Poor James left the farmhouse on Thursday as usual and when he came back on Monday morning there was no kitchen, just a dirt floor and most alarmingly no obvious foundations. I have since learnt a lot about old houses and the history of foundations...riveting stuff, don’t sit next to me at a dinner party!
Rufus and I gutted the room, pulled up the floor armed with a crowbar and sledge hammer, then chain sawed it up and put it into tote bags ready to go through the rayburn and yes I did stand back and think “Oops what have I done?” (or words to that effect, substitute ‘oops’).
I then decided that what was the kitchen will be an office, what was the sitting room will be a kitchen and what is the office will be a sitting room/snug/James’ room. It will work. I know it will, it just left everybody else confused, James traumatised and Mark the plumber is about to take out a restraining order and considering blocking me on his phone. I even managed to leave a message to future generations if the house is still standing. Why is it whenever I declare “I’ve got a good idea” everyone groans?
Other than that all the usual stuff at this time of year, haymaking, hauling straw and cursing the weather. Talk about one extreme to the other.
At last the holiday cottage is occupied again by guests. The cleaning is thorough and brutal which takes ages. We keep two Ikea bags (other bags are available) to split the cushions and magazines so that everything has more than 72 hours untouched. We have special industrial washing powder.
Our very last job when spick and span is to back out of the property wiping every high use surface with wipes. Honestly, I cannot do more than that and as we are all in low contact (or in my case bugger all close contact) with the general public it's as safe as reasonably possible.
Can some expert please explain why it is that every emergency involving livestock happens on a weekend? True to form we had an animal blow up, we had to call the vet and get it up and walking about. Luckily it was caught early and was ok.
I was informed by an ‘old hand’ that peppermint is the thing to use which makes sense as it is used to expel gas after operations….best not to light up a fag in the immediate vicinity. I will buy an industrial size vat and if all else fails everyone will have homemade peppermint creams for Christmas (for the next 10 years). Incidentally the ‘old hand’ I found out was two years younger than me which is somewhat depressing.
All of our broken stiles are now mended and easier to climb over/get a dog through. I even managed to get the brambles and undergrowth cut back. Every time I take the dogs for a walk I take the sheers. It's going to be a bumper crop of blackberries this year. We pressed our own apple juice which was delicious but disappeared far too quickly. In fact Preecemore farm witnessed one of the worst cases of ‘defensive eating’ ever. ‘Somebody’ got up at 6.00 am and scoffed the remains of a yummy lasagne thus preventing the rest of the family getting a look in. Does this happen in other households?
Don’t know if anybody else saw the YouTube video of the farmer who discovered the address of someone fly tipping (about 300 tyres) on his land. He loaded them up and returned them to their front garden…..absolutely brilliant!
Hay and straw are in short supply this year. Let's hope this is not the shape of things to come.