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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 04:51pm on 25/09/2010 under ,
We've finally got other people doing big jobs at the house. The scaffolders arrived on Monday -- two days late -- to put the scaffolding up. This is after they phoned me on the Saturday to say that they didn't think they could do it after all because the road was so narrow, despite having seen the road when they first agreed to take the job on. We spent the rest of the weekend feeling really depressed about potentially delaying everything by a few weeks while we waited for permission to close the road, only to find on Monday morning that they were halfway through putting it up! All the wasted tears. Oh well.

I can no longer hide that I'm pregnant:

Words and pictures under the cut. )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 04:07pm on 19/09/2010 under ,
We've kind of fixed the entire first floor now. It's not plastered, and it hasn't been re-wired, and the floors are still horrible saggy chipboard, but other than that it's basically habitable.

Pictures under the cut! WARNING: HUGE POST. )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 09:13pm on 26/08/2010 under
Sorry about the long gap in updates. Still pregnant. Still living in a hovel. Still tired all the time. But we now have two rooms (pictures forthcoming in another post, once I've photographed it in its lime-washed glory) to live in, so the bedroom has reverted to being just a bedroom and the other bedroom has turned into a sitting-room/dining-room/DVD-watching room.

Aaaahhhh. The bliss of slumping on a chair and watching a film or naff TV show at the end of the day. I haven't been able to do that for 6 months and I've really missed it.

If you're wondering how Matt and I look these days, then wonder no more! See under the cut for exciting up-to-date photos! )

I think that adequately sums up what we've both been up to. Matt has been super (really, he's impressing everyone this year with his hard work, amazing handyman skills, and rising self-confidence) and I've been busy growing.

Twelve weeks to go...
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 09:31pm on 28/07/2010 under , , ,
1. Matt passed his driving test on Monday! First time! YAY! I am so proud and so delighted and so excited for him. I remember the way my life changed when I suddenly had independence and could go wherever I liked (very important when you live in a rural place with a rubbish bus service like my rock) without having to ask for a lift. Oh joy. It's going to change his life.

2. Baby is kicking like crazy, every four hours. Not sure what this means, but I'm hoping it's an indication she'll be easy to settle into a routine once she's out in the open air. Also, I suppose it means she's going to be one of those wriggly, active babies who don't like being held, ie. nothing like me. Oh well.

3. House continues to be an entertaining train wreck. We tried to get the chimneys swept last week, but the sweep couldn't do it because it turns out that the visible pots on the stack actually belong to our schizophrenic neighbour, and our flues have been capped with concrete paving slabs. I really wish I could go back in time to the 1970s to watch the crazy builders who did so many awful awful things to this house. They must've been easy-going, happy chaps, really.

4. I still have insomnia. Boo hiss.

5. Trying to do a bit of yoga every morning, which is fun and lovely. Matt joins in sometimes.

6. Might be moving into the house this weekend! Eeeeee! We've got a bed and everything (and by "everything" I mean "sofa and chest of drawers"). I shall post photos once the room is set up to my satisfaction.

7. My bump is impossible to ignore now. A photo will be forthcoming once I've stopped freaking out. :D

8. We've thought of names! NAMES! )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 10:35pm on 19/06/2010 under ,
Things have got exciting at the house recently. Well, exciting to me, anyway.

For the first time ever, instead of removing rubbish and horrible stuff and ghastly mistakes from the house and heaving it all to the tip, we are putting good things back onto to the house and beginning the process of making it a beautiful, stable, dry, well-made home once more.

Dad's builder friend came for two days this week and patched up one of the chimney stacks, which means the stairs wall will no longer run with water when it's raining. Hurray! He would've done it sooner but his other job is filming for the Formula 1 racing so it's difficult for him to find enough spare time. Anyway, chimney stack and nearby roof tiles repaired.* And the horribly ugly, rusty radio mast thing that had been bolted to the side of the house has been removed at last.

And we got a nearly new washing machine for free, so that's one more expense I can stop worrying about. HURRAY for Freecycle! I've been watching the list for weeks, hoping that one would come up. When this one did, I emailed within the hour, but it had already gone. For some reason that deal fell through, though, and we were next on the list. Turns out the couple who wanted rid of it had bought one of the houses that we'd looked at last year. So we had a nice time chatting about renovation, and all the awful things that we'd spotted about their house. And then we made them happy by explaining that the house we eventually bought was in fact much worse. FREE WASHING MACHINE!

The structural engineer finally turned up to assess the sagging joist -- after forgetting to visit for a second time. I think he's senile, because after that visit he then forgot to send us the measurements that we asked for (and also because he's old, and he kept weirdly changing subject in the middle of the conversation when he visited the house). When I phoned him to remind him, he started talking about drawing designs for supporting walls and pillars, at which point I asked how much he charged and then died a little inside when he revealed the huge hourly rate. So I'm girding myself to be obnoxious about it next week. All we asked for, on the phone, and in person, were the measurements for a steel beam and for a timber beam. We didn't want designs. We didn't want clever ideas. And our time costs money too, so I'm steeling myself to say something about a discount on his presumably very high bill for the times he kept us waiting.

Matt started on the repointing this week, in the bedroom that had originally been the ugliest room in the house (north facing, with shiny lime green walls, black woodwork, ugly built-in cupboards, and no working electrics).

The above picture shows the fireplace, which has been thoroughly raked out (ie. all the loose mortar between the stones has been scraped out, chipped out, raked out and washed out), and the alcove to the left hand side (which used to be an ugly cupboard). Before re-pointing with lime, you have to totally soak the stonework and mortar joints, which is why it appears darker. You can see a patch of newly re-pointed stonework about two-thirds of the way up the alcove. That was how much Matt had done by Wednesday night.

I joined in yesterday (to the chimney guy's delight), and this is how much we've done now:

It's all done apart from the bottom foot-and-a-bit!

It's going to take longer than I thought to do the whole first floor. After doing a few sums, we realised it would be more cost effective to buy a cement mixer and then sell it on than to continue renting one. So we did. It's shiny and lovely and is going to be a right dirty old mess by the end of the week. But the walls will be pretty, and that's the main thing.

After buying the cement mixer we trudged up a hill with our chicken-keeping friend to steal a lot of little stones from a beautiful old quarry. But I'll write a post about that (with pretty pictures) later this week.


* One slight hitch with the chimney stack repair: a seagull's nest on the other chimney stack. When the builder man climbed out onto the roof on Thursday morning, the seagull mother on the nest did some kind of panic call, and within minutes he was being dive-bombed by twenty seagulls. After some debate (kill them? Wear protective gear? Just leave the work until the chicks have left the nest?) I phoned my chicken-keeping friend and he volunteered to come over with a ranger from the forestry board to kill the chicks and remove the nest. It took only a couple of minutes, and after that everything was calm and lovely on the roof once more. Matt's dad thinks we did a bad thing (this is a man who eats meat for nearly every meal...) but our need was greater than the seagulls', and there are still hundreds of them wheeling in the skies above our village.

And that was the drama for the week.
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 07:47pm on 09/03/2010 under ,
Finally got internet access again! I also remembered to take a picture of the front of the house:

Some detective work (ie. scraping at the wall with a paint scraping thing) revealed that the house used to be yellow, peachy yellow, and just plain peach. Not sure what colour we'd like it to be in the end, but I know it won't be this ugly shade of minty green.

More pictures under the cut. )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 12:04pm on 06/02/2010 under , ,
Okay. We're completing on Thursday 11th February now. That is, if we can get in and see the house before that date, and can get the gas re-connected (we only found out on Thursday night that it was currently disconnected, and it can take 5 working days to sort that out, apparently). I'll be so glad when this process is over. May we never move house ever again.

So, to cheer myself up, here's another completed project:

A couple more pictures under the cut )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 11:38am on 05/09/2009 under , ,
Matt suggested a walk the first Saturday after we got back and, as I was tired and hormonal, I suggested we go for a drive. We compromised by driving to the furthest point from our house that you can get on my rock (ie. to the very northernmost tip of the island) and having a gentle amble. Up there it's all dunes and heather and seabirds and skylarks and sky. Lots of sky.

Many pictures under the cut, including a mysterious stone and a beetle. )



Good news! Matt took one of his big double-canvas prints to a local art gallery on Thursday morning. They phoned up on Friday morning to say that they'd already sold it! He's working on another print now, to be dropped off on Sunday.

*is gleeful*
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 09:30am on 29/08/2009 under , ,

First of all, this isn't going to be a proper "what I did in the order I did it" kind of write-up. I wrote 9500 words in my holiday diary (because the camera kept threatening to die, and I didn't want to forget any of it), and I do not want to write them all over again here on lj. So the following will be a collection of photographs, and a collection of thoughts -- all jumbled up out of chronological order and grouped together according to an arbitrary set of themes that leapt out at me when I was looking at them.

Feel free to skip the text and just look at the pictures! :)

Approximately 30 pictures under the cut, and many more words. )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 01:19pm on 23/08/2009 under
While I'm on the subject of things I love, if you wanted to know why I love Matt so much, the following might give you an idea:

He wanted a photo on slow shutter speed so that his head would be in focus but his eyes and mouth would be a blur (don't ask me why). He totally didn't know I was filming him. :D

(Sorry it's so small. My embed skills are severely limited.)


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