A record of our adventures between Pipit and her successor...
Is it really June already? We did hear our first cuckoo yesterday, so it must be!
We've been so busy, the days and weeks seem to pass incredibly quickly, but there has been much more progress on the house, Andy's been driving the digger, we've had new visitors to our bird feeder and the grass in the field behind our garden has been cut and baled.
Lewis from Woodcraft Joinery, who built our oak staircase, delivered and installed it a couple of weeks ago and will shortly be adding the glass balusters. It's a beautiful piece of furniture and exactly as we imagined when we designed it.
Two coats of satin Osmo hard wax oil has brought out the grain and the LEDs will make it gleam.
Salmon & Collett continue their excellent work, working simultaneously with
the plumbers, electricians and tilers. They have a new website in development too - our own fair work!
Full house on the driveway!
Having decided on the same warm Cotswold stone coloured tiles for the kitchen, bathrooms and utility room, I (Ann obviously, while he has input, interior decór isn't really Andy's forte!) deliberated and shopped around for ages finding the mosaic tiles for the en-suite and bathroom. Blackman Rowe have done a lovely job with all the tiling and we're really pleased with the mosaics, both in colour and where I wanted them added. Photos below aren't the best as the bathrooms haven't been finished quite yet, but you get the idea.
Meanwhile, in the garden, Andy tried his hand at driving the digger yesterday. A bit of a tentative start and he's not likely to make a career change, but he did clear the large pile of soil previously taken from the terraces. That was spread around the top section of the garden, with me helping by raking it around as much as time allowed. Andy also dug the basis for the wildlife pond we're planning for the garden.
There is a lot more spreading and levelling to do but there is still some more debris to clear or burn on a bonfire. The use of the digger, though, made the bulk of the work much easier. Although we didn't start until early afternoon and finished just before 7pm, we both enjoyed the work for both the exercise (well, one of us was raking, picking out stones and weeds, the other was sitting down playing with levers...) and the feeling of making a start on our garden. We haven't yet done a full plan, but have a fairly clear idea of some of the layout.
Once the water is connected through to the tap at the back of the house, we can put our pressure washer into action and give the greenhouse a good clean so that we can get some plants going. We've already bought a few tomatoes and chillies ready to go in.
With regard to other plants for the garden, we haven't planned that in any detail but do have a few ideas. The first plants we have now actually planted at the house are two terracotta pots of sweet peas. As well as a welcome splash of colour to what is a completely blank canvas, they'll add a lovely fragrance and are also in memory of our fathers. Both were good gardeners and sweet peas were the first things we each remember our fathers teaching us to plant.
Sweet pea wigwams, which reminds me: some mornings I wake up thinking I'm a wigwam, other mornings I think I'm a teepee - apparently I'm too tense...
We're also planning a herb garden at the north end of the first gravelled area beyond the decking. South facing, against a granite hedge and adjacent to the kitchen should make it the ideal spot. We've designed a two-tier raised bed which we'll make from the offcuts (see how much we saved - build a house and get a free herb garden!) of the dungboards used on the terrace walls. Friends Kim & Trudie, who visited recently, kindly presented us with our first herb - a rather lovely oregano plant. We're looking forward to building the herb planter to give it its new home.
The previously enormous bonfire pile was broken down to a smaller pile and most has now been burnt so again, the garden seems to have grown with the extra space that has opened up.
Back at The Stables (our current abode), in addition to the other regular visitors to our bird feeder, we've had two others join the gang, both of whom we see frequently now - a great spotted woodpecker and a jay. Both are quite skittish, so it took a while to get photos.
A bit of a fuzzy photo - he/she was pecking at the food very quickly!
Two other regulars, Mr & Mrs chaffinch, the former being quite a vocal chap, giving his alarm call almost continually when he arrives and stopping only to munch some sunflower seeds:
The field immediately behind our garden was cut a couple of days ago and, ahead of the rain forecast for today, it was baled yesterday. Whilst we think we had a late finish yesterday, farmer Richard and colleague were wrapping the bales until nearly 10pm last night.
We saw it in action last year, but still find the bale wrapper a fascinating piece of kit.
A photo for context on how close the field is to us - apologies for the smoke, we'd just lit the barbecue!
Farmer Richard has taken on a new project recently - restoring an old tractor another farming friend donated to him. Andy was a bit jealous, even though he knows we haven't room for one, let alone the time to do the restoration...
We will miss living here at The Stables as it's such a lovely cottage and in an idyllic setting, but we are very much looking forward to moving into our new home, a different, but equally fantastic setting. Prior to an enjoyable pub lunch we walked up to Carn Marth with Kim & Trudie during their visit. Only the second time we've been up there but the clear skies afforded a great view of the north coast.
We're hoping our next update will be written from our new home, maybe sometime in the next few weeks.