My car went into the garage for something car-related this morning – the garage is in Leyburn proper, about a mile away, and this is the walk back to our house. Perhaps this is actually what we moved for…
There’s an old arch thing getting in the way, so I propped it up against the kitchen window while I did other gardening things. I needed somewhere to hang the bird feeders while I moved the bird table, so I hung them on the arch thing. Went indoors for a cup of tea, and the birds were very happily feeding 4 inches from the glass. So I left everything where it was, old arch thing and all. I saw a bullfinch for a minute the other day. This is all brilliant.
so I took my courage in both hands and lit the stove. No dramas, no chimney fire, all good. It’s probably the oldest thing in the house, and is the only thing that worked first time. I’m blacking it today, and cleaning the glass and hearth tiles. More pictures when it’s done. We need a fire surround to tide us over (everything is just to tide us over – I wonder how much of this tiding over will still be in evidence when they carry us out (in either box or straight jacket)).
I takes just over an hour to get to Kate in Sheffield. I can pop down, or she can pop up. It’s marvellous. So it was Bundle’s birthday party on Sunday, and I just popped down – rather more slowly than usual since I had the cake in the boot. We had a lovely time. Only one Elsa this year – but Frozen II is coming, so next year will mean a complete new wardrobe for these little girls.
which makes me very happy.
Then I lost it with the ghastly dogs in the downstairs loo… A fingernail under the edge of the wallpaper led to ripping the whole lot off. The wall underneath is neither flat nor square, but the new wallpaper covered that multitude of sins. So that’s another job done for the time being.
Having decided that the kitchen was unbearable, even just pro tem (cold, dark, depressing…), I then panicked and chose a colour. Not too bad in the end, brighter, cleaner, and much more liveable until the roof is fixed and we feel confident about doing permanent things to the house under the roof (as it were). Anyway, we like it. Nothing we can do about the dazzlingly blue sparkly granite tops without getting into rebuilding – and they don’t look quite so bad against the green (it says here). And in the last picture you can see, on the wall, my tea towel. Many, many tears were shed when the post lady delivered it. What a lovely, lovely, delightful surprise! I framed it instantly, and hung it where I see it hundreds of times every day. Brilliant.
So the floor was the main thing, and I got the one smaller room done:
Andrew and his golfing pals from Burnham decided last year (when it looked like we would be lucky to move within the century) to go on a 7 days 8 nights holiday to the Lake District – the Finest Peaks and Best Valleys (or something). Tony and Geoff had never really done big mountains, and Andrew was keen to spend time somewhere higher than our beloved Dartmoor (which is lovely, but a bit vertically undemanding). Anyway – we moved, so the whole staying in B and Bs and getting luggage sherpa-driven between stops became a bit pointless – but they’d paid for it, so I drove them the hour and a half to Ambleside (!) and came back via the paintbrush shop.
But on the way back I discovered a little family of Belted Galloways, which put me in mind of Tim and Julia. I wondered if I rang them and explained that you get Galloways all over the shop up here they might just upstakes and join us. Just a thought.
Which I dismissed as daft, but heartwarming, and came home to begin the de-blueing of the kitchen. While the cat’s away, that’s he best time to make a huge mess. So I did.
We can step out of the door and walk to eight or nine pubs – we’re doing them one at a time. Tonight was the White Swan in Middleham, and this is the walk back home… Trust me, we do know we are the luckiest people on the planet.
The tiles are going to be a tad thinner, I think, with the amount of scrubbing – but small progress is being made. The cleaner stinks and the sealer stinks, but all the doors are open so the hallucinations are only fleeting…
British Telecom has overcome its reticence and we now have wires to the outside world. They’re a bit thin, and a bit slow and weedy, but no matter. We are connected.
Thank you all for your cards and gifts! (There have been a few tears – it’s easy to be brave and careless before the event. It’s all real now).
All the old email addresses are the same.
I posted some pictures, as promised – starting at the bottom of the page and working up.
It is really wonderful – regardless of the leaky roof and lack of kitchen, the filthy tiles and the weird wallpaper, the artisans who say they’re coming and never turn up – it’s just wonderful. The weather has helped – snow which only stayed long enough to look gorgeous, and then sunshine with the odd shower. I watered the garden yesterday.
We’re finding our way around pretty well – we sort of knew it before from walking, but it’s not like being here. Little independent shops are brilliant, but have odd opening hours, and close for lunch. The recycling centre closes on a Wednesday. I have turned up there THREE TIMES now on a Wednesday.
The drive to Northallerton on a Monday morning to take Andrew to the station is (at this time of year, at least, because it’s already light at 5.30 and the weather is clement) gorgeous. I must remind myself of that when it’s pitch black and freezing and we can’t see the hills and dales.
The bird life is great – curlews and oyster catchers wake us up, barn owls sing us to sleep. I hadn’t expected waders, but the river has boggy bits and shale banks and they feed there. We hear a kingfisher, but haven’t seen it yet. The usual suspects come to the feeders, with the addition of siskins. There’s a little waterfall affair which empties into the little pond in the garden, and the birds come morning and evening to drink and have a bath. It is impossible to work under these conditions. Hopeless. We find ourselves gazing out of the window – twitching while the house falls down.
Most important though, is that both Kate and Molly are happy now that we’re finally here. They love the place, it’s safe for the children, it’s just down the road should either of them need us. I think we did the right thing.
Enough twaddle. More pictures another day should anyone be interested. Meanwhile the email now works, so communication can happen again!
A bit gloomy today, which is a shame, but since I have to change the door handles it’s no bad thing. (The last occupier took all the spindles (as well as all the light fittings – he left bare wires in the walls and ceilings), so if a door shuts, it stays shut, even if there is a person inside trying to get out). So far we’ve only had entrapment when there’s been someone around to fetch a screwdriver, but enough is enough, and today is the day I do the replacement. It has to be, really, because I closed the door on the ironing (like I always have done – out of sight, out of mind) and now we have nothing to wear.
The weather has been amazing, so even though I should be indoors ticking things off the list, I somehow found myself digging over the vegetable patch. We don’t even like runner beans.
A bit difficult to see, but these are the tiles in the dining room. And the whitish corner at the bottom is the tile I cleaned yesterday. That’s a bit sad for me. The people before us had dogs, and never cleaned the floor, apparently. So, one tile at a time (sealed as I go) – this will be a good job for wet days, or days when I’ve nothing better to do.
We went to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. We walked 6 miles. We hadn’t intended to, obviously, but she just kept wanting to see a bit more… We wanted her to walk with one of my Leki poles, but she won’t have it. Thinks people will think she’s old and infirm. (Instead of 96 and stubborn as a mule). She is a bit of a phenomenon. And the day after that she weeded one of the beds for us. She looks and sounds so much happier just in these few weeks. I think knowing that she can be here once or twice a fortnight, that we’re only down the road, that we cared enough to do it – well, I think it’s made a difference.
Everywhere you go there are limestone falls, like these in Bainbridge.
Not really – but it took longer to demolish Bundle’s old bed than to build the new one. Unlike IKEA stuff, built with screws and cams, this old thing was held together with a million nails and staples. The cats helped. Which helped.
But almost prettier with the thaw – the snow stayed on the tops for a week. We went walking in it. Magic.
Within a week we had a fall of snow. We couldn’t believe our luck. It was beautiful.
That’s the British Gas man – thank heavens for Homecare. We have switches, but can’t find what they turn on. We have lights, but no idea how to make them go. We have wires and more wires. So when I needed a hand to test my improvements, the Gas man came. He nearly didn’t get home again – another 4 inches of snow fell while we were frabbing about. But there are more lights now, although there are still mystery switches…
Also in this pic please notice the desperate colour scheme. After the roof, the kitchen is the next job on the list. We have no oven, just the combo microwave and a one ring induction thingy. We are managing quite well – it’s a bit like camping.
They come to mop up under the bird feeder.
Our first walk – out of the door and onto the hills.
Happy cats – they now bring home baby rabbits. Half-eaten, you understand, so as to leave the other half for us.
First things first. Monty began the thankless task of mowing the moss. There is no lawn. Just moss. Still, it’s beautifully manicured moss now.
(We didn’t burn the boxes – they got made down flat, to be used as building blocks at Bundle’s 5th birthday party in May. We just incinerated the paper. Made an awful mess).
The recycling men don’t take the stuff we were spoiled with in Somerset. This bonfire was before we realised we have a lovely little recycling centre just the other side of Leyburn (a mile, maybe), where they take everything except tetra packaging. But you can take your tetra packs to the car park in the town and there’s a special bin. One is Richmondshire, one is North Yorkshire. These things matter.
How on earth had we missed this? Not only dogs on the paper, but the smell of dog IN the flock paper. And on the back of the door a sticker exhorting us to end the ban on fox-hunting. This is number 5 on my list of things to be done before Christmas…
The lads from Yeates got us here in exactly the right number of pieces.