So much to do…!

Monday January 18th, 2010 |Fiona

So starting where I left off – I didn’t paint the walls I was papering on the twin and double rooms, as Norman had left quite early to return home and was due to arrive about 3 hours ahead of when I was anticipating. This was entirely due to the forecast for more snow on the way… Although he said the roads were really clear of snow, etc., but were also pretty empty as people stayed away. Better than his normal journeys! The only place he had some trouble was in the few miles nearest home!

Our Christmas was good with the kids – we had left the decorations up and had got a turkey for the day. Whilst Norman worked on Friday, Vicky and Martin and I went sledding – with a pair of those moulded plastic things which the previous owners had left in the barn. I was watching and videoing, rather than joining in – was never one to do that even when a child. They tried a few fields for the best descent (avoiding the sheep of course), but I think they preferred the road! Steeper and much more slippy. Had a bit more snow overnight too, which made Vicky’s return a bit of a concern, but she got the train at Welshpool with no problems (must say it’s a bit of a naff “station” there now! The original is now a shopping complex!!) and we went food shopping, ready for the next lot of snow and preparing to be snowed-in.

I think we were fed-up with the snow even before we knew a thaw was on the way – although it really only went this weekend (16/17 Jan) when the temperature went into 6-7 degrees! Sadly it was 4 days after the central heating stopped! Wednesday I had noticed that the radiators were cold, but of course we had to wait to call the plumber till Thursday morning, then when they tried to come to us on the Friday, they were sliding around all over the place trying to get to us, so had to turn back. We had planned on going out to dinner on Friday – just to the local pub – but when Norman got half way down the drive to see what it was like, he stopped and said we’re staying in! Part of the problem was the partial melt the day before, then the cooler temperatures overnight which caused it all to freeze. So even though in the snow we got out relatively easily, when it started melting we had problems. Fortunately the previous owner had left behind a gas fire, so we had moved it into the kitchen before the heating broke, as the kitchen just was not getting warm – so rather than keep the aga going, we decided it would be cheaper to heat the room that way. It made a heck of a difference. It helped that over the 4 days the outside temperature was going up – we have a thermometer in the back porch (I was keeping an eye out to make sure that the dogs would be fine!) which we have watched steadily climb! Tonight’s temp was 13 degrees – positively tropical considering we got down to -10 at its worst!

Our neighbour Clive is a gem, in that he had cleared and gritted part of the road which runs behind us, further up the hill a bit, which leads down to the B4389 which goes into Dolanog itself. We sent the TV aerial men via that route when they came to us last week to sort out all the rooms, but they got to the crossroads above us and decided they did not want to risk coming down… so parked their van at our neighbours. We called and left him a message explaining who they were and why, but Norman went and ferried them to our house – and back again for more kit once they’d sussed out our requirements. The very next day Clive had cleared the road down to our house! What a poppet! Obviously he has the gear to be able to do it, but even so, it was a lovely thing to do! Must remember and drop off something as a thank you… It also meant that the postman could get to our entrance on Thursday with 3 weeks of post!!! He had been surprised to see so much when he returned from holiday, as he thought they would have been able to get to us, but anyway, he was only able to that day because Clive had cleared the road down to us!

That route was also our way out when everything was heavy with snow and some ice, and the direction I brought both my sisters in. I decided to test out the directions on them, and they did beautifully – only one comment which needs to be added is the part where I say it is about half a mile and to keep going, apparently it’s more like 2 miles! So, that’s what will go on the website!

We had some other excitement this week – the sheep were scanned to establish what lambs they were having, singles, twins or triplets! So, a mobile gynae unit was set-up in our big barn for the 50 sheep – then they had coloured dots put on their back to mark how many. Fairly simple really, but a joy to behold. They are really funny though – they will follow anyone with a rustling bag! I have some photos and a video of Norman’s first sheep droving (or whatever it’s called!) and because they were going up the drive, they were in two columns – there were two paths! Definitely a case of following like sheep!!! Ha ha ha, I am easily amused these days!

The one consolation I am taking from all the trials of things not working is that at least these things are not happening when we have paying guests! Not only had we lost the heating, but also with the high winds the other night the Freeview stopped working for a few hours, plus the broadband went! Although that was hindered by the TV men sorting out the Sky link to what will be our lounge, the fact that I could not get it working when back in its original place, right by the main incoming telephone line, was something again. Then had to spend this last weekend looking at a weird BT screen because the woman at BT forgot to get the detail changed before closing the call to me! Fortunately they rang me this morning to confirm it was working – they got an earful, I can tell you! Anyway, as you can see it’s working again!

The builders were back again today – plumber to fix the heating and repair some bits not finished before Christmas – plus some other workers who have now repaired the corner of the stone barn, have built the section where the overflow for the stream was put – has a nice stone-built area now, which will be a feature; as well as repair the surround to one of the drain covers, with a few things inside the house – like seals on the showers. It’s all tying up nicely. Shame they rushed a bit before Christmas, as they were off for their staff party on their last day with us, so didn’t finish off the way they should’ve done. Ah well, at least we’re getting somewhere now.

I think until you have done something like this, you can in no way anticipate what is involved, nor the time everything takes. We are continually progressing, but even with visitors over Christmas and New Year, then Norman’s adult kids for our Christmas last week – we have continued to work… and yes I can see the progress, but sometimes when we either look at the list of actions, or think about what is still to be done, it’s incredibly daunting…

So, there is more snow coming apparently – which at the moment means we are not sure if Norman will be heading south tomorrow morning or not. He can quite easily work from home, just depends on his boss. In the meantime, Martin and I have our list of things to do before the weekend, so we will be busy.

Now that I am up-to-date, I will finish my glass of wine watching the news headlines and then head to bed. Happy New Year to you all… until next time.