Thursday, 29 July 2010

The new floor

We've spent our free time in the last week laying the new floor.

First we had to address the issue of the concrete kitchen floor being higher than the floorboards in the old dining room. We did this by laying big green fibreboard underlay squares on top of the floorboards in varying thicknesses

Next came the underlay that William just loved making holes in with his claws (which we've now cut!)

We got the William seal of approval after only a few of the laminate boards went down:

The laminate floor wasn't quite as easy to assemble as suggested by the instructions and is basically impossible for one person to do alone (originally the plan was that Ian would cut the boards and I would fit them together), but once you get the knack it's definitely not worth paying someone else to do it.

This is as far as we got before we had to move the fridge into the middle of the room (ruining photo opportunities until it goes back where it belongs):

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Photo shoot

No we didn't hire a studio to photograph William today...

He's sitting in the kitchen on the underlay that we've put down ready for the new floor.

Monday, 19 July 2010

A different view

A long time ago and on a different blog I wrote a post about a potential new kitchen. We had never considered going for a really modern feel for our new kitchen until we saw a shiny black one in ikea, but having fallen in love with it we never saw anything that came close to matching it. We bought the kitchen and finished assembling all the units quite a few weeks ago now, but because various building works were still going on around the units we didn't dare to remove their protective covers.

This week the covers finally came off. They were pretty tricky to remove and because of the length of time they'd been on those that had been in the sun for longest (only two drawers luckily) left all their sticky backing stuck to the drawer front. Luckily, despite the instructions clearly stating not to use anything to clean them other than soapy water, the risk of using 'sticky stuff remover' (a marvellous product that my father introduced us to) paid off. We now have lots of beautiful mirror like shiny black doors and drawer fronts. After weeks of looking at matt protective covers the kitchen looks all sparkly. I'm really pleased with our choice of ceiling lights:

as they look great reflected in the doors:

It's fantastic to be facing the middle of the house and still have a clear view of the garden reflected in the doors. You'll have to excuse the dark and blurry picture that was taken just a few minutes ago when it was raining and getting dark (it's also difficult to hold the camera up without it being reflected too):

This was taken looking directly at a cupboard door (you can see the handle in the bottom left of the picture) and not through the window itself.

It's all been happening

What a week it's been this last week! We've done all sorts of jobs around the house and garden including painting much of the new kitchen, peeling the protecting covers off all the drawers and cupboard fronts (which sounds an easier and quicker job than it turned out to be), drilling and screwing on the drawer and cupboard handles, weeding the back garden, staking all the plants that the rain had battered down (yes we've finally had a reasonable quantity of rain) etc etc.

On Friday we had a meeting with people from Ambios, with whom we'll be collaborating to make a website that maps the Sharpham Estate on the river Dart. Simon, the leader of the project is an ecologist like us so we were pleased to carshare on the way down to Sharpham. Rather than meeting in an office on the estate we met in a little hut high up in the woods where volunteers on the project igomango were camping. It was so much fun to have a meeting in the woods with a dog at your feet and the sound of chickens and forestry going on nearby and we were very pleased that the rain held off long enough to take the paper maps down to the car. I'm sure I'll blog again soon on the subject of Sharpham, but it turned out that discussing the new contract was not the most exciting thing to happen this week:

On Saturday night we got a call to say that Ian's brother Gary is now father to a baby girl :-) so we made an impromptu trip up to Preston including a stopover in Formby on Sunday night. This is Leonalia, Leona or Leo, depending on how much you shorten her name:
Leonalia, born 15:09 on July 17th 2010.

Mother and baby
Getting a tickle from Daddy
Meeting Uncle Ian

Sunday, 4 July 2010

A weekend away

We had a fantastic weekend and managed to fit in eight different walks including a long walk along the river Wye, trips to two Iron Age forts and two nature reserves.

Sunset over the fields:

The Wye valley from Symonds Yat Rock:

One of several teepees by the river:

The weather was warm all weekend and we saw lots and lots of insects, including

six-spot burnet moths:

marbled whites:

small skippers:

Field grasshopper?

Meadow grasshopper?

Meadow grasshopper?

dark grey bush crickets:

and mayflies:
(this one was found on Ian's foot of all places!)

Ephemera spp.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to such a lovely holiday and to William for putting up with us being away. I guess I won't be unpacking this evening!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

What's been happening?

What news? you ask. There must be lots of news from the last couple of weeks, but is any of it interesting..? It is currently raining - that's news for Devon. The rain is only light, but it's the first real rain we've had since May 29th. We've had the odd drop since then, but never more than 2 minutes worth. We've been watering the garden every day and in some cases twice a day so it's a huge relief to see some water coming from the sky. Not sure how long it will last, but I'm rejoicing at the moment.

Just over a week ago we had a lovely day at the beach. We hoped it would be quiet because we went the day of one of the England matches, but there was a cross-country run on, which meant that it was much noisier than any other day of the year - typical. Still, I went in the sea for the first time in my life (that I can remember). I cheated and wore a wetsuit (which I'd bought very cheap from sainsburys the night before), but it still took a good half an hour of acclimatising to get me up to my shoulders.

We've done various jobs in the house and garden including boxing in lots of pipes in the kitchen (that was entirely Ian, although I did pass him the odd thing while he was stood on a chair if that counts as helping), concreting in two more posts for the deck, moving lots of gravel from the front to the back (again that was Ian), weeding and planting lots of plants in the front garden.

I've spent most of the last two weeks doing odd jobs whilst watching the tennis. I've organised two years worth of photographs, done lots of ironing, cleaning and sorting and have photographed and described several unwanted items to get rid of via freecycle. Most of these have now been picked up, but we do have a few items waiting to go.

Today we had the not so wonderful men from south west water in the garden for most of the afternoon. Unfortunately the mains sewer runs under our garden and it had backed up. They decided to unblock it from the manhole cover next door, but since next door have no uncarpeted access through to the back of their house they came through the building at the side of our house and over the fence with the pipe. They refused to listen to Ians instructions regarding various things, damaged a couple of plants (admittedly only slightly, but they showed no care at all and that bothered me more than the actual damage), squashed all the plants in the small pond and nearly broke a drain pipe, and all that whilst I was trying to watch the Wimbledon semi-finals. Grrrr.

This weekend we're off up to Hereford for a family birthday trip. No doubt there'll be some photos to post when we get back. Have a good weekend everyone.