Friday, April 11, 2014

Glass safety

When we had the survey done on this house, the surveyor noted that he could not confirm that the glass installed in the back door and the inner back door was safety glass.  I noted the comment and thought I should really do something about it, but I didn't give it any attention really.

John fitted a draught excluder around the back door, which has helped a lot with the draughts but has led to the door becoming rather more difficult to shut.  Consequently the occupants of the house began to slam it to get it to shut, and thus it was that Ali put his hand through the glass in the door a few weeks ago.

We were very lucky.  He cut and shredded his little finger, but wasn't badly hurt - although he bled like a stuck pig and I had to rush home from the air ambulance to see to him.  He needed hospital attention and steristrips but it was a warning I took seriously and so I have ordered toughened safety glass for all the doors, including the garage doors.  I'm not taking more risks, having seen how viciously sharp non-safety glass can be.

My mother once advised me before I had children never to put off anything which was related to safety, never to think oooh that's dangerous and do nothing, or I'll pick that up in a minute or someone will trip and fall - do it now!  And it's been advice that I am sure has saved accidents on numerous occasions.  I wish I had kept it in mind with the glass.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Back again

I've been away for a while, visiting my father in hospital, then having flu.  I'm back and picking up the threads again in Lincolnshire.

It's one long round of DIY and housework at the moment, and I have guests coming over Easter and want to make the house a good place to be and not full of boxes of miscellaneous stuff I have failed to find a home for.

The birds in the garden were very glad to see me - I filled the feeder in the garden and then watched as a flurry of sparrows and a couple of fat wood pigeons squabbled over the feeder and the seed that falls on the ground when several sparrows try to feed at once. 

The garden is full of bulbs - grape hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and the first primroses are out too.  There are daisies on the lawn, and the wild geranium is taking over in the vegetable plot.  There's lots to do, if we have a few fairweather days.

Ali put up my curtain rail in my bedroom and it then fell down immediately.  I'm going to Lincoln to buy a sturdier one, and to get a lampshade, and then I will hopefully be able to use my room for the first time since we moved.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


We've been beginning to see what needs changing in the house as we get used to living here.  The kitchen needs more space for preparing food, and John suggested it needs an island for the middle of the room.  It is short on countertop space, and I have already thought it needed more space for catering for five people.

We've been past Rumpelstiltskin on the high street in Market Rasen a number of times while I drooled over the furniture in there.  It's lovely, and I linger every time I pass the shop.  John was thinking about one of the consoles in the window for the kitchen, but as soon as we entered the shop I realised that the ones in the window are rather lower than they appear, as they are on a little platform.

I immediately saw something that would be absolutely perfect.  It's a butcher's block table, which can be ordered in any Farrow and Ball colour.

The shop always looks empty of customers and a bit lonely, but the proprietor told us that there has been an explosion of interest in the things they make since they took the shop, and delivery times had extended accordingly. 

If I can afford it, once everything is sorted out, I'd like to have bookshelves from the shop - I had discounted them because they have mouldings at the top and a plinth at the bottom and so I didn't think they would be suitable for a grouping of bookshelves, but it was explained that you can butt a number of the shelving units up against each other and then have a moulding and plinth which fit around them all... so I shall start to calculate how to configure them, if I can afford them. 

The house is starting to feel more like mine.  Initially I felt as though I were squatting in someone else's holiday home, but having started to buy things I have chosen, like the blinds for the kitchen, and the lamp for my room, it's starting to be more mine... and our stored possessions arriving will make it even better.

Settling in

Sunnyside farm shop
It's been ten days since we moved to Market Rasen, and we've been so busy, busy, busy I have hardly had any time for blogging.  I bought the house with all the contents, although I hadn't quite realised how extensive those contents would be.  We've had a lot of things to clear, boxes and boxes of cardboard, old string, cables, crates and old paint pots.  The back garden still looks like someone has been fly-tipping the contents of an old factory, but John is making trips to the tip every day and it is gradually going down.  The tip people are rather suspicious that he is dumping old commercial waste on them, but he really, honestly, is not!

Life in a small town is very different from life on the outskirts of London.  For a start, nearly all the shops in town close at 3.30pm.  Not on an early closing day - every day.  Many specialist shops only open a few days a week... I'm assuming their opening hours expand during the summer.  I may be wrong about that!

People know each other, and trust each other far more than you find in a big town in Greater London.  We ordered a bed from Rasen bed supplies, and needed to wait a few days for the base to come from the stockist.  Tom was fed up with sleeping on the floor and not feeling very well, and so I went to ask if I could buy the mattress in advance of the base.  Not only did the company deliver it in about ten minutes flat, they refused to let me pay for it until the base had come.

When the base DID arrive, they not only delivered but also assembled the bed!  Ali decided he wanted some weird shaped bed from an online retailer... but that arrived in pieces and was just delivered to the threshold.  The service from Rasen Bed Supplies couldn't have been better.  And the mattresses and beds we bought from them are very comfortable.

Yesterday John and I went to the Sunnyside Up farm, for breakfast, which is just between Market Rasen and Tealby.  I can certainly recommend their bacon or sausage rolls, and the restaurant is light and airy, with comfortable sofas for lounging on if you wish.  After breakfast we wondered around the shop, exclaiming at all the lovely foodie items on offer.  There is a meat counter and cheese counter, vegetable shop, and shop full of local delicacies and chutneys and jams, as well as high-quality items from other areas. 

We bought one of the shop's steak pies, which are home-made on the farm, and some leeks and potatoes from the vegetable shop - as well as a clutch of chutneys and marmalade for the store cupboard.

In the car park, it being Friday, there was a fish van from Grimsby - but it's recommended that you get there early in order to get the best range of fish and shellfish.

The farm restaurant is lovely and I have no hesitation in recommending it.  The brick built barn buildings look as though they may be dark, from the outside, but it is actually light and airy and the staff are welcoming and friendly.

The Sunnyside Up farm shop is open for longer than shops in Market Rasen, 9-5pm Tuesday to Saturday and 10-4 on Sundays.  It's closed on Mondays. 

The restaurant does a wider range of breakfasts during the summer season, but is open for pots of tea and bacon and sausage rolls and a wide range of other food during the day.  My son heartily recommends their soup!

You can find more on their website here, including how to get there.  Head out of Market Rasen on the Tealby road is the basic instruction!

I liked the sign on the way out, which warns about free-range children and chickens... both of those *should* be free-range!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My own front door

I haven't blogged at all for weeks, unless long posts on Facebook count. Our goods and chattels were packed and put into storage on November 21, we sold our house on November 22, and we spent two weeks in a wonderful holiday cottage in Tealby. The only drawback of the cottage was that we had poor mobile reception and no real internet, although I can see that might have been an advantage for some people. Then on December 5, we had to pack up and leave the cottage and wait to hear when we had completed on the purchase of Sycamore house.

We went for breakfast at the really wonderful Sunnyside Farm shop, in the highest winds I have experienced for some while. The trees were whipping around us as we drove there, and there was a lot of tree debris, including whole branches, scattered about. After bacon and sausage rolls at Sunnyside, we went to Jim's Barn, where I bought some Annie Sloan paints and talked to Sarah Lamballe, who is active in the Mr Big organisation in Market Rasen. She encouraged us to go along to the Christmas fair on Friday and Saturday.

Unfortunately, Tom and I had begun to suffer a bit from the horrible coldy bug that Ali had had earlier in the week. Neither of us was feeling very much like doing anything other than snuggling up in bed. As we drove into Market Rasen at 12.20, I asked John how long he thought it would take to complete... and a few minutes later my solicitor rang and told me we had completed. We rather expected to drive up to the house and take possession, but I was anxious not to infect the sellers with our bugs as they were about to make very long air journeys, and so we agreed to go away again for a while, and come back at 2pm.

And so... that was five days ago. We have been clearing, sorting, reorganizing and getting used to the house. The front door wasn't usually used by the prvious owners, and we soon discovered why: the front door lock wasn't working properly. John has fixed a new lock, which works much better. I have some photographs but I am too tired to put them up tonight.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Just Dance!

Amazing video of a young man dancing, in his bedroom it seems, but the arrangement of the furniture and the positioning of the camera make it seem pretty slick.  The music and the dancing together just make me want to dance... and I'm not alone it seems, reading the comments.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

What the Greco-Romano-Cretan Hell? (Atlantis review)

Porky, Perky and Pythagoras...what?
I don't often watch television.  Mostly I catch odd snippets of the soaps other people in the house watch, and the odd ten minutes of Strictly Come Dancing or Great British Bake Off.  None of these are things I would choose to watch voluntarily.

However, from time to time I need to do something a bit brainless, like sewing or threading beads, and then I like to find something entertaining or interesting to watch or listen to while I work.  This evening I chose the BBC's relatively new series Atlantis, thinking that as the series was several episodes in, I would have a number of hours of entertainment if I liked it. 

I emphatically don't like it.  It reminded me very, very strongly of Merlin, and I didn't need the Guardian's tv critic to tell me that the same fell hand that created the Medi-Dark ages-renaissance Hell that was the Merlin tosh, had been at the ancient world this time.

The world, it seems to me, is divided into those creators/writers/artists who care about authenticity, getting their period right, and making sure that if they ransack history or myth for a bit of an idea, they try very, very hard to make the period details right.  That's not what this is.

The second group feel free to raid anything that might be slightly relevant and shoe-horn it into the story, no matter how mangled it may become.  Thus, the Arthurian court of Merlin had all sorts of anachronisms, like tomatoes and glass windows, because this was a magic world in which there were dragons and spells, and in a world like that all effort at realism, trying to give a sense of period and place the story in time, is a waste.  According to the creators.

I have been at virtual brainstorming meetings that follow the same lines.  A general theme of ancienty, with some Greek myths thrown in?  Let's have Atlantis!  And Pythagoras!  Mix it up!  No one knows - no one cares!  And make Hercules completely different!  And two headed dragons?  Everyone loves dragons, they're the kittens of the magical mythical world!

Thing is, the dialogue and the plot  - like that of Merlin - is at Janet and John level.  No six year old who has met his or her targets for reading would have a problem with the script.  They have blockbuster music, and think that some spooky sounding crescendoes will substitute for real tension in script or plot.  They wander through the storyline with no feeling for pace or characterization. I hate the misuse of the phrase "Dumbing Us Down" because what John Taylor Gatto wrote about was the dumbing down effect of having to stretch to interest yourself in something that you weren't interested in, and how much it affects your intellect when you aren't allowed even to think your own thoughts or do your own thing.

He didn't use the phrase in the way it is always used, to indicate that things have been simplified so much that they are understanding to stupid people.  But this is what this is.  It's dross of the lowest order.  It insults the general public and assumes that they will lap it up because it looks ok and has dragons in it.

I love the BBC and would stand on the barricades to defend my beloved radio stations.  But our licence money has funded this drivel.  And I, for one, want my money back.  I have been fooled twice into thinking that a series from these idiots must be worthwhile because of the presence of brilliant actors like John Hurt, Richard Wilson and now Juliet Stevenson.  But, boy, I hope they were paid a lot of money to put their names to it.  Because their presence is no indication of quality.  It hums... it's really, really terrible.  It's had money thrown at it, but it cannot be redeemed by money - it needs good scriptwriters, people who care about placing their work in space and time, and less disneyfication.

I cannot believe that some broadsheet newspapers gave it a good review.  Or that the BBC commissioned it. 


Friday, November 01, 2013

Plus size Clothing Find

Grizas - beautiful crinkle tunic
I've been feeling increasingly depressed about the clothing options open to me via Evans locally, the only Plus Size shop in Uxbridge. They seem to have a picture of their customer as trendy twenty-something - something I find hard to believe, what with the ageing demographic in this country, and the fact that people's waistlines tend to increase with age.

Their clothes are often made in man-made fibres, young styles, with short sleeves or sleevless, and I find that many of their tops and skirts are too short. While I don't want to look as though I have fallen out of "Little House on the Prairie" or the 19th century, on the other hand I find I care about fashion less and less, and things that suit me and my size more and more. I don't want to wear stuff that clings to every bump and lump on my body. I don't want to wear polyester. And I certainly don't want sleeveless dresses and tops. Especially not in summer, when one is forced to wear a cardigan or cover up.

It's been a revelation to discover Grizas, a European company which produces clothing for plus size people that I love. My only problem with the clothing is the price: £145 for a top, £179 for a jacket is a lot more than I would usually pay for clothing. But their stuff is *so* beautiful. I am thinking that maybe one beautiful Grizas item every six months is better than half a dozen horrible things I don't like from Evans.

Their website includes the collection for Spring/Summer 2014, and I love the fact that the very first item is something I have tried to nag Evans into supply for a few years - a long dress, in natural fabric, with SLEEVES. It really shouldn't be that difficult to do this. Perhaps I can get them interested in making woolly tights next....

Grizas - Spring Summer 2014 collection