Wednesday, 25 January 2012

School run - Clyro style

In Buenos Aires we'd run into political road blocks, in Clyro it's the sheep that take to the streets. The boys thought this was great fun, especially as the sheep charged at the car and one jumped in the air right next to Seth's open window. 

Imp turns elf

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Into the wild

On a wild Sunday afternoon we clambered up to the summit of Hay Bluff. Bo was slightly terrified by the wind and that he might be blown up into the sky like a balloon, but little Sethie jogged cheerfully to the top and was very proud of himself shouting 'I've climbed Hay Fluff'. The views were spectacular, and with wind beaten faces we piled into the car and back to the cabin for hot chocolate huddled around the wood burner. Perfect!

 We made it!!!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Double date

What a treat: Ol and I took advantage of free babysitting from Mum and went for a run together in the hills this morning, and spent yesterday evening in the Blue Boar in Hay dreaming up a trip to Bhutan! We've been so busy and tired lately that it felt so good to be out on our own in a cosy pub/on a wild hill and plotting another crazy family adventure.
(Yeah, we really sat at the bar and take BAD photos of each other on our iphones. Now I upload them on here I realise that was a bit strange...)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Black and White village trail

My Mum's down for the week and we headed off today to visit the nearby Black and White Villages. Just over the border in Herefordshire, located between the market towns of Kington and Leominster. Many of the timber-framed buildings date back to the 14th century and are full of character. Our favourite village was Eardisland
The 17th century dovecote has been restored and turned into a community shop, selling groceries and local produced, and run by volunteers from the village. 

More info and a map of the Black and White Villages Trail here, including routes for walking, cycling and public transport. Stop in at Dunkerton's Cider Mill to sample their traditional organic cider and perry, and for lunch, at my hands-down fave of the pubs, The Tram Inn at Eardisley

All in a day's work

This morning the ceiling of the sitting room looked like this - open joists. By 4pm we had flooring laid in two of the bedrooms and the hallway that will be eventually be a walk-in wardrobe.

Meanwhile, outside, we have a new manhole, what will be the patio area has been dug out and it's all set for the new drains going directly out to the street (rather than through three neighbouring gardens).
It's now easy to have a feel for how the patio will look leading off from both the sitting room and the kitching/dining room:
Inside, they've tanked the exterior wall on the ground floor in the kitchen/dining room and the sitting room, so we should be damp-proof, and next stage is to add the insulation. 

Monday, 16 January 2012

Imp logic

Bo: Please can we go to William's house? Yes or no?
Me: No.
Bo: Oh. Bo's mouth is saying 'yes'. Your mouth needs to say 'yes' too.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

In the (not so) bleak midwinter

Being very English and talking about the weather, it's been fantastic this week. Thursday I was over in Worcestershire having lunch with an old friend and we were sitting out in the sun having a pub lunch, not even wearing coats. This is January! As we drove back home there was an incredible sunset, red, orange, pink, yellow with deep blue clouds. Seth looked out of the card window and said: 'It's like a rainbow without the green!' I love how four year old's think. It's been so mild and sunny lately, the flowers are very confused and are blooming well before their time.

So it was a shock to wake up yesterday morning and see the landscape muted by a covering of frost, like those people whose hair suddenly turns grey overnight. Seth surprised me by randomly using a Spanish word when he looked out on the fields and said 'it's now blanco grass'. One of my favourite things about the view is how different it is each day. We can't say how it's going to look, and the atmosphere changes so much depending on the shadows, or the colours, or how much of the view is obscured or in full view.

It's frosty again today (more confusion for the plants) and the sky is laden with vast white clouds hanging heavy over the Black Mountains. We're heading out in our boots and hats for a walk in the clouds, and a wander into Hay to raid Pembertons bookshop which is closing and has a magic 40% off all titles (they'll still be running the bookshop at the Festival, but the owner is retiring from daily shop life). 

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Pottery Cottage renovation: week eight

The most dramatic change to Pottery Cottage since the initial opening up work was this week when the guys took out the windows and walls on the garden side, to prepare the space for two bi-fold windows. I'm thrilled with how it's looking on the kitchen side, the opening lets the light flood in and we'll have a great view out to the garden from the open kitchen/dining/work space, and that will be the first view as we step into the house. On what was the dining room (will be a playroom) side I'm quite as happy, mostly because we had to build up a supporting column, so from the internal viewpoint, the doors will be off-centre. It's less important in there, and from the garden view the doors will be better placed. From the garden the back of the cottage is going to much less cluttered and fussy, more streamlined. We're also planning on changing all the windows back to wooden frames, probably painted grey, with single pain glass, which will make a huge difference. 

Here's how the back of Pottery Cottage looked when we bought it, exterior and interior views:

And here's the work in progress earlier in the week. Window panes out, roof propped up ready to take out the frames and wall:
And with the windows and walls out, trenches dug, and ready for the bi-fold windows. The part that has been blocked in in the middle is where the utility room will go.

 This is the view from the sitting room looking through to the playroom that will lead onto the garden.
And this what will be the kitchen/dining/my workspace:
Lots of dull jobs like new drains (we're changing them so that there's a manhole on the street outside Pottery Cottage rather than going through three gardens to reach the mains), working with a structural engineer to define two new structural beams to support the roof above the playroom and in the kitchen/dining area, complying with building regulations, and damp coursing and insulating the below-ground street-side walls of the main cottage.

We really enjoyed spending Saturday afternoon down there, the boys digging in garden, Ollie sawing firewood, and me painting Ollie's shed. I think we'll be really happy there, if we can hang in there and make it habitable before we run out of funds.