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

Blue on Blue

July 8, 2016

painting in progress

With so much going on in politics it seems a bit trivial to be stressing out about paint colours (I was up far too late last night playing with the Dulux virtual room decorating app and ended up dreaming that I was recolouring aspects of the Chilcott Report; insert your own ‘whitewash’ joke here) but then again, as it appears we are to have no say about our next prime minister (and remind me how the Brexit vote was going to be a blow for democracy again?), but I can decide what colour to paint our house, I’ve decided to concentrate on the issues I have some material control over, at least for now.

woodworkAnd besides, the previous owners appear to have either been completely colour blind or actually did have a mind above such trivial matters. The new house is full of varnished wood – every door, skirting board, cupboard and even the ceiling in the bathroom plus a laminate floor – which sounds rather nice until you realise that not one piece of it matches any other piece of it except for the large tracts of knotty pine which have all been stained a colour I can only describe as ‘Donald Trump Orange’.


Added to the chandelier in the guest bedroom, the walls of which are painted a sort of mushroom brown that fights bitterly with the purply brown carpet (not to mention the textured ceilings which sadly we can’t afford to do anything about) and you can see why the burning issue of Theresa May versus Andrea Leadsom is fading into the background. No doubt whatever we settle on will turn out to be a horrible design mistake in 20 years time, when some sarcastic blogger will pick over my colour choices with mocking glee, but that is a problem for another day. First there’s a ton of sanding to do …

101 Uses for a Brompton: Redecorating

July 6, 2016

Brompton outside house

Although to be honest, it’s not all that handy with a wallpaper stripper (although it is rather decorative).

wallpaper stripping

Wallpaper. Why?

Now that we’ve got the keys to the house and started to take stock, it is revealing itself (in the words of the other half) as a magical box that contains an infinite number of DIY projects. He’s been working away at it fairly solidly but I’ve had a few other engagements which has made it helpful to be able to throw the Brompton in the boot of the car when we go up to the new house so that I can then ride off into town for meetings as needed.

road from the house

Downhill all the way

And I say ‘up to the new house’ advisedly. The direct route from the new house into Bigtown is a splendid no-need-to-turn-a-pedal downhill run complete with a prevailing tailwind. Riding home in the future may turn out to be a bit of a challenge…

Rural Household Gets Phone Line Shock

June 13, 2008

Yes, it’s true. I got back to find that, a scant six weeks after moving in – and no more than two and a half months after ringing up BT and asking for one – we have a telephone line. We can now commence the long and lonely wait for broadband.

On the downside, this has now doubled the number of swallows that can simultaneously crap on our shiny new car, but every silver lining has a cloud…


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