Sunday, 14 October 2007

Two bloggers' days and the roof starts to go on!

I started off with good intentions……… I really did. We would live in the house as the builders ripped it apart and then proceeded to put it back together, even better than before. (Note the “I’s” and “we’s”). And then the caravan came.

And now I am at my mum and dad’s. Wimp? You betcha. They are only around 15 minutes away so I can shower, eat and sleep in comfort and then return fully charged to spend the day “on site”. Note this phrase – “on site”. No longer, “at home”. I found myself saying to mum the other day that we’d be “home” for dinner at 6pm. Dad looked at me aghast over his glasses, eyebrows raised so far that they were almost on the back of his head and said “er…….. home?” total panic on his face. I grinned sheepishly.

So the bloggers’ day at Elizabeth’s was a wonderful reprieve. I was able to wear clean jeans and put some mascara on, jump into my car and spend a day in delightful company, eat lovely food and gaze at views to die for. Heaven. Jimmy, meanwhile, is in his element shinning up and down the scaffolding and camping in the house like a boy-scout. There is a definite divide in what “I can” and “we can” cope with at the moment!!

But Thursday morning took my breath away as I drove “to site” before heading off to Elizabeth’s. The sun was low and watery, with the promise of a beautiful day to come. The early morning mist floated above the ground and gently rolled up the hills so that the trees just poked out at the very tops and they looked like they were floating in cotton wool. I startled a buzzard as I drove along the lane and he flew from the farm gate up and away, silhouetted against the misty sunshine.

It was 7.30am and already I was smiling. I love days like this when nature makes Herself so…….. I guess “in your face” is the expression that leaps to mind. Everywhere I looked was gentle, rural beauty and the wildlife was there, especially if you knew where to look: rabbits jumping into verges; pheasants running along in front of the car, jumping neither left nor right, but just doing that funny run straight ahead; buzzards and kestrels out hunting for breakfast; squirrels foraging and all supported by a chorus of birdsong. Thursday was definitely one of those days that remind me how wonderful it is to be alive and to rise up above the problems we can all face in our daily lives and that, sometimes, can make us fail to see the beauty all around. Corny to say my heart felt full to bursting? I hope not.

Then, before I knew it, the sun was going down and I was heading back. This time, the night came quickly and on the last leg of the journey, my eyes felt gritty with tiredness. The day was playing over in my head and I smiled at the familiar ease we already seem to have found in one another’s company. An amazing community we have formed here on these purple pages.

It was only just after 8pm when I got back to mum’s and I ran a bath, made tea and was in bed with my book before 9pm. I battled with dry, heavy eyes and gave up trying to finish my book. My call to wish J goodnight wasn’t as long as usual and soon I was away with the fairies.

Friday was spent coordinating deliveries, paying bills and negotiating deals. It was a day attached to the phone, making builder tea and gazing at pages of Kingspan, coach bolts, battens, galvanized nails and breathable roofing membranes. By 4pm we had part of the roof trusses in place and we were skipping around like kids.

Saturday was a day for skiving off the build. No bricklayers this weekend as they have only got the 3 gable ends to finish and they have to wait for the roof to be in situ. So, with nothing to organize, choose, order or buy I leapt at the chance of meeting up with Bodran again (yep, twice in a week!).

We met at the Hop Pocket – a local craft centre with tea room and garden section selling cottage garden plants (we each bought a cranberry plant and have high hopes of home made cranberry sauce!). Nell went off to look around while we drank coffee and talked……… again. I know we have all been attracted to this site and this means we have things in common, but actually meeting up with fellow bloggers never fails to remind me just how much we really do have in common. Especially for those of us that were (dare I say it?) on t’other side before. That living in the country element and the whole lifestyle thing, ties us together and means we never run out of things to talk about.

I didn’t want to gate crash or hog Bodran’s day with Nell, so we parted company after a while but knew we’d probably bump into each other a bit later on in Ledbury. And, of course, we did. Phil Rickman, our local author, was signing his latest book (The Fabric of Sin) in the bookshop by the market house and I had my copy ready and waiting for his signature, in the back of the car. When I walked in, Bodran was already there and it was really nice, if a bit surreal, to see her smiling face 102 miles (she told me) from her home and twice in one day!

We clutched our signed copies and were chuffed to receive a free calendar too, with pictures of locations from the books. When I left, I thought of all the questions I had wanted to ask him about the locations which, of course, had flown out of my head. Next time……. He told us he has just started the 10th book……..

And now, I am back at home (yes, it IS home really – I’ve got the fire lit today and am snuggled on the sofa) waiting for our carpenter to come and measure up properly for the windows and the new staircase. The roof should be finished in 2 weeks at the latest and first fix electrics and plumbing will start straight after that. The quotes are coming in from the plasterers and we can now see the shape of things to come.

The budget has taken a hammering and the pounds are sliding out of our build account at a rate of knots. But right here and right now we don’t care because we can now see our vision starting to become reality. And we love it.