Monday, November 27, 2006

Season of Mists, Mellow Fruitfulness and Flagging Spirits

It’s been a while since the last update, so I thought it was time to bring everyone up to date with the latest developments at FTC.

Our first autumn at the cottage has been a time for enjoying life, planning, and DIY avoidance.

We are approaching our first Christmas at the cottage and plans are underway for a large family affair with plenty of food and possibly even some home made gifts in the form of Fig Jam. In addition, New Year is looking like it will take the form of a Western Cowboys and Indians barn dance in (surprisingly) the barn. Discussions on Saturday night included talk of a home made bucking bronco powered by the race car, although I’m hoping this was just the Guinness talking. So, for any and all of you reading this site, if you fancy the idea of donning chaps and spurs and downing your hoe on New Years Eve, please feel free to join us. You may well find you are eating chilli round a campfire at 3am, but if you have any moral objections, there is always the takeaway down the road.

We have also been taking advantage of the weather to go for long walks with the hound. The most notable of these (for me anyway) was this weekend when, after sheltering from a lightning storm under a tree (?!?!), Keith managed to fall flat on his back in the middle of a sodden field. Both Harry and I thought this was the funniest thing we have ever seen and I think somewhere amongst his various ungenerous mutterings, Keith finally admit he needs a pair of wellies. We’ve also started to take the hound a little further afield (in the car, we’re not completely inhuman) and this has resulted in a lovely ‘patina’ to my otherwise pristine car interior and a delectable “pong de chien” which I am now going to have to scrub out of the seats, much to Keith’s amusement and my annoyance. I suppose it just goes to show that what they say about revenge is true.

In terms of DIY, we’ve hit a bit of a wall. We have now skimmed the kitchen walls 3 times and all we have managed to achieve is a finish which wouldn’t look out of place in a Mexican cantina in Peckham. Rustic is not a starting point that most tilers appreciate, so we are now desperately trying to smooth the walls to something a little less Himalayan. If we succeed, you will be the first to know!!

We also put up a shelf in the kitchen over the weekend. For those of you with eagle eyes, the new shelf will look suspiciously like the shelf that used to live on the far kitchen wall – mainly because it is that shelf, saved from the overactive axe arm of Mr Batsford when the original kitchen was torn out. The recycled shelf looks great in its new location over the back door … except for the fact that there’s not enough room between the shelf and the ceiling to fit my various kitchen implements, so the damn thing is currently being used as an oversized key holder.

Topping the chart of current DIY snafus is the tale of the bedroom blind. Keith pointed out last week that our slinky green curtains, while very attractive, were covering the radiator and therefore posting most of our heat through the large, drafty, glass letterbox above it. No problem for our resourceful household though, we have the technology – or more precisely a blind from my old place and some tie backs for the curtains.

In order to maintain cohabiting harmony I decided to put up the blind in the manner to which I have become brainwashed – most of you might call it “correctly”. Long gone are the days of my usual botch jobs, converted as I am to the joys of rawl plugs and pre drilled holes. Shame nobody told the house. Turns out the window in the boudoir has a metal lintel which didn’t seem to appreciate the drilling power of a Black and Decker with a masonry bit. So, with a sigh, I turned back to what I knew best and screwed the hooks directly into the wall. This would have been a perfect solution, were the idea of a blind not to be opened and closed. As it was, the combined weight of blind and human intervention meant the slightest pull on the cord sent the whole thing crashing down again. I will spare you the details of my language, or indeed my eventual solution … needless to say that the windows are now definitely not covered by warranty (or indeed openable according to Keith) but the blind is up and the heating of the bedroom now secure for winter.
Hopefully all of this will go some way to explaining why updates have been a little slim recently. There are times when the God of DIY is definitely not taking requests, and this is one of those times. Not being ones to flog a horse of questionable health we have turned our attention to the arts of loafing and fire building, and will be able to bring you more progress when we have rediscovered our DIYing mojo.