Thursday, 29 January 2009

The Shed (Can he fix it? Yes he can!)

When is a shed not a shed? When it's a barn. The most controversial aspect of this building is its name. One of the unexpected drawbacks in acquiring a property with a selection of outbuildings in varying states of ruin is that no one can agree what to call each of them. You could ask a guest to go out to the shed to collect some wood and find him hours later in the depths of a damp garage rummaging for logs amongst unpacked boxes of soft toys and ski gear. But shed is Dave's chosen name, and shed it shall be. On day one a better name would have been "blot on the landscape" (or "eye sore" for short). It was little more than a wooden skeleton with bits of old cladding sticking out like tufts of manky old fur. Enter stage left "Bob the Builder"! Ok, so he's really a guitar strumming teacher who moonlights as "Bobbos", Berkshire's famous festival headliner. But for a few days last October he morphed into "Bob the Builder" (swap hard hat for beanie and you get the picture) . With "Squaddie Dave" (a lesser known character dropped after the first series of the hit kids show for fear of scaring the more sensitive younger viewers) and "Squaddie Dad" (aka Mr Pickworth Senior, gun for hire and builder of quality chicken sheds), they completed the transformation from shameful carcase to the grand, green shed it is today. The boys done good!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Plant Room (Love me, love my boiler)

It will come as no surprise to anyone (except perhaps Charlie) that a hundred year old solid stone farmhouse, unheated and unlived in for many a year, is a little on the chilly side. We knew that "Dave's Big Project No. 1" would be to install an central heating & hot water system from scratch. Not a problem if, like Dave, you have a laminated card certifying your attendance on "Introduction to Plumbing" from the Newbury Building School. But Bertha the boiler, who will be the source of all this heating & hot water, would need a home. Not so good then if you thought that "Introduction to Bricklaying" was one course too many. And so began the labour of love that became "the Plant Room". To the untrained eye it may look like the back end of an alpine chalet wedged onto the side of a house, and yes, the design might have come from the "back of a fag packet, how long's a piece of string, do you think it'll work" school of architecture. But Dave loves it. The shiny flue rising majestically from the rear hints at the wonder of the plumbing world that lies behind the simple wooden facade. Some men retreat to the greenhouse, others to a shed, but Dave slips out the back door and into his plant room. It is there that you'll find him, cup of tea in hand, deaf to all but Bertha's rumblings while he lovingly stokes the fire in her belly, or maybe tinkers with his blending valve, perfects his pipe lagging or simply gazes at the scene thinking "I did that". But where in all of this masculine achievement is my contribution? Well who do you think owns the pink flowered wellies in the corner?!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

This is the house. It's a sunny day in September 2008 and our first week as "landowners". This is before the rains started and we began to find the leaks. The top floor is the attic where Dave will lock me up in years to come when I go mad. So if I ever disappear, you'll know where to look!
Welcome to the new Banceithin blog. What's Banceithin? It's a smallholding in the making. Where's Banceithin? It's near the village of Bethania in the county of Ceredigion. Ok, but where's Ceredigion? WALES! So, who lives at Banceithin? Dave, Phil and Charlie the cat. Why do they live at Banceithin? Because they're mad. So what's this blog thing all about? It's a way of keeping family & friends up to date on how life at Banceithin is shaping up. So what now? Wait and see!