Sunday, 21 August 2016

Knackered but Happy

Our 'hygge' house in the fog

It's been a busy time and my old bones are complaining, but I'm not, I'm enjoying every minute of it.  I was determined to make a lifestyle change and my body will just have to get used to it.  No more soft city life, oh no, it's spending Sunday mornings in the wind and rain pulling up ragwort in the field from now on!  I know how to rock and roll :)   I now own lots of brambles (not something a lot of people would be pleased about) so I picked the first few blackberries to appear, only half a pound but with apples they will make a nice crumble when I have time, so they have gone into the freezer. Hopefully I will have tamed the Aga by then, if I turn my back it goes from uncooked to burnt.   I also rescued another exhausted bee clinging onto some ragwort and revived it with sugary water, the storms seem to be taking their toll.    I could then be seen kneeling in the veg patch in the pouring rain pulling bindweed from what may be gooseberry bushes.  I'm not sure what to do with the ragwort or bindweed so I put them in an old bin for now out of harms way.

I then decided on a bit of light indoor work......which turned into hauling boxes up into the attic. I did cull some more books though, but I just don't seem to be able to let go of the boxes of my sons paintings and school books, even though they would happily throw the lot in the bin!  We still have way too much 'stuff'  I don't know how I managed to cram it all in our other house, it was literally full to the rafters, hidden in every crook and cranny.

Talking of stuff, I am about to bring more into the house as I will need another freezer for the various wild and hopefully home grown fruit and veg.  We had an integrated freezer which I left at our old house. I'm debating whether to get a chest freezer which is more efficient and has less waste of space or an upright which takes up less floor space.  I'm tempted by the chest freezer but have visions of little old 5' me leaning in to get something and falling in, the lid closing and a frozen Chickpea is found hours later....yes I have a vivid imagination.    I'm also thinking of getting a dehydrator which among other things could be used to turn some of the hundreds of grapes in the polytunnel into raisins.  This self sufficiency thing is turning out very expensive!

Oh and for the first time in my life someone knocked on my door to ask me if I had lost any cows.  Never thought I would be asked that :)

Ziggy Stardust is still being kept in, she doesn't seem too upset about it, it will be interesting to see how this city cat copes with becoming a country cat.  I will be very nervous about letting her out for the first time.  I have put butter on the feet of previous cats when I moved, yes it probably is an old wives tale but may be worth a try.

So my new life involves getting up even earlier than I used to, more physical work than I am used to and evenings in the conservatory knitting, reading or listening to music, before hobbling to bed.....literally.    The television hasn't been on (apart from the bearded one watching a football match) and I haven't missed it at all.  I walk around the field at least once a day regardless of the weather and I am absolutely loving it.  I really needed to get out of a rut and this has certainly kicked me up the backside.  Lets hope it lasts.

I will leave you with a little film of our favourite lodgers the House Martins,

Chickpea xx

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

I don't know where to start!!

Thank you so much to you all for your lovely comments on my last post.   We have been here a week now and I feel very at home.  The amount of work needed to be done is a little overwhelming,  the bearded one could only take one day off, which was the day we moved and I only had a few days.  Fitting it all in after work and weekends means it is going to take a while!  I also have an extra 30 minutes on my drive to work which meant tonight I got home at 6.45 driving through thick fog for an hour.  No fun.  I have been watching the progress of a certain Cornish blogger who has the whole summer off to do up their new place in France and feel very envious.  I have also found that physically I really can't do what I used to and think I have actually done some damage with all the lifting boxes.  So I have to be patient and do what I can when I can.

Anyway I can't report any progress at the moment, it will be 'before' pictures for quite a while.  The list of things to do grows by the day!   We are having the water, electric and boiler checked ,it seems to have been many years since they were looked at.  We have been drinking bottled water in the mean time. Luckily my hair has not turned green as happened in a previous property we were renting with it's own water supply!  We had the oil tank topped up, the cost of oil is frightening. We are looking into solar panels to help keep the cost of energy down.  At least the water is free, well sort of we have replaced the filter and may have to fit a ultra violet thingy, oh and one of the tanks will need replacing at some stage.  Half of the bulbs in the house need replacing, some of the light switches don't work and there are bare wires sticking out of sockets. I have booked someone to strip down and clean the aga, I'm gradually getting the hang of it but my timings are still all over the place. I have managed to burn several things in the 'warming' oven, seems to be all or nothing with it. The boiler sounds like an airplane taking off with bangs and clanks all over the place.  Unfortunately all of these essential but boring things need to be sorted before we can get onto more interesting and creative projects. Although it is not an old house and a great deal of money was spent on it at one stage, it seems to have been neglected in recent years so needs repairs and replacements.  

So here are some 'before' photos of the 'veg patch'.  It is very overgrown but I did manage to pick some blackcurrants which have gone in the freezer ready to make jam.  There are some raspberry plants with a couple of raspberries on them that need rescuing from weeds and apparently some gooseberries but I can't find them.  There are some strawberry plant and I found a sage plant.  I need to find the time to get in there and have a good old root around.  There has been a load of grass cuttings dumped on there, huge thistles and nettles.  I really don't know where to start!  I am saving all the boxes from our move and will be laying them on the patch to suppress the weeds.  It is a 'no dig' method which is about all I can manage.  By next spring I hope to have the patch in a reasonable condition to start planing some things.

The property is surrounded by huge trees which act as wind breaks but they need trimming which will be a huge task.

This is growing on some of the raspberry bushes, any idea what it is?

The two raspberries, we might have to fight over them

What a faff it is picking the blackcurrants, someone has since suggested using a fork to get them off, I will try that when I tackle the next bush.  Picking the stalks out was also a pain, any suggestions for an easier way of doing this?

Well that's it for now, I'm shattered so apologies for spelling mistakes etc, I can hardly string two words together at the moment.  I'm hoping to blog as much as possible as a record of our new life in the country.

Chickpea xx

p.s. I will get around to visit your blogs as soon as possible, I miss seeing what you are all up to.

p.p.s.  I also treated myself to some new wellies - oooh get me, quite the country lady :)

Saturday, 13 August 2016

We have moved!!

Looking across our field to the purple heather covered moor.

After many stressful weeks, many moments thinking it wasn't going to happen at all and then exchange and completion happening within four days we are at last in our new home!!  The problems with buying it had taken away some of the excitement and I just couldn't look forward as so many things had gone wrong.  I am now pinching myself as I can't quite believe  this beautiful place is ours.  We have an awful lot of work to do as it has been neglected, we will take our time and work on it over the next few years, but I have totally fallen in love with it. I feel like I have been here for months not days, it really feels like home.  I love the peace, the space, the big skies, it house been worth every stressful minute.

Here's a little taster of our new home.  Our internet isn't great and as you can imagine I have an awful lot of unpacking to do but will be back again with some more updates.

Where we spend most of our time looking out at the view

Looking across our garden to our neighbours munching away in their field

Orchard, fruit trees and an overgrown polytunnel

The polytunnel and garden have been neglected and are very overgrown and full of weeds.  I have no idea how to look after the grapes and kiwis but they seem to have thrived on neglect.

I have a purple Aga!!  Those tiles will have to go.

My first meal cooked in the Aga, chickpea casserole of course.

After living in a valley for many years, I love the big skies I can see from our hill

Chickpea xx

Saturday, 23 July 2016

She loved knitting in the rain

To say I am stressed at the moment is an understatement, buyers threatening to pull out etc.......  I had booked this week off as I thought we would be moving, silly me, but decided to take it off anyway as I am emotionally and physically drained.  In-between packing yet more boxes and chasing our elusive solicitor I have tried to give myself some TLC.

Heres a few photos from my week, taken on my phone as I have lost the leads for my camera grrrrr

In the first part of the week the weather was so humid I found it too hot to sit in the garden.  After the bearded one got home from work we headed down to the beach in the evening air to paddle in the sea, perfect for de-stressing and cooling down women 'of a certain age'.

I have packed all the books away so had to buy myself one to o.k. any excuse to buy a new book.  The police on the Isles of Scilly have a Facebook page, the posts by Colin are hilarious and have a huge following.  He is about to leave the islands and has written a book about his time there, the local characters and the resident police cat.   I chuckled out loud as I sat in the park reading, drawing some stares from the people on the next bench :)

I have also started some therapeutic knitting,  drinking Earl Grey tea and knitting in the garden is my favourite pastime at the moment, especially if it is raining,  I can be seen cooling off under the parasol knitting away.  The neighbours already think me a bit strange....

On another drizzly day I packed lunch for myself and headed to the park in the city.  In between showers I strolled around the gardens before being mobbed by the local bird gang who were after my sandwiches. I'm not sure they would have bothered if they knew they were made with gluten free bread.  The gardeners in the city parks do an amazing job, I hope they can continue with all the budget cuts forced onto the local council.   I particularly like the wildflower area, absolutely beautiful.

Perfect excuse to use the Pano on my phone.

The rare Egg Box Bees could be seen lurking among the flowers

 and finally as I walked along the path by the river I came across these lovely memorials to loved ones.  I hope I am remembered for more than stressing herself out trying to buy a 'nice house'. She loved knitting in the rain perhaps.

'she loved her bingo' wonderful :)

Have a good weekend everyone,

Chickpea xx

Sunday, 17 July 2016

It's all gone tits up

Sorry for such a long absence, I have been lying in a dark room surrounded by boxes feeling sorry for myself.  Ridiculous really with all thats going on in the world.  So many lost lives, so much heartbreak.  Anyway, long story short, the new house we are buying has planning issues that until they are sorted we can't proceed.  Our buyers are putting huge pressure on us to move, helpfully suggesting we put our stuff in storage and find temporary accommodation at short notice.....really easy in Cornwall at this time of year with a cat in tow.  I've cried, I've ranted, I've had sleepless nights waking up in a panic, wondering where the hell we are going to end up. I hate depending on solicitors to sort things out.  I hate not having a plan of action as we really don't know time scales on sorting it out.   I could go on and on but I won't or I end up crying.....again.  We have done everything we can possibly do, it is out of our hands now we just have to let the solicitors sort out the legal side of it.

Talking of boxes, it is surprising how much 'stuff' you don't really need.  With the majority of our possessions in boxes we have been living a very minimal existence.  I had packed two huge suitcases of clothes that don't fit or rarely get worn to take with us and then thought why keep it all?  So off the the charity shop they went.  It is a bit like being on holiday, we spent three weeks travelling around Australia a few years ago, living out of suitcases and didn't miss any of our possessions.  I look at all of the boxes and can't believe how much 'stuff' we have collected over the years let along how much money was spent on them.  Once we get to wherever we end up I will be opening every box and asking myself, do I need it or does it bring me pleasure, if the answer is no then it will have to go.  I have to confess that I have bought some wool and needles.  I had packed everything thinking it would be only for a couple of weeks but find myself in need of something calming to do so I am making a shawl. It is a very simple garter stitch, I think my frazzled mind can cope with that.   I will share my progress when I can.

Louise Bourgeois says 'Art is a guaranty of sanity', so I took myself off to see an amazing tapestry by the wonderful Grayson Perry.    It certainly lightened my mood for a little while.  It is from The Vanity of Small Differences  I have shared some photos, but you really need to see it catch the many little details that make it so witty and wonderful.

Chickpea xx

Monday, 20 June 2016

I need a date!!

Last years Cornwall Pride, a joyous occasion.

What a bloody awful couple of weeks it's been with attacks on the LGBT community and democracy.  What kind of sick world do we live in when people are murdered because of their sexuality,  or as Jo Cox who was working in her constituency to help people.   I have shed many a tear, it's times like this I feel like hiding myself away, withdrawing from the world, but it's not an option, I will continue to fight hate and prejudice as I have all my life.   Haters cannot win, I will be carrying the rainbow flag again at this years Pride to show my support.

My worries seem trivial in comparison but I will give you a quick update of the house moving saga.  We still haven't got a date for exchange of contracts but I have given our solicitor the date I want to move (less than 3 weeks time eeeck!).  It may mean a very short period of time between exchange and completion but it has been dragging on and on and I'm hoping it may focus all the solicitors minds and get us all moving.  I need to book time off  work and a removal van so I need a date!!  There are still discussions over the bore hole, access over the lane to the house and the building of a stock proof fence but progress is being made.  The survey came back much as we expected, the house itself is solid but it has been pretty much unloved and neglected for years so we have a lot of work to do when we move in which fingers toes and everything else crossed will be next month.

I have started packing as I really don't want to leave it to the last minute, so the whole house is in turmoil and there hasn't been much time for anything else but I will leave you with some photos from the last few weeks.

I have at last finished my lovely warm Alpaca wool cardigan just in time for ........... summer.

We have been dog sitting these beauties for my son who went on a well earned holiday.  I think the bearded one hoped it would put me off getting a dog when we move, but although a lot of work it was also lovely having dogs in the house again.  I think secretly he also enjoyed their stay and walking them every day, so I'm winning the argument on getting a dog.  Who knows, he may even get a pet pig like he had as a child growing up on a farm.  Our cat was not so keen though!

We also went to the local agricultural show on a fact finding mission. Of particular interest were the Environmental stands as we hope to generate some of our own energy.  There were a couple of people who make shepherds huts so it was useful to get a feel of what we are looking for.  I also talked to some beekeepers who would be interested in setting up hives in our field so a very useful day.  I have never seen so many different types of chickens, from beautiful to bizarre but I will be getting rescue chickens again, not pretty but it is wonderful to see them exploring the world for first time.  I fell in love with the goats......well it would be a good way of keeping the grass short :)

Well I think that's it for my roundup.  I hope you are all keeping well and I will be back when I can, in-between work and packing.

Chickpea xx