beach cottage, bEAching, celebrations, cottage garden, drEAming, fEAsting, general chit chat, holidays, mEAndering

Long time passing…

Wow doesn’t time fly past without you realising.  As you will have probably surmised by my very long absence life has just been crazy around here and I have not had any free time whatsoever to even post a short update.  For anyone following my blog (and thank you to those who have sent messages)  I know you will have been wondering…’what have I been doing all this time?’

I think back in June around about the time of my last post we had a few weeks visiting relations and finishing the decorating of the nursery for daughter No. 2.  Then we were preparing for our summer holiday in the first two weeks of July at the our beach cottage and looking forward to 2 long weeks gardening, renovating, relaxing and pottering.

Well that’s what we thought… but…during the week before our holiday our builder told us he would be free to start our bathroom refit at our home whilst we were on holiday if we could get all the items chosen and either bought or on order.  Not wanting to miss this opportunity to get it done we had to finalise all our ideas and rush around measuring and choosing a bathroom suite, tiles, flooring, shower, paint, lights and taps.

This is the old bathroom – anyone with a nervous disposition look away now!!  As you can see it is a tiny tiny bathroom with a retro Pampas green suite of the 1980’s and hideous tiles – I am almost too embarrassed to put this picture on my blog for the world to see (especially with the cleaning cloths in full view)!

Retro Bathroom

In the end we delayed the start of our holiday in Scotland until the Monday  – in our favour it meant we could take advantage of the Homebase deals on tiles and paint over the weekend and get the bathroom suite itself on order from our local merchant.

With everything done and the keys for our house handed over to the builder we set off for Scotland on the Monday feeling disappointed we had lost a few days off our main holiday but pleased we could look forward to a new bathroom on our return.


At the cottage my better half completed the guttering along the old flat roof of the kitchen and bathroom extension and sorted out the guttering along the old conservatory,

Cottage gutters


Meanwhile I set to with the weeding along the border by the new trellis on the seaside garden.  This is where we had a twelve-foot high Escallonia hedge sheltering us from the sea winds but it was damaged by the unusually severe frost one winter a few years ago and had to be removed. We have now planted a mixed hedge in the hope that some of the plants will survive should it happen again.Trellis border


Then disaster struck – hubby hurt his back so the second week he could do very little and the only Osteopath in Stranraer (the one I used at Easter for my back) was away in the Caribbean!  Lucky him…

Eventually hubby’s back eased enough to drive home at the end of the fortnight but we had accomplished very little.  But never mind we thought the bathroom will be well underway and we had the imminent birth of our grand child to think about now – due on my birthday on the 19th July only a week away.

So did we find the bathroom all sparkling new and finished?…. well no not really… the taps we had placed on order never arrived and then we were told they had been discontinued so work on the bathroom had to be put on hold once it had been stripped out and only partly tiled.  The new taps we chose were out of stock until the end of August so our builder had to down tools and move on to another job…as I write he is still on with the other job but hopefully due back on Monday.

Disappointing but never mind we could wait  – after all I was going to be busy preparing for the Garden Party to celebrate my 60th birthday and only a week away now.  All the invitations had gone out before our holidays and I had a list of the food I had to buy and and all the jobs I would need to do before the weekend.

Of course what I hadn’t bargained for was the amount of dust generated from the bathroom being stripped out – plaster dust had got everywhere in the house despite all attempts to prevent it –  so early on Saturday morning the day of the party I had to set to with the help of my trusty Dyson and hoover all the dust from every room and from every surface and hope no-one coming would look above eye level!  I was like a whirling Dervish for 3 solid hours whilst hubby set out the garden with chairs, balloons and bunting … in the rain.  If you can remember as far back as July around the 19th you will remember it was beautiful and sunny all week before and after the Saturday but on the Saturday we woke up to rain – none stop rain.  Our hopes of a ‘Garden Party’ were dashed.

 Happy Birthday 60

The party began at 3pm and went on until after midnight and guests were invited to pop in and stay as long as they wanted.  It worked very well as our house is not big and we had a continuous stream of friends and family coming and going throughout the day helping to celebrate my milestone with me and luckily it was so packed they didn’t notice any stray dust.

So Sunday was a day of rest and baby did not make any sudden appearance even though we waited all through the next week.  By the following weekend we had still no news on the baby front so we decided to carry on and attend my mum in laws care home Garden Party on the Sunday.   The weather was glorious and despite the long drive we had a good day even though I am sure she doesn’t know us from Adam now!

The next day – Monday – my daughter started in labour but it was to be 5 gruelling days before baby was born on the Friday 1st August (Yorkshire Day) with a lot of pain and trauma for poor old mum and a lot of stress for me on the other end of the phone trying to ‘calmly’ offer advice and support.  I think in hindsight given that baby was presenting with her spine side ways on and not engaging fully in the birth canal they may have done a caesarean to prevent the difficulties that arose, however daughter survived the ordeal and so did baby and we held our beautiful granddaughter in our arms the next day – she was certainly worth waiting for but I would not like to go through  the stress of that again.  And here is beautiful L….

New Baby

So could we relax then now all events were over…well no because on the following Sunday at 3pm as the hurricane Big Bertha passed over Scotland we had a call to say our cottage and garden were totally flooded up to window sill height and the firemen were outside not able to do anything.  We were in Sainsbury’s at the time and had to dash home pack a few items and jump in the car and set off for Scotland to inspect the damage.

We saw the cottage on the Monday morning and it was not a pretty sight – 10 years almost to the day since we bought it and ten years of hard work all lost in 2 hours.  Every room inside had been hit and a brown sticky mud covered the floor.   Every plant in the garden lay on its side with the roots exposed as the water took a layer of topsoil with it.  The little bridge you may have seen in my old header had been wiped out and the 1-2 meter wide stream was now a cavern of about 6-7 metres at the lower end.

Friends, neighbours and caravaners nearby showed us many photos and videos of the flood as it happened and we made headline news in the local paper!  It appears that the water flowed down the fields from behind us after a road and some banking gave way about a mile away – this rolled down the hillside with some force like a river over the main road and into the farmer’s field beside us – then gathering momentum shot over the top of our stream and into our woodside garden headed for the cottage surrounding it and flowing into the seaside garden where it eventually ended up in the stream and on into the sea taking the bridge and stream bank and anything else in its’ way with it.


Flood c

The water flowing across the fields like a river.

Flood E

This is the point it enters our woodland garden at the back of the house.

Flood B

 My woodland walk completely engulfed.

Flood F

On the seaside of the house by the new trellis and gates the Firemen powerless to do anything other than watch and wait.


Flood L

The seaside garden was just submerged under water.


 This is the little bridge that we use to get to the sea-shore.

Flood J

  The water just swept it aside.


Flood K

But at least the water had some way of escape had it not our cottage might have stood in a few feet of water for a long time, but as it was when we arrived the next day there was not even a puddle of evidence remaining.

New View

This is our new view with a slightly wider stream and no bridge!!

 We stayed up in Scotland in a hotel for 3 days until the loss adjuster could come out to us.  Everything in the house will have to be stripped out and put into a skip, kitchen units and bathroom suite included.   All floor tiles will also be removed and wardrobes and our lovely wooden pannelling.   The only items we could rescue were a few clothes from the higher shelves in the wardrobes not affected and similarly the bedding, linens and dishes.

We have had two further trips to Scotland since to meet with the drying out man and the building surveyor and at the moment it all feels a daunting, on the good side we will get the cottage renovated quicker once the refit gets underway.

So that is my excuse for the long absence and lack of posts  – I have been a little bit busy!!!




25 thoughts on “Long time passing…”

  1. OMG! Good grief, I can hardly believe it, what a dreadful time you’ve had of it. This is definitely one summer you’re never going to forget. Best wishes to you and I hope all these downs are soon balanced by more ‘ups’ – I’m sure the baby must help take your mind off things a little.


  2. I’m very sad for you that 10 years of hard work is seemingly gone. But you and your husband seem the type that will just get back and start doing over again. Maybe some wiser? Who would have known that this could happen, as you’d been there for so long. Wishing you luck and calm, to once again start again. We’re all rooting for you! And congratulations on a beautiful granddaughter.


  3. Oh no! What a devastating flood. However I can only be thankful you weren’t there as you could have been injured and would have had to be evacuated and felt helpless. I am mournful at the loss of your gardens. Perhaps in the long run, the silt will enrich the soil, ha! I wish you much patience as you rebuild the property. Congratulations on your significant birthday and I am glad you got to celebrate in style, even if indoors. And congrats too on the birth of your lovely grandchild.


    1. You are quite right about the silt enriching the soil. Now we have got most of the plants upright again the whole garden is vigorously springing back to life and some having a second flush of flowers. I found a couple of plants washed away down near the shore and have replanted them and I am crossing my fingers.


  4. So sorry to hear about the flood. You really have had more than your fair share of difficulties this summer. Lets hope they’re all behind you now and things will get back to normal. Good luck with the refit work at the cottage and finishing off your bathroom.


    1. I think the cottage refit will take far longer than the completion of the bathroom here. The new bath which we had bought for the cottage was in the conservatory at the time of the flood and even that has to go in the skip – such a waste.


  5. Oh dear what a disaster. I’m glad you weren’t there when it happened it must have been heart breaking to see all the damage in the garden and house. You haven’t had the easiest of years this year with things not going according to plan! Congratulations on your birthday and your beautiful granddaughter. Sarah x


  6. So sorry to read about the flood Viv. It sounds awful. I can only hope that drying out completes quickly and you can get the renovation underway. A chance to get the cottage just as you want it.


    1. Thanks Jessica – the process is very slow – the flood happened on the 10th August and here we are now still waiting for the drying out to be done! The insurance companies do not operate very quickly but they soon want the money for the premiums!


    1. If you lived near our cottage I would be asking for Bed and Breakfast!! We still have to go up and tend the garden but there isn’t any electricity on at the cottage so we are making a cuppa on a camping stove and staying in hotels.


    1. Thank you Jenni – Baby and mum are doing fine and that’s the main thing – the bathroom will be finished soon I think and the cottage might take a bit longer but we will get there eventually – it will even get finished ahead of the timescale we had planned for as the insurers will be sending contractors in to do the work and all the jobs we had lined up to do will get done as part of the restoration work!


  7. My heart aches for you. What a sad, sad loss of property, your lovely garden, the bridge…all of it. I’m so sorry to read this news. The photos reflect the enormity of it all. I’m sorry too, that your husband injured his back. Having suffered my own back pain, I can completely relate to how debilitating it can be. I hope you both continue on the mend.

    I’m happy to hear of the birth of a grandchild and a milestone birthday (happy belated birthday wishes), both happy news. I’m very sorry for the grueling birth experience and all the pain she endured. What a year you’ve had!

    I hope you’ll post updates on your remodeling efforts. Wishing you the best of luck in the days and weeks ahead. xox


    1. Thank you for those kind words Alys – some days I feel better than others but generally we are coping – it is a bit like a bereavement for all you have lost and that was taken so quickly – our lives changed within the space of 2 hours! But I do believe something good always comes out of a crisis.


      1. It’s a huge loss. Our homes are so personal. They’re filled with our time, energy, beloved possessions and even the essence of time spent there. I’m sure it’s left a huge hole. And your garden too. So very difficult.


  8. ‘Just a bit busy’ ….. you win the award for the understatement of 2014.

    I’m so sorry, your lovely, lovely cottage all gone in a flash. Thank goodness for a bit of truly wonderful news in amongst all the heartache of this post and the damage to your cottage. Things can be replaced, grandchildren are irreplaceable. It sets your priorities in place doesn’t it.

    Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful granddaughter. xx


    1. She is such a contented happy little thing which I am pleased about for my daughter. They spend all day chilled out together chuckling away – I envy that as my first child (my other daughter) had a severe milk allergy and never slept just cried – think I must have got it badly wrong somehow!!


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