Monday, 22 December 2008


I'm a little bit worried about lamb chop. She spends most days sitting out in the garden chewing.
Maybe she's enjoying the view? Perhaps she imagines she's found herself a nice grassy patch to sit on? She sits and waits for the odd crust of bread/mince pie to come her way. She's started limping quite badly and I don't think it's just the sympathy vote she's after. All her friends have different colour markings on them and seem to belong somewhere. Lamb chop seems to be on her own with no stamp of ownership on her rump. She started limping last week and her knee/knuckle joint looks swollen on her right leg. I keep hoping it will get better and am trying to give her healthy things to eat. Niels says we should buy some hay. I have thought about inviting her in, but I think in the end I'll have to let a farmer know and I don't think they'll treat it and I would hate to be responsible for her end. She smells of a wet woolly jumper straight out of the washing machine and she always comes trotting/limping up when she sees the car arrive. She would have been brilliant in a nativity play. I've looked in the pet selection in Tesco's but they don't do anything for sheep. She's started eating the bird seed I put out. It takes her ages but she's very persistent. I can't see it can be very filling though.
On a cheerful note we now have a bedroom! No curtains, carpets, knick knacks or other such niceities but it's a start and wonderful to have our own bed back after nearly two years!
The plumber is coming tomorrow - yes, he really is! He turns up when he says, which takes a bit of getting used to! The kitchen sink will be finished tomorrow. The shower room is finished. We have a loo! The bathroom is half finished. The dishwasher door on order. My washing machine works. Hughie is coming back tomorrow to put in the down lights. My microwave oven is being delivered tomorrow. The children arrive this evening. Then I need to put the house in order, it is a total, total mess, with loads of things still in boxes and furniture still to be built (sometimes Ikea isn't such a good idea!) There's no room to put anything and I wonder why after two years we kept so much rubbish!
Then all I've left to do is the christmas present shopping, food shopping, get a tree, and find the decorations!! No, I'm not joking!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Horray for Hughie!

I forgot to mention a most important point! When we came back from Manchester on Sunday (14th Dec.) our electrician Hughie had finished the second fix on the electricity and hooked us up to the mains. We may not have water yet but life is slowly becoming normal again. Niels is able to rustle up tasty little suppers (or is that my job?!) We have an induction hob which is brilliant.It's almost impossible to keep up with the speed it boils stuff, it seems even quicker than gas - is that possible?
Seriously, electricity is a huge step nearer to completion on the house. When we turned on the heat exchange system it worked! No one was more surprised than us. It simply heats air coming into the house by air going out. The house is so well insulated that even lighting produces heat.
All the weeks taping up and sealing holes made in the plastic membrane seemed to have paid off. We will save enormous amounts on oil and other forms of heating

This has to happen!

A week ago, maybe less, on the 12th Dec. we turned our empty truck around and headed back to Manchester. We celebrated Robin's 30th Birthday feeling very old, jigging about to tunes we didn't quite recognise but nevertheless feeling very grateful to have been included and to meet some of his friends.A comment on the blog from a friend saying they were looking forward to seeing rooms with furniture. We can, and will do better than this, but for the time being this is what we look at each morning, wondering how we can fit it all in, where it can go, and do we really want it?
I'm on count down. This will never be organised in time for Christmas
Our children arrive on the 22nd. Our friends to celebrate the New year arrive on the 29th. The plumber is coming tomorrow! I'm desperate, but reasonably confident, (I think) that we will have plumbing by then. I do hope so. I've had crossed legs, and everything else for so long now. This just has to fall into place next week - otherwise I'm giving up!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

A Bunch of Packers

The most wonderful thing about friends, is that they show up when you most need it and lend a
hand and do the things you otherwise would have struggled to get done on time. They made a huge difference to getting the truck packed efficiently and in some sort of order. Thank you chaps and chapess, we just couldn't have done it without you.

A week ago we drove to Manchester and picked up an enormous lorry. It was 7.50 tons but seemed at least twice the size. And even bigger as we drove it to London and negotiated narrow side streets in an effort to find some friends we had invited ourselves to stay with in Kingston. Friday evening, driving in the dark, uncertain of the length and width of the vehicle, turning round in peoples driveways, clipping wing mirrors, hitting lamp posts, while negotiating a divorce settlement and wondering whose crazy idea it was to even contemplate attempting to move ourselves in a large truck is not something to be recommended and I don't want to do it again!
On Monday morning after recovering with said friends and several bottles of wine and good food we drove in slightly dented lorry to the out skirts of Guildford in Surrey and started the packing!
We had coffee and mince pies thoughtfully provided by Pauline
And after just over three hours we stuffed the truck with all our worldly goods
It crossed my mind that the end result looked similar to the stuff you take to the tip and I wondered why we had it in storage for the last two years!
On Tuesday we started the long slow drive back to Scotland, stopping overnight in Lancaster. The lorry had a speed restrictor on it which while good for our furniture made driving tedious and slow.
Today we had more help in unpacking the lorry and getting all the furniture and boxes in to the house. No pictures I'm afraid I was just to tired to even go and hunt out the camera. Tomorrow we drive the lorry back down to Manchester to celebrate Robin's birthday. Our son will be thirty tomorrow!
And guess what - still no electricity or water. We have officially moved in to the house. The electrician says he's coming tomorrow and the plumber (the new plumber) came yesterday and says he'll be back. But hey....what's electricity and water when I've got my red shoes back, all my saucepans, drawing books and rotary clothes line!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Snow and ice

This is all well and good, and very pretty, but, tomorrow we are driving to Manchester and the weather forecast is not very good
More snow on the way I think. Maybe it could go away and come back next week instead?

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Feeling frazzled

I haven't blogged for weeks. I think it's a combination of feeling exhausted and never finding the time to get out to the caravan - the blogging centre!
Last week we hired this van and drove to Edinburgh through snow, ice blizzards and fog.
We stayed here, in our own apartment just off the Royal Mile in the city centre; booked through lastminute. com and highly recommended. You get your own flat which is just like home (though not like our home because ours isn't finished) with a washing machine and probably ironing board if I'd hunted around more - a perfect weekend break!

Our first day in the big city we went to Ikea and produced three trolly loads of 'stuff'

On the second, we sat out side John Lewis waiting for them to open, and in the afternoon in our shopping frenzy returned to Ikea
and studied wardrobes
and thought about wardrobe doors we would really like if our house was taller and wider
and kept thinking about them even though we knew they were out of the question
We managed to produce three more trolly loads of 'stuff' and items in cardboard boxes with names we didn't recognise. Niels thought the bed side tables were names of danish towns. If you have ever shopped in Ikea you will know that the receipt bears very little resemblence to anything you have bought!
when it came to packing, we wished we hadn't bought with such enthusiasm
but finally as it was beginning to get dark the huge pile of unfamiliar anonymous boxes, mats, bags and trays transferred from the pavement to the van in regimental order, followed by our selves for the long drive back to Letters through snow, ice blizzards and fog.
Just before our Ikea trip, Helen came to stay. She did a time line with us. I think this involves listing all the things you need to do, cutting them out, and putting them in order of priority. It soon became apparent that the line was longer than the time we have. We have lots of little pieces of paper with tasks written on them, relating to the number of jobs that still need to be done in order to complete the house. Some of the tasks are part completed which means I'm not supposed to discard the bits of paper until they're finished. I've gone round with the vacuum cleaner once or twice and may just have 'tidied up' a little in an attempt to feel more in control!
Helen was brilliant, and did loads to help. She spent a lot of time on her hands and knees tiling the floor and kitchen walls.
On a sad note we have lost our plumber. We really hacked him off regarding a late large bill we couldn't pay. When the funds finally became available and we cleared the invoice he decided he'd had enough. I shall miss him, he was great at what he did, and generous with his time and help. I'm sorry he shan't be completing the work.
We now have a new plumber who has been to see what needs to be done to give us a loo, a dishwasher, a shower and all the essential watery requirements.
Ollie has been back up and fitted more sockets and plugs. He and the electrician have been working together.
On Thursday we shall be driving down to Manchester to pick up a hire truck, then on to Guildford in Surrey to pick up some of the furniture we have in store. We'll then drive back to Scotland, off load our furniture and return to Manchester with the van where we'll spend the weekend of the 13th Dec. celebrating Robin's 30th birthday.
The house still looks like building site, but now needs to be made cosy and comfortable for christmas with family and friends coming to stay. It won't be completed by then but I think it will be ok - if we just have a loo!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Moving forward, slowly.

Crikey! The under floor heating seems to be working already!
Bryan is tiling the bathroom. He must be the most meticulous tiler on the planet. He's very thorough, and I would defy anybody to spot a misplaced dollop of adhesive or grouting. The tiles are lined up in regimental order.
The addition of tiles seem to make the bath room look bigger - it has an uncluttered look and yes, that's right, you've noticed it too, the absence of a loo and sink.
But there is a bath, and we can fill it with a bucket from the outside tap, and heat it up a bit with water from the kettle! Only we can't and we don't as it isn't quite connected yet.
We drove to Inverness and collected the doors on the trailer. Dodo is putting in door frames and hinges and handles - and doors, hopefully!
I don't want any future guest to panic, but this is the guest room! I've plastered and sanded down and today I'm painting. The thing I've noticed about rooms, is that they appear quite small until you come to paint the ceiling and then they seem to take on proportions of aircraft hangers in size! Yesterday the electrician came round and they are starting next week with the final fix, which means light switches and light bulbs and heating and the stuff that normal houses have.
I sent a photo of the damaged oven to Ikea as requested. I'm waiting for a response. Maybe they're just lost for words.
We really need and want to move in to the house now. It's so nearly there but electricity and water would make it so much easier

Monday, 10 November 2008

Stac Pollaidh

Robin (our oldest son) arrived from Manchester for a week of hard labour and toil, but on Friday (following the discovery of the damaged oven) we let him have a break and he and I climbed Stac Pollaidh. Pronounced Stac Polly, it's a sort of rocky ridge that rises up and stands on its own just to the north of Ullapool. It looks very eroded and weather worn. A serrated rocky ridge.
The weather looked promising, and there were new boots to be worn in.

In recent years they have put in a foot path, at least as far as the north side where the ascent begins. This is a popular mountain as it's a relatively easy climb and being near the road doesn't take enormous long trek to reach.
The views it gives are awesome. In the distance Suilven, with Loch Sionascaig

This old boy has plenty to say! I wonder what changes (if any) he has seen.
And another old boy. It was very windy on top
but the view went all around and it was well worth making the effort. We sheltered from the wind and ate sausage rolls and chocolate.
And decided not to go up here. The traverse of the summit ridge is a rocky scramble and we didn't want to get blown off the top, besides we had to get back so Robin could finish insulating the loft!

The walk back down again was easy, if somewhat tough on the knees and driving home we caught the sun as it was just beginning to set.
Robin flew back to Manchester this morning on the 7am flight. He made the journey to the airport on time, despite gales and driving sleet, and rain. It was great to have his help and his company. As always I miss the kids when they go back after a visit. It's great that they come up and actually seem to enjoy it. They like what we're doing and enjoy sharing it with us, money and time permitting

Thursday, 6 November 2008


This is the broken microwave oven that we unpacked today...
And this is where it should go, above the ordinary oven that isn't broken..!
I've spoken to IKEA (I speak to them most days) and the nice young man at the other end of the phone said to hold on a moment while he entered my order number on the computer. Then he was very quiet for a long time as we have a large case history that he had to look at. And I explained that we weren't trying to be difficult but that a lot of kitchen items appeared to have been broken in the journey from Edinburgh to our house, only to be discovered bit by bit as we unpack and try to fit them. To cheer him up and to show him I wasn't an awkward customer I told him the fridge freezer looked very nice and so did the sink, now it had been replaced with one that wasn't broken, and that the new replaced induction hob had also arrived, in one piece.
He's going to get an adviser to phone me tomorrow!
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