To en-suite B&B, or not to be?
|My 2013 inspirational boots.|
Happy New Year! to all. I hope you are as motivated as we are for 2013. We raced through Christmas knowing we had to get on - this is going to take us all year, at least.
I may have started to invite everyone to NYE 2013 already - so the pressure is on.
A phone blip meant I lost loads of my photos. Since a nasty little DC10'er stole my lovely camera in Ibiza, we are a little stuck for visual aid this month. But I'll do my best.
Since we have successfully received all our planning permissions we have finally breathed a sigh of relief and even, very gratefully, received some Christmas cards from neighbours. I hope this means we can move on and eventually we won't be the Pariahs on May Hill. I've joined the W.I in Longhope (our next nearest community) as its a popular one and they have lots of speakers. All good souls there and I am meeting more nice people who know how to make tea and who don't immediately know me as that Yurt lady come to ruin the village. My hopes of baking advice are so far dashed - but there is a W.I Cheese making course I am going on, and I've signed myself up for the inter WI Quiz. Perhaps a little too readily, as I expect there might be the odd question on latin plant names and knitting techniques. I doubt much will crop up on what is going on with the Kardashians. I'll have to start some homework, but bearing in mind it is my only social event in the Gloucestershire diary, I'm actually quite excited.
Lack of social interaction means I am rapidly letting myself go.
Stuck halfway between functional country style and London acceptable.
My walking boots are now simply; my shoes.
And I doubt I'll remember how to walk in heels if I ever get to go anywhere that requires a pair.
When panic used to ensue as my Estee Lauder was nearing its end, now I embrace a day or three without make up. My legs get moisturised when there is a full moon and I skuttled out of the waxing salon with my head hung in shame. There is no possible time for Gym or preening. The only real exercise I get is at Soft play with Arthur and trips back to London fill me with self styling fear. I wondered if a Harris tweed jacket was a good idea the other day. But this only really works for people Made in Chelsea.
Not Made from Chelsea Bun.
My Jimmy Choo Hunter's are inspirational. Me, a glam floaty dress and my welly boots surrounded by mud for a piece in Herefordshire and Wye Valley Life. Ha. Maybe come summer.
The one thing we have done is find a cinema. We discovered an amazing one in the next town on from us. I had thought it was a pretty bleak place after we visited a nursery where the kids were sucking felt tips. However, following a tip off from one of the ladies from toddler group we went to The Palace Theatre. Originally built in 1910 it is apparently one of the oldest purpose built cinemas still operating. The tickets were only £5.50 each and we bought delicious ice cream for £1.30 and popcorn for £1. The seats were lovely red velvet and there are snug two seater sofas to cosy into on date night.
|Gary has mastered the casual lean|
|Off to the flicks|
|Just add a G&T in a tea cup|
|'Do you take Amex?'|
It reminded me of the Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds but there were little American deco touches that made it even better (all it really needed was a bar and it would have been perfect) and I kept squealing every time I spotted another nice touch. Good films too, and the lady behind the pay box was knitting when we left.
We have moved out of the caravan.
It froze.We started to hear rumours of a cold snap in mid December. Local folk started to whisper talk of minus 15. So I found us a very lovely cottage in a nearby small town (I can walk to a shop again!) with a real fire and a bath. The cottage is part of a larger holiday rental place which is an incredible conversion of a stunning listed building and barn. It is the ultimate party house if anyone needs a place for a stag or hen (and there are weddings on the cards!) With a sauna and steam room, four poster beds and beautiful beams. The lady that owns it used to design for Agent Provocateur and her style is all over it. They are about 7 years further down the line than us and it's great to hear how much they've done.
|George Cottage, Mitcheldean|
|Still rocking the Christmas jumper|
So the caravan has now become a sanctuary for the cats. Don't tell Gary, but they should be nice and snug with the radiators on.
I had a wonderful photo of the Merry Christmas flashing light that adorned the caravan window. The cats had their very own disco all Christmas.
So, we have until the end of February to get the attic rooms sorted and to move into there. Ryan came from Cornwall to plaster them, and they almost resemble a proper house!
They are also wired up for lighting - I think I've spent at least a whole day soley dedicated to Christopher Wray lights on Ebay, and ready for the second electric fix.
|Not as dark as we thought they might be|
|Exposed brick fireplace|
|Panoramic view of Attic room 1|
|We finally decided to keep this as one bathroom, with huge doors that fold back to reveal an oversized cast iron bath.|
|The stairs to the attic rooms|
For the last 6 weeks or so we have mainly been making the place look worse than it did before. Uncle Graham came again and kept helping with the attic and Steve is tirelessly there - getting braver and braver up a ladder. The first and ground floors are looking more and more derelict.
|All walls are being insulated|
|But the old plaster has to go somewhere...|
|I must get Steve to sign an indemnity.|
|Or should I say Nanook of the North.|
We are a long way from 'after' In fact, we've gone a fair few steps back from 'before'.
I've been working in the house when I can. Working on the en-suite to the master bedroom. Very satisfying. And now we have another stupidly enormous room to deal with.
|The division cuts the window in two|
|Now what!? Another freestanding bath I think...|
|The walls were full of grain and dead snails.|
So the next few months are a battle between the house and the business. If we can work on the land when it gets warm again we might have a hope of opening next summer. The next big thing is the Ground Source Heat Pump. Its fascinating, exciting and terrifyingly expensive but means we won't need oil. As Gary wants to start working the renewable side of plumbing, it works on that front too. We have a real opportunity to have a sustainable life at Dursley Cross. Especially when we reinstate the well too. We've had various surveys that estimate the oil bills for the house and barn will be around £6500 a year, plus the cost of the boiler and tank. We never factored that in! If we put in the GSHP it runs off thermal energy from our land - from a warren of 2 kilometers worth of 6ft trenches and if the government sorts out the renewable heat incentive then it should pay us back the outlay within 7 years. But the outlay will more or less wipe us out - and we'll have to wait for the payback to convert the Cider Barn and sort the porch out, and Yurt's 4 & 5 and probably Arthur's school uniform at this rate. It's really beginning to roll out just how long a project this really is. But the Government still hasn't introduced the scheme - so at this point in time, its just another outlay - and we are just too scared of doing it without the payback. We have pretty well acclimatised to countryside cold though and I think its making the decision less prevalent. Either that, or we're both exhausted on decisions. Where the hell is Changing Rooms when you need it.
|As far as our silly city car could get us.|
But not much is happening this week - even thermals aren't a patch on -5 and the fire and bath are a little too tempting in our little cottage. Even with the in-laws and their MASSIVE dog... Gloucestershire is beginning to feel like home.
|Oh yes, and we've employed a new 'numbers' man. |
Seeing as though the budget is long gone.