Sunday, 27 July 2014

Walking the plank

Ahoy there me hearties. Aside from the kitchen, we're making a few other changes. One which has excitingly given us a plank. We are moving our front door out by 80cm. The tiniest of changes with the greatest of impacts - guests will no longer have to be ushered into the toilet or up the stairs, they'll now have the smallest of turning circles before twirling into the sitting room. Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

My new geek chic specs

I've got new specs. It's all very exciting. I've not had a new pair since I was 25 - ahem. Mr M had been badgering me to get an eye test so off I trotted the other week to discover, annoyingly, that my prescription had changed for the first time in a decade. Fortunately the opticians had one of those useful buy one get one free offers on. Isn't choosing frames a pain? After the first couple of pairs, you start to feel that you look like a madwoman, not that you can really see as they obviously aren't your prescription, so there's a large amount of squinting, and then a not very helpful shop assistant saying that the Dame Edna's look just fabulous. I ended up asking my lovely colleague to help with the shortlist. I dutifully went in last week to pick up my new face furniture and have them adjusted. I love these ones - so easy to wear, although I do keep forgetting that they're not sunglasses (must not stare…people can see) and being plastic they do slip down the nose a la retro librarian. But, they are very apt for the literary tome that I'm currently reading and they do make me feel a little like Jenna Lyons. The other pair have very thick arms which make me feel slightly agoraphobic - I'm sure I'll warm to them over time.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Digging for our kitchen

Week two of the build and the foundations of our kitchen extension have been dug, filled with concrete (with no Pickle footprints) and when I came home this evening - we had the beginnings of a wall.
This whole thing is so darn exciting. Granted it is merely a 2 metre extension of the current kitchen but boy, are you going to love the before and after shots. So far, the boys have installed a drainage system around the back and side of the house (remember the floods in January?), knocked down half of the front wall, and busied themselves with the kitchen itself. We measured out just how big our glass ceiling is going to be this evening - HUGE - and that the blinds are going to have to be in-frame as there will be a cats whisker between the wall cabinets and the edge of the window frame - but that's fine. Haven't a clue about lighting but am sure we'll work something out. The kitchen has been ordered following the CAD designs and we're popping to the shop at the weekend to finalise a few bits and bobs. Just need to sort flooring, tiles, appliances, lighting and carpentry. Miss P is non-plussed. She thoroughly enjoyed her trench - not so much the person size kitchen trench which Mr M insisted on getting in and having a photo taken to mark the occasion, definitely didn't like the concrete truck yesterday, but is rather enjoying hopping over the walls - thankyouverymuch.
And because she is a one for small spaces - where better to hunker down than between the skip, pallets and insulation. This did prove her downfall when eager Dodger passed by. Dodger being a very keen 6 month old terrier cross who is allowed to walk/run/bunny hop along the road without his lead on. He was a little too eager to meet Miss P with excited barking and a small desire to chase. Miss P hardly helped things by lying on the path - such an antagonist.

Monday, 14 July 2014

House leeks

Our house leeks have flowered spectacularly this year - it's a rather alien sight, but they really are magnificent. We have six of these bonkers tiles on top of our workshop and garage. The one that you can see at the top needs a little love - for some reason the middle has died - we think it may have got just a little too wet over winter. Regardless, from being an oddity when we moved in, we've grown to love them.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Our own Jiminy Cricket

Mr M excitedly dashed in saying 'come and have a look at this'. This being a ginormous Jiminy Cricket sunbathing outside our back gate - a good 4 1/2 inches long. The child in me goaded Mr M to poke it with a stick to see how high it would jump. Alas Jiminy wasn't having any of it, which gave me time to grab the camera. My biggest concern was that he was sitting in Miss P's meandering path and frankly, I wasn't enormously keen on the two meeting...

Now - I fondly remember Disney's Jiminy Cricket and hadn't realised that The Tales of Pinocchio were actually written in 1883. Had you? Thank goodness for Wiki. The Mazzanti illustrations aren't quite that of the round faced friendly green cricket that we've come to know and love. 

Fortunately when I went back to check on him an hour later, he'd merrily hopped off. 

Now. There are times, usually when I'm recounting these random tales to my colleagues, when it feels as though I inhabit Gerald Durrell's world. I never know whether it's a case of us truly being surrounded by a fantastic menagerie, or if it's just that others don't notice. We don't live in the heart of the countryside, but we are fortunate enough to back onto the gardens of some larger houses who, in turn, back onto the grounds of some even larger houses. A faraway tree is a plot away and appears to provide a home to owls, magpies, crows, blackbirds, woodpeckers and numerous other critters. Mr M has stumbled across deer on the way back from the gym - neighbours have them trundle through their gardens, and Miss P's tick issue a while ago (her new anti-tick collar is AMAZING!) proved that point. We've not yet come across the grass snakes or adders that apparently enjoy the gardens of the houses opposite us, but we are used to rehoming toads. Miss P and the mousetraps in the garage help with the small rodents that scurry about. And, I must confess that there are times when I want to throttle the machine gun squawking of the parakeets - similar in pitch to the piercing scream of a car alarm. Maybe it is just us, but I wouldn't change it for the world. 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Ooh la la oh...

So. According to the plant label I wrote, goodness knows when, this exciting bloom is called Ooh la la. There was much excitement that, from an entire packet, one had made it. Then I failed miserably on the potting up front, so the poor pup had to cope with living in confinement, wedged in amongst Mr M's tomatoes. Then on Wednesday, Mr M sent me a photo of it finally blooming whilst I was at work. All street cred lost as I showed the photo to my team. And then I googled Ooh la la poppy. This is what you get. This is not what I have. A little confused, but still pleased at the lovely purple tissue paper that graced us with its presence for 48 hours.
In other news, our build is underway. Day two and our front garden is full to the brim with skip, portaloo* and pipes. Our drainage system has been dug, and laid. Miss P hovers somewhere between acceptance and not so keen. She rather enjoyed running along the trench yesterday that was just her height and width, and is enjoying rolling in filth - little monkey. We saw our kitchen design in 3D for the first time today which was so exciting - a little vision in our head, formed after copious amounts of red wine back in March last year - a long time coming but it's going to be such an improvement.

*Not for us. Thank goodness. Can you imagine? 3 months of Glastonbury-style living - dire.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Florentine Fiats

I've always had a soft spot for vintage cars. Old Citroens, little MGs, the Porsche 356, the original Fiat 500. I once dated a guy with an ancient VW Beetle - I could hear the car coming from a mile or so away, the noisiest, most bonkers, attention seeking (I blame the paint job), fun, exhilarating car to zoom around in. And obviously we couldn't go to Florence and not spot old Fiat 500's - they were everywhere. The white one drew quite a crowd.