Monday, 28 July 2008

Three coats of paint today

With two people working today, that is David and I, we managed three coats of paint on the bedroom walls. We have to wait till tomorrow to see whether we need a fourth. I cut in all the edges and paint the corners and David is closely behind me with the roller filling in the walls. Its the window cutting in which is the slowest. The good news is that the ceiling needed only one coat.

We managed all this despite a sleepless night last night. It was the hottest night so far, with the temperature over 25 C at bedtime and 23 C in the morning. This evening we had a thunder storm with some rain, which is good news as I had to get out the hose for the first time last night and the water butt is empty.

No longer having an allotment is no reason not to try to sneak in a few vegetables into a very small garden. Hurrah! I picked the first of my climbing french beans today. I grew them from seed which I had kept from beans grown in Swindon which originally came from just 2 seeds of an old vintage variety from the soil association. I actually received about eight seeds but only two survived to grow beans.

I have already cooked and eaten vegetables which I have grown in other people's gardens. I planted a lovely yellow courgette plant given to me by Mandy who is an excellent gardener who also goes to the Web of Wool Tuesday knitting group, in my neighbour's garden. In addition we have had some excellent beetroot and lettuce which I planted in Rita's allotment on the other side of Kenilworth. I have a round trip cycle ride of about half an hour to go there but it is well worth it, both to see Rita, have a chat and do some gardening as well.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

New Front Door

When we moved in last year we had some major works done to upgrade the house and this year we have started with the inside. I took this picture to remind me of some of the things we have achieved. The new front door with the cheerful turquoise glass in very inviting especially with the lovely hanging baskets and fuchsia in the pot. The fuchsia started as a small cutting last year and I kept it going in the conservatory over the winter. I have taken more cuttings and am now trying to grow my own standard bush. Judith my knitting friend from Swindon had some fantastic bushes which she nurtures from year to year and now I have this lovely conservatory at the back of the house, I have decided to have a go too.

More Decorating

I haven't taken many pictures of the before but here is one of the corner of the bedroom. There was a hideous edge here just painted over. The house forensic person worked out that there was probably once a cupboard in the alcove and when the framing was removed, no one tidied the edge up. David made a lovely plaster repair and here is the surface ready for papering. When this picture was taken we had spent at leastthree days getting to this point. David had removed all the old skirting boards, and I had scraped the ceiling paper off.

Actually the paper almost fell down, but beneath was probably the original layer of distemper. It took more buckets I can think of to wash the stuff off. Whilst I was cleaning the ceiling down, I also removed the red and gold frieze which we realise had been up before the room was painted blue, the room had been red before.

Another first for the Mace refurbishers: putting up ceiling paper. Well it is pretty difficult and our antics reminded us of a Laurel and Hardy film, well I put the floor cloth in the bucket of paste, and I nearly stood in another bucket. Today we seized the ceiling first then cut some strips trying to match up the pattern. By the end of the day we have covered more than half the ceiling and done a pretty good job too.

We celebrated our success with a fish and chips supper. The portions are so big however that we share a portion. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully we shall have finished papering the ceiling. We've decided to get decorators in to do the living and dining rooms.....hurrah!

Friday, 11 July 2008

Hidcote, Alcester and a lovely day out

Last Friday was the first day of David's postponed week off. As the weather was lovely we decided to have a day out. We drove through the lovely tree lined roads to Alcester, stopping on the way to walk a little along the aqueduct taking the canal over the road, and then lunch in a lovely old country inn. Alcester was delightful. More pictures on another day maybe.

We drove on to Hidcote, and on the way had tea at a teashop attached to an antique barn. We had a nice browse round, and arrived at Hidcote at five......although the gardens close at six, the gate was closed but we managed to squeeze through the exit. We felt like two kids who managed to sneak into a secret garden. We did not feel too guilty as we are members of the National Trust and would not have had to pay anything extra. The gardens were superb, with hardly anyone around and the birds seemed to have taken over after the crowds had departed.

On the way out I noticed a pick your own farm on the estate, and was not able to resist. We bought ready picked broad beans for £0.80 Kg, compared to £3.99 Kg in Sainsburys, and we picked some blackcurrants. We managed to get two pounds. These are the first I've bought as in previous years grew them both in the garden and at my allotment. David had not realised how hard work they are to pick! Next morning I got busy and made some lovely jam.