Friday, 26 July 2013

Four Year Doggy-versary

Four years ago we took this skinny, scared dog into our home, hearts and lives. Found as a stray in Ireland, we have no idea what his story is. But now, he is so happy, and so loved, and so lucky.

To celebrate this occasion, I invite you to join us on a summer evening walk.

Love that dog. Love my countryside.

Happy weekend!!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


I am a shambles. Some sort of comedy shambles. I don't even know how I get through life on a day to day basis.

A couple of weekends ago I hosted a BBQ as a sort of housewarming-birthday gathering type shindig. I told people to arrive from 7pm, so I had plenty of time during the day to tidy and shop and prepare and go round Mutti and Vati's house to steal provisions and water the plants (as they had gone away). I actually wrote out a very comprehensive shopping list and made it to the supermarket for 11.30am (amazing, considering that's when I would normally wake up on a Saturday). I was very glad I was there at that time, as there was precious little BBQ food left!

(One thing you should understand about the UK is that we are very predictable people. As we get so little sunshine, as soon as that sun does pop out, everybody - and I mean everybody - rushes to their local supermarket to buy as much BBQ food as possible. We then spend the rest of the day hoping it won't rain, and then stubbornly persist with our BBQs even when it does.)

So I had to resort to buying the most expensive burgers (the only ones left), but, no biggie, I had told everyone to bring food too, so I only bought a pack of eight and some sausages.

Oh yeah, what's the most important thing you need to host a BBQ? How about... An Actual Barbeque. Oh yes, I had to buy and assemble one of those. The instructions said it would take about an hour, but it was closer to two. And I had an alarming number of screws left over at the end. Oh well, it stood up fine. And, I even had a second, teeny tiny BBQ for my veggie friends (I was kindly given this one by my Nan, so no assembly required).

And oh yeah, what's that other thing you need to have a BBQ? Matches to light it? Oh yeah! Totally didn't have any of those, but no worries, surely Mutti and Vati would have some at their house. By this time it was about 4pm. Do you know how many matches they had. Six. And I had two BBQs to light.

Oh well, six was better than none. Back home to set up al fresco dining and clean the bathroom, run the vacuum cleaner round etc etc. Started preparing the salad. I was all set to start grating the carrots for the salad when I realised I don't have a vegetable peeler. So I wasted about half of each carrot trying to peel it with a knife.

It was only when I was about to put all the chairs outside that I realised I hadn't mowed the lawn. Thankfully this task is getting slightly less embarrassing now that I have done it a few times, but it's still not very nice. So off I went in some sensible footwear (not) and was doing a grand old job, until I reached the back of the garden aka the weed patch aka the corner of doom. And I turned right into the patch of bramble.

Why? Why? It was almost as stupid as when I accidentally picked up a handful of stinging nettles, which again was almost as stupid as when I sat in a patch of stinging nettles. The scratches, combined with the myriad of bruises on my legs from general life and day-to-day happenings at work (why yes, I will climb up that apple tree to cut down branches, and yes, I will sit on my colleague's shoulders to fix a shed roof with power tools I don't really know how to use (hope the H&S officer's not reading)), just made me look like some poor abused street urchin.

Never mind, I finished preparations just in the nick of time. Everything was good. Except, oh wait, I didn't have a bottle opener. Like, seriously? How?

(I could also now tell the story of my hectic evening last week when I decided it would be fun to not fill my car up and then do two hours worth of driving and have to follow a diversion wondering if I would actually make it to my destination with the fuel light flashing at me... but maybe I'll save that story.)

Overall, it was a pretty good evening. It was a bit touch and go when the wind kept blowing the matches out trying to light the BBQ, but we got there in the end. I drank too much Pimms, and we sat outside until about 1am as the night was so mild. I would consider it a success.

But really, I must get my act together. How have I made it this far in life?

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Living Room Tour

I thought maybe I would show you some befores and progresses of my living room...

Those photos were all taken on the day after I picked up the keys to the house. The Friday I completed on the house I was at work so I only got to go round in the dark, so I went back on Saturday to take lots of pictures in the daylight. As you can see, the purple was just horrific. It's not a big room, and it was just too much. The wallpaper was brown under the fire, and although at first glance the floor seemed fine, it was actually pretty worn and a bit manky in places. The fireplace, curtains and light fitting were all left here.

So, several months on...

Everything got the 'white' treatment. New carpet, new sofas, new TV etc etc. I was actually living with those awful curtains (bland, too short) until this week. Do you know how difficult it was to find green curtains? Harder than trying to find a red knitted pouffe at any rate! I didn't want anything with a pattern because of the wallpaper, and all the other curtains I found were too dark. This pair came from Argos. They really brighten the room up and make a feature of the window, so I'm happy.

I'm keeping the fireplace and the light, at least for the time being, although at some point in the future I will probably change both. I want to see how useful the fireplace will be in winter, and how cold it will be without one, to see if I actually need it.

There's still lots to do:
  • Picture gallery above the sofa with 3 cushions on
  • Possible mirror or large canvas above the other sofa
  • Decorative accessories for the windowsill - at the moment I am hanging on to all my 'new home' cards
  • Book case for the 'book nook', although this is proving a bit of a challenge because of the dimensions of the wall. At the moment I'm debating an Expedit in this corner.
  • Possible small tables?
  • Door handles
  • Door stop
  • Change knobs on TV unit
...And probably another million things that have yet to occur to me.

I love it so far. Much better than the purple. And now, it's back to Wimbledon. Toodles!