A visit from the local building regulations officer had us ripping down the kitchen and re-arranging every corner of the house. What for?, you might ask. Well I
have a solid fuel cooker, AGA, and the flue system was in the wrong place according to building regulations. The problem was if we moved it where it was supposed to be, it would be coming up through the stairs. The only logical place after that was on another wall with the flue coming through the bathroom and out the roof. You have no idea the trouble this has caused! I now have a kitchen smaller than before,or so it appears, and a husband so whacked he doesn't know what day it is. My daughter pulled her face and disappeared at the very sight of work and went back to the tin can (trailer) to save her nails.
The last thing I needed was a major setback like this. I have family coming over for the December holidays. All 10, perhaps 12 of them, and all they'll be sitting on is cupboard carcasses at this rate. My Aunt complains at everything, she'll be in her element with this situation. The way it's going, all they'll get is a ham salad,
turkey if they're lucky. And there's me thinking I could show off my new home this year, what a disaster!
On a lighter note, we did have a few holidays to Greece in the summer. The only summer I saw. We've been flooded out more often than not this year and it
would have been more suitable for us to build a boat, never mind a house. But then again, knowing our luck it would have sunk long before now.
One thing I have to be grateful for is the freedom I have this year. Freedom from being an inpatient at the hospital where I spent much of the last two years. The
very mention of hospital gives me goosebumps and shivers. I sure ain't going back there no time soon!
By now you've probably guessed that we're building a house--well renovating actually. It all began 4 years ago when we inherited the family farm. The mere
mention of this to people has them mentally visualising a picturesque scene of cows in the field, chickens in the yard and a quaint old English cottage with a
backdrop of rolling hills. Oh no! Not at all. The farm has been neglected, run down and overgrown for the best part of 10 years when my parents and two
uncles lived here. The farm has been in the family for over 100 years and I had some very sweet childhood memories of cows in the field, chickens in
the yard ...... you get the idea! My grandparents grew greenhouses full of tomatoes, cucumber, grapes and flowers. I spent many missing hours and many
tummy aches due to sitting in the greenhouse scoffing grapes and tomatoes in handfuls, then emerge with the biggest bunch of flowers for my mum. My
grandfather was so irate one day, that he chased me up the field, fell in a cowpat and gave up the chase after he realised that his 50 years seniority were no
match for my six year old youth. Later I was to help with haymaking age thirteen. I drove the tractor whilst my uncles loaded up the trailer with bales of hay. I thought I was the greatest driver in the world until I tipped the whole lot over after being too confident on a bend.
The summers were much longer then, or is that just my age! July and August was hot and September was Autumn. October and November wet cold and
blustery. Now we hardly know what season we're in. The whole weather has gone crazy. I mean tornadoes in Lancashire! Give me a break.
We lived in the Farmhouse and cottage, both of them built in 1660. I know that because there is a stone slab right over the doorway saying so. W.W 1660 I
never knew what the W.W stood for until a local farmer told me that his farm also had the same initials engraved in stone over his doorway too. They are the initials of the builder he told me, so I guess, mystery solved. The years took toll on the properties. After my grandparents died, my uncles and parents lost interest and the farm deteriorated. The houses were so old that rot set in the old beams, small repair jobs became huge projects and before anyone realised it, the whole place was derelict. My uncles died one after the other in a strange kind of way,like they just gave up. My parents became too old to care, and the house was plunging further and further into a point of no return. They left four years ago for an apartment which is small but warm and well managed. They often remark that it was the best thing they ever did. The best thing that I could have ever done was walk away and carry on with my life, being married with one child and living in a decent house in town. That's just me though, headfirst and into trouble. So we sold our home, moved into a trailer and began to rebuild the farm I once loved.
If I turn back the clock, I can see how far we've come in the last four years when all we seemed to do was demolish and rebuild. When I think of all the hours
we spent just cleaning bricks and drying out oak beams, it makes me wonder. The bricks had to be graded, which were suitable to put back and those which
were not. I pulled out numerous bricks with paw prints in them and someone's finger print, they were all handmade. The beams all had the carpenters mark
engraved into the wood, and I could smell cow dung in the walls of wattle and daub. We've painstakingly returned it to it's former glory with some modern
materials as well, and the second stage will begin next year which is another huge project and one I'm dreading undertaking.
If I had a penny for ever time I heard the phrase "It will all be worth it in the end" I'd be almost a millionaire. As it happens I never will be. This place swallows
up cash before it's earned and it's way above budget already. Mmmm will it be all worth it in the end! Only time will tell but I'll let you know when we get there.