Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Polyfilla nearly done

Tom's started giving everything a coat of cheap magnolia, to help make the polyfilla less absorbent. Next is carpentry to replace missing skirting and picture rail, the last bit of sanding, then a coat of the extra thick white paint.

Paint has been bought for the top coats.

Now thinking about bed buying, lighting, mattresses and furniture.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

More bedroom progress

So we've stripped all the wallpaper, getting one of those steam strippers was a great idea.

Thanks to Robin, Olivia and Dave for helping with this bit.

I've been going around making patch plaster repairs, and using Polyfilla to fill in rough patches. Tom bought me some posh Polyfilla One Fill. This is one of those times where paying for the brand name is worth it. Like using a light whipped icing, barely needs sanding if you're good at applying it. I do love plastering things.

Hopefully painting next week!

This weekend we're at Sandy's housewarming in Sheffield. We've done a 7k walk along the River Rivelin, and are sat around drinking champagne and eating tasty things.

Here he is sat on a chair in the middle of the River.

Guard bear installed in lookout location at the new house.

via Instagram

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bedroom progress so far

So we've started making some house progress. Alongside having nearly every different tradesperson round to quote for everything from new locks, pest control, tree surgery, plumbing to electrics, we've started the refurb on the master bedroom.

It's bye bye bucolic Georgians picnicking on toile de joie wallpaper and massive built in wardrobes. Finds today include some 1990s porn mags, and vine and grape plaster friezes on top of the wardrobe. Tom and Jon got the wardrobes out, and started cutting the plasterboard to re board the old fireplace. (Thanks Jon!) I have been stripping wallpaper. Any Southampton friends who are free on Sunday night and fancy a bit of stripping, you'd be very welcome and we'll rustle up some food and beverages as a thank you.

I snuck out mid afternoon to get my hair dyed baylayage style in preparation for Eleanor's wedding by the lovely Claire of Uptown Curls. This great do cost me £45 for colour wash and blowdry. Very impressed, she always does exactly what I ask for, and treats you like the Queen. Love her!

Monday, March 23, 2015

So we bought a new house....

There it is...

Six months after putting our offer in, we've finally moved.

Moving day itself went smoothly. We were packed up and waiting for the call to go and pick up the keys in 3 hours. I put this down to lots of advance packing, including some going to a storage unit, and to friends' garages. I also put this down to the amazing friends and family who came to help. Friends came in the evenings and weekends prior to help us pack and clean.

Friends and family also took days off work to come and help us move on the day. I feel so loved that people would do that.

It's a good job that they did too, as I was dying of a horrible cold on moving day. So horrible in fact that I only just shook it off this week, 2 weeks since it started. Headache, streaming nose, sore throat, eat ache, body aches and shivers, I had the lot. I was about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

We arrived at the new house to find a pile of bagged rubbish left out on the street overflowing from the bins, and the house utterly filthy. Dog hair and confetti in the light fittings filthy. Surfaces sticky and covered in dust. So our army of wonderful helpers split between cleaning, and helping us get all the furniture and boxes in.

One of the most impressive parts of the day was watching my Pickfords man dad managing the packing off the vans. Like multi dimensional Tetris, he arrange and rearranged, and everything arrived safely in one piece. I'd not seen him use this bit of his training before, and it was awesome.

In my cold addled state, I managed to burn my right hand pretty badly trying to use a steam cleaner. So my dad took me off to the walk in centre to be treated. I returned with my bandaged claw to find a fresh set of friends cleaning.

Then the diy and getting quotes began. Having been cleaning since we moved in, we decided to get a cleaning company in to deep clean the house as we weren't happy to unpack much in the filth. We had the locksmith round to fix a door, dishwasher delivered, tree surgeons to quote for taking down an irritating tree, double glazing repair, plumbers and so on. Tom's been doing lots of rewarding minor fit like fixing doors only being held on with one screw in the hinge, and putting flush handles back on toilets. There's a lot of small tasks like this, I think the people before weren't diy confident and just left things when they broke.

Today we got our first quote for getting the bathroom redone, so we're cracking on where we can. It badly needs it, as lots of things are leaky or damaged, and the smell was a bit much.

Funny thing smell. When I was having a wobbly day mental health wise (I just want to go home, and I can't because I live here now), the fact the house smelt of other people, dog, urine in the loos, and cheap aftershave in the second bedroom was really upsetting me. Now after the deep clean and some air fresheners things don't smell so odd and I'm starting to settle in.

Here's some pics:

Here's bedroom 3, which we're using as it's the only carpeted one, and while we decorate the master bedroom.

Living room, complete with chandelier I will give away free to a new home.

The view from the second bedroom

The second bedroom that will eventually be a study

The massive master bedroom

Some colour ideas for the master bedroom:

The grotty bathroom

The lovely dresser in the kitchen

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Desert Island Book

Carla over at London is for Living is asking what your Desert Island Books would be.

I'm a book lover, and I read voraciously. I can read a book in a day, and love the ferry ride home from Normandy as it's a chance to swallow a whole book.

So books to take to a desert island? They'd have to be good ones. And chunky ones.

But I'm going to break my own criteria there with my first one.

The Red Tent - Anita Diamant

My favourite lecturer at university told me to read this when I was struggling with my dissertation. He was wise to do so as it became my dissertation. And it's sparked a long love of reading feminist texts alongside my faith texts.

I have study guides and book study group notes to go alongside this to learn how the history of the religious practice and daily life of Ancient Near Eastern women is woven into this ficitional retelling of the stories of Jacob's wives and daughters.

I read this at least once a year and have a second copy to lend out. It connects me to my sisters in the past, and helps me connect to the femininty of the divine. Lovely.

A Suitable  Boy by Vikram Seth

I'm with Alex on this one. It's an epic. It's filled with family drama, religious drama, cricket related drama. There's a host of characters that draw you in, and it's a huge great thing that takes me at least a week to read. Perfect for a desert island.

I'm not sure if I can think of another. Or choose from amongst my babies. I like The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracey Chavalier, The Floating Book by Michelle Lovric, Chocolat by Joanne Harris, anything by William Dalrymple but especially From the Holy Mountain, anything by Bill Bryson, anything by Terry Pratchett, but especially the Tiffany Aching books, and Daughter of Britannia by Katie Hickman

Monday, February 16, 2015

Whiskey and ginger ale jelly - a recipe from my mum

My fantastic desserts (even if I do say so myself) from the weekend have prompted some pudding based chatter with my Mum on Facebook. Here is the recipe for her delicious sounding Whiskey and Ginger Ale Jellies. Think I'll be making these for the housecooling party:

135g Lemon jelly
Whiskey - to taste. I think at least 2 shots will be needed.
1L Ginger ale - you won't need all of this, so drink the rest.

Melt the packet of lemon jelly in a tiny amount of water in a heatproof measuring jug.

Cool slightly.

Add whiskey to taste.

Top up to a pint with ginger ale. Drink the left over ginger ale.

Pour into shot glasses and leave to set in the fridge.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

For The Boys Who Won’t Date Feminists, M.M.A. (via reduvia)

I am a feminist because when I tell people I am an actress, they ask if I’ve slept with directors, because it is so inconceivable to them that as a woman I should receive a part based on my talent and not how good I am in bed. I am a feminist because the boys that I live with think it is okay to tell me to wear a thong because my panty line makes them uncomfortable. The day I dress for a man is the day I’m dressed for Heaven. I am a feminist because when I wore a backless dress on New Year’s Eve, a man told me that it meant that I was “asking for it”, and the way he said it I knew he accepted it as a fact. I gave him the middle finger and glared at any man who leered at me that night. I am a feminist because since the age of 12 I have been told that a boy’s education is more important than my own, through the classes missed because my shoulders are showing and my shorts length is distracting the boys. I am a feminist because when I walk across campus, passing a group of boys 12 feet from my residence fills me with such terror that my feet speed up and tears burn at the corners of my eyes. I am a feminist because the first thing I do when I see a man on the street is think of all possible escape routes and take an inventory of what I can use as a weapon. I am a feminist because seeing a man stare at me through the bus window fills me with dread, not only from a fear of being attacked but because I know I will be told it was my fault for taking the bus alone. I am a feminist because statistics say 1 in 5 woman are victims of sexual assault, and that means that at least one of my baby cousins, at least one of my best friends, will be or has been assaulted and that thought makes me physically ill. I am a feminist because people still think it’s okay to ignore the problem, because the first response when I bring up the issue is “not all men”. No, not all men, but enough men that I can’t walk home alone. Every man I see is innocent or a potential rapist, and there is no in between. I am a feminist because girls are still taught that if they don’t take protective measures, the rape is their fault, and boys are never taught that just because she is a woman, does not mean she is theirs to touch. I am a feminist because feminism is about fighting for gender equality, for making the streets a safer place to be alone, for making the issue one that is discussed openly without anger. I am a feminist, and if you have a problem with that, you can go home alone tonight.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Aperitif time. Thanks Jess and Andy x

via Instagram

So I wrote this whole post and Blogger ate it

It was all about how we're moving soon. And how I'll miss this house that's sheltered us and been filled with happy memories. Where people came for a weekend of refuge if they were having a tough time.

I can't write it again as beautifully. So have a picture of this Friday's curry instead. Possibly the last curry night in The Curry House. Though I'm sure curry will be served at the house cooling party.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Prepping for Christmas

The tree is up

and my secret Santa present for work was well received. I was blocking and weaving in ends right up to the last minute and didn't want to give it away. Time to save up to knit my own. Ombre of greys I think.

Top down raglan loosely taken from a number of online calculators with my own short row bust shaping and decrease increase waist shaping. Assorted stash yarn.

Monday, December 01, 2014

The importance of traditions

I'm dying of a sore throat and flu like symptoms.

It's clearly punishment for a lovely weekend.

First a trip to the mother in laws farm, with a walk around a sunny end of autumn Stourhead, and a fun curry at the local curry house.

Then to my parents for the annual advent service in the box pews and puritanical crispness of St. Marys Old Dilton. Tom dashing around with my dad lighting candles, and serving mince pies. Old old old carols soaring, sometimes in tune.

I love this. Something I remember from many years past. Singing what people will have sung there for centuries.

Then a jolly evening over soup and snacks at my parents' house, Tom's mum there as well. Even though my cold had kicked in, just lovely.

Today I have been mainly sleeping, trying to shake off these, shivers and get my voice back.

Friday, November 28, 2014

NaBloPoMo 27 & 28

Yesterday I spent a lot of time doing tech support and graphic design. Then I popped in to office to review lots of images. Dinner with Tom and dad, who had come round to give us an estimate of the volume of stuff in our house for moving. Then bible study in the evening.

Today, off to London at some godawful hour of the morning to sit in on a training session. Lots of friendly faces in the student body, so had a very happy, productive day.

Enjoyed watching the little kids singing through all the songs they knew to pass the time on the train home, they being without seats, as was I. Had to hold back from joining in with Let It Go and Wind the Bobbin Up. The little sister trying to steal her brothers thunder by getting in first with the 'the cold never bothered me anyway' line was especially cute.

Also enjoyed advising an elderly lady on what to do in Southampton on the days before her cruise, and advising a miffed mum and son who couldn't find a Santa's grotto in London to check out their nearest NT place.

Straight off the train to pick up a free telly from someone from to donate to another friend helping someone set up a home after being homeless. Then to the pub for pizza with the Friday night crowd. Decided not to stay as beer festival on, and no seats, so back to ours for drinks and chatter and pizza off boxes on laps.

Evening topped off with scones baked to eat the lovely raspberry jam given to us by Olivia and Robin. Exceptional jam on scones from a work recipe. They never disappoint.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NaBloPoMo 26 - skating

I was a deprived child. My parents never took me ice skating.

Ok, so not really deprived, but I like to tease my parents on this one.

Tom took me skating at Winchester Cathedral.

As I clung to the barrier, going round in slow tedious circles for an hour, tense to the core and shitting myself with fear, I agreed whole heartedly with the lady wrapped up warm watching from the stability of the pavement who said "I think skating is one of those things you have to learn as a child".

I did get noticeably better in the course of the hour and only fell over once.

However, with cramp in the arches of my feet, and aching legs, I think I will only be going skating again if I can go for a beginners lesson, on a rink where there aren't spectators, or lots of little girl guides on a unit outing whizzing around making me feel even more like an idiot.

Tom was very patient, and went for a few faster laps at the end. Here's a blurry pic of him in action.

It also reminded me of my intense dislike of not being good at things right away, and dislike at failing at things in public.

As a reward for trying skating, Tom took me out for dinner. We went to Fish Tale, a relatively new restaurant in Winchester. The food was fab. We shared a mixed platter of deep fried fishy things, butterflied prawns, beef croquettes and curried soup to start. I then had scallop and prawn thermidor, and Tom had chorizo, smoked haddock and prawn chowder. The portions were so large that I brought home a third of my thermos and ate none of my chips. The prosecco was also fab. One to only order mains at next time I think, unless they make all the portion sizes a bit smaller and knock a few quid off the prices to match.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NaBloPoMo 24 25 - report

Today there is nothing to report from yesterday other than a cream tea with colleagues and knitting and talking house buying with Laura into the evening.

Today I am struck by a vivid memory of using the sixth form computer room in the silence in free periods to knit and read websites. As I do the same today in my lunchbreak in a peaceful barn conversion of an office.

Louisa and Andy's for dinner tonight - fun!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

NaBloPoMo 20, 21, 22, 23

Failing again, oh well.

I have been off to London for work, and enjoyed the luxury of a desk and trying to clear my to do list.

I've been to my house group and talked through trying to get to know people at church better.

I've been for a run and a couple of long walks.

Friday saw me inventing a dinner of pesto marinated chicken, cauliflower, broccoli and courgette cheese and jacket potatoes for Tom, Marmers and I before a Hattie Jaques Playlist gig at the Talking Heads. We bopped the night away to fubk soul and bizarrely, Brit pop covers.

I've knitted, caught up with work and done lots of washing whilst Tom was at a service of celebration for dessert mission action planning at Winchester Cathedral.

There was lots and lots of sleeping. I may have just caught up with the sleep debt.

Then there was sushi. Toddy and Adam were gracious sushi teachers and hosts whilst showing off their wedding presents happily. I'm pleased to say I make a mean roll, and it was nice to catch up with lots of old friends.

Today, I have slept, shopped and spent lots of time helping Olivia unpack whilst Tom helped Robin with DIY in their charming new home. I like helping. And being given champagne with my lunch to celebrate new houses.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NaBloPoMo 19 - date night

Today I spoke at a conference briefly and think I acquitted myself well.
After work it was date night.
Tom and I walked into town, to start the evening with a sock buying challenge as today is Autumn Socks Day.
...and lo, Tom did say once upon a time 'autumn sucks'
Alex cried 'no, autumn rocks'
And Tom said, ' no autumn socks'
So Alex laughed and gifted Tom with socks to make the mellow mists of autumn more bearable.
Thus it came to pass that socks were ritually exchanged on the 19th November.
We have both had a busy few weeks, and so decided to buy our socks on the same day. We split up in West Quay with half an hour to choose our socks.
I was scuppered by there being only 3 choices of 100% cotton socks for men  West Quay, all plain boring colours.
So with Tom's permission I ended up buying him a pair of merely 80% cotton from a Swedish company called Happy Socks like so.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NaBloPoMo 18 - pictures instead today

 different place for work today

NaBloPoMo 17 and 18 - gah

I think I struggle to post on days when I am helping to run training at work because I've been inside helping people and can't publicly go in to more details.

We also had a PCC meeting yesterday at church. These are usually tedious procedural things, and last night was no different. Money, buildings and the like.

Today I'm off to visit a new place for work, and then attend another church meeting. This time a children's ministry one, with my safeguarding officer hat on.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

NaBloPoMo 16 Westbury

Today we slept in after our night of Bellowhead dancing, wrapped presents for my dad and sped off to Westbury to see him and my mum.

It was lovely to see them. Tom had not seen them both since August, and I drove l since the end of September when Dad had been licenced as a lay minister.

Our main present to him was his master's degree academic hood, which a few of us family had gone in on. So now, if he's ever required to be in choir dress, he'll be adequately robed. It's one of those silly Anglican nice to have things that's perfect for a man who likes a bit of dressing up. He was suitably pleased.

After a pleasant after noon chatting and catching up and trying an avocado based chocolate mousse made by Grace, (mum and dad's goddaughter who's living with then at the moment ), we're now back home and in bed, ready for another long week of work.