Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Now We Are One

This week my blog and I turn one year old.  Well, clearly I am slightly older than one, but as a blogger I am one year old and have loved every single moment spent sharing our adventures with you.  I must say a big thank you to Maya, Vicky, Lynda, Rowan and Claire for your kind comments and warm wishes, they mean a lot and it is a joy to discover I am actually writing to real people and not just figments of my imagination!  I appreciate every word.

The knowledge of my blog turning one brings with it the realisation that it is almost November and therefore Christmas is hurtling down the track towards us.  Eek!  I had forgotten about it with moving house and all.  Time to get back to reality and get organised.  The best kind of kick-start for that is a visit to a garden centre laden with Christmas decorations.  Yay!

I didn't take any pictures of the actual Christmas trees as I thought it is maybe a tad too early for the full on C-thing, and it gives me a good excuse to go back again in December for the purpose!  We found some really pretty mugs that would be gorgeous to use for post winter walk hot chocolate and marshmallows.  What do you think?  They weren't too expensive either, so I may ask Santa for one.

 We must have one of these signs in the garden so that Santa remembers to call at our house.  We have had two over the years but both eventually succumbed to being chewed by the dog or being accidentally trodden on by the postman when covered in snow.

Christmas aside for a little while, I was keen to have a look at the plants.  That is, after all what a garden centre is for.  We have quite a good sized plot attached to our tiny house and most of it has been cultivated over the years.  At first glance it looks like a giant patch of weeds, but among the pink campion there are such things as geraniums, nicotiana, campanulas, aquiligias and violas bravely battling for light and space.  There was a large vegetable garden by the hedge once upon a time and the soil there remains dark and friable.  It would be a silly woman who chose to have her vegetable plot elsewhere!

Having found my garden twine this morning, we can now go about marking out the area and then dig and weed over the winter.  Behind the hedge there is a surprise...Ready?

Yes I know, it is a bit of a mess.  I'm slightly bothered that once we start moving stuff about there will be the scuttling of a thousand tiny feet as rodents of all shapes and sizes will dart from cover to make their escape.  The discovery of a rat trap hanging up in the garage has done nothing to quell those fears.  But back to the garden centre, where rats and mice do not exist, at least not where we can see them anyway.

Next year, instead of weeds, my garden will be full of jewels like this glowing rudbekia.  Love these, but have never grown them.  I am a huge fan of growing from seed as you get far more for your money and you feel a real love and connection with the plants you have nurtured from a tiny dry seed.  The pride and pleasure I get from seeing my garden blooming with flowers, herbs and vegetables that I have grown myself, far outweighs the extra effort and time taken to produce them.  So a delightful hour was spent searching for seed catalogues on-line to whet my appetite.  I ordered four and three came this week.

The trouble is of course, I will probably start off with an order worth about a thousand pounds before I whittle it down to around twenty!  Ah well, we can dream.  If my brain were a pie chart it would be largely taken up with thoughts of Christmas: presents, food, decorations and gardens: flowers, herbs, fruit and veg.  The remaining 2% would consist of boring things like sorting out changes of address, paying bills and ringing people up.

The days are turning colder and the nights are drawing in since we have turned the clocks back.  It is a real pleasure to close the curtains, light the fire and snuggle down with the children and dogs.  This week the wind has blown hard and the rain has hammered down, but apart from a few flooded lanes, we have been safe and warm.  Yesterday though, we discovered the gas bottle connections were leaking.  They had to be turned off and so we have had no hot water, heating or gas stove for the last 24 hours.  Fortunately I found my old electric kettle in a box in the garage, so we have at least been able to drink tea!  We can use the oven too as that is electric, but no fire in the evenings.  Hopefully it won't be too long before it is fixed and we can get cosy again.

The light is fading now and the dogs are looking hopeful, so we had better pull on our wellies and coats and head down the lane for a long walk.  If we don't, we will have two dogs pacing about all evening and driving us mad.

Have a cosy evening and thank you for reading. xxx

Friday, 25 October 2013

Home Sweet Home!

We've done it!  Three weeks ago exactly three van loads of belongings, two dogs, one bird, one fish, three children and their slightly strung-out mother, said goodbye to a lovely windswept cottage and trundled down miles of windy lanes to a tiny house nestled on the edge of a five acre woodland.  This is home, at last and hopefully for years to come.  

The first week was frantic to say the least.  I unpacked almost everything within 3 days, then spent the next week and a half feeling rather poorly.  Migraines set in and refused to leave.  I think it was a bit of tension release after all the weeks of hard work and the stress of wrapping up one life and having to start again in a new location.  Moving house is lovely, exciting and dreadful all at the same time.  I do not want to do it again for a very long time!  This week has been better.  I am beginning to regain my enthusiasm and love for life and things are slowly coming together as the list of things to do finally gets shorter.  This evening I baked a tray of fruity flapjack.  The rain hammered down outside, the children settled down in the lounge and it felt like home.  Later when the rain stopped, I took my camera and walked up the lane to look at the sky.  Worth it, too.

The house is tucked away on the edge of a small wood that belongs to our only neighbour.  We are surrounded by birds and wildlife and wake to the sound of an owl hooting gently in the trees.  We love it here.  I love being able to clean the entire house in an hour and having real central heating and a very efficient fire!  We are so warm and cosy and are really starting to feel at home.

  We are still lacking a few things;  our dining table and chairs had to go as they were so big they would have taken up the entire kitchen, so we have been eating our meals sitting on camping chairs.  Not very comfortable or good for the digestion, to say the least.  I have been looking out for a second hand dining set for a couple of weeks but to no avail.  In the end I purchased a flat-pack table and chairs, not brilliant but the best I could afford and it will look good in our kitchen.  H2 and I tried to put it together yesterday.  It says on the instructions that it is a two man job.  I think that literally means two men complete with an impressive tool kit and not a clueless woman, her 11 year old son and a tiny screwdriver.  The pain that the wrong tool for the job can induce on soft hands is no body's business.  How we suffered for half and hour before I threw down my screwdriver in defeat and rang my dad!  I bemoaned the fact that I should have a man to do this for me among other horrid jobs that no woman should ever have to tax her brain and body with and whined on a bit about how hard it is for a single woman to cope, blah blah.  He replied that I need a man who knows what he's doing, I said I know but I don't have one.  He quietly said, What about me?  Oh bless him.  I didn't like to ask but was so grateful he offered.  As it turned out, dad had to take it home with him to do in his shed with proper tools and kit that men happen to have and know about.  H2 and I would have struggled big time to put it together on the lounge floor.  Dad is still working on it but mum said it's going well and looking good.  Can't wait!

 See?  Small kitchen, but I love it anyway.  It is full of sunshine almost all day long and feels warm and cheerful.  Do you want to see the lounge?  OK then.

 I took this picture the day after we moved in, so things have tidied up a bit since then.  I am the proud owner of three generations of Famous Five books; my mum's, mine and Pea's. All of my childhood memories are punctuated with images of Enid Blyton books, the Famous Five being my absolute favourites.  Mum was as addicted to them as I was and Pea, in turn became hooked too! The book cases are full up and there isn't a lot of storage space here, so I needed to have them out somewhere.  In the end I decided to put them in two piles, like book ends, on each end of the mantle piece.  I placed one of my candles on each pile which I think looks quite nice but also scents the room.  I'm really pleased with the result and the books get to be seen rather than hidden away in a cupboard.

The weird pattern on the wall is actually the shadow of the trees outside and not dodgy wallpaper!

So, three hectic weeks later, we are settling into our new way of life and half term has come at just the right time.  We are so ready for a holiday and some time to take things slower and enjoy what we have here.  I am hoping to spend a bit of time clearing up in the poly tunnel this week and have ordered lots of gorgeous seed catalogues to whet our appetites.  There is plenty to look forward to and get excited about.  Oh, and I have been writing my blog for a whole year now.  I have had over 9000 visits from people all over the world, so thank you for reading and I hope you will enjoy our new home along with us.

Have a great weekend, see you all soon. xxx