Busy, busy, busy

Monday February 8th, 2010 |Fiona

Well, what a time we had since my last Blog update… more snow, problems with the drive, deliveries cancelled due to inability to deliver (because of the snow!), seven visitors for Martins birthday and poorly health for us all – oh and more building work!

Norman had to visit the docs twice, Martin went too – I was a little more hardy than them, despite trying to get an appointment, but ended up persevering and am now nearly 100%. Both Martin and Norman still have a slight cough each, but are slowly improving. Sadly I have ended up with a bad arm due to too much painting and sanding, so have had to revert to lighter duties recently – a bit of an RSI problem, like tennis elbow, so off to the chiropractor again tomorrow. Meantime Ibuleve gel is helping tremendously… and I am doing the ironing and updating the website ready to launch – oh, and doing this blog!

Martins’ visitors were the finale to January – after the bed and wardrobe being swapped in the large bedroom and delivery of the double bed for the 3rd bedroom. (We had gone shopping in Oswestry and managed to find everything we needed, and the sizes we required.) Apparently Martin’s friends were all happy to share doubles even when not “involved”, as they had done it before – many times…! Made for an easier life for us, for sure, and it meant all his mates were able to come. I think they all enjoyed themselves – was a great way of testing the systems for us; one thing we learnt is that we ran out of hot water on the Saturday, which worried us until we realised that they had all had showers at lunchtime and they were also doing the washing-up from the night before (thank goodness!!!) – but the hot water had not been on since just after breakfast, which would be the normal time for our guests to have showers if they didn’t have them at night. So the following day we made sure the water stayed on and there were no further problems. Phew! The downside of their visit – red wine got spilt on the twin bed (and the sheets, mattress protector, both pillows, the wall, carpet and the bedside cabinet), so I spent 2 hours just cleaning that up (as best I could), without all the cleaning-up in the rooms after they’d gone. Martin waited till they’d gone before admitting it, so I didn’t get the chance to get angry at the culprit…! I would not have been so cross if it had been a paying guest, as at least then we would have been open for business!!!! Ah well, at least it’s done now. Another lesson learned…

The snow certainly caused us some concern, in particular with the drive, as it meant Martin’s gang some problems getting back from Welshpool on the Saturday – so they decided to stay in on the Saturday night as well as the Friday, instead of going to Welshpool in the evening for a pub crawl! Norman and I went to a Burns Night supper down in Dolanog – thank goodness for 4-wheel drive – so, the deal is that you take your own wine, but get a 3 course meal for £7.50 per head; excellent value and great to meet a few more of our neighbours and other locals from the village. We happened to follow a neighbour down the last part of the hill into the village, which we were grateful for, as we might not have gone slowly enough for the very steep part without seeing him ahead; he commented that it was very slippy and had slowed down even more than usual… It was incredibly icy that night. Anyhow, we both enjoyed ourselves – we will definitely be going next year!

The problem with the drive got pushed right up the priority list after Martin’s gang left. So, a neighbour recommended someone, who turned out to be just a stone supplier but he had a contractor that he supplied to who lived nearby (well, next village along!) and they both turned up that afternoon to see the situation! What rapid service. Anyway, the quote for the work was obviously more than we had budgeted for, but we thought it was reasonable for what they were planning – we had both thought they inspired confidence when they came to view the drive – so we asked them to do the work asap. The upshot is that they were able to come on Friday last week, finishing on the Saturday. What brilliant weather for them to get it done – sunny and mild, 7-8 degrees, positively tropical compared to earlier on in Jan! – and it reminded us why we’d moved here in the first place. The drive is now very much better and means that no-one should ground their car just visiting us – we might even keep the sports car!

Our builders were back today to install the windows we ordered – so two of the bedrooms and both lounges have now got new frames, with glazing you can see through! However, as I type this, we are not able to sit in either lounge, as although the frames are in, the frame which attaches to the walls has gaps and is open to the elements. Sadly his foam filler was not working properly!! Hope it doesn’t rain tonight!!! Once done we will have to do one more coat of paint in situ, then we’re fixed for some time. Fingers crossed.

They are the last major works to be done on the B&B – just the rest of the decorating, with gloss work to the skirting boards, some ceiling painting on the landing, and the large bedroom to finish. That room has an issue with the lintel above the window; it was a problem we found when they removed the old window – looks like they just put concrete in from the loft to help hold the old window in… and to finish off, a rotten secondary wooden lintel. Ah well, at least we’re sorting out now, but all these extra surprises are getting to us a bit. Means this room won’t be finished till at least later this week, if not next week.

So, after spending some time considering what we will call the rooms, rather than big middle and smallest, we have thought of all sorts, but all have been based on something to do with the location of this house; so we have decided to go for the birds we have seen here. Owl, Peregrine and Heron; in that order; so when I talk about Peregrine I mean the middle/twin room, because these are the rooms you are likely to see these birds from – as well as all around the outside. The Owl room actually overlooks the stone barn and the tree where the owl nest is, and the Heron room actually overlooks the back of the house, towards the woods, but also towards the pond where I have often seen the Heron, either flying away from the pond or considering whether to land there! We could have picked a few others, like Kestrel or Kite – but not actually seen them from our land, so didn’t think it would be right; other option was Woodpecker, but decided Heron was slightly different.

As Martin will be heading back to Whitchurch this weekend, for a gig, we get a Valentine’s evening to ourselves! (Albeit the day before!) Woohoo – what can I plan then…? Sorry, shan’t be sharing it here – at least not before the event!

One piece of good news today, my sister returned home from hospital where she has spent the last 10 days. She went in with tremendous agony, but they could not find out what it was – it transpires that it was pancreatitis, which is an unusual infection, but can be quite dangerous and severe. However, with time and a change of diet, she should make a recovery – but it will be a long haul. We were/are all very concerned about her, especially as we are all very far away – both my brother and other sister are in France, and us here in Wales; I know my Dad has been concerned but frustrated with not having his car so he could visit (that’s a whole other story!). So, Jackie – glad you’re home now. Keep well and “do as you’re told!”

Anyhow, I think that’s y’all up-to-date now. Until next time…