Monday, 21 November 2011

Three rooms....

Having just resurfaced and gasping for air after the last week of MOVING IN, I have found my way back to the shed where the computer still sits amid the debris left behind. It's like a bombsite out here - and do we care? No! Cos we are smugly warm, dry and safe inside a real house with windows, heating, flushing toilets and even a carpet in the bedroom. Living in a wooden shed has definitely lost it's appeal since summer ended.

We woke up on our first morning in the house, stepped casually into the shower and stumbled downstairs for rayburn-cooked porridge. The morning was golden. God was smiling and I felt tearful with relief to finally be HOME. The last few weeks have brought to mind images of being on a long sea voyage, and at last spotting the harbour of home in the distance getting slowly closer. The sea has sometimes been stormy, sometimes calm since we sold the Chapel two and a half years ago, stayed with my wonderful parents, travelled to China, lived in Wales, and finally spent the last 8 months here at Pengotton - nearly home but not quite. Ironically, we bought this place at auction on 17th November 2009, and moved in on 17th Nov 2011 - 2 years to the day!

(Can you tell we're exhausted from behind?)

The house is far from finished. To get in before winter, we set the goal of finishing three rooms - the bedroom, the shower room... (with shower now fixed and raised above Ian's head.... and even a loo roll holder fixed to the wall...)and the pantry - my favourite room so far (why are we even having a kitchen?)....Somewhere clean to sleep, wash and keep food - surely the basics of life.

Every detail has a story - a cupboard made by a friend, slate windowsills from Cornwall, oak from Lankelly, Sidbrook and Wales, loos and sinks from a neighbour - and the marble worktops......say no more!

The stress when things go wrong (at least once a week) has been relieved by lots of small miracles. The shower problem (see earlier blog) was solved when Ian happened to find just the right bit of pipe in a box of taps we had been given - he was astounded when it fitted the shower head so we didn't have to buy another one.

So what's next ..... I think three more rooms by Christmas - the two back bedrooms (gotta make somewhere for K&P to sleep!) and the kitchen (to carve the turkey). The kitchen cupboards arrive this Thursday (I hope) so all we've got to do is sort out worktops, sinks and appliances and then fit it. The lovely stone floor was laid last week and most of the painting has been done.

The rayburn has not gone out since it was plumbed in a few weeks ago. The log pile is diminishing frighteningly fast but I am glad to say I have barely cooked a meal since it was first lit. It is the love of Ian's life and he has already tried out bread making, home made pizza, yogurt in the bottom oven, and drying fruit... as well as real food. I'm praying the novelty never wears off ;0


Monday, 17 October 2011

House update.....

We're on the downhill slope....maybe a rather slippery sub-zero slope if we listen to the weather forecasters.....but within 3 or 4 weeks we should be MOVING IN to the upstairs rooms of the house. This is good news as shed-dwelling is losing its appeal with the prospect of winter ahead.

So what's changed? Upstairs we've done a fair amount of painting - most colours have been chosen - that's not to say they won't be changed but they look good for now. Downstairs is slower but almost plastered and some walls painted.

The lights upstairs have fittings...... (well some of them anyway)

The bedrooms all have power points, radiators and skirting boards...
The stairs have got bannisters and the walls have paint....

The bathrooms have taps, showers, tiles, sinks and loos, not to mention a rather large bath....

Okay, so I got a bit carried away with the bathroom catalogue shots.....but if you take a step back you can see the true story....
The plumber had a bad day last Monday (and so did I) - the shower has been put in too low unless Ian shrinks in the next few weeks, he broke a tile in the process, had to hack a hole in the newly plastered wall to fix on a towel rail, and couldn't work out how to fix down the bath. I ended up ringing the technical support of the bath-world who suggested very strong glue! hmmmmm.
I'm sure all will be resolved in due course. Downstairs meanwhile, the plasterers finished the lounge today, and the kitchen floor tiles have arrived - with several broken in pieces! The electrician is doing a mammoth job getting the electrical spaghetti organised into a meaningful fuse board so we can one day turn on those lovely lights and power points.
Outside, we have been tidying up the veg patch for winter and getting in a few broad beans and onions. The geese have settled in nicely - they have taken up residence under the apple tree - it's quite amusing to see them fighting Barney for the odd windfall. The chickens are confined to their run in disgrace having scratched up the newly sown grass seed. The lawn is mostly green but I have been madly patching and sowing before the weather gets too cold. I can't believe I've actually been watering the seed in october due to lack of rain....

Both our jobs are continuing, now Ian has started with Cornwall Farmers - and we both feel relieved to be out and away from building and decision making at home for a bit. In spare time we've enjoyed making apple juice with some of our neighbours, and filling the freezer with raspberries and tomato sauces from the garden. The yellow courgettes have been so prolific we can hardly bear the sight of them! There's nothing more therapeutic than growing veg and making a garden beautiful.

Monday, 10 October 2011

A beautiful weekend...

God blessed us richly last weekend - with hot sunshine, lovely people, pancakes, apple juice, fun and laughter, galaxies in the clear night sky, and even a shooting star!

God's ground.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

My off-white universe....

It's time we updated the blog on the INSIDE of the house. It's all too easy to get carried away with the garden, walls, veggies etc but the REAL show Must Go On, or we'll still be living in this shed in 2012.

The last couple of weeks have seen loads of progress, with plasterers working their way round the house, closely followed by Ian (and sometimes me) with the paint roller, sprayer or brush. UFH (underfloor heating) and floor screed are all down so now we're just 'finishing off'....

This is a challenging time for me. Not the most decisive person at the best of times, I am even driving myself up the proverbial off-white wall.

Whether to have Lichen or Skimming Stone on the woodwork, or White Mist, Elephants Breath or Churlish Green on a feature wall is only just the beginning. What about mosaics in the shower, but do they match the travertine on the floor (incidentally when buying stone tiles they are a fraction of the price if you buy them on line...) and how far up the wall do the tiles go?? Do you HAVE to have tiles behind the loo? Does the freestanding bath HAVE to have freestanding taps, how thick is the acrylic it's made from and will it wobble when you get in?

Do we really care? I suspect once I'm ensconced up to my neck in bubbles, red wine in one hand and book in the other, I won't even notice that the off white wall is a different off-white to the ceiling.

Actually, it's positively thrilling to see the finished colour on the bedroom walls. "Blackened", a cool version of - yup - off-white, conjures up images of sunny mornings, breeze gently blowing the soft white curtains whilst lounging, coffee in hand, gazing at the distant views.... Reality quickly kicks in however as the rain drums on the shed roof, and for the first time this evening I could see my own breath in the air.

Credit where credit is due - it is truly a joy to watch this man, Andy, plastering our walls - it is as smooth as a baby's bottom when he's finished. He's even managed to round off the edges to make some bits look 'old'.

And I think I'm in love with Kevin the carpenter. He's here every day, fixing everything, making it all fit together like a big jigsaw, and most important, being NICE at the same time despite having a bad back. Here he is putting plasterboard on the kitchen ceiling.

And here are the stairs which he's now put in. They fit perfectly much to my relief, despite having to cut off a piece of oak beam to get them in.
Since the last-but-one post we are pleased to say we have now ordered a kitchen. It is hilarious really - it's the same one we ordered a year ago and cancelled two days later. We've only been through 5 or 6 other kitchen firms since then. Classic. Roll on those happy days of filling the dishwasher and scrubbing out the sink.