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Children's illustrator and cricket lover cultivates vegetables and cats in rural Oxfordshire.
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A couple of weeks ago, on a Sunday, I decided to be brave and do one of the favourite things Andy and I used to enjoy - but without him, of course. There is a little church, just over a mile or so away, which I had previously ear-marked for an expedition.
It has the most beautiful cropped yews.
And an interesting patch of herringbone brickwork.
I arrived just after service.
The well worn handle, doubling as a sanctuary knocker.
I pottered about as normal, taking photos and reading the little pamphlet provided. Circa 13th century font with later cover.
Retaining the old boxed in pews - nice to see, so many have succumbed to woodworm, damp and modernisation.
One of a few alabaster memorials, 16th century, if I remember rightly.
Medieval floor tiles.
A wooden effigy of a crusader, carved in oak - one of only three in the country. He was said to be seven foot, an enormous height for the time. His still, noble face and great length reminded me so much of Andy.
I stroked his cold face, sat in a nearby pew and cried, quietly for a very long time, feeling completely alone, in a strange county where I know barely anyone. I imagined that perhaps Andy was simply waiting outside for me, as he had done so many times before. We would potter home, talk about what to have for lunch and would we eat in the garden, as it was such a nice day?
But life is different now. I mopped myself up and pulled myself together. I left the solitary church, passed through the old lime tree lined drive and walked home, to apply myself to sanding down the bedroom floorboards.
My first workshop of the year, held at Cinderhill Farm at the beginning of March. Fully booked and raring to go. We started off by making chickens.
Outside, the farm chickens clucked indignantly. No punk hairstyles on these ladies.
The morning session was sustained with copious tea, homemade shortbread and flapjacks.
After lunch (home farmed pork casserole with herby rice) people worked on their own designs - or in this case, followed my 'bunny brooch' pattern from issue 24 of 'Mollie Makes'.
Then another break for a special farmhouse high tea - all freshly baked in the farmhouse kitchen by Debs, our hostess. Two types of cake, jam tarts, rich scones with butter, cream and jam.
It is always so rewarding to see finished designs as the day draws to a close.
The traditional Grand Parade - the lovely results of a very creative day - didn't they do well?
I believe the next workshop (scheduled for early summer) is already fully booked, but if you would like to be informed of spare places or book in advance for a late summer workshop, please contact Debs via the Cinderhill Farm website or message her through the official Facebook page.
Dear friends - I have not felt able to return to this blog for a long time, despite the many, many good wishes and messages. The first month without Andy was an agonising madness, through which I was propped up by dear friends. I tried to sort out as many practical matters as I could, though each one took hours to work up to and recover from. There are still ongoing things, because death, especially an unexpected one, is a complicated business. So I wanted to come back and say hello when my head was in a slightly better place.
My life was centred around two things; work and my darling Andy and the greater of these was Andy. Without him, creativity has little interest for me. Art, my life long friend, has deserted me for the first time. And yet I must work and so I do. Gradually, more and more each day.
I have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of you all. Without the support you gave me of your thoughts, good wishes and prayers, heart felt letters and loving gifts, I do not think I would be here now to write this. I have had some very dark moments indeed and desperate thoughts which I would not normally have. I held that goodwill close to me, lonely as I have been and that, combined with the wonderful love of my friends, brought me through it. Little did I know when I started this blog - over seven years ago - that one day it would literally be my life line. So thank you, everyone, for being there.
All photos taken from a train, Cambridgeshire
His Last Walk
Dear friends - on January night, 2013 my beloved life partner and soul mate of 21 years, Andy, left this earth forever. I had been keeping a close watch on him at the cottage for six days. He had gone into a downward spiral of stress and depression which eventually tipped him over the edge. On the day he was signed off sick from work, he began saying strange things and I looked into his eyes: it was not my Andy any more. It was another person, a tortured soul who was convinced that because he could not do his job properly, that he would be sacked and we would lose the cottage, all within two weeks. Now of course, this sounds irrational, but then, he was suffering from paranoid delusions, tortured scenarios of our imagined eviction and thought that the world was conspiring against him. He believed - this great hearted man, who pushed himself beyond endurance - that he was a failure and it tore my heart in two to hear him say this. He was anything but.
Many years ago, when we were at the seaside, he said that one day he would walk into the sea and just keep walking. And more recently, when we were walking through the woods in the snow, he said that if he had to 'go', he would like to sit under a tree in the snow and let hypothermia take him. Because (he said) that way, you just get an illusion of being warm and sleepy, whereas in fact, you are freezing to death. It is an easier way to go.
It was a nightmarish six days of trying to look after my darling, as he tormented himself and he had been unhappy for some time before. The last year, with so many changes - for a man who hated change - was too much for him. It had not been a happy year for him; it seemed to me that every week brought a new thing to bring him down and add to his load. And he did not deserve that.
On the night he left me forever, it was a freezing, snowy Shropshire night. I had seen him go into the kitchen minutes before and when I went to ask if he wanted to eat, I saw the back doors wide open and I knew what he intended to do. I ran into the garden, in the dark, screaming across the countryside that I loved him, and to come back to me. But there was no answer except the thin wind blowing across the snow.
He walked out across the back fields, in nothing but day clothes and without boots. His disappearance was a matter of minutes and it was not until daylight the next morning that we found his footprints on a side wall, out of obvious sight. The Shropshire police put out a full team that night, and a new team in the morning. There were dogs, Search and Rescue and the Mountain Rescue team. They did everything they could to find my sweetheart, but I knew from the start that he had gone to end his tortured thoughts.
'I just can't do this any more' was a phrase he repeated time and time again.
He was found a couple of miles away, the next day, in a small river two miles from here. He had walked across country - by which time he must have been completely frozen - and I think (I hope) that in the end it was a gentle way to go. A falling asleep in icy running water, surrounded by the countryside he loved. My beautiful Nature Boy, with nature at the very end, surrounded by trees. Going in both the ways he had mentioned before.
I am slowly picking my life up and trying to get back to work. Because ironically, now that he is gone, the future of our cottage may very well be in jeopardy and I must work as hard as I can to earn a proper living. But oh, my friends - it is as if part of me has been ripped out. I can take some small comfort knowing that shortly before he vanished, I put my arms around him and kissed the top of his head. I told him I loved him, and he told me that he loved me. The one thing he could still say with clarity.
Dear Lord, the suffering is unbearable at times but I am blessed with such wonderful friends here and around the world and they are looking after me here and afar. Without that, I fear what I would do. But the real Andy, who promised me he would never 'do anything stupid' - because he knew he was all I really had - would not want that. So I must go on, for him, for my friends and bear this agonising grief as best I can. For Andy. Forever.
Andy Macauley April 4 1971 - January 21 2013
'Mollie Makes' calendar with the clean, fresh sheet of January beckoning.
One of Jack kangaroos, before he was boxed off and sent to America.
Some of our peeled hallway wall seen beyond the door.
Much nicer - treasure.
Toy making books and badger skull.
Lovely 1920's cocktail cabinet, perfect for displaying the 'Puddletown Tales
Everything piled up because there is never, ever, enough storage space.
Favourite cards and ephemera.
I am having a work overdrive, so watch this space for more shop updates, new designs and news of my March workshop in the forest of Dean (or click here for more details).
Just before we moved (again) last year I created my most complicated pattern so far - 'Jack', a kangaroo for the Australian magazine 'Felt'
. I had to make an initial one to work out the basic pattern and then a second one in order to do the demo photographs. Haven't had anyone contact me yet to tell me they've made one though! You can buy the magazine as a back issue here
, if you want to try making your own.
Jack one *SOLD*
Jack two *SOLD*
Another couple of little things left over from last year, a little button wheel goose -(*sold*)
- and a vintage style owl clip. Despite their small size, each one took around four hours to make. So for the first time in ages, I've been able to update my shop with needle felt, not art.
We are delighted to discover that our favourite Shropshire pub, the Bottle and Glass at Picklescott has reopened under new management and has kept on the 48 year old tradition of a Christmas singing session. Many people choose to walk to this event, (which is in a tiny village miles from anywhere) so there were lots of red faces and waterproofs.
It was a wonderful afternoon, full of song and laughter, not to mention beer - for the non-drivers of course. With a log fire, stone hearth and old beams, this is the increasingly rare English pub at it's finest - no pomp or ceremony, just a warm welcome and a well pulled pint.
Although everyone knew each other and we knew nobody, we didn't feel at all left out, certainly not after belting out all the verses to the folk version of 'the Holly and the Ivy'.
The oldest there was in fine voice and gave us some fine accordion playing too.
The last seven months of upheaval and moving to a strange county have been very lonely and I admit now that I have struggled with an aching homesickness for the Cotswolds. That lovely afternoon in good - if unknown - company and a few hours of singing gave me the happiest time I have had since moving here and I can almost believe that maybe next year I might feel as if I can settle here at last.
So for anyone not lucky enough to have a find old English pub nearby, here is the very nice folk version of Auld Lang Syne. In the manner of all amateur home movies, there is the inevitable 'noises off' as a tanker driver intervenes because he can't get his tanker up the lane. So forgive the brief appearance of Andy's head as he goes to move the jeep. And as they say at the end, a Happy New Year to all.
We aren't decorating this year, so I will inundate my blog with images of the toy circus decorations I designed for the Gisela Graham
company a couple of years ago. I've not been to any shops, so would love to know if anyone in the UK has seen them - or even has bought some.
A peaceful Christmas to everyone from Bodge Cottage.
Our first was not so much a visitor but very welcome all the same. Stephen Grogan, our new chimney sweep, who swept out our crud filled flue. This is one of the flues that we were assured by the previous owners were regularly cleaned: indeed the last time they was serviced, the company had said they barely needed cleaning! Had we known just how bad a state they really were in, they would have been the first thing to be sorted out. As it was, we used the main burner for a few weeks before Stephen cleared it of a large amount of very flammable residue, which could have caused a chimney fire. Last month we had proper guests, our dear stalwart friends from Cinderhill Farm drove up from the forest of Dean to be our first visitors, despite the deplorable state of our decor. These good people are storing my various letterpress treasures and helped us with the big move. They stayed for supper by the fire. This time they brought local Severn cider, farm cured bacon and four precious winter eggs, two duck, two hen from their own flock.
In a great bit of recycling, their own two breed sows have enjoyed the leftover cider apples used to make the Severn cider - here is Lady Penelope with a big smile on her face. (Neither of them are the bacon above).
Also welcome visitors this month were Valerie and Sue, two bloggers I've known for a while, who are now a little nearer to me. Valerie of course, is 'Acornmoon' and has written about her visit and Sue is 'Mouse Notebook'
. They too brought lovely gifts...
Sue had brought us both one of these delightful little chapbooks from the Incline Press
, who we visited recently
- I met the people at the Incline Press before I knew that Sue knew them; what a very small world it can be.
As you can see, we all got on as well in real life as we have done online - Sue on the left, Val in the middle, both looking glamorous and me on the right looking rustic but happy.
Latest attempts to drag this cottage into some kind of habitable state - the bathroom was hiding this rather twee plastic floral paper behind a mirror.
Andy has begun stripping out all the ghastly trappings, including the cheap dado rail. One day we will get the walls fixed properly, but as funds won't stretch that far, he is just filling in the holes and painting the walls with a nice vintage-y turquoise. It can only be an improvement, but it will be a few years before I get a bath. Showers just don't do it for me.
I now know I am finally growing up...I want to wake up on Christmas morning and find that Santa has fitted a new damp course, re-plastered and painted all the walls, re-floored my studio, fitted a new bathroom with bath, ditto kitchen with a range, re-landscaped the garden and levelled the drive. Oh and a proper bed would be nice. Bit of a change from a Tintin book and a magic kit.
It has been one heck of a month. I think we've been walloped with so many life events this year - some good, others dreadful - that we are just reeling from it. However, there is always needle felting and I am so pleased that 'Mollie Makes' have used another of my patterns for their latest issue - a chicken brooch, easy and quick to make, with written and photographic instructions. It's in issue 21 which is in shops now, available to buy online here or as a digital download here.
It was also lovely to be in the same section as my online friend, Debs - 'Imagination of a Ladysnail'
who has her sweet character brooches featured. We've followed each other's progress for years, and it's so nice to be celebrating a bit of success together. Deb's blog is here
Latest order to be finished; eight Christmas Cottages for one lucky person's tree. I'm all cottage'd out for the moment, but you can find the pattern in 'Mollie Makes Christmas
' and make your own - I'd love to see pictures of the results.
2004 Watercolour/sepia ink
I have started selling off my archives to raise money for much needed home repairs. It's all work I've hung on to because I like it - there are some golden oldies in there - but needs must. All of it is unframed and unmounted, so I'm asking a third less for each one than I would if they were ready to hang. Most are £100 or less - and shipping is free!
♥ SOLD ♥
♥ SOLD ♥
♥ SOLD ♥
♥ SOLD ♥
♥ SOLD ♥
A very popular property presenter on television says that there is always a compromise when choosing a house, no matter what the budget. This is our compromise and it's a biggie. We are on a road. Something I once vowed was non-negotiable. It is usually quiet but it does have busy periods early in the morning and at home time. Some drivers slow down, some don't and as we are close to several farms, there is an interesting variety of tractors and feed trucks trundling past. It's ok most of the time. We compromised because along the hedge from where this top photo was taken, is all of our nice big private garden, down to our little cream cottage which is further down. There is nobody overlooking us (except the cows in the field next door). That was more important to us than the road.
Andy has taken down the sold sign. He is standing in the small front yard which opens directly onto the road. At some point in the distant future we will enclose it, so that the cats can go out. At the moment they can only go out if we keep an eye on them, as the risk of them going under some wheels is too great. Of course, they make a beeline for the road, not the big field on the other side!
But ten minutes down the road, I can turn off into this little lane which is old, deep and less used. It takes me up to some lovely views; I can see brooding Caer Caradoc
from here, in the distance.
And although we really DO live in the middle of nowhere now, the log man lives just half a mile away.
Delivered by tractor, in time for the cold snap.
We are in! Thank you for the wonderful comments, much needed crumbs of comfort as we get to grips with our new kingdom. Oh dear. It wasn't advertised as a renovation job, but that is essentially what it is. We knew that there would be a lot of stripping out and re-decorating. Certain things had to go immediately, such as the nylon curtains reeking of old menthol cigarettes.
Every corner of this poor little cottage was *improved* sometime in the 1980's by the looks of it, and not expertly either. Bodged.
Truly nasty plastic textured wallpaper, walls and ceilings. Everywhere. In various patterns. All to be stripped off and eventually lime plastered. Back to basics.
Worse was discovered in the main back wall - bad damp which our expensive survey had not revealed. Nor had the vendors, which is not illegal, but has chipped away at my already fragile faith in human nature.
Wall to wall fitted carpet in all rooms, fifty shades of beige (and brown). Smelling of dogs and dirt.
I had hoped that under the grimy carpet, there might have been tiles or boards, but all I found was ancient, chilly lino laid over a concrete floor. Cold, but still better than the carpet. The colour reminds me of raw liver...it was going to be my studio, but that's another story.
Out with the old and smelly!
Because we'd rather have honest floorboards, even if they are in need of some serious love.
Some areas are just grim. We spent the first weekend knocking on walls and stripping off bits of paper to see what was underneath. Velour curtains anyone?
In the main bedroom, we had been given to understand that there were 'oak floorboards' - underneath the mucky green carpet and nailed down chipboard.
As with so many other things, this turned out to be a flight of fancy. Not only are they bog-standard pine, as would be expected in a worker's cottage...
...but they hid a rather large hole!
Despite all this, we are keeping our chins up. At first we were disheartened, but we're adjusting our rose tinted spectacles. As we thought when we first viewed this place, there is a nice little Edwardian cottage waiting to be revealed.
Now she smells of beeswax, not grime and with the carpets up, she is breathing again. Admittedly, she needs a darned good cleaning and stripping, but she has a good heart. Bodge Cottage. Ours for better or worse, and I think we've seen the worst.
By the time you read this, we will be packing up and moving for the second time in 6 months. At the start of this year, we planned to uproot ourselves from the Cotswolds, after 18 happy years. We would leave dear friends, familiar faces and everything we knew to move to a county we had been to twice.
We would rent somewhere for a few months.
We would buy our first (and last) house with a nice garden, character, peace and quiet.
All before Christmas.
We did it.
It has been a long and stony road. There have been times when we have literally clung to each other and wondered if we had made the biggest mistake of our lives. We have been stressed, depressed, isolated and torn. We somehow worked through it - and two months ago we found our 'forever home'. At a price we could just afford and in the area we wanted.
Today we finally get the keys to our very own cottage; it's taken 21 years of our saving, hoping and dreaming. It's a small, plain cottage, but to us it is beyond beautiful. For the first time in my life, I feel as if I can finally stop running.
Is this not lovely? The Mollie Makes team have hand crafted a new weekly digital mini-mag
for the iPad. I have to come clean and say that I don't have an iPad myself (nor any other kind of tablet or internet gadget, just my grinding old clockwork computer). I believe there are links and clickable things inside. I was delighted to be commissioned to create a simple acorn pattern, which can be made in 2-3 hours easily.
I was hugely tickled to see the promo video, which features a somewhat larger version of the acorns;
Although if you make the ones in 'Gathered', they should be this big;
There is a great offer of your first five issues for free when you subscribe, details of which are here
There have been mumblings and grumblings that it's not available across all tablet platforms; there are plans to expand availability next year, but there various technical issues to overcome. However, everything starts somewhere. From little acorns big oak trees grow.
I can't think why, but I have never made geese on wheels before
I might make one or two just for me, as these will be rolling off somewhere. Honk!
The Wrekin seen beyond, from a Shropshire lane.
Thank you so much everyone
for entering the give-away, what a lovely response. I wish there could be more than one winner, but after putting everyone's name in a hat - literally - the winner is 'Making Miggy
' - and I was so pleased she had, as she'd made some lovely doglets
from my previous Mollie Makes pattern.
Another winner is Clover, who has finally settled into her winter routine.
Yes, 'she' is a rare female ginger.
I've just finished my sixth needle felt pattern of the year, and only two are public, so I'm looking forward to seeing the other four when they come out. Now it's back to customer orders - before another exciting event takes over...
It seems like a long time ago when I made these little chaps - in our old cottage, back in the Spring before we moved. Cottages and houses really are the dominant theme this year.
And now at last, they are in the gorgeous new 'Mollie Makes' project series, published by Anova Books. I opened my latest mag to see this - and a lovely in-house photo of my little cottages.
The nice people at Anova
have offered a giveaway of a free copy to a lucky winner - just leave a comment on my blog here, and I'll draw all the names out of a hat on Wednesday morning October the 10th - so get your name down before then, and I'll send the winner's email address to the publishers. Open to the Whole World.
I've already got my copies - so many lovely things in there, I feel happy just looking at it.
Oh, and if you'd like a bonus entry, subscribe to Lovecraft/Anova Twitterfeed
Shall we forget about the stress and headaches of house buying? Shall we post off the last deadline and get out for some sun and air? Let's go over to one of the famous Shropshire Hills and climb up into the blue.
Up Caer Caradoc
, which we see on our drives out and about. From the ascent we can see towards it's smooth sloped sister, the Lawley and beyond towards Shrewsbury.
After three weeks of stuffing inside trying to meet deadlines, my calves were screaming by the time we got to the top. Oh look, there's another bit to it...
So I found a sheltered spot to flop down in and gave Andy the camera, so that he could show me what it was like from the top. There is the Lawley again, but smaller and my favourite hill, the Wrekin
- a distant blue lump in the background.
Sitting in the sun, listening to the wind riffle the grasses, the faint bleating of sheep and the sharp swish of air as swallows dive low over the hillside. Finding the tiny things in a landscape of huge things. Dozing off.
Hey, wait for me Andy!
Wait for meeee!
A much needed mini-mini-break in Ludlow
, arguably the food capital of the UK. We love Ludlow. We always buy a good wodge of local bacon and sausages from our favourite butcher. As always, it was rammed with customers; there is only a small shop space inside, so buying is a bit of a 'shouting your order over the tops of someone else's head' affair.
Ludlow is a pleasing architectural medley, not too regimented, not too eccentric. Everywhere there is something interesting or quaint to admire, Georgian and Mediaeval styles nestling happily with Victorian and Tudor.
And you can usually glimpse the generous green hills of the surrounding Shropshire countryside from some peep hole.
Tempting alleyways and narrow streets that follow the original Mediaeval layout of the town.
It was pleasantly odd wandering around this time, realising that we only live on the other side of the county and this time would not be making the journey back to the Cotswolds.
The basket weaver who always seems to be on the same market corner, no matter what day we visit.
The penny whistler who has been on this corner every time we've visited was also in his usual place. He's definitely improved over the last two years.
Buying some local cheese for a picnic later on.
And some naughty Chelsea buns
for breakfast - as we are on holiday.
Eaten soon after, overlooking an appetising view of lovely Ludlow.
This is part of the Offa's Dyke path
, which leads up to Hergest Ridge
, in our neighbouring sister county, Herefordshire. This is an old drover's path and it becomes beautifully broad and inviting as you proceed up and along it.
It's a nice gentle climb to the top, just right for out of condition types like ourselves and even better - a bench handily situated halfway up.
Where one can study the map and try to work out where the heck we are in relation to everything.
We like to know where we are in a landscape Just beyond the hills, a dim blue hump on the horizon, we spot Caer Caradoc, whose more taxing slopes we went up
the other week. Now we can place ourselves. There's Shropshire, just a few miles away -
- and there's two humped Caer Caradoc, the furthest hill we can see, keeping a watchful eye on us, in case we stray too far.
If you recognise the name 'Hergest Ridge', then you may be thinking of the Mike Oldfield
album of the same title. It was written round about here, and somewhere in our packed up things I have the original vinyl, picked up second hand when I was about seventeen, so visiting the actual place was a landmark journey for me.
We made our way to the flattened top, where the winds whistle and sheep graze quietly with ponies. Then we strolled back down hill, finding shelter behind a big gorse bush where we could eat in peace - the local cheeses we bought in Ludlow a few hours earlier - Wrekin White
, Monkland and Ludlovian Cheddar. With ripe Victoria plums and water. Apart from the ciabatta (although also locally baked) it was about a traditional a picnic as we could wish for.
We ate overlooking the heart of England - which may look like a flat bit of land here, but there across are the Malvern Hills and beyond them unseen, the Cotswolds, our old stamping grounds. Back then, we would see them and imagine Herefordshire and Shropshire behind them, wondering if one day we'd be living on the other side. Border country.
I've got a few things going on at the moment, life-wise - and an ongoing order list for full sized toys. But it's nice to go AWOL sometimes and sneak a bit of playtime in.
So when I can, I've been making little things. Such as tiny houses - as we seem to be having a house oriented year.
Which *only* take 3-4 hours to make.
These 'Wee Housies' were going to be popped into my Etsy shop for £30 each.
But the entire village was snapped up before I could list them. Sorry!
What, no green fields or pastoral hills? No, occasionally we go urban. This is Oldham, 'up North', on the outskirts of Manchester, the weather typically grey. We'd been warned by our host to take the tram as 'there's a lot of roadworks in town'. He wasn't kidding.
We were here to visit the Incline Press (whom I've met over the years at various Fine Press fairs and Wayzgooses, blogged here
which we found tucked away in a little side road, looking very unassuming.
Until you get inside, that is and breathe in the inky aroma. What treasures are piled ceiling high - what delights are being printed!
At the moment Graham is producing 'Danger and Destiny in the Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm
' written by David Blamires, to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the first printing of Grimms' Fairytales. It will be a limited edition of 300 copies and when I say producing, I mean that he is setting the entire text by hand, printing it on the traditional press and binding it - again by hand. Pre-publication price as I write is £48, which I consider to be reasonable in the extreme.
When we arrived, Graham was typesetting and had noticed a tiny fault in a 'J' block. He printed off a page to show us.
Although he was clearly busy with setting up the book, he kindly took us on a tour of the studio - I dawdled and took lots of nosey photos.
Down the stairs, carefully now!
To the basement - heavenly.
Packets of minty fresh type bought up from Stephenson Blake
, the last working type foundry in Britain before it shut down at the end of the Twentieth century.
So many corners filled with *stuff* - I asked Graham if he knew what he'd got and where it all was and he said yes.
Towers of type cabinets. My not-very-secret passion.
Various jobs in various states.
We had a brilliant and informative time - and Graham gave me some sound advice on what to do with my salvaged Adana gear
, which is stored down in the Forest of Dean until we find our new home.
Town or country, one thing remains true - Andy is always many strides ahead of me.
Thank you Graham for a lovely visit and our very special souvenir.
'Letterpress Printer's Essential
May cause stickiness so eat responsibly
Do not use while operating machinery
Hand Made at Incline Press 36 Bow Street Oldham'
We are on the cliff edge of waiting for our mortgage application to be approved. If it is, then great joy and celebrations will ensue - limbo and uncertainty will be over. If it isn't approved, we'll have uprooted ourselves for nothing and wasted a lot of money in the process. God knows what happens then.
At the moment there is nothing to do except wait and work. Thank goodness for the salvation of work.
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To take our minds off certain house buying things, we went salvage browsing.
The first place boasted the 'largest stock of furniture' in the Universe - or claims to that effect and yet oddly, we could not find anything we particularly liked (or could afford!) in the vast storerooms.
Apart from this lovely (new) four poster bed, which would swamp an average sized bedroom.
And maybe an Edwardian fireplace - for inside, of course. but which one to choose?
This one was sweet -
Under the cobwebs, poppies and swallows;
...and this one...
But I think we both liked this the best, with bucolic country views painted onto the tiles. It would go beautifully in a little Edwardian cottage bedroom...
We day-dreamed of re-tiling a kitchen wall with a glorious melange of antique panels.
These kinds of colours, we thought.
Exploring enticing storage crates rammed with furniture -
- if I could have had one thing and money to burn, it would have been this clock, though hard to tell if it just needs winding or simply won't go any more...
Finding exactly the right sized radiator I'd thought would be perfect for underneath a window. If one had a window of one's own , that is.
Then I spotted this giant old water trough and started wondering how it could be turned into an outdoor hot tub. At which point I realised it had all gone to my head and it was time to trundle home for a cup of tea. And to tackle the behemoth deadlines, two of 'em, that are still looming over my head.