Monday, 25 August 2014

Weekend highlights

I've been absent for a while but you know I've been busy continuing to prepare for the move.  We now have a signed contract, we definitely have to go.
Meantime we had my eldest niece, her husband and two little girls, Amelia 4 and Esme not quite 2 here for a long weekend.  It was lovely to have them around, the first time the little ones have been to the house and sadly the last, they had lots of fun in the conservatory, out on the balcony and in the garden, especially the secret lawn.
We spent Friday in Edinburgh at the festival, just like their Mum Amelia and Esme loved the street theatre and were mesmerised by the jugglers, dancers and magicians, though watching a man swallow a sword and then hammer a 6" nail up his nose wasn't my kind of entertainment and it had to be stressed by him and the parents that it wasn't something to try at home.  

We did a park and ride from the edge of town which gave the girls their first ride on a bus and also their first trip on a double decker, it was pronounced excellent and amazing.  
Saturday was our village show and Yorkshire cleaned up with Esme getting a first for her decorated paper plate in the pre-school section and Amelia a second.  Their auntie Jen took a first for a sale of work item, baby socks, and a third for a premature baby cardigan to be donated to charity. Apparently there was some controversy as I'd used a pale beige yarn which the judge said she would never put on a baby, well I never.
Today I'm faced with a lot of laundry and a slight feeling of sadness, that the house suddenly seems so empty and that we won't be sharing it again with the girls.  I'm determined we shall find somewhere as exciting for them to visit and hopefully a lot nearer because I can't wait to see this gorgeous little smile again

When asked what were the best parts of her visit, Amelia's choices were the bus ride and getting to use our bidet, so we need a house with a bidet on a bus route, simple.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Bored now

My regime of popping into a charity shop with a bag of items every time we leave home really isn't making much of a mark.  We've now agreed to leave our house by 24 September, slight panic is setting in.
We want to continue enjoying the house as long as we can so we are not parting with major items yet, plus we have no idea where we are moving to so we don't really know what we shall need or be able to keep.  Every day has become declutter day.
Mr FF has been scanning documents and photographs mainly relating to when we built this house more than 20 years ago.  Yes that will make a big difference to an office with floor to ceiling engineering books but we all have our displacement actitivies and I've been procrastinating by shuffling round my knitting accoutrements.
I have sorted out some yarn for charity 
and put some on ebay, which is selling well.  That only leaves the yarn in the bottom of the airing cupboard, the yarn in the chest in the hall and the yarn in the wicker hamper in the morning room.  I kid myself I am knitting away at this huge stash and it will be gone in a month or so.  Right, even if I did knit it all up I'd still have the same cubic area in finished articles.
I have disposed of some of the many patterns I've printed over the years and never tackled, but I still have a few shelves of books I'd like to keep. Then there is my collection of Rowan magazines, they don't seem to have much value and I may never use the patterns but then they are lovely to have.
This is not easy, its tiresome and boring and in some ways it will be good when we can eventually start seriously stuffing things into boxes.  But how can we book the removal people until we know where we are going.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The veggie thief strikes

We've been back down in Yorkshire for a few days, basically house hunting, so we spent a few days staying with my brother and his wife. On Friday evening I offered to cook dinner and suggested I make something with pasta using up the plentiful supply of veggies in the kitchen garden. My SiL and I collected red onions, carrots, peas, beans from the crop and I also took a couple of round courgettes.  I was busy chopping and mentioned to SiL how delicious they were as I munched on some raw pieces, I'd given them the zucchini tondo seeds I bought in Italy.  
During the meal we were chatting and again I said something about the round courgettes from the Italian seed, my brother asked if I'd taken a small marrow by mistake, no I said definitely courgettes.  He then told me he hadn't grown any courgettes round or any other shape.  I explained where in the plot I'd found them and he then told me that they were my great niece Amelia's embryo pumpkins for halloween.
We left yesterday, apparently there were only 5 pumpkins so someone needs to explain to a 4 year old that her evil great aunt has eaten half of her 31 October display, it isn't going to be me.  They did taste good though, I'd recommend them.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Our lovely buyers

So we had an offer for your house and we've accepted it, I know it's not over till it's over but things are looking positive on the sales front.  Our buyers are a lovely couple, as Mr FF said they seem much like we were 25 years ago. They really seem to get what we did when we built this place, they appreciate all the details and quality, all the thought that went into the design and they say so. Mr FF had thought that my intensively planted garden might be off putting, one estate agent even suggested that buyers might grass it over to make a football pitch for their children but I honestly believe these people while making the garden their own will continue to cultivate it as I have.   Mr FF also warned me that my sizeable compost heap could be a downer, though I had no idea what I was supposed to do to reduce its dimensions at short notice.    The wife of our buying couple actually squealed with delight when she saw it, I knew then they were made for this house.
So the paper work is progressing slowly as these things do but we are working to a completion date of the end of September.  While we haven't identified a new home yet, we have the opportunity to rent a place in Yorkshire until next spring if necessary and our buyers have said that they won't be putting their place in Edinburgh on the market just yet so if we are stuck we can rent that. 
They came round again last night to do a bit of measuring and I think because they do like to be here.  They arrived with these beautiful flowers and a bottle of wine.  How kind, they are already paying us a decent price for our house, in many ways its a pity we are moving away I bet they'll make great neighbours and best of all they are bringing a cat back into the house, the cat door here has been locked for far too long.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Other people's places, other people's pets

When we mentioned to our friends Roger and Christine that we were coming down to Yorkshire for the Tour they told us they would be away on holiday and asked if we'd like to stay in their house and look after Panther, their elderly adorable cat who likes to eat little but often and needs medication every other day.  We had planned to be away for only a few days but after discussion and some bumped up security here agreed that we could stay for just over a week to give continuity of care to Panther and have a jolly good time ourselves.
We loved being a proper North Yorkshire village with a river running through it, village green, walks from the doorstep onto the Moors, a smart pub and a small bakery that opened now and again. Further afield were pretty market towns, farm shops, family, everything we needed but we did spend a lot of time just lazing in the house. We watched stages of the Tour in the afternoons, Panther stretched out on the sofa beside us became quite addicted though sometimes distracted by my knitting.  We walked round the village, ate in the garden, relaxed in the conservatory and generally enjoyed someone else's property.  We even had friends round for dinner one evening, just two of them, no wild parties, we were responsible tenants.
Roger and Christine have a pretty and interesting garden, they insisted that we should not cut the lawn but I kept the tomatoes and cucumbers in the greenhouse watered, tended out summer pots, did some light weeding and dead heading, all the fun without much responsibility.
We are hoping we might get asked again to undertake these house and cat sitting duties, Panther may be 19 but he seems to have plenty of years ahead of him, bless.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Yorkshire turned yellow

It's difficult for me to express how immense the Tour de France in Yorkshire was.  Driving down for the week we were surprised that places well away from the route had embraced the event with shop window displays, bunting in the streets and of course yellow bicycles everywhere. So we were a bit concerned that we wouldn't get a decent place to watch with all the expected crowds and set off quite early on Saturday morning.
We headed for the little town of Masham, one of the closest places to where we were staying, and managed to find a parking place with only a mile and a half to walk to the action and about 4 hours to wait.  It was all happening in Masham, a big screen on the green, food and drink stalls, thousands of happy people setting themselves up for the day.  There were amazing picnics with beautiful crockery, garden seats complete with pretty cushions dragged to the roadside, barbecues, blankets, everything was elegant and delightful.
We walked around enjoying the sunshine and taking in the atmosphere before finding a spot just out of the town where we could get a decent view and a quick exit as we imagined there would be sizeable traffic jams after the boys passed by.
I can't tell you how enthusiastic and excited everyone was, it was reported that there were around 80,000 people in each of the various towns the tour passed through but there was no trouble, no visible policing, just happy people. The police we did see, motorbike riders driving along the route, were saluting or waving as they passed, laughing and thanking us all for coming. Several cars passed full of what I imagine were officers in yellow caps marked police, everyone got a huge cheer, it was a great PR exercise.
Of course there was the usual caravan of sponsor and support vehicles, then the helicopters before the peleton passed us by in an instant.  
By this time they were all grouped for the sprint finish into Harrogate so it was just a mass of riders.  And yes I was devastated when Mark Cavendish came off, was badly injured and had to abandon.  We were in the car heading home when I heard the news and I couldn't speak, I've come to terms with it now as I'm sure as he.  It did seem like a big dream that he could take the yellow jersey on UK soil and in his mother's home town.
But the big winner of the day was definitely Yorkshire, I felt incredibly proud of my home.  There are already calls for the organiser Gary Verity to receive a knighthood though apparently his refusal to bow to the establishment might influence this.  I wouldn't be surprised if the county doesn't start negotiating for independence soon, Home Rule for Yorkshire. Everywhere looked gorgeous in the sunshine, each town and village was decorated beautifully and apparently will stay so for the duration of the tour, but it was the people who made it so very special.  From the moment we parked our car we got into conversation with strangers, for the week we stayed on in Yorkshire the Tour has been the topic of conversation everywhere we have been and even the dissenters are revising their opinion.  Certainly an astonishing day I shall never forget now I'm thinking that we should look for a new home somewhere on the Tour route, it has become hallowed ground to me, as we say After Yorkshire it's all downhill.  

Saturday, 5 July 2014

A grand day out

Oh yes.   I'm only worried we won't make it because of all the crowds.  Please let us get there.