Saturday, August 30, 2014

Suits and shoes and Saturday chatter.............

When you get carried away painting doors with oil based paint, it is always wise to check that there is nothing BEHIND those doors, hanging neatly out of the way. Things like your son's navy pin striped suit jacket, for example. 

It can prove very costly if you don't. 

I, of course, have no little experience of this. 


The thing is, you see, David's friends are getting married. Well, he is 25, so this is to be expected, and I am quite sure the trickle of invitations may well turn into a flood, and he needs the suit for weddings. In fact, he could do with a couple. Thank heavens he doesn't wear a suit every day. Smart clothes do just fine under lab coats. 

I remember my Dad and his suits. He always ordered two pairs of trousers to every jacket, because he never wore the jacket, unless he had to go out to a meeting, and then it came off once in any office. He did of course, also need it for high days and holidays. 

Like weddings. 

So, after collecting an additional box of floor tiles, because genius plumber man is here as I speak, working on a SATURDAY, David and I ventured forth to find a suit. I am the grovelling mother here. I did try to fix the other one, but, as he told the extremely helpful man in the wonderful Big Man Shop, it looks as if a bird pooped on his shoulder. 

Yes. Well. 

This shop specialises in clothing for men who are rugby player size. You need to be tall to enter. David is 6ft 4" and so it was like Christmas. Everything was wonderful. Instead of hunting for the larger sizes and longer lengths, the manager, sized him on the spot and then produced the suits to choose from. And so he has a new one, which fits beautifully. Tailored suits, well fitted to the individual, make SUCH a difference. 

He looks great. 

Geoff wore uniform all his working life. Well, his life at sea. And when I met him, he was in the RFA, (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) and he was wearing evening dress - you know the one - white monkey jacket, pleated shirt, cummerbund, bow tie etc. He looked fantastic. No wonder I was immediately smitten. 

There is something about evening dress on a man. I do not know of any man who does not look fabulous in evening gear. Black tie. Dress suits. Men seem to walk taller, gain confidence, even a look of authority, and women just love it. Mind you, put a woman in evening gear, and the men also step up a notch, because evening dress is special. Glam is good on occasion. 

And then it is back to the paint and the tiles and the dusty lounge and ordinary life. 

It is grey right now and not tropical. I have my coffee and an Ouma's rusk. (I popped in to the South African Shop on the way to Ikea on Thursday.) Time to go and do a few rows on the blanket.

But before then, take a look at my bargain wellys. Not boots, but shoes. I will have something waterproof to wear when winter comes. Down on the allotment, at least!


Flowers are always good. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer will soon be over......

Good morning, people.

Can you believe that summer will soon be over? My tomatoes are just starting to ripen. They are very late this year. 

 I have no idea where this week has gone - all I do know is that there was a great deal of painting and deadlines and more painting. But the bathroom is getting there. Yesterday, the basin unit arrived. And I think it will all look lovely when it is done. One day. 


Jean and I went to aquazumba at dawn and then to Ikea in search of a bathroom mirror. I ended up with a flat wall one, because, really, that is all we need. It will look great. 

And then Costco. And then I needed a darkened room and a long nap. 

As far as the rest of the house goes, I have yet to hear when the replacement radiator will be here. So I can't schedule the carpets. I do not know where I am putting the furniture. I do not know what I am doing with all the other STUFF. And I want to organise the insulation for the loft. 

So, instead I hauled out my V blanket and did a few more rows. It is such an easy and soothing pattern to do - it works up very fast. 


I am loving the simplicity of it all. I can just manage simple right now. Complicated can wait. The colours? They happened to be within reach at the time. I have no idea where it will go or to whom I may give it. And that photo is sideways, by the way. I forgot to change it. 

So. What else can I tell you......

My head is stuffed with the boring bits like insulation and where and how and what to do with things and light fittings and warm rooms, vacuum cleaners - there is an EU directive coming into force next week - no vacuum cleaners over 1600 watts. We are all about eco awareness here in Europe. Where was I - the head. Yes. And toilet roll holders and storage options and can you believe, I had to go out and buy some needles to fix David's blanket Granny made him. It is so well used it was coming apart. And my mountain of needles is safely tucked in my sewing room, behind the entire contents of the lounge. Awaiting carpets. After the painting. 

It has been a while since I had ventured to the nearby town and it was strange - I popped into one shop, and then remembered the school holidays still on and nearly lost the will to live and so I came home. But I was clutching the needles, so all was not lost. 

Last weekend was a Bank Holiday weekend, so Monday was a public holiday. I spent The Saturday and Sunday doing 4 coats of paint in the bathroom, and picking apples with Jean after church, and by Sunday afternoon, I had stopped moving. I popped up to my friends for tea and a bath, and the stairs proved to be a mega challenge. Actually movement was a mega challenge. Any movement. I cannot tell you how blissful it was to roll into that bath like a beached whale and soak. Magic. 

On the Monday, reinforcements arrived. Derek and David cut the old carpet into metre wide strips. Jean rolled the strips into bales and David popped them in her car. Peter arrived to do the final bathroom coat of paint. Jean took the carpet to the allotment and then the underlay to the tip. And I baked an apple cake. 

That did not require any movement. And then, I sat on the floor and painted the skirting boards. So the painting is almost done. And another friend arrived to fix the lights and suss out what else needed doing. He had intended doing the rail in the garden as well, but that one is done. So, I am really fortunate to have great friends around me. 

Drilling has started above my head, so I may pop out to get away from it all. Farm stall. Vegetables. Yes.......

Friday, August 22, 2014

House renovations never go smoothly.........

Now, if life would just work in a simple fashion.......

The interesting house renovation developments around here now revolve around disasters. Yesterday was an ordinary day, until the plumber announced that the new bathroom basin unit had arrived broken and that it would be late next week before it arrived. 

Then he discovered that one of my new tall radiators had a small rust hole and needed to be replaced immediately, so I had to track down the other plumber (a long story) and he finally called back to tell me that it would take a week or 10 days for that to arrive, and not to worry, it could be installed when it suited me. 

Well, no, because I do not want radiators full of water to be removed on top of my new carpets. Which will now have to be delayed. 

And then a lovely friend arrived to put up a couple of new lights. Well, one was new. The other was begin moved. And suddenly all the lights in the lounge and nook ceased functioning. That required a call to his brother-in-law, who arrived at 7pm and the two of them worked on it all until after 10 last night.

And as they were leaving, victorious, I tried to switch on the outside or entry light so they could see where they were going and neither worked. Cue corporate nervous breakdown. They are returning to continue work in the near future. 

And my lounge looks like this. I have 4/5ths of a bathroom in it. 


In daylight, the front door looks rather pretty, with the hanging basket in full bloom. The rest of the garden is definitely showing many signs of autumn. Apart from the dahlias, of course. I am tempted to start emptying baskets. Diana's sunflowers are still climbing towards the sky - they will be stunning when out. There will be photos, of course. Photos are good. 


Here you can see the Great Electrical Team Pondering the Mysteries of the Lights. These things have to be documented, don't they - the story of my life.......


I was keeping well out of the way, believe me. David was manning the power switch. "Power Off" "Power On" repeated by all to ensure no-one was accidentally fried. 

And now for a little light relief. Those balloons I got up at dawn to chase across the valley. Here are a few photos. I am so glad I did go out when I did, because that was the last time over the festival weekend, that they were actually able to fly. They look so beautiful floating in the sky. I remember my flight 10 years ago perfectly, and the silence was what astonished me. I absolutely loved begin up there above the world. How many of you have flown in a balloon? Just fabulous!



This red and black one landed in the field just beyond that hedge on the left. 



Right time and right place. 


So, I am sitting here, waiting for the bathroom plumber to arrive. The bathroom is empty of the old suite, (see above- that is the old bathroom in the skip) and has been plastered. The plaster is almost dry and then I will need to paint it a zillion times so that it is all sorted before the bath etc goes in. 

He has done the marine ply on the floor, for the tiles, and the radiator is in place. And this is a bank holiday weekend. Things are going too slowly for me. I need it all to be done. The carpets are waiting. The lounge carpets need to be taken up too. Cut up. A weekend job, perhaps. 

Well, Mr Bathroom Plumber Man has arrived and is hard at work in the bathroom above my head again. I am on kettle duty. Tea. Coffee. 

I will be back.

Monday, August 18, 2014

It sounds as if the sky is falling in..........

Morning all - we need sound effects here. As I speak, the plumber is ripping out my bathroom directly over my head. There is much thunderous crashing. And tiles are hitting the floor with remarkable ease.

In short, it seems as if the entire bathroom was a pack of cards. Take one thing out, and the rest will all gently fall off. Or so says the plumber. There is a small skip at the front door, and I will endeavour to fill it up as well, once the bathroom is all out. I am taking photos. We need to document Stuff, after all, don't we.....

The past couple of weeks have been marked by paint. A great deal of paint, and marking and also of reading. I have a friend who has written a book, and I am getting to read it first. I am not skimming. I am delighting in it all. Sigh. And the paint is embedded in my pores. The nails are past help, and the skin of the hands is now a deathly white. Did I mention that I was painting the whole place white? White. Easy to clean and redo. And it will look nice and fresh when it is all done, but right now we are halfway to nowhere. A friend came and did three coats on the ceiling last week which was amazing. I hate doing ceilings. And the furniture is mostly out of the lounge and into everywhere else in the house, to make painting easier, and also in preparation for the new carpets. They are bought and paid for and are loitering in a warehouse until the bathroom is done.


When the painting is finished.

The carpet will be gone - cut up and down to the allotment this week, and the rugs have been cleaned. A friend from church mentioned on Facebook on Saturday, that she had done her house with the hired carpet cleaner available everywhere - and I commented that it was on my list. Don't worry, she said, I have time and plenty of shampoo, and she arrived at my house and proceeded to do 4 large rugs for me. How wonderful is that? I am SO thankful!

Drying them is taking some time, but they will be ready soon.

So, with painting, physio, being back in the pool for classes a bit, painting, sorting stuff, reading, painting, the days have flown by too rapidly. Oh, and the freezing of beans, harvesting of squash, courgettes, baking of courgettes, and visitors - many visitors, watering, and general stuff like laundry. Ironing. Need I say more.....well, I have not been lying back on a chaise being fanned by slaves and fed grapes. Even though I should apparently be doing the lying back, begin mindful and doing precisely nothing more. Apparently. Maybe if they threw in the slave fanning and grapes it may become easier.

But that is not going to happen.

Right. Let me go and find some photos. I will be back.