27 August 2019

A Big Canvas

Nemesia - a bit fussy but has a delicious vanilla scent

It is early afternoon and we have retreated indoors to escape the heat of the day.  It was very pleasant sitting outside for lunch.  Rick had his magic mat to keep him cool (Kat bought it for him during the last heatwave) and we had cold beer to keep ourselves cool.  The air was filled with vanilla scent wafting from the Nemesia flowers fighting with tones of manure; the farmers are muck spreading today.

Rick on his cool mat

This morning Paul and I went into Lincoln to buy a couple of canvasses for my next art project.  The bare walls of the kitchen need a splash of colour.  I wanted the biggest canvas in the shop. Paul persuaded me to buy something a bit smaller that would actually fit in the car.  I think I might have bitten off more than I can chew.

a sensible size of canvas that fits my easel
my choice of canvas!

25 August 2019

My New Kitchen

A few more pictures of my new kitchen.  I promise you this will be the last of them!

A reminder of what is was like before work started...

And now...


I just need some colourful artwork now to hang on the walls.

23 August 2019

My Perfect Day

The builders have left.  They were a great bunch of guys but it is so nice to have my home back.  I can finally relax.

The kitchen is ready apart from a few finishing touches.  I am chuffed to pieces with it.  The building inspector came today and couldn’t keep his hands off the oak island worktop.  “Lovely - needs another coat of oil” he said.  


The weather is perfect today.  Warm, sunny, light breeze, no bugs.   We had lunch outside on the terrace – salad, chilled rose wine, cafe jazz;  I could have stayed there all day.  Rick had other ideas, he needed his afternoon walk.  We sauntered round the village and didn’t meet a single soul.  I think they were all having an afternoon siesta.  A very sleepy village today.

20 August 2019

A Year Ago

A lorry has just reversed into our driveway to take away the skip that has been parked outside for the last two weeks.  Will, the electrician, is fitting the lights and electrical sockets in the kitchen.  “Do you want cool white, daylight or a warm white setting for your downlighters?”
Hmm, so many decisions to make.  I opt for the warm white as it’s probably more flattering to my skin tone when I’m standing beneath them.

It’s hard to believe that a year ago the estate agent rang to arrange a viewing of our house in France.  An offer made and accepted and within four weeks we were driving back to the UK with a trailer load of boxes containing our most prized possessions, ready to explore a completely new destination.

Rick's travelling crate for his trip back to the UK
loading the trailer

We have been living in this quiet Lincolnshire village for almost a year now and we enjoy living here.  We have missed the French sunshine and our beautiful old home; this summer’s weather has been disappointing but it is England after all.  The greenhouse is full of ripe tomatoes and Paul’s vegetable patch has produced really well.

My new kitchen is almost complete and has transformed this tired bungalow into a modern, contemporary home.  A lot has happened in a year.  No regrets.

16 August 2019

Quiz Night

Taking a break from kitchen renovations Paul and I went to Quiz Night at the village hall yesterday evening.  The regular quiz master was unwell so another guy from the village hall committee stood in for him.  It was difficult because he read the questions a tad too quickly and he was also hard to hear.  Two members of our team were away on holiday so it was down to three of us to come up with some half sensible answers.  Did I say sensible?  We misheard the "famous French impressionist painter" and came up with Marcel Marceau. 

The picture round was a disaster.  Name the contestants of a comedy quiz show.  I knew the faces but not the names although I was very pleased that I recognised Gyles Brandreth in drag.  Overall we came a dismal seventh.  Out of nine teams.

We fared better with the raffle, just missing out on a bottle of Lambrini and a giant marrow and winning a slightly more useful item, a reuseable water bottle.

It was an entertaining evening.

12 August 2019

What a difference a day makes...


Looking less like a building site and more like a kitchen.  It will be finished by Friday.

11 August 2019


My hand is tingling.  I've just got back from Rick's afternoon walk; it didn't go well.  I was going to turn right up Middlefield Lane but saw Mrs Mascot pottering around outside her cottage.  I had the remnants of a migraine and really didn't feel like chatting so I carried straight on along Bishop Norton Road.  I thought maybe there wouldn't be too many tractors about on a Sunday.  Wrong!  Tractor after tractor thundered by pulling trailer loads of shallot onions.  Rick went berserk each time we encountered one, spinning me around and behaving very badly.  On the final occasion I put my arm out to balance myself and plunged my hand into a patch of stinging nettles.  The only consolation was a couple of shallots that had bounced off one of the trailers.

Back home Paul is painting the kitchen, hoping to get some of the walls finished before the joiner arrives tomorrow to fit the units.  He has spread old sheets across the new floor to protect it from paint.  These old dust sheets have followed us around from house to house.  I see the first duvet cover I bought for my first ever flat, the pink flowery sheet we bought for our first home together, Sarah's childhood duvet cover with the Lucozade stain, it makes me feel quite nostalgic!

I picked some beans and cucumbers from the garden earlier.  They have gone bonkers.  The wind has knocked loads of apples and plums off the tree, many of them not even ripe.  I shall have to make apple pie when I finally get my new kitchen.

10 August 2019

Build Day 6

Day six and the new floor is down.  The grout is still wet so we can't walk on it until tomorrow.  The joiner is scheduled to be with us on Monday to install the new kitchen units.  It all seems to be progressing incredibly quickly.

tumbled limestone

The stormy weather has kept us indoors and even Rick doesn't like being outside in these extraordinary windy conditions.  We have a row of poplar trees at the side of the garden and they cause the wind to sound like an express train coming through.  It's unsettling, I hope it stops soon.

7 August 2019

Build Day Three

Building work is ahead of schedule.  Yesterday was noisy and dusty with plastering and first fix electrics.  Building Control visited and approved the supporting steel. We think the plastering will be finished tomorrow but then we have to wait, possibly until next week, for the tiler to come and lay the new floor.  The room is still very much a building site but the space looks great.

We are feeding the builders gallons of tea and coffee and our stock of biscuits is rapidly shrinking.  Earlier this morning we walked up to the top of the village with Rick to the shop to buy more and watched as a few Romany caravans and gypsies went by.

5 August 2019

Manic Monday

half the wall gone
There is a faint haze of dust about the place.  I am hiding with Rick in the garden room, trying to escape the banging, crashing and noise of electric tools.  Rick barks every time a workman walks past the window.
Four builders arrived early this morning in their yellow waistcoats and hard hats to start work on the kitchen.  Then the skip lorry arrived, followed by the lorry delivering the steel, and a third lorry to offload a jack.  Add into the mix the two guys who turned up to cut our hedge.  It was pandemonium.

The builders set to work straightaway demolishing the existing kitchen and digging up the floor tiles.  Young Jack looks about twelve years old but he’s probably eighteen.  He looks very slight compared to the big guys and seemed to struggle a bit lifting his end of the heavy steel.

jacking the steel up to ceiling level
inserting the steel

It’s definitely a manic Monday here.  But I don’t care, I’m finally getting my new kitchen!

3 August 2019

Wine is evil

much chomped bay tree

"Did you just say wine is evil?"
"No, vine weevil! I think my bay tree is being eaten by a vine weevil. Mr Google suggests that we examine the plant after dark because that's when they come out to eat."

So, last night, Paul and I crept out in the darkness and shone our torches on the bay tree. (Rick came out too and immediately started barking at the bats that were swooping around the garden.)  Straightaway we spotted a vine weevil in the light beam munching away on a bay leaf.  He was quickly dispatched and we checked the plant for other pests but he seemed to be a solitary diner.   We shall go out again tonight and make further checks.  Even if we don't find any more weevils it's a bit of a giggle creeping around the garden after dark.  I know, we should get out more!

vine weevil

Vine weevils are a real pest for pot grown shrubs.  We probably need to repot the bay tree and check the soil for grubs too.

a prettier and more welcome visitor to the garden

1 August 2019


This morning I made a big batch of pork tagine in my slow cooker.  I shall freeze individual portions and add them to the other ‘ready meals’ that I have been hoarding so that we have plenty of easy meals that can be put in the microwave during the kitchen build.

colour samples on the dining room wall
the wall behind the chairs will be demolished

The builders are due to arrive on Monday so we shall be spending the next three days emptying cupboards and setting up a temporary kitchen in the garden room.  Rick is looking bewildered, he thinks we’re on the move again.
the wall on the right of the kitchen will be removed making the room spacious and light