apologies for the lack of communications, it's been a busy time with much to-ing and fro-ing (an archaic expression that the spelling program will undoubtedly pick up) with a certain amount of hither and yon incorporated. The main activities have been a new shed for the caravan, with a bit more monoblocking under it. The beginnings of a bit of work on Fiona's garden shed, adding a lean-to greenhouse in the process. Re-carpeting the computer room. Removing the roots and stump of the tree that nearly fell on the greenhouse. Getting the new house ready for it's first tenants. Driving about in the green Midge for fun and generally good deeding where needed. The first of that is the open fronted shed for the caravan, using my usual technique of big bits of wood and large sheets of wrinkly tin. The tricky bit was getting it square, so that the blocks lined up neatly. I used the same building firm as last time as they did such a good job. I'm glad to say they did this time too. Sadly one of the lads was killed in a car accident hours after the first job, and they were all still getting over it. The shed frame went up fairly easily, then the floor went in, and then the roof after that. I've just finished putting the sides on, mainly 6 foot square fence panels and 4 inch posts. My supplier thinks metrication is a passing fad and will have none of it. Maggie the cat has come to check that my refurbishment of the computer room is up to scratch and has noted the lack of a second office chair, which she likes to sit on while I type. Fortunately there's a pull out wooden shelf built into the desk for some reason, and she's decided that will do for now. with a bit of luck I'll be able to take a photo of her with the computer's built in camera, excuse me for a moment.
Yes that seems to have worked, and there's one of the rug as well, though in both pictures the carpet seems to be a bit pink (on my computer anyway)
The carpet is the reason for all the heaving about. A neighbour, Bev, who is here noted, was chucking it out, and it seemed ideal for the purpose as the slightly singed bit, that had been in front of the fire, was surplus to my plan. (The slightly singed bit was on the carpet, not Bev.) You can see it in the picture, a rather nice variation on terra-cotta, and it goes well with the hand made Turkish rug that we lashed out on during the Istanbul trip. That was rather expensive, but as they say, we just couldn't resist it. They do bigger ones, but even at the low return the little grandmothers get for the months of work required, we would have needed to re-mortgage the house. Speaking of which, we have spent all our savings on a second house,which sounds a bit dramatic, but having collected a few handfuls of dosh through retirement payments and the miserable scrapings of dozens of endowment policies, we were looking for a way of investing in low risk ventures to make it work for us. The alternative was to give it to the banks so that they could play silly bu**ers with it and earn millions for doing squat while inflation gradually evaporated it. Having invested in the solar panels and the ground source heat pump, both of which are doing well, we needed something a bit bigger. Doing up a house and renting it out was one option, but getting one at the bottom of the slump that had already been smartened up seemed even better. There were a few on the market in the village, we selected the most appropriate and bought it. You can never know what the house prices will do, but it should always be worth one house, and the demand, barring earthquake, or plague should be reasonably stable. We contacted the Letting agency that had let it out for the previous owners, and, for a reasonable slice of the action, they do everything else after we bought it and tidied it up. The house had been largely unoccupied for a year since the oil fired boiler had broken down, I have a Combi boiler that we had been using in the Old Manse that is much newer and a bit more efficient, but it proved unnecessary as I was able to repair the relatively simple fault, the flue had been sealed with ordinary silicon and had started leaking flue gas into the air intake. The experience helped me to find a couple of rather silly, but wasteful errors in the setup. I'll happily explain them, but long experience has taught me that few people are interested in the details of home engineering, as long as I can make it work. Most of the house seems well set up and has had good maintenance as far as I can see. It could do with a dormer extension to the roof, but I'm not sure it would be cost effective unless the roof needed re-slating. Hopefully we'll have tenants in before the next newsletter, possibly by the middle of this month if all goes well. The weather seems somewhat variable, though the weather forecasts have been right on the button, so we weren't too surprised by the snow this morning (10th April) and the caravan is safely in its new shed, seen here (over the solar panels) from the office. So nice not having to go to work in this weather. Even now, most of the snow has melted again, so I'll be able to get out and do a bit on the new second-hand greenhouse, it's a bit like a 3 dimensional jig-saw, but at least most of the metalwork is there, largely undamaged, and a fair bit of the glass. Perhaps I should do a separate publication entitled 'The Joy of Sheds' for the connoisseur of such structures. A friend, whose shed is behind the car on the right of the picture, refers to shed therapy as a necessary part of a chap's life. I am inclined to agree. Ah well, it's stopped snowing and raining and the wind has dropped a bit, so I'd better get out there and build something. They bury you when you stop moving.
love to all