Sunday, 21 February 2010

Eggwatch: The Finale

One of our feathered beauties has finally squeezed one out. It was a little pale, and slightly elongated, but most definitely an egg. Our first egg. Egg, glorious egg! And very nice on toast with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. We don’t know yet whether its a Rhode Island Red egg or a Welsummer egg. Maybe we should set up eggcam in the nest box. That way we’d also find out who’s using nest box number three for all her number twos!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

With a little help from a friend

One man, one Penguin, one woman, a king size mattress and a spiral staircase, equals an impossible task.


Or so thought Mr Sleepmasters-bed-shop-delivery-man, who knew little of our combined talents for lateral thinking. Penguin’s idea was to bend the mattress around the spiral. Alas, it turned out that a mattress is less bendy than a staircase, so that plan was abandoned for fear of demolishing Dave’s beloved Italian spiral. Dave’s idea was for two people to stand on step ladders on the ground floor, hoist the mattress onto their heads and lob the mattress over the mezzanine banister like a 150cmx200cm javelin. It was jointly decided that this should be the plan of last resort. My idea? I didn’t have one as I was sure the whole venture was doomed from the start and was already planning how I could convert the open plan living area into a bedroom.

So how did we get the mattress up there? Penguin & I heaved, while Dave dragged, and with a huff and a puff, and a small squeal, we lobbed it over the top!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Forwards but also backwards

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the good life fence. Sometimes it feels as though our baby steps forwards are overtaken by giant leaps backwards.

The major drama has been the nightmare of the big green monster described by Dave in “Spot the difference” with admirable restraint given the strife the malevolent tank of doom has caused him. Last week it was also my turn to be punished. Dulux, the God of decorating, has not looked kindly on my efforts to save the planet. In return for my having favoured eco-paints over the fine range of VOC paints that Dulux bestowed upon mankind, he put a curse on all our painting. The brown clay paint insists on drying in patches leaving paler stripes all around the edges, the plaster in the bathroom is on its 8th coat of undercoat and still refuses to accept it, and the big green monster in the roof widdled all over the ceiling in the bedroom below.

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I was not a happy bunny last week. But pity poor Dave who spent an entire morning painting satin on the skirting board and dado we’d undercoated the previous week, only to discover that he’d been using the wrong tin the whole time and painted it all in undercoat again. If you’ve ever been on your hands and knees painting dado or skirting board you’ll know how many times he had to count to 10 and bite his lip before taking a deep breath and going back to the beginning.

But all is not lost, there have been some small victories. I completed my first furniture reclamation project by transforming a dirty, tatty and shabbily upholstered stool into a shiny, white and badly upholstered stool. Dave thinks it looks like a cake stand.

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The floor in the cottage finally got its coat of varnish last week. What we didn’t know was that between coat 2 and coat 3, Stevie “Jazz Paws” Pickworth used the varnish tray as a bed, so as well as varnish the floor also got a coating of little black hairs. Damn those pesky kittens.

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Friday, 12 February 2010

Spot the difference…..

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……….You’re good aren’t you!

Yes the big green monster is missing from the second picture.

This is all part of the trials and tribulations of the giant hot water tank in the barn. The first install went pretty smoothly, with the solar panels on the roof connected and the main feed pipes from our house also connected. During the big freeze, water froze inside the tank as we forgot to fully drain the system. The little blighter had to be dismantled and shipped back to it’s factory of birth to be fixed. A week later it was returned to us and the process of pushing a slippery and stubborn 60Kg green monster through the tiny loft hatch began. Having finally refilled the whole system, we joyfully experienced central heating and hot water in the barn. Three days later we noticed a water stain in the bedroom below and it was all engines stop. The tank appeared to be leaking from the bottom, so we hurriedly emptied it and went through the whole shenanigans of shipping it back to Nottinghamshire again.

It was finally returned to us again today, but the builder Paul can’t make it until Thursday, and we can’t get it up in the loft on our own, so we’ve left him (the monster not Paul!) on sentry duty outside the barn wearing a snazzy blue tarpaulin.


Fingers crossed this will be the last you see of this troublemaker!

Friday, 5 February 2010

All stations go!

Well we have launched our web site as of yesterday. It’s not the finished article but it’s great to see the holding page up there at least. You can have a look by clicking the link at the right of this page. We are going to be open from the 1st of June with our first guests booked in being the Cole family, so we have to make sure we’re finished by then!

So roll up, roll up, for your break in lovely West Wales.

(finders fee’s can be negotiated for referrals!)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Which came first ….

… the kitten or the egg?

EGGWATCH: Nil. Nothing. Nought. A big fat zero. The only thing my girls are laying in the nest boxes at the moment are juicy poos.

IMG_4249 Aphrodite and Hera both have nice red faces and crops, which is a sign that they’re teetering on the brink of point of lay, but yet all the pellets, corn and porridge continue to go in one end with no eggs coming out the other end. Patience is a virtue, or so I’m told. 

KITTENWATCH: Drama and misadventure on Kittenwatch this week. Charlie, Stevie and Nessa are complete pussies and continue to be terrorised by the stinky spraying stray. On successive days, Charlie flew through the cat flap and bolted upstairs like a streak of black and white lightning (given the right incentive he can move surprisingly fast for a 6.5kg cat), Nessa was found cowering behind the hoover in the hallway (who can blame her when she ended up with an infected cat bite on her leg) and, after following the trail of wailing, Stevie was finally located up a tree. The second tree drama necessitated a torchlight rescue as he’d fled with such momentum that he found himself 25 foot up a tree with no branches below 15 foot. Stevie couldn’t wait for Dave to arrive with the ladder and before I knew what was happening a ball of black fur was plummeting towards me. Needless to say he fell straight between my outstretched hands. Thankfully he missed the concrete base of the water tank, and while I stood there in shock he just dusted himself off and began complaining vociferously, presumably about my lack of catching skills. And then I had him castrated. He got off lightly compared with Nessa, who came round from her spaying op with sedative induced hallucinations that were clearly bewildering – judging by the head waggling I’d say she was watching a couple of pixies playing a high speed game of tennis on the arm of the sofa.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Over The Rainbow

My one woman campaign against magnolia continues apace with the decoration of the barn. There’s red (Drum Beat) in the dining room.

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This was a nightmare paint, it looked fuchsia pink in the tin (scaring even me when first opened), turned red on the walls, but was so runny that even with four coats the finish is not perfect. It is a great match with the kitchen units though.

There’s blue, orange and brown in the bedrooms, or to give the colours their “trade names”, Ocean Force, Heat and Cocoa Pod.

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IMG_4266  In an unexpected departure from the norm, the living room is less colourful. No, it’s not magnolia, it’s “Biscuit”. Custard Cream perhaps? But you should see the rug I’ve bought for the floor – it’s a multi-coloured wonder in wool!

IMG_4269  Actually, I’m amazed that any of the paint has dried. It’s so cold in the barn that you can see your own breath and lying on the cold floor to paint above the skirting board gave me a numb bum. There’s still no heating and the insulation acts like a cool box! The outside temperature of a few degrees above zero feels warm in comparison. That is until you break the ice on the water trough and dip your hands into the arctic plunge pool to wash brushes and rollers.  And more fool you if, like Dave, you drop your tool into the water ….