Sunday, 28 February 2016

An update...

After giving it a lot of thought I decided to remove the clay thatch.   I just didn't think I had done a very good job, and nor was there anyway I could rescue it.    I've decided to use the thatch that is designed for dolls houses.   The first job was to remove the clay,   it wasn't too bad,  of course there were some stubborn bits!  But it did come off, and then it was all sanded down, and given a coat of PVA. 

I ordered the thatch from Hobby's,  here it is what it looks like.  I think you'll agree it is fairly realistic.  So now I just need my order to arrive and I can get going.

 I'm hoping that the roof will look like this by the end.  At least that is the plan, luckily Hobby's also has some instructions on its website, and if that fails then there is always Youtube. 

Since I couldn't work on the cottages I turned my attention back to the terraced houses.  I had found the 'missing' bits!   But first I removed the pebble dash, I felt that wasn't working very well and used the render technique.  The pebbledash came off very easily.  I masked off the brickwork and applied the render, then left it to dry overnight.  

Today I gave it a first coat of paint, then tidied up the windows and door frames.  Next  I added the pavement using the paperclay.   I much prefer the paperclay to the airdry clay, the former is much easier to work with.   So tomorrow I'll tidy up all the paintwork, and the brick work, add the doors and finish off the roof. 

I've had a quiet week,  it was somewhat forced on me after the stress of the mental health assessment caught up with me in the form of a really bad stomach ache.   It lasted for 3 days, so I couldn't do much other than just take things easy.  A friend popped round and offered to clear out the junk in the cloakroom.  She took everything out, and I mean everything!   Between us we divided things up into three piles, what could stay, what was for charity,  and what needed to go.  Oops, sorry a fourth pile: things to be sold.   The charity stuff and stuff that was destined for the recycling centre, went into bags, the rest returned to the cloakroom.  But boy does it look much better, and once the stuff for sale goes there will even be some space in there.     We also had a 'day out' of sorts,  we took the stuff to the recycling centre, then enjoyed some lunch at the garden centre  - my treat, a reward for my friend's hard work.  I couldn't have cleared out the cloakroom alone,  these days I need help with stuff like that.   The stuff for the charity shops has also gone.   I'd forgotten that I'd had a clear out, thanks to my sister and her husband, after mum died, so there isn't a lot of junk in the flat.  

This week I'll be making enquiries about the downstairs flat.  Neighbours have been offering to help, so I am feeling a little less daunted.   I've also got blood tests and an ecg this week,  this is so they can change my meds for my depression.    And there is also the not so small matter of my niece's baby, who appears very reluctant to make his debut.  He was due about three days ago,  he'll probably come tomorrow, 29th Feb, just to be different. 

 Well I think I'm all caught up,  have a lovely week and thanks for stopping by. 

Monday, 22 February 2016

A change of plan

Well the 'thatch' had a lick of paint,   this was the first coat, and trust me in real life it wasn't that lurid.  But having had a very long think about it, I don't like it, and I'm not just talking about the colour.   I looked around for the thatch material,  and I'm sure it would look better with that.   I've only put on a thin layer of clay, aside from the bits over the windows, and the roof is fairly heavy.   I also think I could work better with the thatch.  I checked out the how to videos,  some have used faux fur,  so I may have to experiment. 

Yesterday was a fairly stressful day,  I had my mental health assessment  - yep, on a Sunday!     It was at the new mental  health facility,  which has been built on the site of an old hospital, one I used to visit regularly in my ambulance days. 

The assessment lasted for just over an hour.    I discovered I had clinical depression,  and that I've been on the wrong medication.   I need to have a few blood tests and an ecg before I can go on to the new medication.  Coupled with that there is to be some therapy.   I did tell them abotu my first two unhappy experiences of counselling and was told that I should never have had counselling so soon after mum's death.   I felt angry about that,  I had known that the counselling wasn't working but the counsellor insisted that I continue.   I was worried that if I stopped that they'd not see me again if I needed further counselling.   I'm all for the talking therapies, but they can't just be dished out like sweets, and nor should there ever be a 'one size fits all' policy. 
I was shattered when I came home,  I'd been stressed for a few days so of course, the stress came out today.   I woke up feeling rotten this morning,  my whole body was aching,  that's what can happen if you bottle up stress.    So, needless to say, I've had a very quiet day.     I've read some stuff on clinical depression,  I had most of the symptoms and had never realised how bad my depression was.   Well you don't,  you just keep going.   And I'd still be in a stew were it not for the new doctor,  it was he who realised that I needed to be properly assessed.     Anyway I will have to be weaned off my current meds, and then start the new ones, and of course then wait to see if they work.  

I also have to make enquiries about the ground floor flat.  I saw my neighbour on Saturday, his son brought him back to the flat to pick up some clothes.   It was good to see him again, and to say a proper goodbye, although the residential home he's gone to is about ten minutes away.  He looked a lot better,  and I'm sure that having company will do him the world of good.    I'm finding just the thought of moving daunting,  although if it all works out then at least I am only going downstairs! 

Right, that's all for tonight.  Tomorrow I need to source some thatch material,  may try the faux fur method first.   Going to have an early night.   Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Getting down and dirty... playing with clay!

A close up of the large cottage,  trying to show the weathering I've been doing.   It is still not really showing up on the photo in spite of me fiddling with the camera.   I'd also spent a lot of time, smudging and dribbling on watery paint...  

The photo has reminded me that the front door is still lacking a handle and a letter box.  I meant to put them on the other day.  Got a brain like a sieve,  no, make that a colander.   More scary is that in a couple of weeks I will be saying goodbye to my 50s...

A thatched roof,  well no, rather the beginnings of it it,  right now it is just a very thin layer of air dried clay.   I have to shape round the windows, so I came up with my own method,  building up the shape then layering on a very thin sheet of clay.   This pretty much took me all afternoon,  lots of shaping, water,  clay tools... it felt like I was back in pottery class at school.    I had lovely bright 'orange' hands at the end. 

Just a slightly different angle.   I have finished the rear section of the roof, but then forgot to take a pic of it.   I did the rear section yesterday, but after I'd let it dry I realised I'd need to severely sand it back to get rid of the lumps and bumps.   Having done that I then had to put on a new thin sheet of the clay, then stipple it to create the 'thatch' effect.  Which is why I'm doing the same for the front section of the roof,   using two layers of clay rather than one.  This is my first attempt,  and I'm sure the next one will be better.  It still has to be painted,  not sure what colour yet, there are a few suggestions in the book.   This photo does show up the pavement rather nicely.   There is just a tiny bit of touching up to do. 

My appointment with the mental health team on Sunday has been preying on my mind.   I've just been chatting to a friend on skype, she's been reassuring me that I'm doing the right thing.   To be fair she's told me for the last couple of years that I need some expert help.    I kept on asking my GP, but never got very far, other than being offered some bog standard counselling, which I'd tried.   It was the new GP that referred me, it was a relief,   I finally felt as if I was being taken seriously.   But, naturally,  according to my mate, I feel worried, and I am, and nervous.   I keep wanting Sunday to come and at the same time, to push it away - crazy, huh?  

What is definitely crazy is our weather,  it is still cold but now we've got horrible grey clouds, and they are not helping my mood.   It has been drizzling all day,  not really the type of weather that invites you to go out.   Not that I felt like it today,   I hunkered down and ignored Harvey's miaows, he wished to go out, funny how his mind changes when the heating comes on!   After seriously bothering me for about twenty minutes he became aware that the heating was on....   so he sloped off to his radiator bed!   Cheeky monkey.   

Well more work on the roof tomorrow,   that is the roof on the two very small cottages,  and some painting.   So may be back tomorrow night, if not then it will be Sunday.  Until then,  stay safe, and stay warm.   Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Making good progress...

A wall,  and I'm reminded of the song by Pink Floyd: Just another brick in the wall.   This is the side wall of the small cottage, now painted, and now in need of some serious distressing.   I'm using the same brick mask as the one I used on Cemetery Cottage.  I achieved the colour with a mix of terracotta and brandy cream,  just kept on dabbing on each and then mixing them up on the 'wall'.  

I'm very happy that I got the brick masks,  they've saved me a lot of time, and the end results have been excellent.  I'm not even sure I would have achieved a similar result if I'd tried to create a brick wall using filler and a scribing tool.    I will have to invest in a few more of the brick masks,  I'm very interested in the quions and arches, they'd bring some nice finishing touches.

So from a wall to a fireplace,  ah, but the fireplace now has a shelf!   I made one from a small ice lolly stick,  just cut the ends off, a dab of paint and it was done.   You can buy whole packs of mini ice lolly sticks in good hobby/model stores, so no need to pile on the calories!  

At the end of play on Tuesday this is how far I'd got with the cottages.   I'd painted both,  fitted the windows to the large cottage, and finally attached the pavement to the front.   Then I had to leave it to dry overnight.  

So to Wednesday.  And after a very sluggish start to the day, not helped by the rain and grey skies.  I fitted the windows and door to the small cottage,  oh and the door for the large cottage.  Then I rolled out some paperclay and made myself a pavement using the pavement mold.  

I also gave the roof a coat of PVA on both sides to get it ready for its thatched roof.   While that was all drying I read the chapter on how to create a thatched roof over a nice cuppa. 

No pics of today's work.  I have however managed to 'thatch' the rear section of the roof.   I shall explain how tomorrow. 

Today was quite a change from the rain from yesterday,  largely blue sky and sunshine,  but a bit colder.  I had another sluggish start,  just did not want to leave my nice warm bed!    Once I was up I couldn't find Harvey,  then I opened the curtains in the living room, and there he was, sat on the radiator shelf, sunning himself.   I got a loud miaow,  for that read:  I need breakfast!   After filling his tum he went out for his morning walk, then returned to bug me for the next hour or so.   I am no good in the mornings, I had hoped Harvey would have realised this by now, but nope, he is full of beans and I am at the opposite end of the scale.  I just don't DO mornings!   

All for tonight,  back tomorrow with more pics of the thatched roof and painted pavement.  Night all.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Church farm cottages progress report

I've got lots of progress to report on.  I've managed to do all the render and the brickwork.  Today I put the final coat of paint on the frontage, and fit the windows, and the window ledges.  Just the front door to go on now, oh and the porch.  

It's all been very stop and start the last couple of days as things had to dry before I could move on to the next stage.  But it was definitely worth my patience, plus I watched the rugby. 

From the outside to the inside of the large cottage.  I'm thinking of putting a frame round the door,  just to tidy up the edges.   I really need to have a go at making curtains,  it would add a nice finishing touch.    I was thinking that some wide ribbon would do for the curtains, and use a cut down cocktail stick for the curtain rod. 

 Stick with the theme of the large cottage,  here is the main room with the completed fireplace.   I used some grey paint for the brick work, then smudged on some black soot (from the TH range of distress ink pads).   I then glued some black card to the back of the fireplace, and then blacked the inside of the arch. 

I have begun to think outside the box, I used some white card for the ceiling.  Then it occurred to me that I could use an embossing folder, one with a very small pattern, to give the illusion of a fancy ceiling.  Just need to find the right folder. 

This shows the whole of the large cottage.  The upstairs could be divided.   Something to consider if I choose to put any furniture in it.  I did something similar with Teacup Cottage, so I know how.   Why isn't it divided?  Well because the kit is in the basic range, so it is a little cheaper.  But it doesn't cost much to make your own walls, or buy the door kits.   However the houses are not set in the current year, but rather back in the late fifties, so things would have been much different.  

Last pic, this is of the rear wall and shows the brick wall of the small cottage.  I've just started to paint the bricks,  just mixing up different paints and using my stipple brush.  This is terracotta, mixed with some brandy cream.  On the other side is the rendered wall,  it needs one more coat of warm cream, and then I can start smudging it!  

Tomorrow I need to glue the front of the cottages to the pavement and let it set.  And also read up on how to make the thatched roof. 

It looks like this cold stuff is in for the week, and while I'd much rather have this than the wind and rain, it isn't helping the Raynauds.  Even with thermal socks my feet are like blocks of ice, tonight I had to warm up my tootsies in a bowl of warm water.    I can't stay out for long either,  most of my body is okay, but my wonky knee, hands and feet, plus lower back do not like such cold conditions.  The car is clean, I took it through the car wash, well the windows were filthy and with the bright sun it was getting hard to see. I do find it useful to see where I am going!  

As for Harvey, he's not keen on this cold snap,  he seems to prefer snuggling up on my bed or on his which is next to the radiator.  

Well all for now,  back soon with a cottage update. 

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Introducing: Church Farm Cottages

My first blog on Church Farm Cottages.    I've had a busy few days working on it, doing lots of prep work and figuring out what was what.  

The first task was to give the whole thing a coat of diluted PVA glue, this would act as my primer and stop paint and other glue from simply soaking into the MDF.  Next it was to draw a dividing line between the large and smaller cottages as both have different frontages.   Then I needed to have a quick look at Bea Broadwood's Exterior Finishes book to see how to recreate the render.   Then at last the fun could begin!    I decided to tackle the brickwork on the smaller cottage front first.  I've pretty much got the hang of the mask and paste,  I'd got half done and, disaster struck - I ran out of masking tape, so I had to stop work for the day.

 The next day I continued work having restocked on a few supplies.   I finished the brick work and set it aside to dry.   In the afternoon I was able to mask off the brickwork and make a start on the render.   I had been mixing the sand and paint, but the book told me to apply a layer of PVA glue and sprinkle on the sand, so that is what I did.  That was also set aside to dry thoroughly.  I then thought about the inside of the house, would I paint it again or use some wallpaper?

So I had a look for printable wallpaper and found some at   I made my selection and printed off a couple of sheets.  Here is the result.  This is the small cottage, doesn't it look pretty?   I also printed the flooring.  And you can spot the fireplace, not yet finished or secured into place.  I've still got to put in a skirting board.  

The other cottage is larger, so I decided that the occupants would have 'grander' wallpaper.  I made a slight mistake with my measuring, so I printed off a border to cover it up.  Again the fireplace is just to give an idea of the room will look like once finished.  I think the wallpaper makes a huge difference to the look of the cottage.  The web site also has other free printables such as rugs, signs and lots of other things.    They do stuff in 1:12,  1:24 and 1:48, plus links to other useful sites.

 Today it was time to glue the carcass together, hence the masking tape.  This is a picture of the small cottage,  just two rooms,  I can, and may, add a few outbuildings such as the toilet and wash house.   The upper floor has floorboards,  yep, putting all my new found skills to good use. 

That's all I could do, aside from give the window frames their first coat of paint.  Tomorrow I will continue with the brickwork on the rear wall, and the render.   Then with that drying I will be able to paint the front of the house, and wallpaper the inside of the frontage.  When I think back to the first house I made I realise how far I've come, and how much I've learnt.    I think the trickiest part of this project is going to be the thatched roof,  I have a choice of using the technique given in the book, or buying some thatch.  Not sure which to go for. 

I also had some sad news this week, my neighbour, who lives in the groundfloor flat has to go into residential care.  He's not been well for sometime,  though for a long time he seemed to bounce back after each illness, but not this time.   His medication is causing making him confused, plus because he is unable to get out as he used to do, he's becoming lonely.    However it has given me an opportunity to move into a one bed flat, and also stay in the area.  So wish me luck!   I can't see any problems with me applying to move,  they are eager to let folk go to one bedroomed flats.   It will make life much easier for me,  I do find the stair difficult at times.  Like today,  my back has been giving me hell, and has affected my left foot, it feels like I am walking on a red hot poker.  The painkillers only take the edge off the pain, as do the anti-inflammatories as I can only take a low dosage of them.  The weather is also now playing  a large part in what I can and can't do.   Today it was freezing,  I don't mind cold, frosty days, rather that than the wind and rain, but because of the Raynaud's I can't stay out in the cold too long.   I've got some thermal gloves, which help, but think I need some thermal socks!   However the cold also affects my back and my wonky knee.   I think we just crept above freezing today.   I stayed put,   the sun kept the flat warm, and also Harvey.  I think he'll enjoy living on the ground floor, it will mean he can use the window to go out, and also use the communal garden at the rear of the flats.  None of us actually use it,  this is because we all have to go out of our flats, take a short walk and go through the gate.  Frankly no-one can be bothered,  they really should have put a door in the ground floor flats so that the garden could be used.  Poor planning. 

I've not been good in other ways,  life seems to be a battle at times, that is why I'm eager to stay in familiar surroundings,  I'm not sure I could cope with a whole new place to live.   I've done my fair share of moving over the years,  once with my parents, then the army,  then I came home, after that I headed to London for a while,  came close to living down in Gloucester but decided to stay in Liverpool.   When I was in the ambulance service I came very close to actually buying my own place, and if I tell you I would have been living in the Albert Dock, think you'd be shocked!   Back then the Albert Dock apartments were very cheap,  I'd moved onto to full time emergency work in the ambulance service, and had just begun my training as a paramedic.   So I decided to save up and get my own place,  two years later my world was turned upside down,  my dad died after a long illness, and I was facing a medical discharge from the ambulance service.   Just shows how quickly life can change.   I guess had I not hurt my back then my life would have taken a different course. 

Well I think I've bored you all enough for tonight.  Harvey has decided against heading out for the night,  seems he wants to keep warm.   Stay warm.  

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Just another brick in the wall

A wall, a brick wall,  love to say that I made it but,  nope it is plastic.  But it looks the part,  or will do once it has been painted and weathered.  The kit arrived on Tuesday,  got enough to make a longish wall,  end bricks etc.   I am all for making life easier for myself,  and there is no way I could make something this good out of paperclay.   There are also other kits to make a broken wall, and also an archway.    I need to get the correct glue,  sadly Hobbycraft had sold out, so I made do with another contact glue. 

An ariel view of the lodge, now with two hedges,  number three is now drying and waiting to be glued into place.   The brick wall will go on the right hand side of the lodge.  You can also see where I've stripped away the landscaping.  The new kit arrived today, and it will fit nicely on the board.  I will need to increase the size of the road, but that isn't a problem.

Here is the latest project:  Church Farm Cottages. It arrived today,   we had a very late post.  I'd given up hope of getting any post, then at just after 3pm the postie came.   Too late to make a start, other than to check off the pieces, then do my own labelling.    Tomorrow it will get a coat of diluted PVA glue,  it will act as a primer and make painting much easier.   Oh and the glueing,  if it hasn't been primed then the glue just soaks into the MDF, at least that's been my experience, the PVA primer stops that. 

And hopefully it should eventually look something like this!  This is the made up kit,  all the work has been done by Bea Broadwood, she is such a talented lady. 

I need to read up on how to construct the thatched roof.   The brickwork will also present some challenges.    Each kit seems to stretch me a little more, which is nice.

It's been a good and bad day.   The good was the weather, blue sky, sunshine, very little wind.   The bad, I am still having difficulty in getting to sleep, so I am waking up feeling wrecked.   I had some plans for this morning,  I had hoped to get down to what we call the 'erosion',  it is part of our wonderful beach,  but I had hoped to manage to get there and at least enjoy some of the lovely weather.  Then I began, well dithering,  which led to me feeling irrationally anxious and in the end I decided against going to the beach.    I did make it to Hobbycraft, just,  it took a lot of effort,  I focused on what I needed, but it was a battle.     Harvey was also in fusspot mode, but he seems to now realise that I won't tolerate it,  so he eventually knuckled down and gobbled up his food.   I saw a news report on how scientists now believe that domesticated animals understand human emotion, of course they bloody do!   Why do so many humans assume that our furry and feathered friends are stupid?   They often show more intelligence than the human race. 

Also some bad news on my neighbour, it looks like he may not be coming home.  He's now very frail, and lonely,  plus he's getting confused with his medication so they think it best that he go into residential care.    I spoke to his son and suggested that sheltered accommodation could be an option,  at least there he'd get care, and company.   There aren't many of the original neighbours left now,  thought fortunately we''ve been blessed with good replacements over the years, well mostly.    We have got a rum one at the moment, he's not too much of a nuisance thankfully,  but he's not very, er, clean. 

Well best close for the night, still have my diary entry to do.   Plenty to do tomorrow.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Will it ever stop raining?

Oh for goodness sake, what is with this weather?   Enough!   Harvey keeps looking at me as if it is my fault he can't go out.  I think he managed five minutes this morning before giving up.    I've not managed even a minute!   It was definitely a 'hunker' down day,  especially after last week's experience when I nearly got blown over.  So it was a spot of dusting,  and then I set to destroying the landscaping...  !   Before tucking into a delicious cauliflour cheese.

Yes, I did say I have destroyed the landscaping for the lodge, only some of it.  Why you may ask? Well,  I have chosen my next little house, well cottage, make that two cottages.   They're called Church Cottages, so I thought I'd put them with the Lodge, but on the opposite side of the road.   So I'm removing the graveyard,  that will give me enough space to put the two little cottages.      The paperclay is actually coming off quite easily,   just got a little more to do. 

The hedge is coming along nicely.  I found a tube of the collal 3D glue, which has no smell, so I tried that with the foliage and it worked.  It made life so much easier, and slightly less messier.  So two pieces are now in place,   a third piece is almost ready to be glued into place, and I just need to cut the piece of wood for the small hedge.   I added a few more flowers to the 'lilac',  and still debating what other flowers to put round the lodge. 

The cottages will be a challenge as they have a thatched roof, so that is going to be interesting, plus although the cottage are joined, they both have a different finish.  

Oh I've not mentioned that it is Chinese New Year,  and 2016 is the year of the Fire Monkey, which is me!    And that's all for today,  stay safe and warm. 

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Feeling fenced in

Did I say that the weather had become milder, well scrap that cos it is cold!    But the rugby six nations warmed me up, plus the Irish play tomorrow,  I have a foot in both camps. 

Today it was back to more landscaping, and weathering of headstones.   Oh and making hedges.  The hedges do take time as you can only glue on one layer of foliage at a time, it must dry thoroughly before you can move on.  I've just about finished the first hedge, it just as a few tiny gaps that need filling. 

And... spot the picket fence!   Yes, at last I have some of it in situ.  I really should have sunk it in to the paperclay when I laid it down for the grassy areas.   I didn't so I had to roll out a very thin strip to lie alongside the lawn, then the fence got push into it.  It will be painted to make it blend in with the grass and road.  There'll be a hedge running down the side of the annexe, and more fencing along the front.  To guard the graveyard will be a brick wall.  I'm also planning to add a few trees as well, and more flowers around the house. 

This is a tree in progress.  I'm slowly building it up, both on top and underneath.  It will eventually reside on the other side of the house.  This pic gives a nice view of the hedge as well. 

Today has been a lazy day,  it started with a lie in. Harvey did try to wake me up around 7.30 a.m.,  but I told him to push off.    So I snoozed on till just after 9 a.m.,  then I decided I really needed a nice cup of tea,  sadly Harvey still hasn't mastered the art of tea making!   The rain of course was bucketing down,  it didn't stop Harvey in his attempts to go out for his morning walk.   In the meantime I enjoyed my tea and woke my brain up with the cryptic crossword.   Saturday is crossword day,  I indulge in a second paper so I can give my brain a good work out with the various crosswords.    I just needed some essentials from the supermarket, like loo rolls, cat litter, cat food and milk, then I treated myself to a chicken chow mein ready meal, well who wants to cook at the weekend?   I would have cooked my own chow mein had I remembered to take out some chicken from the freezer, but I hadn't and it was what I fancied.   Harvey is also trying a new selection of food,  so far so good, not that it will last, but so far he has surprised me, he tucked into some beef without any fuss and he's never done that before. I have tried to vary his diet but he is such a fussy sod that it is hard to know what he will actually eat.  When he first came to me he preferred the fishy foods,  then gradually he's moved to the meaty dishes.  The only fish he'll eat now is tuna,  and he's not keen on fresh fish.  

I've got a hottie keeping my toes warm at the moment,  trying to keep the heating to a minimum.  Not sure why but I suddenly seem to be really feeling the cold.  So I'm wearing a few extra layers, and nice thick socks.   I had a lovely hot shower this morning,  soooo nice to have a fully functioning shower.    Now it is diary time.  

Enjoy your Sunday.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Weathering the storms...

Okay,  I've had enough of the rain and the wind, so can we have some different weather?  Yesterday it was freezing, windy and chucking it down, today the only difference is that it is a little warmer.  Either way I decided to stay put. 

I've definitely acquired the decluttering bug.  Today it was two of the kitchen drawers...  in one were a load of batteries, plus various chargers.   After figuring out which chargers need to be kept, and which batteries were dead,  out they went,  light bulbs went into light bulb box.  Knick knack drawer also had a sort out,  now I can actually see what is in them!   On Wednesday I washed all the ornaments in the sideboard cupboard.   Now I've quit smoking everything is much cleaner, and yes, it smells fresher.    The kitchen is now decluttered,  next up it is the craft storage....  :-( 

So after the declutter I settled down for some work on the lodge.  All the gravestones I want to use are now painted and weathered.  The path also got the weathering treatment, see the first pic.  It had a couple of coats of paint, then I sprinkled on some sand,  then to finish off I put more of the clumpy grass down both edges.   I also cut a piece of balsa wood, painted it green and have begun to create a hedge, you can just see it in the background.    I cut down some small flowers that were spare and stuck them into the corner by the porch

In amongst the gravestone set were some tiny crosses,  so I glued one onto the lodge.   I still need to put the fencing in place, and make the rest of the hedge.   And I need to decide what my next project is going to be.    There is far too much choice on the PP website    and also I think the possibility of a new house!   Mind you I have a big birthday coming up,  which is a bit scary.  I've not really enjoyed my birthday these last two years,  I've rather preferred to have them slip by.  Not sure how I feel about this biggie,  I liked being 30, didn't mind 40 or 50, but...  just not sure.    Today my appointment with the mental health team came through,  unusually it is on a Sunday.   I had to read the date twice,  and I'll have to check the A-Z to see where it is.   Still not heard when my date with Dracula, sorry, the haemotologist, will be.  The fatigue continues,  if I rest I get lulled into a false sense of security and think I'm on the mend, I only have to go out to be proved wrong.    This week I found the wind so strong it was difficult to stay upright,  I began to feel like a frail old lady.  Then from nowhere I began to feel anxious about falling over,  I was near were I had my bad fall a few years ago.  The anxiety is now affecting my sleep, or rather my trying to get to sleep.  It isn't helped by all these scare stories on cuts,  I can't tell you how much I hate this damned government, they are a bunch of liars.   Best step off my soap box!

And here he is, the pain in my life.  Yes he look so innocent here,   in fact he'd just turned his nose up at a bowl of food. Nothing unusual in that,  that is what he does.  I'm sure there is something wrong with his nose!   No I am not kidding.  Today for example,  I put some nice, fresh food down, he takes a quick sniff and wanders off...   I wait, pick up bowl and take it to him, another sniff and, he starts eating!   He does that a lot,   and I have tried putting his food bowl in a different place.   I don't think he ever had a regular meal time,  all my other cats did.  He did get into a fight last week, well I think he was ambushed as he's been wary about going out since.  I found a few scratches on him, none are serious, and all are healing well.   He did acquire a new toy the other day, the pull cord from the broken shower switch!  I have no need of buying this cat expensive toys, he is very good at choosing his own from around the flat.  His favourites are the rubber feet from one of his old, plastic feeding bowls, oh and a piece of rubber he found outside somewhere.   What he doesn't like are balls,  he is just not interested in chasing a ball.    He's now returned from staring at the rain,  he is as fed up with this weather as I am. 

Well I need a cup of tea and to write my diary entry.  More over the weekend.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Paving the way!

I think it is safe to come out now.  We've had a few very stormy days,  on Monday I came close to being blown over,  got caught in Storm Henry (who decides on the names?).   Poor Harvey has been stuck in, it was amusing to see him attempting to go out, he'd poke his nose out of the door, the wind would blow and he'd shoot back inside.   He did find my hot water bottle, or the warm spot above it on the duvet.  I have been busy on the Lodge, making progress albeit slowly.

I wasn't happy with the gravel path so I scraped it off.   Using the paper clay I made a proper path both outside the porch, and through the graveyard.  I've now got the hang of the pavement mould,  so they look pretty good.  The Lodge is complete,  it has had plenty of weathering with the black soot, which I sponged on. 

The grassy bits are all done,  now I need to finish off the flower beds around the lodge.   I've managed to locate all of the flower soft bits and bobs, so I hope to make a few flowers. 

I've also begun work on the gravestones,  it is exceptionally messy work.  I've just popped a few into place to give an idea of what it will eventually look like.   The fence and walls have to be added, oh and of course the Lych gate. 

Yesterday was spent in the bathroom, no, not pampering myself!   I had to replace the shower switch.    I got one in B&Q,  I'd written down exactly what I needed in case I couldn't find it. Now usually there are plenty of staff in the store, but not yesterday,  luckily after a bit of a search I found the switch. 

It wasn't straight forward as the wires had to be stripped back, and they are heavy duty wires.  I seem to have acquired a lot of patience as I managed not to get frustrated.  I just took my time, rested when I needed to, and engaged brain to come up with the best plan of how to tackle it.   Stripping the wires was the worst bit, made a little easier cos at some stage in the past I had actually bought a proper wire stripper.  Once that was done it was easy, put wires in right places and secure to back plate, switch electric back on and cross fingers...  yes, a working shower!    It is much easier for me to shower than to have a bath, plus having a water meter means I'm conscious of how much water I use.  Do I separate my coloureds from my whites, do I heck, they all get bunged in together.  I put my bedding and towels in together on a hot wash, and the shortest wash.  Let's face it our clothes don't get as dirty these days.  I remember having to use a twin tub,  mum thought it was wonderful, which it was, but it was still a lot of faffing.  And yes, I did use a mangle,  well mum did mostly, but me and my sister would help her with the washing.   Mum would also go to the launderette,  the place would be packed, and it was a gossip shop.  We had a massive laundry room in the army barracks,  we could get our sheets sent off to be laundered, but most of us hated how stiff they were when we got them back.  So we put up washing lines,  as long as they stayed out of sight it was okay, and there was no washing out on inspection day!    I was lucky to have my own bunk (room), that meant I could have a few luxuries, TV,  ironing board, iron,  even a little grill, plus kettle, of course!    And why, you ask, would an ironing board and iron be a luxury?  Cos it saved time,  and you could guarantee a clean iron with which to iron your white shirts, and uniform.  As a staff car driver I had to be immaculately turned out every day, and often had very early starts and would frequently finish very late if my boss, the Brigadier, had to attend a function.   Now I hate ironing!  

It was a relief to be able to fix the shower switch, I thought I might have to pay for an electrician.  That was to be my last resort.   I looked at the switch and to me it was like a large plug, so as long as I got the wires in the right order all would be fine.   Fortunately for me, my mum taught me how to wire a plug, and I'm so glad she did.   I am relieved that if the lights go out that I don't have to physically replace the fuse, but just reset the trip switch.  

I'm glad that Storm Henry has finally passed through,  oh for some calm, dry and sunny days!    Well that is all for tonight...   thanks for stopping by.