Thursday, 12 June 2014

Trench Warfare

Having been at it now for around eighteen months, it is evident that renovating a house is like trench warfare: long periods of inactivity followed by bouts of furious action.  It feels like we've been in the former state for some time.  We've dealt with some odds and ends as bits and pieces have fallen off, down, back or been soaked in leaking water but it seems ages since we did anything major.  Of course, there was the wall, which distracted us mightily just after we'd moved in, and the bathroom that we had to put in before moving in.  And the dog proof fence.  But it feels like we haven't done anything significant for some time, if you discount almost decorating the bathroom and the dining room, that is, and we're starting to feel frustrated with our lack of progress.

However, this phase is about to end and we are about to launch into action.  Builders and window repairers are on the horizon and marching towards us.  We have finally found a company to repair the five casement windows that overlook the gin terrace and the two in the so-called 'Long Room' on the top floor.  We love a bit of pretension around here!

This will enable us to finish off the bathroom at last and it will feel like a massive achievement to finally finish one room in its entirety!  Although come to think of it, the door still needs to be painted.  I quite like the shabby chic look that it currently has but S cannot abide anything that is not shipshape and Bristol fashion.

The bathroom windows are particularly bad, bent and rusted.  They will be taken out and replaced by a single pane of glass to keep out the weather, while they are shipped to Moreton-in-Marsh for their makeover.  Just waiting for a start date for this.

Bathroom Window 1

Bathroom Window 2
We have finally decided to remove the leylandii in the back garden.  Just after we moved in, if you remember (and I'm sure you don't!), the local arboriculturalist visited to advise on the trees and said straight away that he would give permission to take them down, if we wanted.  The lumberjack has been along to give his quote and agreed with the verdict.  They are planted close together, bald and twiggy on the inside.

Looking up from the outside

Looking up from the inside

As tall as the house

We have some qualms, obviously, not least the removal of this welcome habitat for wildlife.  It is always full of squirrels and flapping pigeons with a furious and barking Sprocket trying to jump up the trunk to get them.  His hunting technique leaves a lot to be desired.

And how much noise do they absorb?  This is a critical question as there is a busy road on the other side of the wall.  They block out the light and the garden will be all the sunnier for their absence but they also assure us of privacy.  However, we are also awaiting the arrival of the fence man who, we hope, will put up trellising on top of the wall, so we can grow climbers to soften the look whilst also shielding us from the public view and the paparazzi.

(Well, to be honest, the dog proof fence hasn't proved dog proof enough and with Sprocket constantly honing his jumping skills under the leylandii, it is only a matter of time before he leaps over the wall to fall twelve feet to the lane below where he will be run over by a passing car.  I just know it.  Thousands of pounds for a bit of fencing is a small price to pay for his safety.  Although S doesn't entirely agree.)

In addition, we will plant more trees.  We have two damsons in a holding bay, waiting to replace the leylandii, and we will plant other fruit and nut trees if we have the space.  (A medlar.  I've always wanted a medlar tree.  Their fruits were eaten at medieval banquets and favoured by the Victorians.  The shape of the fruit means that its Old English name was 'openaers' or 'open-arse' and in France it is known as 'cul de chien', dog's arse.  It has character, a medlar.)

A Medlar Tree

A Medlar Fruit

We have tasked our builders to undertake a couple of minor jobs for us that have been outstanding for some time.  The first is to repair the columns at the front door, which are being chewed at by wood weevil.  And the second is to repair the lintel that is jutting out above a window at the back of the house.

So, a bout of furious activity is about to begin.  And, once it does, we will probably long for another lengthy spell of inactivity and peace!

No comments:

Post a Comment