Monday, October 26, 2015

Not quite such an expensive weekend

Just as well, really.  The credit card and current account cards are still reeling from the pasting they got last weekend!  And in fact we spent very little, really.  A quick trip to the supermarket and to the petrol station to feed the car.

Aside from that it was a fairly quiet weekend.  Yet again, I didn't get done all the things I had hoped to do.  The weekends are simply never quite long enough :-(  But we have made a start on tidying up the spare room, now that The Builder has finished decorating it.  We have bought it some new curtains, and I'm in the process of putting some "sticker" tiles on the wardrobe doors.  Alas, two I put on the bottom door on the left are very wonky and I fear will have to come off and be replaced.  I have an uneasy feeling that this is going to take the paint off as well.  However, we can't leave them looking wonky!  I shall do better with the other doors.  The plan is to start on our room once we have made the spare room habitable again.  Then the lounge room needs re-plastering and painting and that's the house pretty much done.  Well, apart from sprucing up the bathroom and maybe considering the cellar and the porch.

We are very much enjoying our new fire place.  It's remarkably effective in heating the lounge room and the upstairs. The central heating is only on now for a couple of hours in the morning, when we get up. Then we light the fire when I get home from work in the evenings.  I'm not sure what we'll do when winter really sets in. We don't want the cat to go mouldy or The Builder to freeze in the snow and ice :-D  We've been getting kiln dried wood from one of the DIY stores, but that will get expensive in the longer term.  So I've ordered some seasoned, dried wood from a local wood merchant.  Much more economical.  We are waiting patiently for it to arrive. Then we can maybe have the fire going during the day in very cold weather.

I have now come to the end of my Three Busy Weeks in October.  In the end they weren't too bad. Daunting when looked at in advance, it's true.  But the classes mostly went well and the students were friendly and amenable and nothing was quite as bad as it looked as though it might be.  Even my Busiest Day of the Year went OK.  So that's done for another year.

My Three Busy Weeks in October are usually the first three weeks of October. Then the last week in October just sort of drifts by.  Then from the start of November the next Three Busy Weeks in October start waving gently at me from the future.  Just occasionally.  Just enough to remind me that they are there.  This year, they can wave all they like. We are in the middle of a huge restructure at work and it seems unlikely that I will be doing these things in this way at these times ever again.  Of course, we don't know what the future will bring, but it will definitely be bringing changes!

Our clocks went back to GMT very early on Sunday morning.  And the Sun Dog rewarded our very early start on Sunday morning with a spectacular Sun Show

Sunrise over Bridge Street

Looking up towards Grassmoor

Monday, October 19, 2015

A VERY Expensive Weekend

18 months or so ago, our lounge room wall looked like this

Then we knocked the mantelpiece down and took down the green tiles and it looked like this

On Friday some men came to visit and relieved us of lots and lots of money. Now it looks like this

It is very beautiful.  And very warm!  Once it gets up and running, it throws out a great deal of heat! It's going to be very cosy indeed when/if it snows.

Marlo is a bit bewildered by it all

But I suspect he will come to love it as winter sets properly in.

On Saturday two different men came and re-rendered the chimney - and relieved us of even more money. There will be very little frivolling for the rest of this month!!

It's interesting, though.  The decorating we've been doing and the new fireplace and various other bits and pieces we've been dabbling with are slowly changing the character of the house.  It's moving from  country cottage to urban town house.  The lounge chairs are beginning to feel slightly out of place!  (We're emphatically not buying new furniture. Not this week, at least!!)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

And time continues to wizz past

... not helped by my cold getting heavier and more unpleasant as the weekend progressed and this week commenced.  I have to say that this is a particularly tenacious virus.  It's been going on for two weeks now and proving to be very reluctant to go away!  In the end I took Monday and Tuesday off work in the hope that sitting in the lounge room with a cat on my knee and drinking tea would encourage the virus to give up and leave.  But it didn't, not really.

Things continue to be busy at work.  Lots of classes to take.  Lots of preparation to do.  The days look a bit daunting at 08:00, but it has to be said that they go past very quickly.  Next week is looking very daunting indeed.  But I have no doubt that it will get around to next Friday afternoon and we will all wonder where the week went.

The poor old house is in a considerable state of disarray.  The Builder has embarked on the decorating of the spare bedroom (where the bed still has the contents of the wardrobes and bookcase draped inelegantly over the top of it).  We had been planning to paint the  floorboards in all the rooms but the state of the floor in the spare room was such that we gave that up as a bad idea.  And we have no reason to suppose that the floors will be any better in any of the other rooms.  I have sourced a supply of cheap, hardy, neutral-coloured carpet which we will buy and get someone to put down for us when all the painting is finished.  The fireplace fitters are coming tomorrow. And someone is coming on Saturday to look at our chimney and give us a quote for re-rendering it.  We had the render removed a year or two ago because it was coming away from the chimney and we didn't want to take out the postman.  The bloke who did that dropped by yesterday and asked if we were intending to have it re-done.  We were, but hadn't got around to it.  Now we have! Or at least, we've got around to having someone look at it. He also wants to paint the side of the house, and it is absolutely true that it could do with freshening up.  But it isn't in the budget so won't be done any time soon.

We do now have a functioning driveway

This is how the drive looked in January after we had had the kerb dropped

Full of rubble and rubbish and stuff

Now all the rubbish has gone and the bins have moved to a newly concreted area by the garden door
It's much easier to get the car in and out now

Friday, October 09, 2015

I'm not sure what happened to the last few days

... but they have certainly vanished!

As Thursday of last week progressed, I became aware that I was developing a slightly sore throat and a mild headache. It's unusual for me to get headaches, even mild ones.  I noted it and carried on.

I woke up on Friday with a bigger headache, a bigger sore throat, a cough and a blocked nose.  This was a bit alarming.  Monday was my busiest day of the year.  I really didn't need to have a cold.

By Sunday I really was not feeling at all well and my voice had all but gone :-S

Monday was horrible. I had a very croaky voice, a very blocked nose, sneezles and wheezles, unpleasant aches and pains - and four one and a half hour classes to take!  Fortunately for me one of my colleagues offered to take the last class of the day so I could go home a little earlier than planned. My voice held out.  Just!

By Tuesday, I was feeling very considerably better, except that by then the sneezles had been replaced by a vigorous cough, and the blocked nose had been replaced with a spectacularly runny nose. And that is how things stand today, although I am probably only using half a box of tissues a day instead of a whole box.

And now The Builder has it too.  We were supposed to be going to visit his mother on Saturday, but figured that we would be Very Unpopular Indeed if we introduced an unpleasant, fluey type cold into a care home full of frail, elderly people!!!  We will go another time.

Apart from that, things have been going quite well.  We were at Bishops' House on Saturday morning and had rather more visitors than usual.  The House was closed in the afternoon for a wedding, so I suppose that would account for some of the extra visitors.  Under normal circumstances, the windows of the House are covered by metal grilles, but when we have special occasions the grilles get taken down.  The House does look beautiful without them. (We can't leave them off all the time - the House is in a public park and left empty for much of the time! And they are too cumbersome to be taking them off and putting them back on after every time we're open.)

On Sunday we went to the garden centre to get a few bits and pieces for the garden, including a shrub and some daisies for the new garden bed which The Under Gardener has prepared where the shed used to be. The plants are not yet in place. I was not in any state to be planting things when we got back, The Under Gardener had other things to do, and it's been raining persistently ever since. I'm hoping to get them in this weekend

Where the shed used to be

The week has shot passed in a blur of workshops, lectures, seminars and coughing fits.  Fortunately, none of the really exciting coughing fits have occurred in any of the aforementioned teaching sessions! I'm quite pleased with how things have gone this week. So far the sessions have worked. And now it is Friday, I have the afternoon off - and an unexpected weekend at home.  I might get a bit of gardening done.  And perhaps a bit of sorting, organising, chucking and tidying of all the stuff that is lying about in an abandoned heap in the front bedroom!!!