Monday, 18 April 2011

The Great Clear Up Begins

Burst pipes, dodgy wiring, leaky roof, we've got the lot.

With views like these, we don't really mind how bad the place looks for the foreseeable future. When it gets too damp and dusty indoors, we can simply go outdoors and sit watching and listening to the surrounding countryside.

There are several doves fluttering about, settling now and again in the old pear tree near the bottom of the garden. It certainly attracts plenty of smaller birds and we can hear the pheasants right down at the bottom of the garden on the other side of the stream.

Out on the hills, which we can see from the kitchen window, cows graze peacefully. The cottage sits in the only street that runs through a quiet village. I still haven't seen or heard any children, other than a few visiting at the weekend. I have, however, heard a neighbour's cockerel crowing, so the chickens certainly shouldn't be a problem once we move them over to their new home.

We've been blessed with good weather for the past five days. This should, hopefully, help to dry the house out a bit, as it means we can leave the front and back doors lying wide open to air the place.

While son and his pal made a start on clearing rubbish from the outbuilding, we began strippig more wallpaper, ceiling tiles and carpets out of the house but the lure of the sunshine became too great. I ended up outside making a start on what will become our patio. There's a good 10m of concrete outside the back door and it's completely sheltered by the outbuilding on one side and a dry stone wall on the other - ideal patio for barbecues and as an extra dining area in summer.

Having cleared away all of the rubbish, rubble and weeds from the first part, I was able to start setting out some planters. I even got one filled up and have sown some fast growing salad leaves. According to the pack, these 'speedy veg' could be ready for starting to harvest in as little as four weeks, so we should have something for the sandwiches by the time we get moved into the house.

A walk down the garden soon found me carting glass panels for across the top of the wooden planter, turning it into a mini-coldframe. There are plenty of panes of glass, that's for sure. In fact, there are probably enough of them lying about the place to build a greenhouse! For now, I'll use them to protect the seeds as they are sown.

That was yesterday's work, so today, I filled up the car with more planters and the first of the strawberries and fruit bushes. I also took over some of the willow, the honeysuckle, my (kept well pruned) Russian vine and a big tub of lupins.

The friend who was with me today had a good rummage along the edge of the garden walls to see what could be found growing. I'd already found the big patch of rhubarb - a definite bonus - and friend identified the unknown fruit tree as a plum tree.

Along the way, she found a minature rose, some buddleia, mock orange, honesty and a bamboo, which she reckons can be nurtured back to health. There are also the usual brambles, which will soon be cultivated into something more manageable than the trip-me-up traps they currently represent.

The black looking boards we found, seen here behind the rhubarb patch, are what we have saved to make into garden benches. These will be ideal, once propped up on logs, as we should be able to drill them in to secure them. I still haven't a clue what they once were, but solid plastic, as well as being very heavy, is also waterproof and very durable.
This afternoon, I discovered that we'll be about £120 per year better off, as the new house is only a council tax band B, whereas we are currently paying for a band C. Having the septic tank also means not having any waste water or sewage charges, but we don't have them here, either. This difference will almost cabcel out the extra buildings insurance we now need to pay.

Next best news, after the news of actually getting the house, is that, even after we factor in the additional travel costs for being 20 miles from nearest town, our regular out-goings should drop by almost £100 per week! Now that's what I call a frugaler's dream!

Tomorrow's trip, weather permitting, I hope to move over more of the strawberry planters. Wuth luck, these should all fit in the back of the car (and weigh us down nicely for making the trip).

I must remember to bake tomorrow's loaf tonight, so we have our customary sandwiches, as the power company is doing major repairs in our area, meaning everywhere is affected throughout tomorrow from 8am. And I have remembered that we're now working between two houses, so the washing went out on the line here first thing this morning.

Just for good measure, I have stashed all my flower and veg seeds into a bag to take to the cottage tomorrow. Many of the packs say April within their planting time frames, so I'm risking sowing some as soon as I can before this month is out. Must remember to take the garden fork with me, as I need to find a patch for digging so I can get some potatoes planted!

Having immense fun, despite the fact that we're using nearly a gallon of petrol each day we go over there. It still feels a bit like being on a wild camping holiday when we're sitting out the back on the soon-to-be patio having our picnic and having to walk down to the stream to collect buckets of water to compensate for the lack of cistern on the toilet indoors!

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1 comment:

  1. Glad you're having such fun!

    Great news about the council tax and the extra £100 per week.

    Looking forward to hearing more.

    Sft x


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