made dash down south to look at and buy a caravan. It is all part of the master plan. *evil cackle*


OK, on to Lolita

Again I have loved the process of reading this book as it is taking me out of my comfort zone of Young Adult Fiction.  Obviously I am no longer a young adult, it just happens to be the type of book I can read easily.  Never in a million years would I have bought this book prior to the read along challenge.  I definitely did not think I would read a book about a peadophile.

To me it is written in the style of a narrator telling the story of another and painting a picture.  Quite a good pace and I felt quite a fast read.

Again I learnt new words, which sent me to the dictionary.

The book does make me query, if the author, knew someone who was a peadophile or he himself was the victim of one.  The book was written in 1955, it wasnt like today, where you can google everything and I doubt at the time he would of had a researcher.

A very interesting read, there were moments when I thought OMG!  Especially when I thought he was going to kill his 2nd wife.

The book is his confession, and is as if he is constantly talking to the jury.

8/10

Will I read it again?  Hmm that is a question.  I like to think I would, maybe in a few years.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Ye Olde TV


I used to watch this with my dad.  

I'mmmm H A P P Y, I'm H A P P Y.......

They still have those exact bedside cabinets in the hospital I was in in 2015.  The beds look the same, the cabinets are the same, the lights are the same...  LOL

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Ideal Home

From Google
*Get a cup of tea, this is a long one*

When googling home, the above picture came up.  When I was little, I would draw a house as gable end (I would have said the pointy bit on the roof as a kid), it would have had the very British 2 windows either side of the door, which would be right in the middle at the bottom and 2 windows right above the down stairs windows.  A chimney would have been a must.  A squiggle, swirl for smoke coming out of the top.  Nothing strange about that right?  Well, no houses looked like that where I grew up or went to school.  

The houses were mostly terraced, or end of terraced, some rendered and painted, but mostly they would have been made of granite.  A bit grey looking.  Our house was rendered and white.  A HUGE Victorian end of terrace.  For 4 years, 4 generations of my family, lived in that house all together.  Some would say cheek to gowl, but the house was large and I didnt really know any better.  I shared a room with my nieces, who are 9 and 11 years younger than me,  I was therefore a 14 year old, sharing a room with a 3 and 1 year old.  Older readers will remember comments or a story some where on here, where I used to sing and twirl with my nieces.  This is around this time.  It was at the time a great embarrassment to me.  One slightly nasty girl at school, went around telling everyone we were poor and that my Grans shared the same bed, just like in the book and film Charlie and the Chocolate factory.  By the way, this person now has 3 kids and last time I saw her, she introduced me to her kids in the town centre, as one of Mummys really good friends at school.  I sure as hell dont remember it like that.  

My Mother, hurriedly bought this house, when my father was very ill.  I dont think she had any list of what she wanted in a house.  It was for sale, the person who had lived there had died.  The house was a monstrocity.  It had purple swirly carpets, horrendous huge flowery wall paper (this has come a little bit back into fashion, but this house is probably why I wont ever have big flowery wall paper).  An orange carpet, and a bar.  The house had previously been a guest house, what we would now refer to as a B&B.  Behind the bar, was a HUGE mural. 

Let me set the scene, go through the door, a Victorian pine door, that had hard board over the top, to cover up the age of the door.  Maybe a foot from the door frame to the left is the back wall.  Go through the door, turn right, on the wall facing you is huge wall paper with palm fronds, the bar is in the corner on the right.  

On the wall behind the door, is the mural.  Not just any mural.  Nope, not angels or cherubs or anything of beauty.  No, not the Sistine Chapel.  No, no, no.  This was a jungle scene, opening out to a water pool.  On the left was a tree that in its branches had a huge black panther painted on it.  Its eyes, gleamed and looked at you.  There was a bird of paradise, in a tree on the right, the branches of both, framing over the top, giving an aperture to the watering hole where many animals were drinking.  ("Deep in the undergrowth", lol  I think only Brits will get that line... )

You can imagine it.  Very dark, and actually my sister remembers it being extremely vivid.  The person who painted it, was actually really good.  My parents may have pictures of it, I will have to ask.

All of this, with a thick pile, orange swirly carpet.

What was really awful, was in the hall, when we had to all help strip the wall paper, were childrens pictures drawn on the wall.  As I type this I have goose pimples and the hair on my head is raising.  My sister is convinced that the house was haunted.  She says that when she went into labour with my eldest niece, she was woken by a man in the room that sat on her bed and was trying to talk to her.  Now, I must say right here, I dont believe in that stuff, I read about it, and vampires etc.  (Its spooky yes, but I dont believe it). I think maybe she was half asleep or something...  Anyways.  Later in the year, we all helped to get the paper off.  My Brother going at the paper like a crazy person as he wanted to go and see his friends.  When all of a sudden my sister lets out a squeak and faints.  My sister doesnt faint.  Nope, that would be me, I have the low blood pressure.  

There on the wall is a really well drawn picture of a mans face.  (goose pimples again).  A bald head, all but the tuffs around the ears, like a falling halo.  I can still see it in my head and I was a kid,  so this is burnt in my mind.  I remember the smell of the musty paper, now damp.  My mum rushing to my sister, tapping her on the face, rubbing her arms.  Her cooing to her, that she was OK, just wake up, your OK.  She kept saying it.  When my sister came around.  She was deathly white and said in a shakey voice.  "Thhhh thhh tthhh THATS HIM, the man from my room".  (Serious hair raising and goose pimples now, I really should talk to her about this one time, it is only all really coming back to me as I type this and this is completely not the blog post I had in mind at all).

Following this, my grandmother, became even more religious.  We had every denomination of vicar, priest etc come to the house and bless it.  We went to serveral different churches where we received, special church blessing and were given holy water.  It all sounds very dramatic now, but my gran being 'Foreign', we needed to make sure no one had sent it to us.  Yeah.  Um, right.  Can you imagine how scared I was as a kid, for all of this to be happening.  I was taken out of school and sent to the farm where my grandfather still worked the dairy.  His wife, my grandmother (the English side of my family), had Alzheimers from a very young age.  I blame this partly on only ever being on a farm and not having anyone to talk to.  But thats another story for another time.

My mother, I think from the stress of it all, ended up in hospital and had bacterial meningitis.  Myself and my nieces werent allowed in to see her.  We waved through a window.  She was there for 6 months.  My Gran said, she thought a curse was at work.  (I am not joking at all, she searched the house and garden with my brother and his friends, who she paid to look.  She burnt all of the plants she didnt recognise pulled up the small trees in the garden and burnt those as well.  We all had new clothes, more blessings and holy water...  By this time, I am sure my brother got more than a few beatings at school and lots of fights for 1, being from a weird family, 2, everyone thinking we were even more foreign than our surname, 3, my parents owned quite a few shops and people didnt like this, 4, no one could quite work out, where my grandmother was from, could we be German??? - remembering at the time, we lived in a town of mostly older retired people, it was pretty much 99.9% caucasian, there was and I think still is a Conservative club where there was an area where only men were allowed and a womens bar where both could be... slightly going off on a tangent here, but you get the picture.  My Gran then surrounded the perimeter of the house with rosemary, lavender and feverfew plants.  It was not uncommon to find cloves in the pockets of your coats.  Incase someone from the old country hated us and was sending us the bad Djinn.  To hurt us...  When my gran used to say this to my friends parents, I think they thought we had been sent a bad bottle of GIN and that they had been ill from it.).

It took 28 coats of white paint to cover the mural.  The head and the eyes of the panther were still there in feint outline.  If this was me now, I would have smashed the plaster of and had it redone.  Hindsight is lovely isnt it....  lol  We then had, LAURA ASHLEY wallpaper, oh er Mrs, werent we posh!  My gran paid for it.  Everything matched.  Curtains, walls, cushions.  Yep we were certainly fashionable.

Why am I typing all of this.  Well my mum bought the house without a plan or list of things she wanted.  Which is why when they moved, my parents had a list that made it nigh on impossible to find.  They did find it, but they had to buy it, and then sell their own house.  This search lasted for 4 years.  FOUR YEARS!!!

You have seen my rather loose list before, but to be clear here it is again

  • must have parking
  • must have a double garage or an area to build one
  • a large garden, an acre would be lovely.  More would be fantastic.

The last one is what is so tricky as we would like to be as close to the sea as possible.  I dont really care what the house is, we can change that to anything we like. with builders.  Obviously, it will have to be in budget.

Over to you, what made you buy the house you are in?  What is your dream wish list for a home that you would like to stay in forever?  Is my list too vague?  Do I need to add anything else to it?

p.s. the picture at the top looks like the house from Amityville Horror to me.  Is it just me?


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The search begins...

Scotland in July 2015
The kitchen build is slow, I am getting a little twitchy.  We have had 2 estate agents around already, we have another 2 to come.  We want a good broad valuation, to make sure we are pitching ourselves correctly.  The fences have been done and look so much better now the gaping hole that was the tree is now filled.  It looks really good.  Thank heavens.

With all of this going on, I have to start to look at where we can go.  My friends in Cornwall are being dispatched to do, drive by viewings of the outsides.  I can drive the google map car up and down the streets but this doesnt give a 'feeling' of the area.  Yes, I do really trust my friends to do this for me.  And I am thankful that they are lovely and will do this (I am giving them petrol money, I cant expect them to use their cash to help me, no matter how much the protest).  

The simple questions they have to ask themselves is 

  1. would you live their yourself
  2. can you get on to the drive easily (remember Cornwall is a lot of very tight lanes)
  3. would you let you kids go to tea in a house in this area (ie, their school friends house - please dont comment on this, I am sure there are many people who dont look after their houses outside, I dont want to live next to {Steptoes yard}.
  4. are there people about in the day (quite important to me, a shop would be a bonus.  A hairdressers or post office would be fabulous)
From google
All of these questions can be answered in seconds.  And even though everyone says to themselves, we shouldnt judge quickly.  You do and having lived next door to a Steptoe yard previously, I dont want rats near my house like that ever again.  I know rats are everywhere, but these were living in all of the junk and mattresses dumped all over the garden and land.  My nerves were shot.  Its bad enough that we had mice in the garage last year.  

The search begins...

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Maybe it is really all fairies and unicorns


I tried to embed {this video}, but was unable to as it isnt youtube.  *cough* Voldermort *cough*  *giggle*  As its Brooklyn shouldnt it be served in a jam jar?  Or as it is called over there a mason jar?

Have you ever looked at {The Crazy Jewish Mom}, instagram?  That has made me laugh a lot.  Anyone with foreign parents or grandparents will really get a kick from it.  Marriage into a good family with a Husband with a degree from a prestigious university is wished for, for all daughters from their first breath.


For the Read A Long this month we are reading Lolita.  We will be blogging and discussing it on the 21st January, to give anyone time time to finish it and join in.  The next book is Mansfield Park.  Feel free to join in any book you like and not when you dont fancy the book.

Now how to work out, how to take that pesky poll down from the side bar...  Off to look now...

Monday, 16 January 2017

Start of a new week and a small confession

This is Devon not Cardiff but it is the only picture of the sea I could find!

With Brexit and everything else going on, I am seriously cheered to read things about the Tidal Lagoon that is too be built in Cardiff.  You can read about it {here}.  This makes me seriously happy that we as Brits are starting to look to the future and securing our own energy from the huge natural resource that is our tidal seas and estuaries.  Lets hope that they think about making more than the ones that are already earmarked.  There are also deep basins in Devon and Cornwall. They could both do with the economic boost of the jobs.

Hooray, I say.  

To be politically independent you have to be economically independent. 
To be economically independent you have to be energy independent.


p.s. I am glad I moved some investments out of cash funds (that were giving a poor return), and into bonds and something I said I would never do, and invested in Tobacco, to bring the portfolio back into being more rounded.  I know you have probably just shaken your head at that.  I know, I am disappointed in myself.  It is for a short time only, until the PM sorts herself out and gives us a real plan of what is going to happen.  As it is, the markets are hugely volatile at present, before her statement this week, concerning Brexit.  (I have a huge list of companies i.e. Nestle etc that I will not invest in.  Along with anything that harms anyone or animals.  This did include tobacco.  I feel this erosion greatly.  And will remedy this as quickly as possible as it makes me feel very uneasy).  Why am I telling you this?  Well you have to keep it real dont you.  Its not all fairies and unicorns and pretty interiors.  Hard choices have to be made and some really go against the grain.  

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Green Goddess



My pedometer that came free years ago with a box of cereal (special K I think), broke.  The belt clip made of plastic, finally snapped, came free of my belt and hit the flag stones at work.  Smashed into about 20 pieces.  

One of the cleaners raced to help me pick up the bits.  She laughed when helping, "This thing is ancient.  Nearly as old as me!!!", (she is 67 and spritely).  "Look at this", she said.  "I can change the wristbands and when I go home it tells me my heart rate and calories used in the day".  Gleefully swishing her wrist around to show that it didnt fall off.  "You need to get with this century".

As you can tell by my blog, I am not up on all of the latest gadgets and gizmos.  I am missing peoples new blog posts as Blogger has changed the format and I forget to scroll down to click on the link, where before I didnt need to.  It would seem I am rather set in my ways and like things that I like.

Now I am unable to ride my bike and I am looking down the slope towards 40, I need even more to be on top of exercise and health.  Do you have a Fitbit?  Or something similar?  Are they worth it?  I dont want something that I wear for 2 weeks and then put into a drawer.  Would I be better getting another pedometer?

Thoughts please in the comments, I look forward to reading them.

p.s. I ate half a packet of ginger biscuits for breakfast.  Not having a kitchen is going to adversely affect my food in take.  I normally make overnight oats with almond milk.  No fridge and soot still in the air means I dont want to make it...  I think I am going to get some porridge and bring it to work.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Well Hello There



Over Christmas we had this cutie come and stay with us.  She is a Tibetan Terrier.  Look at those long black swooshes at her eyes.  Those are her eye lashes!  For real!!!!  I wish they were mine.



Carrying on with the cute, Marta above and Eric below.  All together now.... awwwwww.


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Just when you thought you...

Just when you thought you could go back into the water kitchen.


I'm gonna need a bigger vacuum...

Not plain sailing here.  Nope not at all.  There was a moment last night at about 10.30, that I felt a wobble and the tears nearly fell.

We went out whilst all of the banging and crashing was happening as Eric is nervous of the noise and why put him through it.,.?  Plus we dont want the puppy to start copying him.  We came back around 3.30 after being out since 10.  I just wanted to sit down.  

The builders heard us coming and met us in the porch.  The looked like chimney sweeps or coal miners.


My first thought was that the ceilings had collapsed.

Then the showed us the skip and the old boiler that the previous owners had blown up, years ago.  Soot every where.  All over the driveway (remember it was getting dark at this time so not a lot of light and we dont have street lights).  Yep, in the light of day, its a mess, we need to get the jet wash on it.



This is what we started with.

It looks ok (ish) from a distance.  The brickwork went to the ceiling around the oven cupboards.  We had to taken it down this far, when they took the roof off in June and it thundered and rained for nearly 2 weeks flat.  As you can see their is a new ceiling as the other one fell down when the water was flowing down the walls and in front of the patio doors.

The roof looked like this



It rained inside 


A paddling pool which kept filling up
water was pouring over the electric box hidden in the cupboard

Above is the fiend where all the soot came from.  You can see they even had a new motor/engine put it, to try and fix it.  What they really needed was a chimney sweep.  The tube going into the wall goes into our dining room chimney breast.  Yep you can see where this is going cant you.

The took the tube out, and 40 years of oil heating soot and dirt came flying out!

EVERYWHERE.

From 4pm until 10.30 at night I cleaned this room and the hall.  Remember yesterday when I said we didnt have carpets put on the stairs or landing or the wood on the floor in the hall...  Because of the dirt.  Yep, am I pleased we didnt do that.  See where the 2 holes in the walls that are filled with the spray foam?  That is how they stopped more of it pouring out.


All the plaster has had to be knocked off the wall with the windows as it was all damp.  The pipes need moving for the dish washer and washing machine.  


Here are some shots of all the wall paper we found, all hidden by cupboards.




Every surface in the house is disgusting.  I rushed out and bought 6 mop heads.  The vacuum has been going constantly.  I started again at 5 am, as I waited for the lights to come on in the house behind and beside us.


This is a quick wipe of the arm of the leather sofa.  Am I glad I have leather now?  Yep.  Sure I am.

Very stressed out.  But coping is the way I will describe it today.  Add to this, the builder hasnt arrived yet and it is 10am.  Tardiness ticks me off more than anything else in the world.

I have boiled the kettle in the lounge about 6 times.  I touch something, it is filthy, I then have to clean something else.  I still havent had a drink.  A mouth like Ghandi's flip flop right now.

The dogs are filthy also.  That is a battle of wills waiting to happen.  There will be shaking, Eric, tears me.  Yep, not a good start to the kitchen renovation.  Remind me again, why we do this?

This house is breaking me slowly.  I can not wait for that for sale sign to go up.

How are you?  You up to anything nice?  Take my mind off of it!  Please!  Tell me something lovely.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Kitchen

Not my kitchen, but this gives you an idea of what it is like

Good Morning!  How are we all?  This year has been off to a better start than last year for sure.  Which is a huge sigh of relief.

The builders have arrived to smash out the old kitchen.  Add new wiring... replaster, tile the floor, make the kitchen units...  You get the picture I am sure.  Again we are reduced to living in one room on the ground floor and its paper plates I am afraid.  It is only 2 weeks.  We can do 2 weeks. 

The dogs are getting used to work men again. The pup loves all of them and stands there wagging her tail, basking in the attention.  

The new kitchen is going to look very Scandi, I think that is the style.  A bit country, a bit Scandi.  I havent a real idea of how it will look until it is done.  We will see.  I chose it all so long ago I cant remember.  I have since had the roof raised and the interior of upstairs completed (nearly completed, no carpets as I wanted the kitchen finished first due to dirt).

In other news.

I went to the supermarket the other day, where a lady with a long cashmere coat and what looked like a fox fur hat, was in the vegetables aisle.  She had really bad body language and was near shouting at the young girl who was pushing one of those funny trolley/cart things with all the drawers which I think it online delivery shopping (?).  She was really in her face, it went something like this

Woman "All of this is Spanish brocolli.  Spanish, all of it.  What is wrong with British.  Where is the British????  You people are the reason we have so many problems..."

The girl was red in the face and was maybe 17 or 18.  She stammered to answer her, "We only have what is out in the aisle...."

The woman stepped into her face and near shreiked, "I will have to go to Waitrose, they know how to treat their customers", jabbing her finger at her.  "I am going to report you!  Whats your name?".

At this I had to say something.  I drew myself up to my tallest, "Excuse me", I said.  "As you can tell by needing a coat - it is winter.  It isnt the season for brocolli.  That is at its earliest around March.  Come back then".

She glarred at me.  Towering over me.  "Clever clogs", she said.

"Yes I am", I replied.  

I hate that people think it is OK to treat people in service industry so badly.  That girl is somebodies child.  I wonder how she would feel if someone treated their child in the manner she did?

Do as you would be done by, is a phrase I like to live by.

Be kind, my lovelies.

p.s. When the woman left the area, another staff member came over and thanked me for saying something.  She said they have to just stand there and take it.