Thursday 29 October 2020

Missed it

 So, yesterday Graven Hill sent out a warning on Facebook that there would be a 'noise event' today between 12 and 2pm. How exciting.

I kept a watch out and just before 1pm I looked out of the window again and saw people and photographers gathering.

Obviously, the 'noise event' was imminent, so I dashed down to get a closer look. After a few minutes I heard the countdown from 10 to 1, and then there was a big bang and a cloud of smoke.

Nothing happened after that though, and the water towers were still standing. After a few more minutes news came through that it had not worked, so everyone started to wander away. 

We thought that it would be a long time before they fell because it would be dangerous to investigate the issue, and set another charge. 

Imagine then my disappointment when I looked out of the window at 2pm and realised that the towers were already down. 

I thought that maybe they had fallen while everyone's backs were turned, but I checked on Facebook and actually a large digger pushed them over.

A sad end, but in a way I am pleased that they put up a good fight. 

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Last chance to see the water towers

 At the bottom of our street are two statuesque water towers.

They were part of the old military base that used to be here and they have not been used for a few years. I like them a lot, but I can see that it would be dangerous to leave them in the middle of a housing estate. 

I can imagine that the local teenagers would be keen to climb them, and if nobody was looking I would like to get to the top too. 

They are being demolished tomorrow to make way for for more houses, and for a road that joins up with the street used in the Grand Designs series. 

Speaking of Grand Designs, yesterday I saw Kevin McCloud being filmed pushing a wheelbarrow along a street just near to us, so watch out for that in a future programme. 

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Every other step

 Darren is starting to put the laminate on the stairs, and once down it can't be walked on for 24 hours. After considering the options he decided to do every other step so that we can still get upstairs, although we have to step very carefully.

He is going to do the other half tomorrow, and then we can see the overall effect. 

It rained all day today, but then not long before it was due to set, the sun decided to put in an appearance. 

The light was very dramatic and our street is starting to look quite dramatic too I think. 

Monday 26 October 2020

Stairs to the top floor

For a long time our stairs have been very narrow so that the plasterers could plaster around them, while still standing on them.

They could be a bit dangerous, but as long as you carefully stayed in the middle it was okay.

Now though, it's a different story. 

It's not possible to fall through, which is as it should be. 

He is now starting to cover them with the final flooring, and there is a lot of wood and metal chopping going on. 

Ps, you might be relieved to hear that this morning I found the missing key to my bike lock. It must have fallen off when I locked the front gate. I will be more careful next time. 

Sunday 25 October 2020

Nearly 96 hours off work

Back to normal tomorrow, but we have just had almost four days off. 

Thursday in Hove, Friday in Brighton. 

Saturday we had a lovely visit from Tina and Matt, and Matt almost got some complicated IT stuff up and running for us.

Today started well and we got on our bikes to cycle down to the station to catch the 8.52am train to London. I then realised that I didn't have my lock so we had to go over to the plot to pick it up. Unfortunately this meant that we would miss the train, so we hung about for a bit. Setting off again for the next train and Darren realised that he didn't have his mask, so we had to go back to get it. 

Arrived at the bike park and I realised that I had lost the key to the lock, so I had to leave the bike unlocked for the day.

By this time I was almost screaming in frustration, but the train arrived in London ten minutes early, and the rest of the morning was very successful. We went to the Kyoto Garden at Holland Park to see the beautiful Autumn colours. 

It is a lovely Japanese garden, and quite a few people had the same idea as us, but it was was quite peaceful too, apart from a park employee who shouted out very loudly at anyone who dawdled when crossing the bridge. 

After that we were joining Susan and Paul at a very fancy restaurant for lunch, and I found it on the map on my phone. We arrived at the destination exactly on time to find no sign of the restaurant. Checking the details we were in completely the wrong place and had to walk, catch two tubes and walk again to arrive there nearly half an hour late. (S and P didn't seem to mind and both had a glass of champagne while they waited for us.) 

Excellent lunch, and then the train back to Bicester. After the day that we had I guess that you are expecting me to say that the bike was missing - but hurrah it was still there. 

Thursday 22 October 2020

24 hours away from Bicester

 For the first time in ages we dressed in clean clothes and set off on an outing in the car.

After driving for about an hour we stopped at a service station for coffee.

It was quite busy with lots of people about, and was such an unusual experience that I found it very interesting and quite exciting.

Another hour or later we arrived at our destination, Hove actually.

The sun was shining, the sea blue with lots of waves, and as lovely as when we last saw it in 2017.

There was a couple of new additions, such as this upside down house on the seafront.

Later we stopped off for drinks in a little pub on a side street,

and then and excellent dinner at the Grand Hotel. Time is flying by and our £35 a night hotel is great too.

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Fish in the kitchen

 I need to think of something to write in the blog today because I have to mention an incorrect fact included yesterday.

I said that we had never lived in a four bedroom house before, but it has been pointed out to me by two knowledgeable sources that we did at Tennis Drive. 

In my defence, firstly I forgot about it, but secondly it had three bedrooms when we moved in, and we built another one at the back of the enormous garage. However, just as it was finished a guy called Paul knocked on our door and asked if we would sell the house to him, which we did. So, we never got to use it, so it doesn't really count.

If that isn't an apology then I don't know what is!

Moving swiftly on, I have painted the kitchen grey and am very pleased with the look.

We have also put the steel coral and fish up in the corner above the wine cooler. I am not sure if they are happy there, but it took quite a bit of effort to get the coral straight, so they are staying for the time being.

Ps, Darren has the second set of stairs up and is half way through the third. 

Monday 19 October 2020

What a lot of rooms

We are right into decorating mode, and we have never owned a four bedroom house before, so there is a lot of space to fill. 

We only need one bedroom between us, so we also have a spare bedroom, an office and a gym.

The office is almost complete and the super fancy, plug in levitating desk arrived today. 

Probably not the best photos of it, but Darren has already moved in and it is now covered in officy stuff. 

The 'gym' room is slightly overselling it, but it will have my lovely exercise bike in there. I have already painted the walls and our cycling posters are up. 

Hopefully they will spur me on to greater heights over the coming winter. We are going to put in the sit up bench that we never use and a big bouncy space hopper type thing, as long as I can blow it back up again. (I had to deflate it for the house move.)

We also have two pilates mats, so that should fill it up nicely. 

The spare room is still a work in progress, but the bed is on order so I will show it soon. 

Sunday 18 October 2020

That's a lot of glue

 I will start this blog with a disclaimer - I have never made a staircase, nor do I the first idea how to begin to make one.

Meanwhile, Darren has bought a book about it, spent hours and hours on the Internet, and has bought loads of timber and plywood in preparation. 

Today he put it all together, and this is the underneath shot. 

The glue also dripped down on to our cycling bags, but more ended up on his rather than mine. 

Maybe it will scrape off when it's dried. 

Fast forward a few hours though and it is all looking good from the top. 

It is really solid and a fantastic achievement, just another three sections to go. 

Friday 16 October 2020

Compost bins and other tales

 Darren finished off my world class compost bins today, and then I spent at least an hour chopping up greenery and filling them up.

In other news, our long awaited kitchen worktop arrived.

This photo doesn't really do it justice because it glistens with little silver chips in the light. You can tell that it was expensive because the fitters left us with a free cute little handbag that contains a special cleaner. Apparently it should also include a packet of sweeties, but the fitter says that they always eat them while they work!

In other, other news, a magpie visited our bird feeder but flew off when I walked in to the kitchen. It's not quite the cute little sparrows, chaffinches and blue tits that I had hoped for, but at least it's a start. 

Thursday 15 October 2020

New pavement

We have seen lots of contractors inspecting the pavements over the past few weeks, and they have been repairing or replacing all of the damaged sections.

In a much anticipated move, a lorry turned up this morning full of black tarmac and very soon after we had a shiny new pavement. 

We have also got two new trees and a grass verge on the other side of the road. 

Darren spent some time outdoors making a double compost bin for me, and apart from the colour, it looks a bit similar to the one in Monty Don's garden in Gardener's World.

Finally, in an update to yesterday's blog - we have managed to get the slightly oversized cabinet into the undersized gap. We worked out that the space was wider at the back than the front, so Darren cut down the front of the cabinet, and then built it up in place in the gap. 

Now that it's in, I have to say that it looks a bit weird. 

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Grand afternoon out

 This afternoon we went to Milton Keynes and had a coffee in the B and Q cafe. 

It came with a discounted doughnut and seemed a real treat, but then we don't get out much. 

We also had a much better trip around Ikea than last time, and filled the car with goodies. Once back at the house we had a lovely time making cabinets and bookcases. 

It was greatly improved by the addition of a glass or two of cherry brandy, and then we sat in Darren's new office and checked out his new hifi. 

Unfortunately, one of the cabinets that we built is 600mm wide and it seems that the gap we have made for it is only about 597mm, but we are going to have another look tomorrow and see if it will somehow jam itself in. 

Monday 12 October 2020

A new dining table

 First of all, happy birthday to my dad who is 91 today!

This morning we set off again to Oxford to pick up another Gumtree bargain, this time it is a John Lewis oak table for £30. We stopped at a very fancy detached house in the suburbs and the table is amazing. It also weighs a ton and we were worried about it surviving the journey home on the roof rack, but fortunately we pushed the front seats as far forward as we could and it fitted in the back.

It needs a bit of tlc, but is a lovely colour and has expanding leaves in the centre. 

I have also been checking on my houseplants that have all been living in the greenhouse for the summer. Most of them have loved it out there, but the nights are getting colder so I have brought them all inside. 

There are quite a few smaller plants as well that have already found new homes around the house, but the bigger ones are waiting for the decorating to be done before they are moved. 

Darren is now starting on the staircase and more wood is on order from the builders merchants, and I am spending most of my time painting anything that doesn't move. 

Friday 9 October 2020

We have cctv

Darren has put up four cctv cameras around the house. Just checked that they were all working - and they are.

The second one is supposed to be a handstand, but I wasn't in the air very long so I think that the camera missed the best bit.

I also went on a fantastic shopping trip this morning and bought more bargain plants, bath towels to match the decor, and as I found out later, six feet too little of lining paper.

Once back home I parked the car far away from the kerb, unloaded my goodies and then had some lunch. An hour or so after that Darren happened to glance out of the window to see a digger driver trying desperately to get round our abandoned looking car. 

I went out and apologised for blocking the road. He was lovely and said it was fine, although it clearly wasn't. I then opened the passenger door and sat down while the digger driver just watched.

After a couple of seconds I realised the issue so got out again, and walked around saying, 'you know what, I think that I will just try it again in the other seat'. He nodded and said that he was wondering how I was going to move it.

Wednesday 7 October 2020

Starting to unpack

 Today I put some wallpaper up in the bedroom, and now it is almost finished.

Unfortunately, we haven't sorted out the blinds yet so it is not very private. What we have realised is that as the door opens inwards, it means that the blinds will need to be really close to the ceiling, and there isn't enough clearance for them. What we will probably need to do is to hack into the plaster on the ceiling to make a few millimetres of space for the blind track. Annoying, but I am sure that we can sort it.

Darren has fitted the wardrobes and put in all of the shelves and hanging rails, so I am just starting to unpack at long last. 

And finally, a little complaint. Four days ago I put up my bird feeding station and I have still not seen a single bird on it. In fact, I have still not seen a bird in my garden, and I am most disappointed that the wagtails that nested in the garage are nowhere to be seen.

My patience is wearing thin, where are they all? 

Sunday 4 October 2020

Tropical fish in the bathroom

 I have brought out the wallpapering kit and have been busy in the bathroom.

Darren has also got involved and has made a sort of picture frame out of architrave over the bath. The recess to the side is going to have white shelves in front of the fish, and they should be arriving tomorrow. 

I realise that it probably won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I can't wait to have a bath amongst the turtles and angel fish. 

I have also wallpapered behind the wine rack and alcove in the kitchen.  

Still waiting for the worktop and last thing I heard was that it was on a boat heading for Felixstowe, but the weather was so bad that it hadn't been able to dock. 

In the hope of attracting birds in to the garden I have set up a feeding station and I kept a close eye on it all day, but no takers yet. 

I could probably do with a giant signpost in the nearby wood pointing out the way to it. 

Saturday 3 October 2020

New bedstead

 We have been discussing it for a while, and have decided that we need a new bedstead. Darren looked online and agreed to pay £10 to a guy in Oxford for a black curly one that looks as if it came from the film Bedknobs and broomsticks.

We drove over to collect it, and the sat nav took us the long way round, so a supposed 20 minute journey became 40 minutes in the pouring rain. 

When we got there we found out that the back doesn't come apart, and the reason that it had never been used was because it wouldn't fit round the stairs up to the bedroom of his house. Needless to say, it wouldn't fit in our car either, but we gave him the £10 and said that we would come back with the roof rack on the car.

We drove back home feeling a bit deflated, and spent at least half an hour in the rain putting the roof rack on the car. We also then found out that the new bed wouldn't fit between the bedside lights that had been so beautifully fitted on the wall.

Darren said that he would move them while I set off again to Oxford. (The lights are now dangling in the right places but a repair job is needed to the plasterwork.)

This time the traffic was terrible, but I got there, tied the bed to the roof rack and very gingerly set off back again. I was very worried because I didn't think that I had tied it on very well so was keen to get home. 

After a couple of miles the sat nav stopped working as I navigated a big busy roundabout, and it only started working after quite a few random stabs at it. However after going back round a couple of roundabouts I worked out that it was directing me back to the house in Oxford instead of going home.

Stopping again I reset it all and eventually arrived home with my prize. The whole trip took three and a half hours, and I returned feeling wet, cold and hungry. 

I just hope that our mattress fits and that we like it, although it does look interesting and we do like a change.