Thursday, 26 July 2012

A week of mixed fortunes...

All ready for the house warming BBQ.
 Saturday and we were kindly invited to a house warming BBQ at the new home of a long lost friend.  Gary who we hadn't seen for about thirteen years has got a new partner and a new home.  An old mill house on the beck at North Cave.  Lovely old place with loads of character and of course with the beck running through the garden it seems like the ideal country residence, or not, if you are paying the bills but if you can afford the 3/4 million pounds purchase price you can afford to run it!

Gary's mill mansion.
It was a great afternoon meeting up with people who we hadn't seen for some time and also having a laugh with some who we see fairly regularly.  Bit of a shame that one or two more didn't turn up but those that were there were the ones who mattered.

Thanks Karen and Gary hope it's not another thirteen years or I will be an old miserable sod!

A few days earlier the father of a very close friend was involved in a serious accident whilst crossing a pedestrian crossing.  Unfortunately on Monday morning he lost his fight to recover from the injuries.  Hilton was one of the nicest, most genuine people you could have met.  Always quick with a witticism and banter, sometime unintentionally.  He had a fantastic sense of humour right to the end and will be sadly missed by Sandra and I.  R.I.P. Hilton Barrow.

Let's have a burning session while it's dry!
 We have still not got the new oil tank and still have the temporary storage tanks in the paddock.  Unfortunately one of these sprung a leak on Tuesday night but it was fixed fairly quickly by capping off the offending valve however we did loose some oil this time, luckily it's not in a place where it'll do any harm.
This visit home just seems to keep sending us more problems, I think we might head off to Greece and leave it all behind!

We have managed to get a few day's good weather this week, in fact it's been very humid and sweaty.  So before the weather breaks I thought I would have a fire in the garden to get rid of some old stuff out of the garage and also all those documents with bank account numbers on them etc. rather than risk them getting into the wrong hands

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The weather man...said clear today...

Finley and I tractor driving.
 The weather is showing signs of improvement although we are still getting more than our share of rain really.  Apparently summer may be next week.
Managing to avoid any obstacles. 
On Saturday we had Finley for the day, he is a real handful and because of his deafness it's no good shouting for him if he can't see you because he doesn't hear you.

We did however manage to get all the grass cut several times, he doesn't seem to like straight lines and keeps tugging the sterring wheel first left then right.  That didn't really matter because it had already been cut properly when he started.  Avoiding hitting the caravan or cars was the only reason he's not doing it on his own, note the ear defenders in the first photo, he wouldn't take them off all day.

John with Finley, Melissa and Jessica.
 John came down later in the day with Melissa and Jessica so the three of them had a couple of hours chasing about the paddock.  Excuse Johns headgear it's my hat which Finley insisted on John wearing.  On John's advice I decided that I would rebuild my computer which has been "blue screening" for some time now.  Very time consuming though when all the updates and service packs for Vista and Office have to come over the slow dongle link here.  Finally finished on Tuesday thank god, I'm lost without my computer.  I was considering getting a new one but I want to wait until Windows 8 is out, stable and bundled with new machines.
Mad rush to save 2000 + Lts of fuel.

The offending fracture.
Mid morning yesterday I had a visit from Andrew, the tenant in our house.  He said he could smell heating oil and he thought the tank must be leaking.  He had just filled up the tank so there was more than two tonnes of oil in there.  On inspection the Tank which is only eleven years old had started to split halfway

 up.  I had visions of having oil all over and the Environment Agency getting involved as they are very keen with spillages now.  Rob the farmer next door lent me the use of a couple of thousand litre tanks to off load the oil before the rent got any larger.  He also gave me the use of a hand pump to get the stuff out.  Fortunately I discovered that after pumping the pipe full syphoning started to happen.  I didn't fancy pumping two tonnes of oil by hand!  He came back later with a twelve vault submersible pump so I set both of them going at once and in a couple of hours had transferred enough oil to get the tank below the leakage point.
You now have to have bunded tanks which means they are a tank within a tank to capture any spillage.  So I have had to order a new one to replace the damaged one as my insurance only covers the damage done not the vessel itself.  £1200+ lighter now so I am pleased that we have not gone down to the Olympics like we had planned to do starting today as it happens.  Hope the rest of our stay here is cheaper!   

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Another day another puddle...

Two new little chicken chicks in the incubator.
 We have now been home for a month and during that time we have had five days on which we have not had rain, that's including today.  Thank heavens for small mercies, at least it hasn't turned into the biblical forty days day job.

Possibly the ugliest shower in the world.

Been busy again this week in number one sons new domicile.  I think by the end of next week we should have all the areas they need to live in cleaned and decorated.  This week has been taken up primarily by the master bedroom and touching into the bathroom.  When we stripped off seventy years of paper we discovered that there were alcoves surrounding a chimney breast, so it was decided to get rid of the false walls blocking them up and add some shape and character to the room.  Today Sandra and I have just finished papering and glossing it and it all looks very nice now.

The bathroom has the oldest and ugliest shower imaginable in it, although it works so it's staying at least for the time being.

Front bedroom with it's alcoves revealed.

 Gary got some eggs off the internet for a rare breed of chicken, at the moment only two of them seem to have hatched out but another three look like they have a developed chick inside them so give them another couple of days perhaps.  Anyway keeping Finley off the chicks is a major issue now, I think he is trying to develop early parenting skills.  I wonder if the eggs from rare hens taste any better than the ones from good old Rhode Island Reds!
Three of the four Girls in my life!

Went to look after Melissa and Jessica last night and combined it with Libby's visit to the doctors surgery.  It's not very often that we get to be with all the girls at one time and none of the boys.  They all got stuck into a bit of domestic science in Fiona's kitchen, well what else are girls for!! :-)  That's going to cost me dearly I'll bet!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Damp ol' time...

Standing water, the first time ever.
 Well, it's three weeks today since we arrived back in the UK.  In all that time we've had 3 days without any rain!  This afternoon we have had rain of biblical proportions, in fact in the twenty years that I have had the paddock in which we live in the caravan whilst back here, this is the first time we've had standing water.  It's not that we mind having some rain rain it's just that it never seems to know when to stop here!  I think I may need that yacht here rather than in Greece soon!

Sitting room ready for moving stuff in.
For the last week we have been helping our eldest son Gary, with the decoration of his new home.  It's an old Victorian farm house and by anyone's standard it was in a right bloody state.  Muck you ain't seen nothing like it!  Anyway while we are here and before the kids leave school for their summer holidays we are trying to get at least some of it into a liveable condition.

Hallway getting there.
Sitting room, kitchen, bathroom, hall, stairs and landing are the priority.  I guess we are somewhere near halfway now.  John, Gary's father in law, is doing the kids bedrooms, but obviously with two small kids coming home after school it's difficult to keep paint and them separated.   We have Sandra's dad Geoff helping us as well so it's all hands on deck.

Landing just started.

We are having some time out tomorrow and for the weekend as Finley is not at school and it's damn near impossible to do anything whilst the whirl wind is at home.  We are out tomorrow night at Sandra's cousin Paul's house for a meal, his "bubs" (short for indybubs(Indian meals)) are legend.  Then on Saturday it's over to our long suffering friends Allen and Jean to deliver the wine we brought home from Lefkas to them, so at least this weekend we should get enough lubrication to see us through the next week or so!