Friday 29 May 2015

Under Ground, Over Ground


Off Womble-ing.

Need to find some floor boards at the reclaimation yard or scrap yard.

Wish me luck!

Have a great weekend.

Thursday 28 May 2015

Stig of the Dump

Did you ever read the book, Stig of the dump, as a kid?  I loved that he used all bottles for the windows.  Womble-ing at its finest.

My house is a bit of a dump at the moment.  Brick dust all over, cables hanging out of walls.  This is what it looked like this AM before today's assault.

Enjoy.... lol Get a cuppa this one is a big post for me... lol

Our hall at present.  All the paneling will come off. I am sure in a cabin, like the one we stayed in, in Canada, it is fabulous and helps with insulation.  But here it is just hiding all of the bodged jobs in the house.  

Window and doorway through to the porch, they will be glazed at some point.  The long upright boxes on the right are the blinds for the dining room window.

This will be the dining room.  Look at the state of that carpet.  60's?  What do you think?  Threadbare.  Sticky where it has worn down to the backing.  This was under 4 other layers of carpet.  Why didnt we take it up like the others?  Well it wont actually lift up.  We needs scrappers to remove it.  5 Layers of carpet in one room?  WHAT?  

Electrics are more important right now, than the look of that floor.

Dining room ceiling.  The new cable is in the middle of the room.  And look at the size of that light bulb!!!  (sorry I dont seem to be able to rotate any pictures at the moment).

This will be the downstairs guest bedroom and will be the first room finished.  Carpet really 'Hums', as Jamie Oliver would say, but not in a good way.  Oh for the love of smell 'o' vision.  Oh and they must have lost their temper and punched the door.  Nice hole forming there, in the 70's door.  Its getting some lovely new plug sockets and ceiling light fitting, as I type.

See below.

The previous owners obviously didnt remove their shoes in the house or just threw things on the floor.  Yes, that really is 2 lumps of chewing gum.

And this?  Well I take it they had a dog or a cat who had intestinal problems.  They have tried to get it out.  They failed.

This is the view from that rooms door.  The leylandii are being cut down.  They are breaking the fence and the people next door cant be getting any light into their pool area.  Tomorrow they will be no more.  The tree surgeon is in contact with the council about the walnut tree, so that will live for another month...

And back to the hall carpet that sucks the light out of it.  It makes the space of the hall look really small.  When in fact it is the original bungalows lounge.

There we go.  That is where the renovations are for the moment.

Off to London to learn my new job next week.  Nothing very exciting.  But this house is going to be a bottomless pit into which we throw money for a while.  I have therefore had to go back to project managing to earn some pennies.  

What are you up to?  Are you DIY'ed out after the Bank Holiday weekends in May? 

Sunday 24 May 2015

Blue Skies

Today, so far has been a really good day.  The size of our new lounge now means that when people visit, I dont have to sit on a step stool in the door way.  The lads came around early to tinker with motor bikes and then their girlfriends and wives arrived and we had an early lunch cooked on the gas BBQ.  It is so nice to have people around and have a good laugh, have some lovely squishy snuggles with some babies and some lovely good nattering.

The new roof of the garage is now on.  No leaks so far.  All the garage boxes and workshop things have now moved out of the house.  HALLELUYAH!  I now dont have to do an obstacle course to get to the kitchen.  

No truck can get on to our drive as the walnut tree (in the right of this photo), is in the way.  There is also a huge crack through the middle.  All needs sorting.  It is already on the list.

What is on the works agenda this week?  Well we are having the down stairs rewired.  A lot more plug sockets added.  Hopefully this will get rid of the very dark swirly flower carpet in the hall that with the sauna pine planks on the wall, make the walls come in on you and eat all of the light in the area (no windows). The hall floor will be taken up to run cables.  'Be gone carpet, I banish Thee!'

And then the kitchen designer will be here at the end of the week.  The oil heating has blown my freestanding kitchen out of all of the plans and I now have to have Ikea or that ilk.  Boo hiss!  But we need to be warm and have hot water.

The new architect is coming one evening.  Although I think we are going with a friend of a friend.  Lets see how that goes.

Hope your having a great weekend, I m off to wash lots of plates and the water has just boiled in the kettle.  

p.s. it is raining here, will check the garage for leaks!

Saturday 23 May 2015


Stone tiles for the hearth.

Our new stove will sit on top of them.

We couldnt have the stove I wanted, but the one we have chosen looks good.

Exciting, I cant wait for it to be put in and the pink carpets to come up.

Oh yeah!

Friday 22 May 2015

What is this?

What is this lovely tree?  How pretty is that, there are two of them in the next village.

The trees are about 8 feet tall, the flowers are the width of my thumb nail.

Do you know what it is?  

It seems to still be upright against the awful wind we have had this week, could it be the new tree for the centre of our garden?

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Bang Crash Wallop

The gardens here are overgrown.  Huge leylandii in the front and back garden.  The only one feature I was really hoping to keep was a lovely 9 foot high weeping willow tree in the back garden.  You can see it from the lounge window.

The builder arrived to do the garage roof on Monday, the delivery of all the materials had arrived, a bit of too-ing and fro-ing.  In the end the walnut tree was just too in the way and he left it at the top of the drive.  No probs, the builders were on it the second it came off the lorry.  Everything was going well.  

Then the grey/purple clouds came.  The wind whipped up, then the thunder and the hail came.  


The builders sheltered in the van.


Then there was and almightly crack, a ripping sound, a metallic clang.

The willow tree had blown over, hitting my brand new washing line.

I called the tree surgeon, who has been out to look at our trees to quote to cut them down.  "My willow tree has just blown down".

"Oh right love, has it brought all of its roots out with it?" he asked.

"No, it has hardly any on it it looks like it has snapped below the earth line".

"send me a picture to my email account", and he disconnected.

I emailed the picture and when he came back to me later that night, as he had been on an emergency call out where trees were down in the road.  The email just said.

Too damaged to save.  When we come to do the leylandii, we will take the brush off of it and chop it up for fire wood.

My poor tree.

Fallen over.

Broken off below the soil line.

I think this was a grafted tree.  Look at the knot where all the branches come out.

Such a shame.

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Proud of Myself Moment

MALM Chest of 4 drawers IKEA Smooth running drawers with pull-out stop. If you want to organise inside you can complement with SKUBB box, set of 6.
Drawers from Ikea

Two Sundays ago, the Mr put together not only the Pax system for the porch but he also put together this Malm chest of drawers. 

The Pax system went together so quickly and easily, that he decided to carry on.  High of the flat pack euphoria.  This quickly became Flat Pack Rage (I am sure this is a real thing).

Whilst it was blowing a gale yesterday, and the builders went home (they are fixing the garage and giving it a much needed roof that isnt falling down).  I charged the electric screw driver and put all the drawers together myself.  I stopped at the carcass/surround as it started to get overly complicated and if I did it incorrectly and broke it, that would have been curtains for it, (the Mr completed the last bit when he got home).

I need as much storage as I can get.  There is nothing here in the house, the last 3 houses have had built in wardrobes.  Even the kitchen is falling apart and no amount of youtube watching can make up for water damaged kitchen units.  Not one screw can hold into disintegrating chip board.

I know a lot of people will sneer at Ikea cupboards.  But I am loving them.  Each time something is put together it is another little area of my head that isnt getting crazed by clothes etc being all over the house.

A place for everything and everything in its place.

Ahhh  that's better!

Monday 18 May 2015

Village Life Part 1

I went to the village plant sale the other week, the money raised is going to the school and the school garden.  Whilst there I meet some more people from the village.  They are a mixed bag, but mostly they are retired professionals.  Doctors, Solicitors, Professors, mostly over 75.  There are a few people around our age, who were moaned about as "they go to work, drive into their garage and we never see them".  I dont think it occurs to them that their job could be demanding and they dont want drama, or extra work.

I meet the local vicar.  All very The Vicar of Dibley, dropping huge hints about us going to church.  I smiled where needed.  And another lady said about joining some local womens groups, because they needed some young blood and they are hoping for someone new to breathe fresh life around it all.  

The thing is, I want to just blend in to the back ground of the village.  I dont want to be that involved.  That sounds bad.  I know that.  We just want a quiet life where we buy some plants and speak to one or two of the locals and I hope to find someone my age that maybe would like to start a book club.

Maybe this is why I got the reaction I did at the post box, maybe she is just an old bat.  Who knows.  Its all about balance.  This is all a lot of maybes.

Thanks for all your comments lately.  They are a real tonic.

To show you what I like in gardens, here are a few pictures from our old house (3 houses ago).  It makes me smile and makes me feel happy.  I like a Greek - South of France feel.  Grape vines, pergolas etc.  In the front garden, I am hoping to have lots of terracotta pots and glazed blue ones.  To go with my new blue front door.  I want to come into the drive, and it make me feel happy.  I go to my friends house and her garden always makes me smile.  I want that here.  My own slice of holiday, everyday.  Not just for 2 weeks a year.

Look at all of those lovely leaves to make dolmades with.  Yum

And sweet grapes to eat, by just reaching your hand up when eating dinner out side.  What could be better...

Dappled shade in the summer, light filled in the winter when the leaves have dropped.  Perfection.  And all natural.

Anyone else have grand garden designs in their head?

Sunday 17 May 2015

The Day I Took the Bus

sheldon cooper  - PUT ON YOUR BUS PANTS TODAY germs are everywhere
Picture from HERE

As I am newish to this area, I thought I would take the bus to Cirencester, for fear I would not find a parking spot.  The journey took about 35-40 minutes.  The bus was not as clean as I am used to and did not have free wifi.

Anyways I was enjoying the view, yellow rapseed fields, horses with their heads over gates, lots of little houses that looked like scenes from Larkrise to Candleford.

Two men got on in builders work wear and sat behind me, laughing at pictures on their mobiles.

I felt a tug on my hair when I turned the page on my kindle.  I ignored it.  I turned the next page.  There was the tug again.

I turned and glared at the men, gave them my 'evil eye' look and turned back to my book.  They were both plugged into their phones, probably listening to music and reading face book or something.

The bus carried on, twisting and turning, bumping over the pot holes and onwards to Cirencester.

More people got on to the bus, I moved over and an old man sat down next to me. 

The bus carried on.  I turn the page on my book.  THERE WAS THE TUG AGAIN.

I threw my head around and glared at them and said in a really loud voice, "quit touching my hair!".  Both men looked at each other and then at me.  One held his hands palms out to me, "I didnt touch you!".  Ok, I thought they wont do it again now, turned back to my book.  

About 5 minutes later the bus arrived in Cirencester.  I got off the bus and headed to Blackjack Street.  I met my Friend who is now on maternity leave and her Mother was giving her some 'Me Time'.  I told her about the bus.  "God", she said.  "It makes it so you dont want to use public transport".  

We went to go into a shop to look at some pictures after a cup of tea.  I lifted my arm to push the door open.  I felt a tug on my hair.  I looked at my Friend and rolled my eye.  

"What?" she said.  

"My hair, I know I am vain about it, dont pull it", I said with a sigh, rubbing my scalp where it now hurt.

"I didnt touch it, honest", she replied.

Inside the shop I pulled my bag in front of me, so as to not touch anything valuable.  My hair tugged again, holding fast it really smarted.  I pulled my bag strap over my head, my Friend looked at me like I had bees attacking me.  "My hair is trapped", I whined.

And with that she went around the back of me, "raise your arms above your head!", she demanded.  I was now red in the face as the man behind the counter had been ignoring us, but was obviously thinking we were complete lunatics.

And in one swift move she freed my hair.  It was caught in the arm pit breathing vents of my sailing jacket.

It is now clear that I need to cut my hair, it is nearly to my waist when blow dried straight.

To the men on the bus, I apologise, for shouting at you. I am sorry, I am an idiot.

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Where to Start

This is part of the front garden.  There are 21 roses in here.

I guess a lot of this is weeds.  

I want to rip it all out.  What would you do?

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Whats for dinner?

After nearly 7 weeks not eating meat, the Mr said he would like something meaty and tasty...

I have some beef mince in the freezer so I took to Google.  "what dinner can I make with beef mince?", I asked it.  It brought up thousands of entries about spaghetti.  Le sigh.  Boring.  Then after reading {Dani's post today} about dolmades, I thought what about Greek...  So Pastisio it is, {I will use this recipe}.

Lets see what he thinks of this.  I think we will even try and eat outside.  I studied outside yesterday.  It was lovely.

Tomorrow I am hoping to get to Lidl to buy some of the Greek meze bits that they have on this weeks offer.  

I havent left the house since Saturday.  My Sister offered the advice of joining the local WI.  The last time I tried that I was the youngest there, (in a completely different town).  Everyone else was in their 80's.  I hope with the revival of it all and retro chic that there maybe someone my age or younger.  I am scared of the natives you see.  I spoke to a lady with a little dog at the post box last week and she referred to us as the "incomers" in the bungalow.  My heart sank a little at that.  She also said that someone had told her our names and she thought I was a man.  Thinking my name was short for Solomon.  "Sorry", I said and turned to go.  "I have potatoes on the stove".  I didnt have any potatoes cooking, but I didnt know what to say.  And her parting shot shouted at me was "I hope you are going to do something about that tree".

Beam me up Scotty.

Monday 11 May 2015

Porch pics

Sugar soaping the walls.

The walls look blue here but it is actually more green.  This time I will call it NHS green.  We have repainted in Dulux light and space, the colour is desert wind.  Which to me is light cream.

Hello out there...  Please ignore the stuff on the window sill.

Yum, look at how yellow the ceiling is where the people who lived here before were chain smokers.  Yuck.  So much sugar soaping needed.

Towards the front door.  Hate that door. It is disgusting.  Weirdly the varnish is kind of bubbly/blistered.  Whats with that?  Please ignore the broom, the duster and the cobweb tickle stick.

Blind in to stop anyone from seeing us coming down the stairs at night.  And the start of the Pax, Ikea wardrobe system being put together.

Towards the horrid door.  New mat, please forgive the curtains.  They are there to soften everything at the moment.  (how is it that the lining is lower than the curtain?  I dont understand that.)

I have tried and failed to get this picture to rotate.  You will now have to rotate your laptop, head, or if with a tablet you will have to put it on the floor and then move around until it is the right way up.  Sorry.

The light fitting needs changing.  We need a rug, I havent decided its colour yet and will need new curtains.

So there you go.  I have one room that is tidy.  Rest your eyes on the tidy.  I may sleep in here, its a lot more restful than the rest of the overly patterned and coloured areas.  Not to forget the wood paneling in the hall that makes it really dark.  The electrician has helped a little with that by ripping some of it off already to put in an earth wire.

And calm.   Ohmmmmmmmmm

Sunday 10 May 2015


Well remember that post, where the boys came around and talked us into staying in the old house?  

And now we are in a hovel soon to be lovely bungalow....

You are probably all thinking what?  WHAT?  Well I was thinking that anyways.

Then whilst every one else is moving to a smaller house, getting rid of their mortgage etc and we wanted a house with land...  How the heck did we end up in a really large ugly bungalow, in a village, with no land and it being pretty much a shed...?   Well.. It all happened quicker than I thought it would.

Our old house went on the market again on the Saturday at 3pm, using a different estate agents.  The new estate agents worked their telephoning socks off and called everyone they had on their books looking for a house.  On the following Monday at 11am, the house was sold subject to contract, (this just proves that a new school with an Outstanding Ofsted report can shift your house quick).  The people buying wanted us to move out within 8 weeks.  That kind of accounts for some of this crazy move.

We knew we wanted to not live in a location like the last house and I wanted to stay somewhere a little longer than we normally do.  Maybe even into retirement, (I am chuckling to myself even typing that).  With that in mind it had to be big enough on the ground floor to have a bedroom.  A bungalow obviously fits that bill.  It also had to be in an area where it doesnt flood.  This village is on a hill.

The state of the house is in some ways a bonus to me, although I am bemoaning it now, better to know it all needs replacing than to move in and find everything bodged and you have paid top money.  The rougher it is the more I get to make it mine.  Nothing worse than moving into a house and the previous owners added a new kitchen to sell and it is their taste and you hate it.  But because it is new you cant get rid of it as it is wasted budget.

I have moved so often, that in most of the houses I have learnt more about the way we live, each time we relocated.  

We can cope with a really small bedroom and bathroom, but a galley or a small kitchen, (especially the last house's kitchen) will drive me slowly nuts.  We also dont need a huge dining room, but a larger square lounge and a porch really work for us.  I controversially dont allow shoes in my house.  I know a lot of people think this is really rude of me, but I think it is rude that people would tread dirt into my home and god only knows what you have stood on, or in, with out even noticing.  Makes me retch thinking about it.  So a porch where coats and shoes live, is high on my priorities list.

We have therefore upsized the house to get the features we want.  We have maximised, whilst others are minimising their square metres.  We obviously arent ones to go what everyone else is doing.  (This doesnt mean we will be filling the house with stuff.  We need storage, but very little else.)

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would score a house with a porch so large.  I love this house just for the porch so far, (it is the only room, that doesnt have carpet that stinks like an old cigarette reeking nightclub, doesnt leak or have plaster falling off).

This is for {Dave}... Although I dont have a pavement out side my house, there is one on the other side of the road.  We have some street lights.  I can ride my bike if I want to the next village that has a villagers run shop.  If I am really brave I could go to the larger village that has a Co-op! (circle K for any one in the States). 

I went to Ikea Yesterday.  LOL  Badminton Horse Trials are on.  It could have all gone really wrong, but we got there are 9.30 they open officially at 10am, but they let you in earlier...? We were off to a flying start as there were only about 10 cars already there.  We think we have found the kitchen we want.  A designer is coming to measure and help us make the most of the space.  I really love the whole house in the films Somethings Gotta Give.  Especially the kitchen.  I am hoping to replicate it.

We also bought a huge wardrobe for the porch for all our coats.  Along with a new door mat and a replacement tray for tea (our one was broken in the move), these were not on the list to purchase.  *Impulse buy*.  Altogether in and out of Ikea in less that 1.5 hours.  All being delivered today.

I have ordered a blue door, it is more navy than the blue I wanted.  But it will do.  I have also noticed that even the lamp posts in the village are National Trust green... eek.

The Ikea delivery is here, so I best go.  How is that for service!  Excellent.

P.s. the tray we bought is National Trust green...  LOL

Thursday 7 May 2015


Firstly, thank you everyone who left a comment on my last post concerning the front door colour.  We have asked for it to blue now.  I wanted that in the first place, but was scared that everyone else has National Trust green.... Fingers crossed it looks good.

This house has damp.  We have been sorting the roof, until the builders come to stop anything else coming through up stairs.  We even have a favourite of the 1960's - concrete gutters at the front.  Lots of problems there.
On Wednesday last week we woke to rain pounding on the roof lights.  This was punctuated with sloshing and slopping noises.

We went to investigate the noises outside in my PJ's and my wellies.  Sure enough each drain pipe from the guttering was brimming over the top.  Good thing this house is a bungalow.

We scooped out huge amounts moss and leaves from each one and called it good enough for now.

Roll on Saturday just gone.  More of the above.  Plus a weird gurgle and plopping noise that wasnt coming from the gutters.

The noise was coming from the drains... urgh.  I didnt take a picture to show you.  But a mental image of an inspection pit being about 3-4 feet deep absolutely full.  And holy moly the smell.  I do not know how anyone can work in the sewers.  I was sick in a plant pot.  Not my finest moment.

We have drain rods so Mr went for it.  The noises.  lol  Slurping and rumbling.  Weird.

We also have a jet wash.  Thank goodness for the jet wash.  After 4 hours, the blockage was gone.

Wow wee, not a good start to the bank holiday weekend.  We gave up on the idea of looking for tiles on the Saturday.  Whilst I was unpacking more boxes as I cant find the bin or the toaster, he carried on with more unblocking and tried the down pipe with the drain rods (they had been cleaned...).  Nothing still blocked.   Someone had concreted it into the patio, so it had to be cut off.  Cue some comedy moments when we used an mixture of items to get the crude out...

Still more in there.  It was full to above my head height.  Looks like really good compost, not so good it was in a drain pipe.

When the man comes to replace the roof on the garage, I will ask him to move the drain pipe around the side of the house so you dont bash into it as you open the gate.

We have now ordered a 20m drain attachment and a gutter cleaner for the jet wash.  Hopefully an every 3 months maintenance job, just to make sure all is well.

The To Do List, is huge.  We have managed to buy wall lights for the lounge (John Lewis) and the ceiling light for the bathroom (some place on the internet).

Quotes are coming in now.  Nearly choked when we had a quote for £18k for a new oil boiler and radiators.  I think they forget this is a bungalow not a stately home.  

The patio doors in the kitchen and the lounge are HUGE.  Until we know what we are doing and if we are building an extension between the two, we are having french doors.  then maybe later if they are still in fashion we can have bifold doors.  I need to make the house warm before anything else.

Right then, I think that is enough words...  Onwards to more boxes...

p.s. I want to try and do a car boot with me selling some bits.  Please leave me lots of tips...  Should I price things or just go with the flow.  I do not want to bring anything home.

Tuesday 5 May 2015


Am missing our garden from the last house.  Cherry blossom from the trees in the garden.

and what do I have here?

A lawn full of yarrow... 

On a completely different note.  I need to ask what you all think.  I live in the Cotswolds and every other house in the village has what I call National Trust green as the colour of the doors, windows garages.  See {here to know what I mean}...

I asked a lady who was booming at her dog, what colour her door and windows were when I went to the post box and she said {Chatwell Green}.  This seems to be the colour for all the people who have bothered to tart their houses up.

Do you think we should also have chatwell green?  A black front door, or can I have a blue door and greek blue pots and planters and pretend I dont live in England?

It would be nice to be able to say to trades people, if you cant find the house look for the blue door and gates.  Rather than I will stand out side and wave at you.  Oh and dont try to call from your mobile as there isnt a signal here...

Traditional or blue?  What say you all?  (I heard that saying at the village hall the other day... cooooor it was a corker of a meeting so passionate about a bench for the green)

Edit: Most of the houses in the village look like the house from the film {The Holiday}. My house does not look like that at all it is a 1960's bungalow and has brown cladding boards.  Its ugly.  The cladding is coming off and will be stone to the roof apex.

Saturday 2 May 2015

Friday 1 May 2015

As requested

6 Different types of tiles
Fake sheets of marble plastic board on the left behind the door  
The electric shower doesnt work as the switch/pull cord is above the shower so has blown up because it got wet.
Painted mirror.  
Carpet steps.
Single pane window that has a breeze around the edges.
Oil boil blown up, so no hot water.
And everything stinks of cigarettes.
1st World Problems

Did I miss anything? 

Oh yes, the smoked mirrors above the sink.

The toilet flushes, so its not all bad.


Moved house.

Finding that nothing much works.

Internet does as of yesterday!  Hooray. 

(Sanity saved.)

Watch this space...