“weeds are flowers too…

… once you get to know them”    

A. A. Milne, said by Eeyore from in ‘Winnie the Pooh’

 

We returned last week from 6 blissful days at the cottage (but in the caravan) – the weather was quite mixed but we managed a spell in the garden.  The mild weather at the Mull this winter has meant that everything has continued to grow.  I have French Lavender in the trellis border coming in to flower which made the clipping back hard to do.

I love the deep purple colour of these tulips –  I can’t even remember planting them!

I also love the wild flowers but left to their own devices they take over the garden.  As you can see here the wild garlic is rampant and the bare patches are where I spent a good hour or two pulling up bulb after bulb in an attempt to curb the spread.  There are a few patches like this is the garden and through the lawn.  Bulbs are far worse than rooted plants to weed out so I am resigned to the fact that I will have to weed over and over to get rid of them completely.  The smell is quite nice though even if I am intolerant of garlic in food!

We also have an army of rabbits who have been digging in the borders – they go for the roots of plants – so all my plants have stones around the base and in some cases wire netting to prevent them getting close.

Hubby was on ditch management – clearing out the earth and leaves from the ditch that divides the garden and woodland walk from the main part of the wood.  It is a heavy job heaving shovels of wet mud up onto the banking – once it has dried out I can then move it to other parts of the garden.

His other project this visit was to make some caravan steps – we have been managing with an old milk crate but as the caravan is 2 feet off the ground it is a bit of a drop coming out of the van with no steadying handrail.  We had a large assortment of wood in the garage from other projects and with a delivery of decking planks as well we have managed to make some steps with a useful platform outside the door for around £60.

We have generated a large shredding pile of shrub prunings so I will need to spend an afternoon with the shredder – the resulting wooden pellets make good ground cover for the paths on the woodland walk.

On this visit I decided to concentrate on the pond for a couple of days.  We have had to do some heavy pruning of the self seeded Elder at the back of the pond and on our next visit will cut back the Fuchsia as well as the ‘Fernery’ – I have to do this every two years as they creep over their demarcation line and also the old leaves start looking dry and discoloured – cutting them down to ground level allows fresh young green growth to sprout and in no time we will have the Fernery back in full force – just a little less of it!

This is a picture from 2 years ago when I began to clean up the pond and I uncovered a layer of buried stones around the edge.

This is it fully cleaned out

The wild yellow Irises were a strong group at this time flanking the right hand side slope of the pond.

Some of the Irises struggled to survive last year under the deep shade of the Elder branches that had taken over at the back of the pond.  This year when I removed some of the rotting roots I discovered more stones beneath the clumps and the rest of the afternoon was spent on a bit of an archeological dig.  Below is a picture of my discovery – a beautiful old flat stone with a hole in the middle.  What purpose this stone originally served I have no idea but it makes a nice flat platform to the edge of my pond and I am sure the Irises will once again multiply quickly to fill the empty spaces.

The two wooden stumps must have once held a seat and we hope to replace this using a piece of wood from our wood pile in the garage.

When photographed from a distance you can see the extent of the stones – all this was buried under leaf mould.  the Elder has been pruned back to about 2′ as it does grow very quickly.

This was the edge of the pond last year when the Primula and irises were in full bloom it is one of my favourite spots in the garden.

Can’t wait for this years show.

highlights from the week…

During last week I was on holiday from work so we decided to head up to the caravan in Scotland for a few days whilst also arranging to meet the engineer who came to get our water and gas connected.

I was sitting in the caravan looking out over a calm, silvery winter sea during the time just before dusk sets in.  The wood-pigeon was gently cooing outside and inside a very peaceful quiet. Just like in the cottage we have no means of communicating with the outside world – it feels almost like being on a desert island – all we can do is just sit and be.  A very odd experience – 250 miles away from our usual existence at home where there is always some pressing ‘To Do’ to be done and I would normally, like a lot of the population, be at work.  I quite enjoyed this break – so did hubby who was often found gently dozing in the corner!

The highlight of the trip was at last we have running water, central heating, a flushing toilet, fully operational shower and gas cooking facilities.  Thank goodness for all these modern inventions – being without such comforts is good for the soul once in a while as it reminds us of how grateful we should be for these services we take for granted and how they free up our lives.  For the last few weeks we have managed with containers of water, a bucket under the van to catch the sink waste and a chemical camping toilet to catch the other waste!  I won’t go into detail here!!  We had to have a wash with one bowl of water each and clean our teeth with a glassful.  All hot water had to be boiled on our little gas camping stove and our meals consisted of soup, soup and more soup – the easiest thing to heat up when you only have one gas ring.

The caravan is now a real home from home and is actually warmer, cleaner and more comfortable than our cottage was whilst we attended to the renovations.  But it does not have the character or the space.

Now the caravan is fully up and running we can turn our attention to the garden maintenance.  It suffered a lot last year due to shortage of time and the cottage being out of action still.  We had to limit our visits and stay at a nearby B&B or hire another cottage.

Many parts of the garden were badly affected by the flood and all though most of it has sprung back there are still some strange effects to overcome even now. The lawn and borders on the wood side of the cottage are covered in wild garlic leaves, the bulbs being washed through the garden and scattered by the flood water.  The only way is to dig them out by hand one at a time.  So far I have done a patch about one metre square – the amount of garden affected by this is probably 20 metres square – some of it appears in clumps and others more scatterd – funnily enough the ones in clumps are easier to pull out than the numerous single bulbs dotted around.  Any good ideas anyone?

The stream bank is looking so much better and as soon as we hit a drier patch the contractor will be back to spread the top soil and re-seed the area.  The black protective mesh will eventually allow the vegetation to grow through it and it will look like a natural grassy stream bank.  Of course the stream bed is much wider now but will probably, hopefully, look narrower again as the vegetation takes hold.

 

Stream Bank

 

Back at home now we celebrated Burns night here in England with a few friends – it was a great night and always reminds us how good it is to have a get together.  I have never cooked Haggis before but it was quite easy – not so easy is mashing a huge pot of potatoes and turnip.

For eight of us (5 meat eaters and 3 vegetarians) I spent

2 x Haggis  £5.00

1 x Haggis veggie £2.50

1 large bag Potatoes £1.29

2 x Swede £0.80

1 pot beef gravy £2.00 (already had some veggie gravy)

8 mini Scotch pies  £2.70

2 macaroni pies £1.15

Add in some Scottish delicacies

1 box Tunnocks chocolate teacakes £1.60

1pkt Tunnocks Caramel wafers £1.60

1pkt mini Scottie shortbread  £1.00

 

A total of £19.64 or £2.46 a head – one friend brought fruit kebabs for a starter and another friend a Rhubarb crumble for afters.  So quite an economy meal.

 

 

 

 

home and away…

We came back from our jolly hols in Scotland yesterday.  It has been a mixture of hard work in our cottage garden interspersed with a little relaxation and the odd trip out (or two) – more news on this another day.

Drummore2

 

As I have been away from my blog for what seems like a lifetime I have a bit of catching up to do as well as filling regular readers in on just what has been happening over here and just where the journey has taken me recently.  But not all at once – this is merely to check in and say hi – hope you are all well and enjoying the summer.

Drummore

 

Stairhaven

 

I know tomorrow when I return to work I will hit the ground running.  I seriously wish I could leave now – all though I do love my job it has begun to take over my life and there are so many things I want to do whilst I still can.  I have lost all control on our finances and I have a heap of receipts to deal with.  Luckily the bills are always taken care of so I need not worry too much about missing a payment but I do like to balance my statements and know where my money has been spent.

Having said that I did arrive home yesterday to a letter from Yorkshire Water saying we had not paid them.  For some reason when we had the meter installed last year I thought we had switched to direct debit but it appears not and I should have reset the standing order in April.

My other mail was an assortment of the usual marketing junk, voting papers for building societies and bank statements which I still get on paper; hidden amongst the pile was my most recent issue of Country Living so that brought a smile to my face and eased the pain of dealing with all the rest.

I spent most of today unpacking – funny that it seems to take longer to unpack than pack – but  because it was hot during the two weeks we were away and the rented cottage we stayed in had a washing machine most of the clothes I took came back clean and could just go straight into the drawers leaving only two or three small loads of washing to do which I did manage to get outside and dry on the line before the heavens opened.

Cottage

Now I only have the really dirty gardening clothes to wash but these will have to have a pre-soak as we have both spent the best part of the fortnight scrambling around in the undergrowth.  The cottage may still be in a dire need of repair but the garden has certainly sprung to life and become even more vigorous since the flood  – all that fertiliser washing down over the fields I expect.  I don’t suppose there are many people who take their gardening outfits on holiday LoL!!  I should really splash out on some designer gear – something a little more special than Sainsbury’s own t-shirts and stretchy jeans.  Perhaps Joanna Lumley takes her gardening clothes when she holidays at her cotttage up the road from us!

My travel items have been sorted, refilled and repacked ready for our next visit and what my long-suffering hubby calls ‘the mobile library’ that we take is back on the book shelves – this consists of three bags full of a variety of gardening books and note books just in case I need to know the best place for a plant or need some design inspiration.  Of course since the flood we have to take everything up and down with us now unless it will keep in the garage – but usually this is just the gardening tools that we store in there as it is a bit too damp for most things.

Annoyingly I have found that the mice quite like to eat gardening gloves and shred my green kneeling pad to bits to build their nests so I have to hide them in a drawer!

I am now in the throes of planning out July.  I have a few appointments – hair, eyes, mammogram and one to make for a massage using my mother’s day token.  I have a few birthdays and anniversaries; my sister-in-law, myself, a couple of friends and our wedding anniversary.  I desperately need to go shopping for clothes and shoes  – a combination of a little excess weight acquired during our last few months of very unhealthy eating and having a big clear out leaving me with very little to wear!  We desperately need to buy a new computer and shredder too.  Part of my lack of posting has been down to the temperament of my computer which is on a go slow at present and nothing we do will make it get a move on not even the threat of a new one.

Luckily it is only time not money that prevents me from buying one.  The good thing about working all hours is there is no time to shop so you spend very little whilst all the extra overtime money builds up.

Well I have written more than I thought – my aim is to keep it short and sweet and try to make an hour for blogging whenever I can.

Back to crazy world tomorrow – must get some sleep in.

 

“and the Spring arose on the garden fair…

“And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

We spent Easter week at the cottage..not in the cottage exactly as it is still without kitchen / bathroom / power / water and floors!  We stayed in a beautifully spacious cottage up the road.  We were busy in the garden all week – I love this time of year when everything is just coming to life.  Of course all the plants are much later in Scotland but the weather last week was so sunny and warm you could almost see the buds bursting open.

Cottage front garden

Below is the seaside garden – a lot of the top soil washed away with the flood water but it wasn’t the jungle I had prepared myself for.  There is no point in us doing anything at this side as the contractors will be coming and going so best to wait.

Cottage garden

 

The woodland walk is once again taking shape – the planting here has recovered very quickly you would not even know that it was 2 feet deep in water last August.

Woodland walk

We laid fresh bark over the pathways – we had to buy this as we have no power to make our own with the shredder and a few bags does not go very far.

Woodland walk 2

 

I always support my Dicentras with a strip of chicken wire around the base of the plants this keeps them from being blown about and is completely hidden by the foliage as it grows.

Dicentra

 

The Primroses are now beginning to spread around and keep popping up here and there.

Primroses

The burn has a few clumps of Daffodils dotted along its banks.

Stream bank

Ideally the border needs a major reshape and move around, but it may be too late to do this when we go again.

The border

 

One day whilst in Stranraer we took a walk along Broadstones – I love these rows of the wooden breakwaters along the beach.  Broadstones 2

 

Broadstones Stranraer

This is looking towards Stranraer – the beaches are becoming so much cleaner now the ferry has been moved across the bay to Cairnryan.    Towards Stranraer

Breakwater

Rock

This is part of the new Marina that the council are creating to attract more yachts.

Stranraer Marina

 

We had a lovely break – a shame a week is not long enough but being at the cottage and in the garden reminded us why we love the place so much.  Even after the flood we would find it hard to leave.  We did look around at other properties in the area as we have been undecided whether to sell the place and move on – I am not sure I could deal with another major flood and I am not sure the cottage will be reinstated even by August – one year on – but having looked at other properties we realise we would struggle to find anywhere quite the same with a wood and a sea view and so for the time being have decided to stay and battle on.

We have been contacted by the nice man at the Scottish Flood Forum – they provide help and give advice and he is coming to survey the situation and will approach the local Council on our behalf to see what their plans might be, if any, to prevent a reoccurrence in the future should we have the misfortune to experience such a heavy downpour again.  The Witches Glen from where the water came hurtling down has now reopened and the Council have rebuilt the edge of the road that had washed away and made major improvements to strengthen the stream banking.

All too soon the week was over we had to put away our gardening tools and clean our rented cottage and get ready for the journey home on the Saturday morning – the weather by now was much cooler and we could see snow on the distant Galloway hills.

Snowy hills in April

 

Well that is my update on our Easter break how was yours?

life at the moment…

I hesitate to write this post as I wish it could be more cheery – but unfortunately my life at the moment is all at sea and I do not seem to be able to recover from one blow before the next one happens.  But for the sake of documenting everything in my blog I feel I have to mention both the good and the ‘not so good’ even if at present it seems a bit weighted towards the not so good!

I am actually writing this from my sick-bed – yes my ‘wellbeing’ is not improving as I intended this year.  So far I have been out of action since Wednesday evening when I got home from work.  I haven’t seen a doctor but I am pretty sure the diagnosis would be tonsilitis or Strep throat (which I understand is the bacterial form).  My glands are so swollen I look a bit like I have mumps.  In some ways I quite like the plumpness as it smooths out the wrinkles!

The upside is I have enjoyed snuggling down under the weight of the extra covers and falling into a long blissful sleep knowing that I am of no use to anyone at the moment – and no doubt I have lost quite a bit of weight because the constant nausea and painful throat have prevented any food passing my lips!

So while I am out of action I thought this is a good time to catch up with my blog and write a long overdue update.

On the family front –

The funeral of my mum-in-law took place on 4th February, ironically the same day as my dear dad died 9 years before – so it was a doubly hard day to get through but I had lots of precious memories to console me.  It was well attended by family and friends who came to pay their last respects and after the crematorium we had a lovely service of remembrance of her life in the church she had worshipped at for many years, singing her favourite hymns and followed by a good cup of tea and a buffet lunch in the church hall.  She would have approved I am sure. It may well be the last time we visit Shrewsbury and I am sad about that – it is a beautiful place.

                                                   Jenny

My Mum-in-law 1924-2015

– some of my favourite pictures of her in her younger days

My younger daughter had her operation to remove 3 wisdom teeth under general anaesthetic just days before the funeral and I travelled up to North Yorkshire to stay while she went into hospital.  I went to look after baby L for a whole day by myself – heaven!  Both are recovering well after their ordeal – my daughter and baby L!

Baby L

My elder daughter and her partner are still with us – still trying to complete their kitchen – but it is a slow job, the main reason being that the guy hired to do the job had to move on to his next job after Christmas before finishing theirs and ours (remember our bathroom – still not complete either) so he can only work on their kitchen on a weekend.  Tricky position – he is a friend!!  It is difficult though having them stay whilst we have only one bathroom operational and the house is full of our cottage contents.

That leads me on to the cottage flood progress report –

Cottage Kitchen Strip-out

The kitchen – now without units and flooring

Bathroom Strip-out

The bathroom without any conveniences or flooring!

All went well with the strip out although as the photos show it looks pretty dire to me and at the beginning of December we were called up to Scotland for a site inspection and to discuss the reinstatement works of each room.  We progressed around the cottage ending up in the old wooden conservatory.  This had now been stripped of the pine boards cladding the inside –  it was at this point that we noticed a few jagged remains of a material,  which we have since had tested and confirmed as asbestos sheet, lodged between the outer and inner frame.  So now as it is classed as an ‘elf and safety’ hazard no one, not even us, are allowed to go to the cottage as the whole conservatory has to be removed by men in white suits before the drying out and reinstatement can begin.

We also received the oil boiler report and it appears that the oil tank outside feeding the boiler probably moved during the flood and has caused a leak in the feed pipe – the worst thing is we had just had a delivery prior to the flood.  If it is not a leak then we can only assume the lack of oil to be able to test the boiler is maybe due to theft which is a pretty common occurrence where you have an abundance of oil tanks in an area.

I finally finished the contents list but on doing so realised I had not been correctly advised.  It turns out that they require the price for us to buy new items – I was led to believe they wanted the price we paid with evidence so I spent hours trawling through my box of receipts.  Now I will have to spend hours trawling the internet.  Nothing like doing a job twice!

And finally a word about work –

After a lot of thought recently I came to the conclusion that work was just not working.  I am feeling very tired and extremely stressed.  I had been looking to decrease my hours and this has not happened due to two things – my colleagues long-term sick leave and the powers that be – the management – deciding that it was a good idea to hire someone who is commuting from Cornwall, a distance of 350 miles, to help out – really?

This has turned out to be a bit of a disaster for me and increasingly difficult for the person concerned.  In fact his wife wants him to stop coming but secretly I believe he quite likes escaping up here for a week or two.  However, the week on week off agreed at the start soon turned in to one week on two off and even this has not really worked out due to commitments in Cornwall with his business there.  The ‘help’ is fast becoming occasional and spasmodic.  This has meant I have had to go in to work on both Saturday and Sunday for the last few weekends just to keep on top of the urgent work.

This is definitely not what I want to do – so I had made up my mind to leave and out of generosity or loyalty even said I would look at working until the end of May.  Once I made this decision and announced it to my line manager I felt heaps better and even though it seemed tremendously risky (and there is no way you could call me a risk taker) as I have no other job lined up I had settled my mind to it and whatever happens in the future cannot be as bad as I am experiencing at the moment.

Well that was on Tuesday.

On Wednesday my line manager called me in and asked if I would stay if things were improved in some way.

Well that was unexpected and has put a spanner in the works.

I won’t say anymore at the moment – you never know who is reading do you!!

Now to the good news – yes really… I do have a silver lining.

We get a new conservatory paid for on the insurance – I am not sure how I feel about this as I loved the shabby chic 50’s style of the old one but it would not have lasted for ever.cropped-cottage-gutters.jpg

Baby L is to be christened in March on the 15th – Mothers Day – a double celebration.  I have been preparing the dress – an old family heirloom – just hoping she doesn’t grow much more in the next few weeks LOL.

Baby L with trifle

Well that is all my news to date have a good week everyone.

PS – As I wrote most of this yesterday and finished it today I am in fact now feeling loads better.

Back in Focus…or I can see clearly now my stuff has gone…

 …Whoops I have been away a lot longer than I thought this time but I haven’t been sitting with my feet up  – well only to rest my dodgy knee occasionally – another sudden and unexpected problem to deal with.

Just to update everyone on the flood saga – we went up to the cottage last weekend for a pre-contract meeting with the contractor and it is now completely bare of contents and waiting for the strip out of floors / walls etc next week.  As we closed the door behind us it was a bit sad to leave our cottage looking all empty and forlorn and I did have a little tear but somehow that emptiness felt good too and is quite a freeing experience.

I was astounded to realise when listing the contents for the insurers how much stuff we had accumulated at the cottage since we bought it back in 2004.  When we moved in it was just as empty as last weekend until the bed, cooker and fridge were delivered.  We knew these were the important items that we needed to live there as well as a kettle, pans crockery and cutlery and a few toiletries and towels.  We really were down to the absolute basics but then over time as the contents built up and friends and family have added to them by way of gifts etc it has become unintentionally rather overloaded.

We have had to bring a lot of undamaged items back home to store so now this house is once again groaning under the weight of contents and I am striving to get our home here in Yorkshire back to basics – down to the stuff we really need.

As anyone reading my blog will know nothing has really gone as planned for us this year – but after the last few hectic and stressful months I am turning my attentions back to my 2014 word FOCUS and on completing what I started earlier in the year in February – Simplifying my space (but now even more!)

I have a few areas in particular where I need to limit our contents – one is our bedroom wardrobe which I use for storing clothes, shoes, some bags and linens, the second is the kitchen /dining area and laundry room cupboards and the third the office come craft room.  The storage in these areas should be more than adequate but I think the problem is we have far more items than are in everyday use or we might ever get to use and it is these items I want to decide on whether they should stay or go.

I am sure you will all be familiar with the term the Pareto principle or the 80:20 rule and strangely enough I always find, as a good measure, it actually works.

So with this in mind I have been gathering up items and applying the principle starting with the 20% of items used 80% of the time or the everyday stuff.  This is the easier category as they are well used items which are in use constantly and are usually in the most accessible place.  However, I do think there is room for improvement here as sometimes even items kept to hand might not be in the best place and I have been having a bit of a change round but more on that later.

The difficult category the one we perhaps all struggle with is the 80% of items used only 20% or less of the time – taking a lot of storage space but nevertheless very useful – I think Christmas items come under this category and our trusty little camping stove and kettle, used quite infrequently, but you may remember it got us through Christmas Day in 2012 and has been invaluable for making a cup of tea on a weekend at at the cottage since the flood has left us without any power.  Click here or on the picture if you really want to read about or be reminded of our unusual Christmas 2012 dinner in a car park – you couldn’t make it up could you!

Camping Stove

Other items falling into this useful some of the time section (and size is no indication of their usefulness) would be

  • the summer parasol and picnic/party items,
  • garden chairs,
  • suitcases,
  • the travel hairdryer,
  • our old projector for viewing our slides,
  • dressmakers dummy,
  • a stack of ‘plastipots’,
  • decorating equipment,
  • spare bedding/sleeping bags,
  • thick woolly tights for winter,
  • posh sheer tights for parties,
  • evening bags,
  • special cleaners,
  • special adhesives,
  • Jiffy bags and bubble wrap
  • … I could go on and on.

Of course as well as this there are little collections all over the house of things that are very rarely used they are more objects and items just to look at or listen to –

  • ornaments,
  • pictures and photos,
  • keepsakes,
  • other people’s precious possessions you don’t feel you can get rid of – I think heirlooms is the correct term!,
  • piles of magazines/books and CD/DVD’s
  • …oh and record albums if you are as old as me!

Then on top of that are the disasters – the never used only stored items such as

  • the impulsive good idea purchases that never were (those winter boots that still pinch!),
  • presents given that are frankly just not your taste,
  • those items that might come in handy one day,
  • those items you hang on to in case they come back into fashion or become valuable one day,
  • and those numerous half-finished projects.

I am sure most bloggers can identify with all of the above and it doesn’t matter how many times I have a clear out I am still left with a mass of the above items that need a home but the question is do they need my home!

So on with the marigolds and out with the charity bags and let’s get started…I will keep you updated on my progress.

 

Have a good weekend everyone x

 

We’re on the move…

Well at least our possessions are…at last they are going in to store or into the skip.

Today I had a phone call from Wendy – she works for ChemDry and  she has been absolutely brilliant through our flood saga making appointments for people to visit and arranging for the key to be picked up when required.  She is so efficient I haven’t had to do a thing.  I was surprised to find that she had also accompanied the man from ChemDry to go down to our cottage to list and pack away the contents that have survived and remove the rest for disposal.

She phoned me at work to check a few things, which was very good of her – it made me feel as if someone was actually taking good care of the remains of our possessions.  She even apologised as she had intended leaving us a couple of cups so we could get a cup of tea when we go up but they had inadvertently got packed – but I was pleased at her thoughtfulness.

 I showed you the outside pictures of the flood but I don’t think I have shown you inside – so here we go – you may need your wellies on and tread carefully the surface is slippy.Flood 5

This is what we saw when we went inside the day after the flood – no water left but just a layer of very slippery mud all over the floors.

The Bedroom

Flood 2014

Looks quite normal above floor level doesn’t it? –  the settee was in here temporarily whilst we decorated the living room.  The water here was just above skirting height but everything got splashed by the Fire crew going in.   I managed to salvage this wooden side table and have cleaned it down – as it was painted even on the bottom the water had not got into the wood.

Flood 2

The bottom of every cupboard had been flooded.

Cottage flood damage

The Conservatory

Flood 3

The conservatory was the worst hit – the water here reached up to the line on the tablecloth about 2′ high.

Flood 4

Our new bath was being stored in here under the pink sheet.  Someone had tipped the chair up on end to try and save it but the water has got the cushions – so all this here is for the skip.  Below is a more recent picture now the mud is drier.

Conservatory flood damage

The Living Room

Cottage Living room 6

The bed from the small bedroom was in here whilst we installed the Velux window – it was brand new but destined now for the skip.   Smaller items had been moved around by the water.  The little bookcase which was in the bedroom alcove was from Ikea but has been water damaged at the bottom – I particularly liked this and cannot replace it now as it is discontinued.

Cottage Living room 5

Because we were still decorating the living room the wooden floor had not been laid – so this is still the concrete covered in mud.

These are the earlier pictures when we put up the boarding on the walls and painted it…

Cottage Living room 3

then added the French Doors through to the conservatory where the window was…

Cottage Living room 4

…everything had just had the last coat of paint and we were ready to finish the electrics…

Cottage Living room 2

I am not even sure yet if the specially made doors will survive and the next step is the stripping out  –

when all the boarding will be pulled off together with the plaster and the doors!

It is beginning to feel like running a film backwards!