It has been less than a month since the last post but I have been called to write as it seems I have become of local interest and the Bats have finally done their worst. It continues to be an emotional rollercoaster of a ride. We had the most amazing day with Gary's Uncle who really helped motivate us and we skipped around the house, thinking the deathwatch wouldn't beatle us! Then the exact next day we had some terrible news about the Bats and I went to bed crying.
There is a lovely publication called the May Hill reporter that lets our community know what stuff is going on, what stuff is for sale - and just great general local information. It was one of the 'tick' boxes when we moved here - finding it neatly tucked in the brick leading up to the caravan, along with a 'Welcome to Longhope' brochure. Just lovely and delivered by a wealth of local knowledge and such a warm welcome.
We have made it into the newsletter within 3 months! It is a rather better version of the map and information from the letter we wrote to give to our neighbours on May Hill. We had only managed to get it to the most local ones (as we also wanted to see as many people face-to-face) and then it went global (or you'd think it was of world wide importance) Unfortunately is also a call for residents to write letters of objections so I am expecting we will now have to have a meeting with any objectors and we will have a courtroom Jack Nicholson style showdown. I'm not going to argue the point here - the letter is below...
The biggest shame is that we weren't able to do it ourselves - and that the insert of the letter was omitted from our copy so it took us a few days (and the posting of support on this blog) before we were able to see it. If people are going to go to the effort to write a full spread and provide Yurt details (which are unrelated to our ones) then you would think we could read it. We were intending to get out there and meet everyone - and had drafted a letter inviting residents to Dursley Cross Farm and explaining what we wanted to do. But some neighbours have jumped the gun (before our plans are even official!) and are trying to rally troops to make sure we are entirely unwelcome. Ironically, so far its been positive and we've got two offers of support from people we wouldn't have reached before the letter. As for everyone else - I simply hope they read the plans on the council website and see how it will actually be. I doubt I will really find out all the negativity until the plans are official but we'll deal with that as and when.
Here is our letter...
Anyway - its been done for us and it directs all to this Blog. I was perhaps naive to think it would only be of interest to you all as 5 minutes away from the daily grind, but its only a blog! with all of 11 members.
I've managed to upset some of the older generation who perhaps don't understand the nature of blogging but the only offence caused is to my terrible cakes! The ridiculous idea that I could bake my way into a country life.
We have said the same thing to everyone we have spoken to about our venture. That, if we are granted permission - that we want to work with our neighbours and the community to make sure it has a positive impact. It is not a 'campsite' as they would think. We are not even applying for a campsite status. We were told that people would object - but I wasn't quite prepared to for a 'call to arms'! When people don't listen, it makes me want to live up to their expectations! Maybe I'll apply for a campsite after all, with trucks and pot smoking hippies. Parties, and a dog kennel to boot. There has to be more forward thinking people within May Hill and Longhope! Where are the business owners, the web designers, those that rely on tourism, and people with disposable income. The pubs, the shops, the local producers - all will be supported. This is sustainable tourism that will maintain Dursley Cross Farm. We are completely aware people don't like change - but we would be so arrogant to think this will be massive change! 15 people. Its not exactly crowded is it.
The Charnocks (who wrote the letter, so I think names are fine) told us that 'they were still on probation' on May Hill - and tried to warn me that we should do things slowly. We do not have the luxury of slowly, its all hands on deck (more about that later) I can only assume that in leading the battle, they are hoping to eek their way out of 'probation'. They can't even see the field! And we are doing everything
we can to make sure the Yurts can't be seen by anyone else. Its not the best location for them for the business. Its the best place for them for the neighbours.
So enough - I cannot worry about what might not happen. We tried, I have been myself and maybe in time (if we ever have any!) I can get to show people it'll all be okay. That is - if we survive the winter! I hope so - look how beautiful it gets...
On to the Bats - the final mitigation came in and its a bit of a minefield. Without trying to bore you...
We knew we had some special chaps in the cellar.
And we have some Common gezzers in the walls/roof.
They all require a licence from da govenment before we can do any work that might upset them.
The licence won't be granted until all related planning permission has been granted.
Planning permission will take months and months
The mitigation for the Bats means we can only work up until October - or after March.
Planning permission will not be granted before October
Therefore, no licence
Therefore, no work until MARCH.
So we could ignore it. And go to prison (not entirely likely) Or we could get fined 5,000 per bat. We have 10 Bats. Come on! This is just mental. I am tearing my hair out. Suz and I went looking for them this week (thought I should learn to love them) and they flew around our heads. Totally petrifying. So now they have us literally running scared.
A week on from crying into my pillow - we have managed to find a way round part of the work - we can repair the roof and tie the huge cracks in the walls before winter. And look at some of the bad ones...
These things don't need planning permission as it is repair. We have had to get letters saying the roof won't survive and it will probably mean we have to pay for scaffolding twice. It also means that even if we get planning consent before March, then we can't do anything else. Nothing to the barn (there are heaps of common geezers in there), Nothing to the cellar (the special chaps are particulary particular) This means we can't sort the Ground Source Pump out - and therefore the heating! We are screwed
budget wise - too many Mortgage repayments between now and then, and it turns out you can't sell Jam for a profit in the countryside.
Otherwise, progress in the house has halted. We have to wait for the planners to come and see. Gary has been hoovering the rubbish and rats out from between the joists for 3 weeks. Everyday. Hoovering. With a a machine that looks just like R2D2.
It takes all of 5 minutes to whip round the caravan. He has banked many a free ticket from me tapping the Henry and tutting as though its been a while since I saw him do any housework.
We are off on holiday in a fortnight. Ha! We booked and thankfully paid for it it thinking we'd be well underway by then... penny pinching to the last I went to our local outlet store to see if I could find some White Isle acceptables.... Gary was in his element in the garden section, amazed by the JML video footage. Ironically there was a decent butcher/deli in the middle of the furniture section (of course) but even I had to pass on the clothes. I did not stop laughing at this one.
|Floaty linen beach bar... Mojito. I am smooooth.|
Being unable to do anything else on the house - we have decided to batten down for the winter. I am sourcing carpet for the caravan and we are going to insulate the bottom with straw. I think we are modelling for a half 'skirt' of straw bales, but if its really rubbish - we'll block up the windows. We are buying radiators and a sleeve for the gas bottle. Gary is insulating the pipes and I need thick curtains (or at least a lesson from my handier friends to guide me around the sewing machine). We've been told it got to minus 15 last winter - so not sure I'll hang around for that one.
|Must remember to put it on the outside.|
Our ridiculous, and I mean ridiculous allowance for no income for 6 months will be gone by November.
We did a car boot today. Totally brilliant. I sold some tat for not much and some non-tat for not much, as dealers came and bamboozled us at the beginning. Loved it though. Hilariously, none of my clothes sold! what should I think about that?! Made some plum jam and sold it at a loss as the jars were too expensive. Bought some books for Arthur and some bacon sandwiches. I owe Suz £7 for selling her remarkably terrible 'Victorian' easel, a pair of dirty scuffed shoes and a vest. I think that means today only cost us £23.
|Gary left his flat cap on the roof when we drove off. (minus £15)|
|We left Arthur and Granddad to do the hard sell.|
A couple of other major highlights this month - Family visits!
We had Laura and the girls come and play. Marlie helped us realise what a minefield the house will be for a toddler, and Amber and Grace managed to disappear for hours - so there is obviously trouble to get into round here! Just lovely.
My Birthday! (apart from reading the letter in the evening)
I was so lucky to spend it with my best friends and my family. We walked up May Hill in the most beautiful of evenings having been to the Three Choirs Vineyard to sample a fair few of their wines over lunch.
I can't say I was entirely sober when this was taken!
Bees! Some of you may recall I spent an overpriced day in the Chelsea Physic Garden watching a PowerPoint presentation about the history of bees. Sold as an Introduction to Beekeeping. Now, admittedly I loved the theory - but last week was something else! I got to wear a suit, and a hood, and have a tool in my pocket I can't remember the name of, and I looked at the hives and listened to the buzz. They flew around my head and I saw the queen, and the grubs. And I tasted the honey. It was all Super (there is a bee pun in there for some) and a proper Introduction to Beekeeping. It was such an amazing day and I hope one day before I am grey(er) - I will have the time to dedicate to such an amazing hobby. I'd like to say I'd try to make cakes with it - but you know what... I'll leave that to the masters.
And biggest of all - Arthur took his first steps today which was amazing. Not only does it now mean he can get to work but running around after him will keep us all warm past November.
|'I'll start with getting the caravan level so my toys stop rolling into the kitchen'|
|'I've got my own wheels to get to work, so Mum and Dad can sell the car'|