Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Bramble cottage update & more

Hello everyone!

Back after the Christmas break, but still off work.  The days are flying by and I have loads to do, but I need to learn and chill out sometimes.  Blogger are playing silly buggers and have done something to my blog, so the layout for me typing is all weird.  Apologies if this looks funny - we will see when I click 'publish'!  

Christmas was lovely. Time spent with my family, including a 5 and 9 year old, who were so excited!  Didn't have to worry about being off as my part time week started on the 25th December and I had a couple of leave days thrown in before for good measure.  I know I have Christmas off for the next 5 years now!!  

A friend popped over before Christmas with a present for me.  I unwrapped it, thinking it was an eco sex toy!  *don't look at me like that*  It is a pastry case maker! 

Start by putting your dough balls in the tin - 

Use said tool to smush the dough balls -
 et viola! Perfect cases for mince pies!!  A clever little thing, made of wood so double points from me! I do like wood.

I needed to go to the local garage and get my levels checked.  I wasn't quite sure what that meant, so just asked for a 'levels check' when I walked in.  He said "You've just moved down the Lane haven't you"?  It seems everyone knows everything around here.  "Pop back home and have a cuppa, come back in a hour".  So off I went.  Returned later to be told my oil was fine, antifreeze and washers topped up and everything in order. "No charge" he said.  I decided to bake some extra mince pies and gave the guys a couple of boxes, with some bottles of festive Stella Artois to wash them down with!

Onto the Bramble cottage update!

The kitchen is nearly done.  Just some tiling, new lights and painting and it should be finished.  Not quite sure when the tiling will be done as I haven't found tiles I like yet and funds are low due to Christmas splurging......but, the worktops are in and curtains made! 

That wall might be part tiled to prevent splashes from the hob, but haven't decided yet.  The wall will be painted 'box tree green' I think.

What do you mean I have a jar problem?
(the sad thing is, that is only a fraction of the jars I have).

...and the lovely solid chunk of oak is now fitted above Stanley the Rayburn!

I was very lucky this year!  Father Christmas brought me lots of lovely things, but more importantly, things I needed!  Take this rather smart 27" LED television for example!  Fits perfectly next to the fireplace and is simple enough for even me to use! 
Just the ugly 'black ash' shelving to burn, erm, replace and then the lounge is done! 

My little tree is still looking good on the coffee table.

The wind has picked up today and it is cold.  Will light the fire in a bit - have noticed the log pile dwindling rapidly, funny that.  

Now, the Bramble Cottage girls! 

Their run is up and erm, running!!  They moved in a few weeks ago and seem happy enough....

The mezzanine level that they weren't too sure about at first, but now are up and down the ladder all day! 

At vast expense, the fuse box was replaced with a proper RCD thingy-ma-bob, so I could finally get an outside plug!  The blue disc heats up slightly, to prevent the drinkers freezing in the winter.  The bricks are from my ugly storage heater in the lounge, so will hopefully keep both drinkers frost free!  

The girls are enjoying their run.  I am so pleased with it.  With a tub trug and rubber glove, I poo pick a couple of times a week and it is so easy to keep clean.  Looking out of my bedroom window today, I saw a fox in the paddock next door to my lane.  It was massive!  Pleased that the girls are safe, but there will not be any free ranging if I am not there.  

I now have the dilemma of what to do with the rest of the garden?....The cement mixer is not a permanent feature by the way....although there will be a log store against the fence behind it.  

I can probably get a couple of large raised beds in there, then put gravel in between.  You can't see it, but the oil tank for Stanley is on the left, with a huge wooden support for a clematis that I want to remove.  I will plant another one, but this is gigantic and hasn't been chopped back in years.  The wooden support is about 1/2 metre away from the boundary fence, so that wastes space.  I do need a productive veggie garden.  It is something that I couldn't live without.  Me pottering in the garden, hands covered in compost, whilst talking to the hens is something that makes me, me!  

Talking of things I would like, I have been in discussion with Mum & Dad about getting a dog.  I grew up with dogs and I would dearly love one, but work makes that tricky.  Mum & Dad haven't had a dog for a few years and would like another one, but they go away to their house in Germany every so often......the solution?  A DOG SHARE!!  *squeals with excitement* 

Dad isn't too keen, but will come round to the idea!  I have been looking at rescue centres locally, trying to find a one year old scruffy mutt for a few weeks.  I have researched insurance, costs, food etc and I can afford it.  The plan is to have the dog here when I am home and drop him/her off on my way to work where s/he will stay when I am away.  I will pick her/him up again on my way home....Seeing as I only work 14 days or so a month - many of those are very short days, it will work out well.  A friend dogs shares and the dogs soon get used to staying in two different homes.  

I am erring towards a Parsons Terrier - slightly taller than a Jack Russell terrier - I love their cute little faces & scrappy nature.  Look at that face! 

I mean, who could resist??

I am not rushing into anything (unlike normal)!   I have seriously thought about it for months and wanted to have a dog for years.  This is the only way I can do it.  I have spoken to Jase and he is happy to help out if I need it.  Friends down the road have also offered to help and one of my new neighbours have a new puppy which I have said I could look after if they are stuck.  I am sure they would return the favour!  Plus I had a couple attend a chicken course who run a pet companions service, just a couple of miles away if I ever need them.  The problem now is finding the right dog.  It can't be a puppy, as much as I would love one!  At least 9 months - 1 year old would be best.   

I watched The Edible Garden with Alys Fowler last year - she had a scruffy terrier called Isabelle, that would sit in her bike basket whilst she cycled to her allotment.  Jase has visions on me doing the same!!  It seems that most people in the village know me now, and know I have hens, so might as well live up to my slightly skewed reputation! Who cares?  I'm just me.  I could burst I am so excited about getting a dog.  

Ok, so this was supposed to be a mini update, but I have waffled on.  How unusual.  At least I haven't ranted this evening! 

If I don't speak to you before New Year, then I hope you all have a lovely time.  I plan to stay in with the fire, enough M&S snack goodies to feed a small family and watch dvd's! Bliss.  

I will leave you this evening with a picture of how my (little) *cough* fabric stash will look one day!

C x x x


  1. Christian - you are so mean!!!!! I have been toying for years about getting a small dog - the scruffier the better - but convinced myself it just would not work out / fit in with my life atm..... The second picture of the little dog just has "mine" written all over it - it's gorgeous! You have me thinking all over again if it could work - when I had already convinced myself it wouldn't! off to have a mutter to myself now.....

    The cottage is looking lovely - told you you would get there! and in such a short time as well!

    Here's to a wonderful new year! xxx


  2. Just stopping by to say lovely blogpost ana a happy new year. Coffee ana a catch up soon? Xxx


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