Bedding in. It's been a very busy six (almost seven) weeks, and many changes are underway.
This cottage came to be mine in a rather sad way. The couple who had bought it as a wreck almost 14 years ago had intended it to be their retirement home. They had worked on it lovingly and were counting the months till they could move from their home over 3 hours' drive away. Their cottage renovation was almost finished.
And then, last year, he became ill and died, very unexpectedly. She couldn't face the thought of moving so far from friends and neighbours to the cottage that held so many hopes, dreams, plans and years of hard work, and decided that she had to sell. She told the estate agent that she hoped that the process would be rapid, as it was so painful.
And I came along, hoping that the buying process would be rapid..... I knew that it would be a difficult process for her, and was careful with the tone of my emails. She later commented that it felt like she was selling to a friend rather than to a stranger; we corresponded regularly, and I felt sorry that I hadn't met her.
So this cottage and much of its furniture, whilst not entirely to my taste, became mine; it felt loved and cared for, and what remained to be done was clearly defined. I'm making changes to it, but I can see how much has been done with it already, and respect that. The vendor sent photos of how it had looked when she and her partner bought it; I was rendered speechless by the filth and squalor, the neglect and damage, and the vision she must have possessed to know that beyond the horrors, she could make it into a lovely home.
Almost 14 years later, this is how the sitting room looked when I viewed it.
I don't like those cottage suites, personally, or antimacassars, but this photo always makes me smile, as my mother would have loved it so much!
And the 'utility room', once the side path of the cottage, largely untouched except for a massive clean up, aided, I'm told, by the local Environmental Health Department. I think that, had she kept the cottage, this may have been the vendor's next phase of the renovation. It will be my second.
The first task for me has to be the electrics; they need to be upgraded as a matter of urgency, and also to be made less of an eyesore.
And the builders have made a start, knocking and drilling a hole through more than two feet of stone, to create a conduit for the new cabling. I could have wept at the dust and mess, worse than any plastering or sanding dust I have ever experienced, defeating all attempts to cover furniture with protective sheets. The electrician comes on Monday, when the cabling will be streamlined and routed through the wall into the hallway, and then - to my relief - the stone will be rendered.
The utility room will soon become a reality, its sloping floor raised so that the washing machine doesn't judder its way downhill into the drain, a sink and worktop installed, and some storage for all the clutter that animals bring with them; the food, the bowls, the brushes, the potions and lotions, the litter trays. I miss my old utility room, and look forward to making something functional and clean-lined out of this one.
But it's not all cottage-based busyness. Far from it. We are out and about a great deal.
And we expect a new addition to the household tomorrow.
I am taking the Lovely Son's stout, middle-aged, attitude-filled cat, she who has remained nameless for years. His lifestyle, yo-yoing between his own house and that of his girlfriend, makes it hard to look after a cat properly. Despite coveting her for years, I'm taking her on somewhat reluctantly, aware that there will be dramatic scenes all round. But I have to hope that love and attention will overcome everyone's injured feelings, and that she will end up as happy and settled here as the others are.
We've moved to a new, quiet life? I hardly think so.....