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January Sales – Plain Barny

January Sales – Plain Barny

I love a bargain (don’t we all?) and I missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday (not by conscious, ethical decision. I was probably busy… or forgot what day of the week it was.)

All the more reason to hit the new year sales hard. But where do you even begin to start when you need ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD for a brand, spanking-new house?

Aha, I thought, I’ll start with a plan! So I did extensive research, making a list (and checking it twice). I trawled through a hundred reviews of integrated appliances, range cookers, tumble driers… (there are three different types of tumble drier. Who knew?) and, somewhat boggle-eyed, I finally achieved my whittled down selection of wise buys.

Damn it, not one of them was on sale.

Strike one.

Undaunted, and re-invigorated by Victorian Plumbing’s dynamic advert, I surfed on over to their site to check out the bath tub and taps I’ve been coveting for months (whilst watching the price and waiting for that special deal). Now VP are promising me A WHACKING 70% OFF! Yipee!

Alas and alack (and rather contrarily in my view) said bath, which has been discounted by 5-10% the entire time I’ve been watching, has returned to full price for the sale. Ditto my shiny, wall mounted taps and shower.

Strike two.

Right, I thought, you’re going about this in an arse upwards manner. What you should do is hunt out the bargains and then buy what you need…

… pink furry boots, jeans and a nightshirt, apparently.

Oh bugger. Strike three.

I may not have been looking in quite the right departments 🙂

p.s. Not much has happened over the Christmas break, but the plasterer made a start…

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Look – a proper room!

Happy new year to you all.

 

 

 

Our Barny Winter

Our Barny Winter

Trenching

A video for my Auntie D who’s asked to see the Thunderbirds trencher in action…

… quite a machine, isn’t it? Although it was at this point that it suffered a setback tussle with the farm’s buried history.

Maybe it tumbled across the brick and flint of an old farm building, or the remains of a WWII runway.

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No matter, it was soon repaired and back in action.

Just-in-time windows, insulation… and snow!

A huge sigh of relief that the windows fitted and, we think, look great.

We’ve got doors AND keys to get in now!

 

So we’re snug and watertight, just ahead of the snow which fell prettily, hiding the mud and rubble of our building site. A perfect photo opportunity.

Time to get indoors

There’s a mountain of rock wool to be squeezed in the walls. Not the nicest of jobs (sorry team). This stuff is ITCHY!

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Insulating sheets to hold that in place…

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… and, finally, plasterboard – we’ve got a room!

 

Those pesky stairs

Caught between eye-watering quotes and rein-it-in compromise, we may, at last, have found a solution to our staircase dilemma…

The Farmer and The Engineer are building them!

I have been warned that they might be more, how can I put it, agricultural than I’d pictured. Maybe we’ll set a new trend in interior design 🙂

Work in progress – watch this space and have yourselves a wonderful Christmas!

 

Barny Update

Just a few pictures this week because it’s been all about the belt and braces stuff; essential, but not thrilling, unless you’re into this sort of thing…

Cutting a trench for electric cable (with Barley big-dog supervising). The builders hum the Thunderbirds theme tune when The Farmer slides back the barn doors: He’s got a weapon for every job.

Upstairs walls. I found 360° mode on my camera and made myself dizzy turning circles so I can’t remember what rooms these are.

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A view down to our vaulted hall (Lords of the barn); a frame to hang my loo from (airs and graces) and mocked-up stairs (could they be made permanent if the budget runs out?)

Sorry, that’s all I’ve got (apart from a mountain of insulation which is currently blocking the tractors in and doesn’t warrant a photograph despite what it cost). I did warn it might not thrill, but hang in there for the next instalment when I hope to bring you (DRUM ROLL & TENSION BUILDING PAUSE…)

THE WINDOWS!!

Plain Barny – It’s a kitchen ‘sulk-off’!

The Farmer and I are at a stand off over our kitchen cupboards. He doesn’t like my suggestions and I doubt I’d like his very much (I can’t be sure of that, I discourage input on his part. His primary role vis-à-vis interior design is to look at my ideas and reject them.)

Healthy debate isn’t unusual for us, and we can resolve the trickiest of dilemmas with a robust ‘sulk-off’. He/she who sulks the hardest wins the day. Although sometimes he wins by default, like when something exciting occurs and I forget I’m sulking in my eagerness to share, or (and this is the worst) when I’ve been busily sulking for days before it dawns on me that he doesn’t actually know we’re having an argument. He’s not a talkative bloke at the best of times, you see, and that one’s a double whammy because by then I’ve used up my sulking reserves ahead of the actual battle.

I guess sulk-stamina is a reasonable strength-of-feeling gauge, and I’m willing to give it my all in a kitchen sulk-off. It will be a sulk to the death… Or it could be if I was certain of what I wanted myself.

It’s all too confusing: Scandi, urban, rustic, industrial… Frankly, there are just too many choices when you spend as much time as I do scrolling green-eyed through pinterest.

I need help.

Below are four choices. One of them is my favourite and has already been rejected by The Farmer [that doesn’t rule it out yet :-)] another is my best guess at his choice (I haven’t actually asked him… that would encourage interference) and the other two are liveable-with compromises.

Do feel free to voice your choice of favourite. In a best case scenario I’ll have extra ammunition for the impending sulk-off ahead: Worst case scenario… it’s possible you may not hear much from me over the next few days.

Metropolitan blue URBANModena Concrete industrialModena Malmo light SCANDIRUSTIC

 

 

Rustic Spooks

Our patch of the countryside has its share of  loitering spirits and ghostly legends. The stories shared by down-to-earth, country folk who are oft inclined to cynicism, which makes their recounting all the more chilling.

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In the neighbouring village where I grew up the spirit of a desolate vicar was known to haunt the church. His only son had perished in an outbreak of cholera which claimed the lives of many villagers. The source of the outbreak was traced to the churchyard well and it was believed that the water had been contaminated by sewerage run off from the vicarage.

In the depths of guilt and despair, the vicar sealed the door to the chancel which he and his son had used. The door remains closed to this day, and only the vicar’s tormented spirit has passed through it since.

Following a spate of sightings in the early eighties (including an incident in which the church warden’s dog greeted and jumped up at an invisible being, resting its paws on apparent thin air) a service was conducted to offer our restless spirit forgiveness and eternal peace.

Control Tower

A more recent ghost is the headless airman who thumbs a lift on the road which passes alongside our farmland. Once a USAAF airfield, legend has it that if you glance in your rear view mirror as you drive across the ‘drome you may see him sitting behind you.

The lady from whom we brought this farm was a sharp, forthright sort with a no-nonsense outlook on life. She had purchased the land and the Tudor farmhouse from the War Ministry when the airfield was decommissioned, and she recounted to me that when viewing the property she had clearly seen the ghost of an American Airman hanging from the farmhouse rafters.

Tudor Farmhouse

Whatever she saw that day must have seriously scared her because she demolished that farmhouse and built a new one further along the lane.

I could go on. It seems every pub in the nearest town has a resident spook… Cromwell’s mistress, a maid known as Nellie Ketteridge… and that’s before you travel on to the mansion house…

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Take care out there people!

 

 

Barny Update – another comparison shot

I missed this one yesterday but it’s too good to leave out (so many pictures to trawl through – the joys and tribulations of trigger happy digital photography).

The before picture in this one was actually taken in 2012 when the barn was in use storing hay for the horses (who had also kept the grass in the paddock trimmed!)

Hmm… we might need a horse or two in that paddock again 🙂

Barny Update – Then and Now

Barny Update – Then and Now

Midway through (our budget at least) I thought I’d share a few ‘then and now’ pics of our barn conversion.

All this has happened in the last six months…

We’ve kept the door on the left (an upcycling project maybe, any suggestions?) and the Sister covets the nifty (temporary) sliding doors for her shed.

The beautiful bricks are insulated now (and waterproof too!)

Almost unrecognisable! The inside has changed a bit too – upstairs…

… and downstairs.

But it’s the outside that knocks me for six every time I walk past it.

I can’t wait to see what the next stage brings.

Barny Update – Interior Design

I’m not getting ahead of myself. This isn’t me adorning my 3D designs with cushions and trinkets (though I might confess to having played that game. Once or twice).

No, the plumbers have to know where to run the pipes (all 400 m of them) for my bath and everything plumbery (including the kitchen sink) before the floors are laid. The electrician will thread cables through our walls ahead of plaster-boarding (I think they call this the ‘first fix’. Get me, learning the jargon.)

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It all feels rather premature, but I need to decide what I’m having and where I’m putting it all. Right now.

What fun! Let’s crank up the 3D designer.

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The 3D design of my bathroom had everything slotted in, but it was quickly pointed out  by the experts that I’d altered the room’s dimensions to suit my intentions. Apparently, that doesn’t really work.

Back to the drawing board.

This is when those quirky features I thought were so cool come back to taunt me. Like the full height vista of rolling fields I’d imagined myself enjoying while I steeped in my bath with a view. What I hadn’t imagined was a garden table below a picture window which beautifully framed my upstairs toilet.

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We played ‘puzzle-my-bathroom’ for several days, me and the builders. We shifted a couple of walls (the builders’ idea, not mine. Bless ’em, they’re learning). They even made plastic templates of basins and bogs and bath tubs in an effort to hasten my decision making. I’d love to show you a photograph of the ‘hallelujah’ templated bathroom but no sooner had I said “That’s it!” than they ripped up the temporary floor to start shoving the pipes in.

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Do it quick! Before she can change her mind!

And so… on to the kitchen.

I’ve found a nifty online kitchen design app…

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… and I’ve cautioned the builders that my initial ideas may not take full account of the room measurements.

Another bloody great window. Sockets to place. A feature wall and feature stairs to accommodate and the wishlist is long. I might need more templates… dishwasher, fridge, cooker, sink, island, larder unit, microwave, spice rack…

Hell. And I thought the bathroom was tricky.

 

 

 

 

Why an allotment?

Are allotments a particularly English/British thing? Or do they exist in cities and towns worldwide?

Lots of Pots

So, how did my allotment learning discovery begin..

Hmm….might have to go back a bit and dredge through my thoughts.

Often I have a dream of escaping the world. Or at least, many of the modern trappings, some of our western ways of living. It occupies a lot of my ‘musing’ time.

Trying to find a balancing solution to life…

There are of course many things I appreciate – light and warmth and protection from the elements are particularly useful!

But houses? Not so much. They take an enormous amount of striving for.

Be it rent or mortgage, there will always be a lot of effort involved to keep a house going.

Electricity and gas and oil. Logs and coal and chimney sweeps. Insurance and telephones and internet. T.V and washing machines, fridges, freezers and cookers. Floors and lighting, wall coverings and furniture, curtains, vacuum cleaners,….ornaments!

Then of course –…

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