Saturday, January 30, 2016

Being Frugal (Not!)

As you know, I am imminently (well, in 9 weeks) about to become unemployed.

As you may have noticed, we are in the process of renovating, decorating and beautifying our house, ready to put it on the market.

You would think this would be an ideal time to take up a life of parsimony, miserliness, frugality, perhaps even extreme austerity.

And you would be right!

So you  probably think that I shouldn't have waved my credit card over the internet and bought two expensive train tickets to Edinburgh (and back), two flights from there to Kirkwall (and back), rented a car for four days, rented a holiday cottage also for four days and bought two Orkney Explorer Passes to some of the historic places in the Orkney Isles?

And again, you would be right.  But I have yearned to go to Skara Brae since its existence first made itself known to me.  There are lots of other neolithic sites and other historic monuments dotted around. The Orkney Islands seemed a great place to go and explore, albeit not exactly easy to get to. You can't, for example, fly directly there from England. You have to first get to Scotland. We could have driven and then taken a ferry, but it's a long way to go and I'm not sure that our almost 11 year old car, sturdy and reliable though it is, would have been entirely delighted by such an adventure. So I kept putting it off, but kept it on my list of Places To Go.

We almost went in 2014, but went to Ireland instead. After our  visit to the beautiful Western Isles last summer, I had it vaguely in mind for a summer trip this year.  Then events intervened and we are now not sure where we will be this summer.  And, although we will most certainly make regular trips to England in the future, they probably aren't going to involve trips to remote bits of Far North Scotland

I am absolutely certain that if we don't go, my one big regret later would be that I had had almost 20 years to do it, but that I had never made the effort to go and visit Skara Brae.  That seems a ridiculous thing to have as a regret when it is so easy to fix, particularly when time isn't going to be an issue after April 1st.  So we are going.  The day after The Builder's birthday.  The fulfilment of a very long held ambition of mine can be his birthday present.  (He had better enjoy it; it has to rank amongst one of the most expensive birthday presents I have ever bought for anyone - apart from for me :-D )

Sensible?  Probably not.  Exciting?  Absolutely!!!!

In other news, the plasterer Liam and his apprentice have been making steady progress in our lounge room. The only problem now is that the whole house is absolutely covered in plaster dust. But that won't be hard to fix.  I was going to wash the house this weekend, but Liam says they will come back and do Stage 2 on Tuesday (earlier than expected; apparently the wood fire is drying the plaster nicely). I might dust down the worst of it and leave a proper clean up to next weekend.  And the apprentice is a bit heavy handed and has somehow managed to break the corner off the power socket by the window. We will buy a replacement when the apprentice has gone away for good.  He has also spread plaster all over the porch, though I don't suppose that matters all that much.  And he used MY, that's MY blue bucket to mix his plaster in.  Liam has made him clean my bucket so it is now useable again.  But I went out at lunchtime and bought a very fetching new purple bucket.  No apprentice plasterer is likely to use a purple bucket to mix their plaster in :-D

From first thing this morning:

Much better now. You can't see the lathes or the very dodgy artex any more
Nice and smooth, ready for painting behind the telly

Still a bit of work to do here

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