Monday, 3 March 2008

A day in my life

Tagged by Faith to write about a typical day in my life!

A day in the life of Woozle

Every day, except Sunday, starts at 7am. The alarm is just going off and my arm flailing around to turn off the incessant noise when J comes in, flinging the curtains open and depositing a cup of tea by my side. His side of the bed is almost cold as he is a 6 o’clocker (or thereabouts – I’m still in a deep coma and never hear him get up) and he is chirpy and chatty as he changes from his chicken letting out and dog walking clobber to something a bit more respectable. By the time I have drunk my tea the fog has lifted from my brain and I have made plans for the day, which will, no doubt, be cast to the wind as soon as I get downstairs.

Before the extension, my morning shower consisted off a mad dash downstairs, through the cold lobby and into the freezing domain off the downstairs shower room. It was a relief to stand under the warm water but then it took a marathon of will power to get out into the cold, wrap my towel around me and leg it back up to dry and dress in the warmth. Now, our gorgeous new ensuite (which is ensuite to our new bedroom, which we haven’t yet moved into…….) sports a gorgeous Victorian style shower with the biggest drench head and I don’t want to get out for other reasons………

Dressed, windows flung open and bed turned back to air, I scoop up one of my carefully sorted piles of washing (why does that black sock manage to creep into my best white bedlinen pile?) and plod downstairs, dodging the dogs who want to say good morning before I’ve emptied my arms of washing. Once they’ve had their chins scratched and I’ve spoken to each in turn, the girls throw themselves back down on their bed and Alfie lies down with a big sigh in front of the Rayburn.

During our building works, all our tradesmen usually pull up about 8am and we have to co-ordinate vehicles on the drive to make sure mine doesn’t get blocked in at the back in case I need to pop out to Travis Perkins or the plumber’s merchant. I learnt very early on that it doesn’t do to annoy the tradesmen by asking them to move 3 vans when they are a) up a ladder, b) soldering copper pipe or c) on the roof.

Now my day is dictated by endless brews of tea and dashes to the village shop as, horror of horrors, the supply of custard creams and chocolate bourbons is reduced to a few crumbs. I dream of the time when my “old” life comes back and instead of painstakingly keeping spreadsheets of accounts, I can pore over seed catalogues with a mug of tea for one (or maybe two if J is around, instead of six builders). Will I ever get back to the time when I can lay the fire for the evening, flick a quick duster round and run the Dyson over the carpet (those darned white dogs of ours!), shimmy the bathroom, tidy the kitchen and then have the rest of the day to potter in the garden? Or have mum and dad over for lunch? Or take the dogs for a really long walk without being scared I’ll come back home to a doorway being put somewhere “creative” because I wasn’t there at the time?

Lunchtime is a brief reprieve as our workmen retreat to their vans with flasks, packed lunches and radios, and I can reclaim my home for half an hour. I never really thought of the impact having men just walking in and out all the time would have on our life. Your home is meant to be your private world but all that goes out the window when you embark on this kind of project. My “normal” life would see me sat at the kitchen table, lunch before me and the binoculars at my elbow to watch the activity from the bird box in the perry pear tree; now I skulk away in the farthest room to the work – the lounge.

As we are moving along this project, my days have changed a bit to include the excitement of getting paint on the walls. Last week we got window cills and what a transformation – everywhere looks cleaner, instead of plaster rough edges and fluffy bits of insulation sticking out of the cavity under the windows. I’ve got to wax the windows yet, but I’ll get round to it soon. Somehow or other, I’ve got to find time to prepare dinner as well as wielding a brush now that we are eating back at home. For the last few months, we have been eating at mum and dad’s, but when the kitchen was finished it was such a treat to be able to stay in and cook. The novelty is only just starting to wear off as the enormous task of decorating raises its head as we enter the home run. Painting/eating/painting……… decisions, decisions.

By the time our men have gone (4pm) calm descends and we greedily wander round looking at what’s been achieved and can be crossed off the “to do” list. I love a list. I can’t live without them, actually. Lists for shopping, lists for chores, lists of garden plants/pruning times/vegetable crop rotations, lists of birthdays and phone calls………. endless lists pinned or stuck to all available surfaces at the moment. Confession time. I know it seems early to some, but this is the time I like to have a glass of wine. Chilled white wine in hand, I can wander from room to room seeing what’s been done (or not!) and then go back to the kitchen, make another list and then get on with cooking, accompanied by the occasional sip of wine. My second glass is with dinner and then that’s it. Back to the tea! My town mouse friend is always horrified if she rings at around 5pm and I’m drinking. She tells me that it’s WAY too early, but I have to remind her that I’m not like her and that when I start it doesn’t mean that I then drink all night. I’m done with alcohol by 8pm – she drinks until she goes to bed so daren’t start until 8pm!

I keep an eye on the light levels so that I can go and put the hens away. We have one, Willis, (we hatched 3 of our own and called them Freeman, Hardy and Willis. Needless to say, Freeman and Hardy were re-homed as we would have had 3 cockerels!) who always comes back out of the hen house if you go out too early. She is the greediest of our girls and is always on the look out for titbits, even at bedtime, so I try to go out during those last dusk moments when I know she will have hopped on the perch to roost, instead of sticking her head out of the pop hole watching for me to come out as her signal to come charging to the gate. It is a game to her but I want to get on with the dinner!

I love it when J sits with me at the kitchen table, chatting, or helps with chopping and peeling. It’s a good time of day for us to talk properly and I miss it if he is working away. I usually send him off to check his emails and make phone calls while I clear up after dinner and then I’ll wander through to the lounge and sit in front of the fire with a mug of tea. Very rarely is the TV on in our house – J is a news hound and I love a good thriller or period drama, but soaps are definitely out. However, Grand Designs and those kind of programmes have sneaked in a bit as we have been absorbed in all things house renovation – you’d think we’d want to get away from it but it is an obsession at the moment. I think we get a perverse pleasure when we see other couples overcoming the same problems we have and it certainly makes us feel better when they admit to going over budget. It’s not just us then! Lately, this is the time that I do my ironing as there is no way I can do it during the day, but even this is a novelty at the moment as the washing machine has only been plumbed in 3 weeks!

I usually go off and run a bath then come down to make the last cuppa which I will take up to bed whilst J watches the news. This is my book time and I heap the pillows up and read until he comes up to bed too. I hear him let the dogs out for their last wee, call the cat in, put the milk bottles out and lock up and it is my cue to finish the chapter before he comes up.

We like to sleep with the window open and I love it when the lights go out and all is dark and silent, except for the occasional hooting of an owl or the sound of a disturbed animal in the hedges, and you’re warm and snuggly beneath the covers. I love it even more if I can get off to sleep before J breaks the silence and starts snoring……….


Withy Brook said...

What a lovely day, Woozle. It is exhausing to read of the current state of affairs, with all those workmen, cups of tea, biscuits.... but in amongst it all we get big glimpses of your 'normal' life and your love for J comes shining through.

mountainear said...

Now we know what you've been up to and why you've been so busy! It must be wonderful to see the end of the project approaching. what will you do when there are no builders to trip over?

Fern said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your day. It brought back memories for me, when we moved in to our house we didn't have a proper kitchen or any doors hung but it did have central heating and no draughts, a first for us so we didn't care! Sounds like you are nearing the end and the really fun part. I had a look at the photos on your previous blog, it's a gorgeous property.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cait O'Connor said...

Good to see you blogging again. I have left my comment on the forum.
Great blog.

Pipany said...

Golly no wonder you haven't been here Woozle - glad you are able to come back now though. Great post about your day xx

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oh empathy oooodles of it - went through all the re-building after the fire - although our invasion was not in our own house. But major works like you are undergoing is like anything even vaguely traumatic - painful at the time - but soon forgotten when the joy of your newly finished house is there to fill up your life.

Sorry it was me that deleted the above comment . . . just wanted to add to what I had said.

Exmoorjane said...

Crikey Moses, HUGE sympathy on that kind of building - not sure I had grasped the extent of it really (but have now, through scooting back)..... Ah, the tea-making...but at least you seem to be able to see progress. We seem stuck on a running machine, racing along but getting nowhere! jxx

LittleBrownDog said...

You sound as though you must be incredibly organised. I'm sure your place will be fab when it's finally done. Looking forward to seeing the pictures.

CAMILLA said...

Hi Woozle,

My apologies, just trying to catch up.

Oooh Woozle, quite an extensive renovation on your house, you must have been so busy, hope all is going well, look forward to maybe seeing the final pictures.

Love Camilla.xx