Tuesday, May 26, 2015

End of May update

So, another weekend of hard graft with good friends. This week I'm thanking, Dave, Ben, Laura and John for services above and beyond in sanding and concrete laying. The builders who have arrived to start the bathroom think the concrete is amazing and want to offer John a job - given he's a civil engineer, we'd expect nothing less.

So the bedroom has it's purple wall and is waiting for the new carpet and curtains that should be arriving this week:

Tom is so committed to his DIY, he's taken to doing it in his dressing gown:

There's been a few knitting related breaks - here's a pretty little cardi for Nick and Su's new baby, modeled elegantly by Dr. Heronimus Bacon-Sandwhich

Oh and because it brings me joy, here's Lula, Tom and I in our wedding dresses, trying to break the record for a number of brides in a shop to raise money for the Countess Mountbatten Hospice.

Tom was attacked by a small girl from our church who was also attending and decided he needed a better headdress.

The weekend of intense DIY started with Tom and John digging out a new section of the drive. Where we've knocked down the old pillars, we're hoping to make the drive wide enough to park two cars on it, and be able to open the doors. I suggested they get all Poldark on this, but they declined. I also helped with the digging for a bit, but it was too much like hard work in the sun and all.

I was excited when the Wickes lorry delivered the ballast and cement.

Here are some of the cool old, handmade and inividual nails I pulled out the stairs prior to the commencement of the sanding.

And here's the sanding of the hall in process. The floors look like they were left untreated after sanding in the past, and were covered in grime. They came up quite nicely. I learnt to keep the sander moving so as not to take grooves out the floor, and doing the edges with an orbital sander is much easier than doing it with the official edge sander. Oh and to follow the grain if you can.

Here's the concreting in progress - we'd underestimated the amount of ballast we'd need, so they boys had to stop and get some more. Note official looking rebar reinforcements - John doesn't muck around.

Sanding floors is very dusty indeed - here's the Dave in comedy vacuuming of clothes moment.

I did enjoy the sanding though, as the results are so noticeable.

Let's finish on these delightful carnations. I love carnations. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sandi Toksvig on Women's History

When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. “This is often considered to be man’s first attempt at a calendar,” she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. “My question to you is this – what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.” It was a moment that changed my life. In that second I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women’s contributions? How often had I sped past them as I learned of male achievement and men’s place in the history books? Then I read Rosalind Miles’s book “The Women’s History of the World” (recently republished as “Who Cooked the Last Supper?”) and I knew I needed to look again. History is full of fabulous females who have been systematically ignored, forgotten or simply written out of the records. They’re not all saints, they’re not all geniuses, but they do deserve remembering.

Sandi Toksvig, ‘Top 10 unsung heroines’ (via memereve) http://ift.tt/1HprarO

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

A short holiday in Kent

We've just had a lovely weekend staying with John and his parents in Kent.

We started off with a mooch around Canterbury, and a delicious early dinner at Cafe Mauresque, which we love. Then we went off to the Collyer Ferguson concert hall to watch John and the Ashford Choral Society perform Tippet's 'A Child of Our Time'.

Which was amazing. I like the narrative structure, and the contrast between the choral and spiritual sections.

We bimbled off to the pub for a drink after that as you do.

Saturday saw us braving the rain and mist at Deal. We mooched watched the time ball drop at 1pm, visited Deal castle and had fish and chips on the beach in a brief break in the cloud.







Then we mooched off for a walk at the White Cliffs of Dover from St Margarets at Cliff to South Foreland Lighthouse. Unfortunately it was a bit foggy but we had a great tour of the light house anyway. We'll be back in the summer to see the tunnels of the Fan Bay shelter when they open.





 We had a lazy Sunday morning followed by a visit to Scotney Castle. I was impressed at how well they handled the bank holiday crowds. It's so pretty there. Made me want to come home and do lots of gardening. Anyone know what these two different green flowers are? I want some!





We parted with John and came home to lots of washing up - back to reality! Thanks for a great weekend John.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Room based progress and parties

So the bedroom has gone from magnolia to white. We had some very helpful friends come to paint, including Jon, Ben, Laura, Robin and Olivia. Tom tried some different base paints to see if we could even up the texture a bit, including the Polycell Basecoat and Smooth Over. The Basecoat has filled in the tiny hairline cracks in the plaster nicely, and the Smooth Over seems to work well on the patches where we tried it, but was a faff to apply. Here's Tom inspecting his handywork.

We've now progressed even further and the colour is on the wall - time for a final sand down of the wood work and top coat, then fun things like buying carpet, lampshades and curtains.

We had our big housewarming and birthday party for Tom this weekend. Thank you so much to everyone who came. I think we reached peak people about 2:30pm when there were approx 40 people in the house. Lunch was a buffet, I made 48 scones for an afternoon tea to go with lots of lovely cake, and then there was a greek feast for dinner. We managed to end up with a wine surplus which was a nice surprise too, I think because it was Tom's birthday so he got lots of bottles as presents. I also achieved my goal of fresh flowers in all the party rooms to make the place look nice.

It was a lovely day. Jess, Andy and Ethan, and Martin stayed on Friday night, so it started then with Lula dropping in for a bit. Then on Saturday we baked and prepped together, and whirled around chatting to friends and family from all parts of our lives. Sandy. Martin, Lula and John stayed on Saturday night, so there was a big cooked breakfast on Sunday morning followed by a day out in Riverside Park. Some people had three ice creams in one day! The Smith's kids had left their jumpers behind, so we stuck them on some toys and took them on an adventure too.

What a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April update

Bedroom: caulking in woodwork. Want to get to painting this week.

Rest of house: amazing new fence by Tom and Phil making me want to garden. Need to knock down the brick pillars next.

We've also got a new bed and some snazzy bed linen:

Tom's dad is staying for a few days on his way back from his holiday. We were proper tourists on Sunday and went on a little boat trip from Lymington.

We also had our first roast dinner of the house, and rounded Sunday off with a pint in our new local, the Butchers Hook.