Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Been "Up North"

Okay Jane, you can be stopping with the nagging now.
We got back yesterday evening from a bittersweet trip up to Northumberland. Ken's funeral was on Thursday so we drove up to Darlington for that, such an unbearably sad reason for a family to get together, we always say we'll make more effort to see each other, but it never seems to happen until it's too late for some...

Having travelled so far up the A1 we carried on up to my nome village of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in Northumberland for a few days with my folks. Hubby and I continue the game my family played every time we went back there - trying to be first to yell "I can see it!" at the first glimpse of the bay - you'd think this was one game i could win, but blow me if he didn't get in first this time.

Can't say the weather was perfect - it blew a gale the whole time and on Friday it rained pretty much all day, sending us scuttling from one garden centre to another - both had teeny weeny craft areas, and despite all my efforts, all I could find to buy were two punches - sorry Girls, I know that's a very poor tally and I promise I'll try harder next time.

On Saturday we went a little further up the coast to Craster (famous for kippers, I think, but I don't like fish so I'll take their word for it). We wanted to visit Dunstanburgh Castle as we've not been in ages. You have to leave your car either in Craster, or in Embleton on the other side and walk the 1 1/2 miles along to the castle. It was a lovely, warmish, slightly breezy wander along by the sea on the way - but walking into the wind on the way back it felt three times further!
I'll get some photos up later as Dunstanburgh is one of the most picturesque castles I know and well worth a visit if you're ever in the area.

My all time favourite castle at Warkworth and even if we don't actually go in to the grounds, I have to at least go to Warkworth to see it - a visit "home" wouldn't be complete without checking that it's still there, even just sitting in the car park is enough. We used to go there for picnics when I was very little and it's one of my favourite places in the world. These are two of Hubby's Warkworth Castle photos from other visits.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Plant Spotting

Right, I need some help. There are loads of these growing in the garden and I don't know if they are weeds or "proper" plants. And yes I know a weed is just a plant you don't want.

So here's today's challenge - Name This Plant:

Monday, May 22, 2006

Join in the Challenge

Here's a challenge to make cards following a basic plan.

If anyone comes across this blog and would like to make a card, scrapbook page, piece of altered art etc to the template shown here, I'd love to see it Here are some of the cards I've made using the plan, the third one is a commissioned card so I hope the customer will like it!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bowl of Cherries

Well life isn't always one of those, is it?
In the last couple of days we've had the good news that the operation my Uncle had on Tuesday was successful and that he's home, happy and feeling better than he's done for about a year. Just a shame they didn't figure out what was wrong a bit sooner....
Then we had the sad news last night that a much loved relative of mine died yesterday.
I couldn't decide whether to write about this here, but if this blog is about things that are happening in my life, then this is very relevant. I'm feeling very sad today, but I know that once the initial shock has worn off I have wonderful, funny memories of him which will always make me smile.

Monday, May 15, 2006

We dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig....

A good garden day yesterday.
We've now dug out all but one of the stumps and roots from the bottom of the garden - only the weeds left to go (haha). It'll need levelling before we can get some grass seed down though.

There's a brick built old base for a greenhouse hidden in the left hand corner - we've been putting the soil in there from our stump-digging! One day (yeah right) it could become a veg patch but that's at the end of the "to-do" list. The garden slopes upwards, especially at the back which foreshortens it when you look out from the house so I want to level at least some of that bit then lay to grass while we think what to do next. There are really tatty conifersright at the back which screen us from the houses on the other side of the fenc, so they need to stay, but my plan (another one) is to plant a new shrubbery just in front to hide their tattiness. I wonder if I'll need to build a brick supporting wall though? That might look quite nice actually....

The momentous thing of the weekend was the planting of our little magnolia tree. We bought it a few years ago and as we didn't want to plant it somewhere we didn't plan to stay, we just kept in a serious of ever bigger pots. We both love magnolias and planting this one here seems to be symbolic - sorry if this sounds mushy and sentimental!

Here's the current view of the end of the garden, with the newly planted magnolia on the right

At the house end of the garden I'm quite chuffed to say that the bed nearest the house is almost sorted out. All the nasty invasive euphorbia which had launched a hostile takeover bid has been removed (although I guess it'll try to make a comeback as the roots go everywhere), I've thinned out the forget-me-nots and other stuff and even planted a few bits we brought with us from the other house, including one of my fave clematis, which seems to be doing really well there already. I'm going to plant one of our cordylines in this bit too - when I decide which one, I keep moving them around in their pots trying to decide where to put them.

Hubby spent a happy, muddy hour investigating the water feature in that bed too. He met some slugs, snails and a couple of little frogs who'd taken up residence. He had to take out all the stones and pebbles and wash the mud and gunge away, then clean out the pump thing but now we have a functioning fountain - it's one of those where the water looks a bit like a jellyfish - it's probably got a proper name, but that' ll have to do you for now.

I took this photo before the fountain was working so if the weather gets nicer later, I'll go out and turn the fountain on and do some more pics.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

buzz buzz buzz I wonder why they does

A couple of weeks ago we ordered a table lamp and another standard lamp to match one we already had (it's a weird thing but the lounge in the new house has no ceiling light fixings....). The new lamps duly arrived and the standard was fine, but the table lamp buzzed. Hubby tried it with different plugs, and in different sockets but it still buzzed. It even buzzed when it wasn't actually on. He rang the shop who rng the manufacturer "It can't buzz" said they "It does buzz" said we. We took it back, and the shop returned it and ordered another. Today we went to collect the new one, hubby got them to unpack it and try it out - the shop was a bit noisy, but he couldn't hear any buzzing. Got it home, plugged it in and guess what? It buzzes, of course it flippin' does.

Other housey stuff: bought new towel rail for the downstairs shower room and a new shower attachment for that one too. The current one is a "fixed" one which is like a booby trap just to turn on without getting soaked. And how do you clean a shower cubicle if you can't use the shower head to rinse it down? Aaah the worries and stresses of housewifelydom.
I've bought weed&feed stuff for the grass, and grass seed for the bit of garden that's been recalimed from trees and shrubby stuff but is currently a weed nursery.

Friday, May 12, 2006

One day I might learn....

not to let one garden job lead to another until all the tools are out of the shed, and all the pots are lined up because I can't pot up one plant until all the others have moved on like a house sales chain.

Now everything is a mess, I'm tired and my back aches sooooo much - but I've got to go back there and at least tidy up a bit or I'm going to get told off again). Hubby is always telling me to take it easy but today it all got a bit out of hand. I can feel the "I told you so"s coming on already.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Tickling the funnybone

There are two guys who have been lost in the desert for weeks, and they're at death's door. As they stumble on, hoping for salvation in the form of an oasis or something similar, they suddenly spy, through the heat haze, a tree off in the distance.
As they get closer, they can see that the tree is draped with rasher upon rasher of bacon.
There's smoked bacon, crispy bacon, life-giving juicy nearly- raw bacon, all sorts.

"Oh my, Pepe" says the first bloke. "It's a bacon tree!!! We're saved!!!"
"You're right!" says Pepe.
So Pepe goes on ahead and runs up to the tree salivating at the prospect of food. But as he gets to within five feet of the tree, there's the sound of machine gun fire, and he is shot down in a hail of bullets.
His friend quickly drops down on the sand, and calls across to the dying Pepe.
"Pepe!! Pepe!! What on earth happened?"
With his dying breath Pepe calls out
"Ugh, run, run!! It's not a Bacon Tree...
(scroll down, its worth it) -










"its a ham bush"


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thanks for the idea Jane!

Ok, I've just been catching up on NZ Jane's blog and she's telling us aobut some revolting breakfast tradition from New Zealand.

So that reminded me of conversations about bizarre sandwich fillings - they've got to be real, not something you've just decided would be weird - that would be way too easy..
I knewsomeone who's favourite sandwich filling was condesed milk, and someone else used to have sugar sandwiches.
Iused to like grated chocolate sandwiches (well I was only about 5 at the time) also, and I can hardly believe this myself, I used to eat salad cream sandwiches, sounds gross to me now, could I really have done that?

Over to you.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Where do they go?

Weekends. that is?
I can't believe it's Monday morning again already. The washing machine has started it's working week but there's still a pile of ironing left over from last week, not good. I need to get organised. The weather is looking a bit grey too, great start to the week - not.
We had a really nice time with our visitors - the weather was great and we spent most of the time outside in the garden. On Friday we all went to the Living Crafts Exhibition at Hatfield House. I enjoyed browsing around among all the lovely things there. I don't think I saw anything really "new" but there was plenty to make my wallet twitch. Hints were dropped about some gorgeous folied glass bead jewellery, but I don't think much notice was taken to tell the truth.
My aunt and uncle headed off home mid-morning, my aunt said "I really love your new house" - I don't think she was too chuffed when we said we were moving as she loved the conservatory we'd built on the old one and this house doesn't have one, hehehe. I think the garden here makes up for it though with the squirrels and all the different birds we see.

It absolutely chucked it down all Saturday afternoon and evening so my gardening plans hit the dust. We decided to spend some time sorting out stuff - yes I know you should do that sort of thing before you move, but we didn't. We have boxes and boxes of photographs; hubby's never been able to throw any away (even the blurred ones) until now, but at last he's ready to be ruthless. I know it's seems only a little thing, but condensing the photo collection will make quite a difference! After the boxes come the albums.....

I managed to do some crafting yesterday. I have card orders to do, but instead of getting on with those I just played with my stuff. Never mind at least there are now a few new cards to go in the box that hubby keeps on his desk at work, it's ages since I replenished that and he's actually sold some recently. We're sharing a study at this house, it's quite a big room but I think he's quite worried about the way my crafty stuff multiplies. I think he'll kick me out of here if I don't keep it under control.

House-wise, we're still waiting to hear from the loft insulation people. Until we get that done, we can't board the loft, until the loft is boarded we can't put stuff up there, and until all that stuff is out of the way we can't reclaim and sort out the room where all that junk is stored......It's getting irritating now, can you tell?
Ok, this week is the week I MUST start getting some builder-type people in to look at the Hideous Bathroom. It's got masses of dark green tiles, some broken, a horrible corner bath with a broken side panel, and the shower, which up till Friday evening didn't actually work at all (hubby hit something with a hammer apparently) has a dodgy door which has allowed water to leak out and ruin the carpet!
It's a great big room and we want to divide it into two so we can have an ensuite to our bedroom and a "family" bathroom. Problem is, the house has been extended to the side as well as the back, the upper floor has a sloped roof to the side and the old external wall still runs through the middle of the rooms at the side of the house in parts as it's a supporting wall - I bet that makes no sense whatsoever, I'll see if it shows up on a photo! So it's not just a case of sticking in a plasterboard wall and putting new sinks etc in - that would be too easy, wouldn't it? I don't really know where to start or who to ask, a builder? an architect? bathroom specialist? And I think we're going to need another velux window along the side, which will mean going through the planning permission lark, won't it?
So that's why I've been putting it off and living with the horror that is the bathroom

Last weekend we painted the walls so they are white now which is a lot better, but still a long way to go!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The sun came out....

for our first "proper" stayover houseguests arrival yesterday. I say "proper" because my cousin did come and stay to lend his muscle power when we first moved in, but the poor love had to bunk down among the cardboard boxes - we did find the spare bed for him, but that room was still crammed with packing boxes.
Now we have a nice tidy(-ish) room for our guests (my aunt and uncle) to use - no wardrobe or bedside cabinets as we couldn't get them in time so a mish mash of furniture, but at least there are no cardboard boxes.

The weather was lovely so we were able to sit outside all afternoon and into the evening. I guess we could have had dinner out there too, but we wanted to "christen" the dining room (still 5 boxfuls to be emptied sitting in the old fireplace) now that we've got enough room in there to sit round the table.

They've been over in Abingdon visiting their baby Grandson Sam who was born in February to see how much he's grown since they last saw him - a lot, apparently! They are here for a couple of days before heading back up to Northumberland.

The Living Crafts exhibition is on at Hatfield House from today so we're planning to go over there at some point. I wonder if we can find something perfect for the new house.......

Back to Cardboard Boxland for a minute, I think it's worth making note of the fact that we've sent about 145 boxes back to the Removals people so far, and still have quite a few to go. When you see your life packed into boxes it's quite scary. We moved to that house from a 1 bedroom flat using a self-drive van, for this move we needed THREE removals vans, 1 just for things from the garden!

Loads of family birthdays on hubby's side this month and I'm nowhere near ready for them. I've decided to buy cards for the 3 nephews and just make ones for niece Aimee, my SIL and BIL who also celebrate this month - not a great confession for a cardmaker but there, it's out in Cyberland now, so please don't shout at me. I'll make an "announcement" too though, I got an order for 6 cards yesterday, plus hubby sold a couple at work too - so I'm quite a happy bunny.
(reminder to self - add link for card site to this blog)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Black Squirrels and Other Wild Things!

Here are some photos of some of the visitors to our garden so far. We can't walk past a window without checking to see what's out there. After living on a newish housing estate for a few years it's fascinating to be somewhere so much more established, and with so many interesting "neighbours".

Well, here we go

I'm Kathy and I live with my wonderful hubby D. We've just moved from a modern house with new "everything" to this 100 year old early Garden City house in Hertfordshire. The poor old place is certainly in need of a bit of tlc so I'm sure I'll use this space to record some of our trials and tribulations along the way.

I'm not going to start with the story of the hassles we had in buying it, that's all in the past now - save to say, it wasn't easy! But we're here now and gradually finding places to put all our stuff, buying new bits of furniture, thinking about paint colours, and planning projects both big and small.