Friday 21 January 2022

Updates to the cottage

We have spent the last few days planning how to update the cottage, and the ideas are coming thick and fast.

Darren has taken out three wardrobes to give us more space, and because they were not particularly nice. We know that they were put in in September 2002 because the workman had filled a gap in the wall with the Daily Mail newspaper with the date on it.

We have also visited the neighbours in three of the four cottages in our row, and have been impressed with the exposed stone walls. 

It has inspired us to get hacking and the sounds of hammering and coughing from the dust have filled the air for most of the week.

It all needs to be sanded and repointed, but we are amazed by the size of some of the stones. A lot of the plaster was really thick so now the kitchen is also a bit bigger.

Our front door is very flimsy and I found a door advertised on Facebook that would be a perfect replacement. It was only £30 and we weren't sure if it was real, but we drove up to meet the seller who put double glazed doors in for a living and sells off the old ones.

It is a very good and heavy door, and obviously it didn't fit in the car. In the end we had to have about a foot of it sticking out the back of the car with the boot tied down with bungy cords. The boot catch was still banging up and down though, so I laid down on top of the door and held it steady all the way home. 

Finally, we bought a flat pack bed from Ikea and managed to get all of the pieces up the tiny staircase. It is all built now and we are sleeping in luxury.

Ps, I got a bit carried away in the plant section.

Walk to Bath

The cycle path near to our house goes straight to Bath city centre and we decided to walk there on a cold morning.


It was Darren's turn to feed the donkeys, and we dont think that they are morning donkeys because they were very grumpy and totally ungrateful for the carrots, although they ate them in the end.

We followed the path and the river Avon and arrived at the beautiful Pulteney Bridge and Weir.

Bath is a beautiful city full of historic buildings and we walked up to the famous Crescent where a film crew were busy. They had an old Mustang and they loaded up the backseat with vintage suitcases and an immaculately dressed lady was due to drive off into the sunset in it.

Unfortunately we didn't have access to such a lovely car so we had lunch in a very nice restaurant and then caught the bus home.

Tuesday 18 January 2022

Donkey friends


We are getting to know the locals at the cottage and after just saying polite hello's for a few days, we have now formally met Paddy and Murphy.

I took them a carrot each and they crunched away happily on them, so I am guessing now that we are new friends.

It is absolutely freezing here and the heating is storage heaters that recharge overnight and then kick out heat in the day and evening. They tend to run out of steam by 9pm so we are having some early nights and then some beautiful frosty morning walks.

Thursday 13 January 2022

First e bike outing

Today seemed a great day to try out our electric bikes. We bought them a couple of months ago and all that we have done so far is cycle them home from the shop, and a quick spin around the estate, so we were well overdue.

I started very badly by switching the bike on, but not actually putting it in gear, so I was actually just cycling a very heavy bike with no assistance, although I did not realise the problem. After three or four miles Darren stopped to wait for me, and I was really hot and tired after manically trying to keep up, and just thought that I wasn't very fit.

After taking off my hoody and gloves, and actually switching the power on properly we set off again, and what a transformation!! The bike just gives a push to get the speed up, but doesn't go any faster than 15 miles per hour so above that speed it was all my own work.

Darren had chosen a route up the biggest hill for miles to Brill Windmill. At the start of the hill I ramped the bike up to maximum and it gave me a lovely push upwards, although I still had to put in a good effort too.

The windmill is a great landmark, but it is looking very sad at the moment because one of its sails was ripped off during a storm last October.

We stopped for a photo and then headed back home where I collapsed exhausted on the settee, then had a piece of Christmas cake so it's still good exercise. 

Darren checked his best unassisted time up the hill and we beat it by about four minutes.

Changing the subject, but still bike related, we went out to Oxford last night to see Dr Hutch chat about his 57 British time trial victories in a pub on an industrial estate. 

And if you think that life can't get much more exciting for us, last week we went to Aylesbury to see the UK Pink Floyd tribute act. They were pretty good, but not quite up to the standards of the Australian Pink Floyd - no blow up bouncy kangaroo. 

Monday 10 January 2022

Before and during

Just catching up from the weekend due to lack of WiFi at the cottage, plus I forgot to do it yesterday. 

The bottom of the garden is very overgrown and we are attempting to tame it.

This is a few hours in to the job, and we are pulling out blackberry branches that are about 20 feet long. They are very vicious and we are both struggling with thorns getting through our gloves. It will be worth it in the end though. 

There is also an ancient toilet block that is disappearing under a giant ivy hat.

I want to keep the hat but instead of having something that you would wear at Ascot, I am planning on a bit more of a beanie shape.

We have met the two donkeys that live in the field next to the cottages and they are very friendly. Apparently they are very keen on carrots and apples and I am really looking forward to getting to know them better on our next visit.

Saturday 8 January 2022

Walk along the Avon

 We are back at the cottage after a poor start on new years day. On that occasion we only stayed four hours and then I realised that I had forgotten my suitcase, Darren forgot the coffee, we had no TV or wifi and nothing comfortable to sit on.

This time we made a better job of it and this morning the sun even came out. Briefly.

Also, we have new wellies that are great for splashing through the puddles.

This is a distant view of the cottage,  we are the second chimney from the left.

The river is beautiful and it even has allocated areas just for otters, called otter haul outs. We haven't seen any yet though.

Good day for reflections.