Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, Samhain and All Hallows Eve.

We got everything ready.

The Halloween rag wreath
Gate sign

Our biology skeleton, Mr Bones, gets to drive the car
Remains of our unsuccessful pumpkin patch
Housemate's son

They had fun.  Until next time. x

Thursday, 30 October 2014


I tried really hard to get a pumpkin triffid patch growing in the garden this year so Small could experience first hand the life cycle of a pumpkin.  We'd saved some seed from last year's Halloween pumpkins, and having a vague idea that these things can grow quite large, we planted just two seeds.  They both grew, and between them have pretty much taken over the garden.  Note to self:  Next year, plant them down at the allotment!

While both plants have produced masses of flowers - which apparently last for just one day - and lots of tiny pumpkins, the slugs and snails have had a field day munching all the baby pumpkins.  The one that got the furthest had grown to around the size of a grapefruit, but even that has lost the battle to the slimy devils.  So we had no home grown pumpkin to carve for tomorrow.

After a frantic hunt around as most of the stores seemed to have sold out, we managed to find two small ones and two a bit bigger, which have now been carved ready for the trick-or-treaters.

Until next time. x

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Strange cat

I've had my cat for over 10 years, since he was a little bitty kitty.  He's rather a large cat - not fat, just big, with the loudest purr I've ever heard.  Being long haired only makes him look all the larger.  The usual reaction when people first see him is one of amazement, normally followed by facetious comments such as "That's not a cat, it's an elephant." or something along those lines.

We have a love-hate relationship.  He's never been a lap cat, yet likes to sit next to me.  He's also prone to be vicious, especially when he thinks I'm so much as a second late in feeding him.  I swear that cat can tell the time.  I've lost count of the number of times he's gone for my ankles, wrapping paws and claws around my leg while his teeth sink into my Achilles tendon.  Is it any wonder I've taken to wearing boots on an almost permanent basis?!

And then he does this.  For the first time in ten and a half years, he jumped up and sat on my lap!

I guess you never really know someone, even when that someone is a cat.

Until next time.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The log store

As promised, a photo of the "new" log store.  Made from 7 pallets (free), with two on the bottom, two at the sides with one in the middle for support, and two across the top.  The screws were sort-of free, as they were left from the cupboard/shelf build in the lounge.  The only outlay was some board and roof felt to make a waterproof roof, so all in all it cost about £40.  The whole thing was painted with some timber paint I already had, which I use for the fences.

Not bad for £40, considering I'd seen something similar, made from pallet boards, that was about a quarter of the size and was retailing at £160.  That one was advertised as being able to hold the equivalent of a one cubic meter bag of logs.  THIS one holds the equivalent of five bags.

It might not be anything terribly fancy, but it does the job.

Until next time. x

Monday, 27 October 2014

Another day of construction

Following on from getting the wood burner installed, I've been hunting around for a reasonably priced supply of logs that'll see us through the winter.  All the advice says hardwood is better than soft, so when I found a guy on eBay that was prepared to deliver a tipper truck-load of hardwood logs for a very good price, I practically bit his hand off.

Imminent delivery of logs = slight problem.  I needed somewhere to put them, in the form of a breathable log store.

Fortunately, I've had a stack of pallets hanging around in the back yard for a while now.  They were originally destined for some more fencing down at the allotment, but needs must and all that.  So now, 7 pallets have been turned into a log store.  It did cost a little bit of money to buy some sheeting and roofing felt to put a waterproof roof on it, but I consider that money well spent for what we've ended up with.

Barrowing who knows how many loads of logs from the front of the house to the back, while housemate stacked them into the log store isn't my idea of fun at the best of times, less still in the dark.  It was one of those rarest of rare occasions when I was grateful for the very bright street light that sits just outside the back gate.  At least I could see what I was doing!

It was, however, too dark to take photos and besides, I was far too tired to hunt for the camera.  Photos tomorrow, weather permitting, as I do recall rain is forecast for Tuesday.

Until next time. x

Sunday, 26 October 2014

In the corner

I have a small confession to make.  I didn't post the photos of the finished wood burner as soon as it was done, and it was actually installed a few weeks ago.  If you've read the post about the fire, you'll perhaps have noticed in the photo a messy gap to the left of the fireplace as you look at it.  Well, that's gone, and I've been so busy getting rid of the ghastly gap I decided to wait until both parts were finished before posting.

The corner  did have a horrid low "wall" of stone with a piece of wood on top, and has always been a rather useless area so this was ripped out when the fire was installed.  Now it has a lovely cupboard, a proper place for the telly, some shelves for more books, and an out of the way place for Small's computer desk.  It also finally matches the cupboards and shelves that are on the other side.

Until next time. x

Friday, 24 October 2014

Nine years of waiting

When I bought my house, it had a somewhat grotty but functional gas fire  in the living room which sat in front of the back boiler which ran (and I use the term 'ran' loosely here) the radiators.  About nine years ago, the gas fire was condemned because part of it had cracked, so I had it disconnected and a combi boiler put in upstairs to run the radiators and give instant hot water.

And there the grotty and dysfunctional gas fire has remained ever since.  Nothing more than an ornament to hide the even more grotty remains of the back boiler.  Until now!

After nine or so years of putting up with it sitting there, and saving up pennies to have a wood burner put in, my goal has been achieved.

Gone is the grotty fire and grottier back boiler, and a lot of dust and soot later ...

I have one of these :)  Cosy winter ahead!

Until next time. x