Tuesday 29 November 2011

Lighting up time

The wood burner has received one or two compliments of late, and without wanting to make him (I'm sure he's male!) big headed I've decided to let him have his own center page spread!
Sometimes he does a bit of modelling.  I'm not very good at drawing him - I can't say it's because he doesn't sit still!
In Christmas 2008 as we moved into the house worn out and completely exhausted he doubled as a Christmas tree. He wasn't  plumbed in then (see, no chimney) We used him as place for putting things and hanging decorations on
I painted round him in 2009
and later that year we put a wood floor down and promised he wouldn't have to wait too much longer before he could be a real fire and not just a table or a cupboard or a Christmas tree.
In December 2009 we fitted his chimney
 and laid a hearth for him to stand on
The first time we lit him he showed off rather and within half an hour we had to open all the doors and windows downstairs as it was so hot - we've since learnt not to feed him too much  in one go - a little and often seems to work best.
The house is heated with an air to air exchange heat pump. We have no central heating, so no oil or gas prices to contend with. When we were building the house we stuffed it with insulation
and encased it in a large plastic membrane. I remember how horrible it was to do, feeling itchy and scratchy for weeks afterwards
But it paid off. The wood burner does a brilliant job. He's clean and efficient (I wish all males were the same!)  When the lights go out, which they sometimes do living here on the lochside, he keeps us warm and very cosy, we've even boiled the kettle on him. The house is well insulated and combined with the heat pump we need only light him when it gets very cold. He just burns wood, though you can get multi fuel stoves too. He comes from a company in Denmark called Varde. Niels went over to Denmark to buy him in 2007 and brought him back to England in his van where he was put in storage (the fire, not Niels) while we built the house.
Those days seem a long way away now. And I've forgotten how tough it was at times, but it has been one hundred percent worth it and bit by bit we are getting on with the rest of the house - I think (Niels are you reading this?)

Friday 25 November 2011

A random sort of day

The recipe says to take two medium seized eggs, the hens along the lane do their best to comply, but they're not too sure about size regulations!
It was a windy stormy old night last night
but a drop of sun arrived for breakfast
and later a drop of snow
and later it was time to light the fire and think about hibernating!
It's been a bit of a random sort of day, here are some pictures to go with it.

Sunday 20 November 2011

The Roof Garden

When I was a little girl my granny used to take me to The Derry & Toms Roof Garden in Kensington High street in London where we lived. It was, and probably still is, a magical place. A garden growing on the roof of a large London department store. I remember being intrigued by trees growing seemingly out of nothing and wondering where their roots went. A Woodland Garden with a running brook, and a Spanish Garden with a pink tower and archways all sitting 100 feet above Kensington High Street. It was another world up in the air and I loved it.
Well, we don't have that, but we do have our own roof garden (sort of)  up on the hill  at the back of where we live. The lifts were out of order the day we went so we took the stairs! You can just see the roof of our house poking out through the trees on the right
Going up
Once up on top the landscape levels out, as one would expect from a roof garden and an enormous vista opens up showing the 'Highland Loch Roof Garden'
The air sea rescue helicopter flew overhead as we walked towards the loch, we tried to look casual and not give the impression we needed lifting off the roof  - especially as it had taken us a while to get up there!
The Highland Loch Garden doesn't have archways and walkways or even palm trees and sadly is without a tea pavilion, but as the sun starts to sink below the horizon it lays on a light show which is worth struggling up onto the roof to see.
We walked round the edge of the loch admiring the sculptured water features
and out over the loch towards the impressive backdrop of An Teallach powerful and dominant as ever in the setting sun. We waited....
and then the light show began.
 what had been mundane and colourless lit up in glowing yellows and golds, russets and reds
With the sun so low in the sky at this time of year our little bit of hillside where we live is in shadow by lunchtime, but up here on the roof the sun pours its heart out and the grasses and lichens soak it up gently swaying in the breeze - it's like a sea of gold.
Even if the lifts are out of order it's still worth coming up here to the sun drenched Highland Loch Roof Garden.

Saturday 19 November 2011


The light has been quite simply sublime
This is a terrible botch job on two photos I attempted to merge together, both with different exposures, both taken at slightly different angles,without a tripod and the result is a mess! Photoshop is brilliant but can only be expected to cope with so much!  But I've left it in just to show you the amazing view from the window a couple of mornings ago while we were having breakfast. You'll have to forgive the wonky windows with edges that aren't straight and house plants with black leaves - I'll get it right next time!
I'm after more shades of 'off white.' This time to paint stools and table legs, appropriately enough I've chosen Skylight, the shade on the far left. I'm also after a piece of split slate, but that's another story - however, if anyone has a grey piece of welsh slate knocking about they no longer want I'd love to hear from them!
It has been so beautiful this past week. Such intense light. You can see that the sun stays low in the sky now. The nights are pulling in, but with such clear skies the stars and the moon have been brighter than bright in a dark immense sparkling sky. 

Sunday 13 November 2011

Building the garage

The garage is filling up - but not with car. The car can only look on longingly at what might have been!
The bikes, kindling for the fire and the freezer move in. Shelves, tools, paint, garden furniture and much more to follow
We had lots of help from kind neighbours in erecting the garage 

and a young son (with the support of lovely Anna) provided light
We still have the groundwork to do around the house. We still need to paint the garage and  tile the roof so it's in keeping with the house. But I love it and I can't tell you what an enormous huge difference it makes having another area  to store things. I keep going out to stand and stare at all the space, even though I know it will only be a matter of weeks before we need more! 

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