Final Ford News

July 29, 2016

Well we did it – or at least we’ve translocated ourselves and all our stuff to the new house

Paradoxically, despite moving to what is technically a larger house (but with less shedage) we appear to have no room for half of our stuff. This confirms my suspicions that the stuff does actually breed while you’re not looking.

Blogging has been light because we’ve been fairly busy over the last few days, but we did take the opportunity the other night to play one last round of ‘guess the level of the ford’.

Final ford reading

Final ford reading

The other half was delighted to have the winning guess in what will likely be our final bout. Or maybe we will find another ford.

Moving: A Progression

July 27, 2016

moving boxes

Moving -1 month: Before we move, I’m going to go through everything and find a home for all that stuff which I’m not using but someone could make use of.

Moving -2 weeks: Well, OK, we don’t have time for that now, but before we move, I *am* going to go through everything and make sure everything that can be recycled gets recycled.

Moving -1 week: Well, OK, we don’t have time for that now, but before we move, I *am* going to go through everything and throw away anything we aren’t going to use again before the bins go out.

Moving -2 days: Wait, is there room in the van for this box of random crap because even though I suspect I don’t need any of it, it’s in a box already and I’m not going to take it out again?

Moving +1 day: Before we move next time, I’m going to go through everything and find a home for all that stuff which I’m not using but someone could make use of …

Just to complicate matters, the new house does not have a wheelie bin, because the rubbish is collected from the road end, which is about 500 yards away from the house. Instead we get an allocation of official coonsil bags to use over the course of the year – anything not in an official coonsil bag won’t get ‘uplifted’ as it is described around here. Only it’s right on the border between Bigtown bin lorry territory and Notso Bigtown bin lorry territory and it seems never the twain shall meet: we can’t pick up our bags from Bigtown because they have to be Notso Bigtown bags, even if they’re actually the same bags and Notso Bigtown is twice as far away as Bigtown. I could have argued the toss on that one, but at this stage in the game (moving -2 days, ish, depending on how things go tomorrow) it’s easier just to go and get the damn bags, move everything to the new house and then throw it all away…

There is final ford news, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

101 Uses for a Brompton: Rescuing Visitors

July 25, 2016

‘Help’ came the voice over the phone. ‘My phone is dying and I’m lost. How do I find your house?’ – our visitor from London had got lost on the way and was having a bit of a Withnail moment. Four phone calls later it became clear that my attempt to describe where we lived and his attempts to describe where he was were doomed to failure – the things that stand out to Londoners (‘I can see cows! A big barn! There are some sheep!) weren’t really serving to narrow things down any (and there was no handy water feature to help either). our friend has excellent pub radar but it doesn’t help when we’re miles from a pub in any direction, which may have been the problem…

water feature

In the end I decided – having determined roughly where I thought he was and and which direction he was going – it would be easier to hop on the Brompton and go and meet him before he took another wrong turn. Fortunately I was right, and he was going the right way (not a given) or we might have chased each other around Bigtownshire all evening. I could then just fold up the bike and throw it in the car and guide him home.

In a way, it’s nice to know there’s someone out there whose sense of direction is worse than mine.

Cat Three Doughnut Run

July 21, 2016

over the bridge

In retrospect, I probably should have paid attention to the fact that our new house was on a road that was classed as a Category 3 climb in the Tour of Britain. I’ve tried using this entertaining tool but it can’t do much with a place which is up a serious hill from almost everywhere – although it does produce this illuminating ride profile, which confirms my initial feeling that we had better savour the views from the house (which are extensive, when the weather is playing ball) because I will have earned every minute of them.

ride profile

This week, a confluence of deadlines has meant I’ve left the other half doing all the decorating. Feeling somewhat guilty about this, I decided to take a detour on my ride home from Bigtown this afternoon to deliver some emergency doughnuts to the new house. I did either this ride or the one from the house (which is not much flatter) every day last week and by the end of it I was feeling it in my legs. Today, I was in a hurry and even though it was warm and muggy and I was riding into the wind, it did start to feel a bit easier. I doubt I’ll ever actually arrive at the house looking cool, calm and collected, but I may actually manage a daily trip for the paper without having to revert to an e-bike.

road past fields

And there’s always the bonus that any doughnut consumed at the top will count as calorie free.

through the woods


Catching up

July 19, 2016
tandem school run

Sister and niece doing the tandem school run.

I have been gadding about this weekend and have lots to write about – from an updated school run by tandem to the latest Cycling Embassy AGM jaunt to Cambridge, but those will have to wait until I have time to do them justice. Meanwhile, the other half has been nobly cracking on with the house while I’ve been swanning about in the subtropical south. So I can report that we* have got the first room more or less painted (hello Dulux Almond White) while I have been acquainting myself with updates in the world of DIY (sanding sponges, where have you been all my life?) and finally choosing colours for the rooms we’re* going to paint before the move.

In other news, I went up to the walled garden this morning to open up the greenhouse and a large rabbit sauntered out of my potato beds and sat staring at me in a nonchalant manner before sauntering further into the herbaceous border. This may make the fact that I forgot to leave instructions on watering the next batch of lettuce seedlings somewhat irrelevant, although whatever it is it’s eating now, it’s not the half-bolting lettuces they were supposed to replace…

* And obviously by ‘we’ I mean ‘he’

First Harvest

July 14, 2016

Well, I thought I knew from long experience what all the weeds were that grew around here, but these ones around the new house had me a bit baffled:

unfamiliar weeds

They sort of looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place them. It took a visiting gardening friend to put her finger on it

‘Are those … parsnips?’

weeded parsnips

Why yes, it appears that is exactly what they are. Sadly, weed-proof membrane means they aren’t likely to be growing into anything sensible – but then again, we’ve had mad parsnips before

Light Relief

July 13, 2016

One of the joys (not) of buying a house is dealing with all the utility companies allegedly competing for our business in the UK’s supposedly efficient free market system – one of these days I will be able to relate to you the full saga of our ‘related MPAN’ which apparently leaves us tied to one electricity company until I can get someone to take responsibility for sorting it out or hell freezes over, whichever is the soonest – and today it was the turn of the telephone engineer. We’d arranged that he’d meet us up at the new house some time between 1pm and 6pm and the other half was heading there but had various shopping errands to run first. So as I pedalled up the last hill to the house on my bike just a shade after 1 I was a bit worried to see a white van coming down again, thinking that the other half might have missed the engineer.

‘Are you coming from <ridiculously long name of new house>?’ I asked

‘Yeah, but there was nobody there. Couldn’t get in,’ said the stony faced engineer.

‘That’s our house,’ I said. ‘I can let you in just now.’

‘Too late now. You missed your slot,’ he said, even more stony faced.

I was just wondering how we could retrieve the situation when he suddenly cracked, burst out laughing and confessed he’d just been in the house, the phone line was working, he’d left the other half with some cable and extension boxes to play with and that I needed to get on with sanding the skirting boards and we should be painting the hall a nice bright lime green in his opinion.

If only the electricity meter situation can be as easily sorted, I will be a happy woman.

Oh and for those wondering what my new papershop run will look like, this should give you an idea. It’s a long way down…

new papershop run