Workmen arrived this morning and started replacing our windows. We are getting double-glazing! I am so happy. Also rather cold as the wind whistles through the windowless rooms while they work. We didn’t know they were coming today until the end of last week, so it is all happening sooner than we expected at this stage. (Actually, my beloved husband found out on Friday that they were starting work today, but didn’t tell me until Saturday night. We had just had good news about the Church heating and our window situation just kinda slipped his mind.) The workmen think they will have the job finished in about a week – this is extra good news as I’d assumed it would take much longer. The disruption is huge while this is going on (we are having to tie the dog up to furniture and the cat is hiding under the duvet), but it will be fantastic to get it all over and done with. I’m looking forward to a much warmer house when the work is finished. This is our 5th winter in the house and we can rarely get the living room over 15 degrees Centigrade at this time of year (actually it rarely gets up to that temperature even), the first year when one of the radiators in there wasn’t working properly I considered contacting the local funeral director to offer use of the room as a temporary mortuary! We are so grateful that the diocese has found the money in its budget to reglaze us this year, even more grateful that the work will be done before the baby arrives. As heating costs continue to rise it will be great to be able to retain a bit more of the heat we put into the house.
When the chaps arrived to start work I was busy loading my shopping trolley in Sainsbury’s. I was getting close to finishing, about to hit the freezer aisle, when the alarms went off and we were evacuated. Thankfully, they were letting people into the carpark so I was able to wait in the car for a while before I decided that I might as well come home as clearly we weren’t going to get back in to the shop for quite some time. It is an inconvenience, but we have food at home so we aren’t exactly going to starve! I’ve just placed an order online to be delivered later this week instead of trying to go back and I’ve been able to get a few more heavy items than I could have managed in store on my own (a month’s supply of cat litter, for example!) – so it is not all bad!
We had a lovely long weekend on Exmoor. The cottage was charming – thick old stone walls, but with all mod cons. The weather was grey, and we spent quite a bit of our time relaxing in front of the wood burner.
Simon getting the fire going.
The view from the bedroom window. (A bit less built up than London!)
From the road near the cottage. Where the trees are in the middle of the photo there is considerably more of a dip than than it seems – the cottage is down there.
We relished the peace and quiet, and the time being together. This short break was a blessing. I have to admit that I am glad to be back home and to get back to the usual routine, though!
We had a lovely time in Bruges (Belgium). Here is a little taste:
(Simon is actually grabbing his spoon not the bill!)
We had a lovely boat trip on the canals (and again in Ghent), did plenty of walking around sightseeing, finally got to see the art collection at the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, but did not climb the 366 steps to the top of the bell tower (that is the tower in the photo above)!
We had a nightmare journey back, however. Eurostar had double booked our seats (and also those of several elderly people). No seats on a 2 hour 20 minute journey that turned into a 2 hour 40 minute journey. Train manager was nowhere to be found. I have written to complain – will let you know if and when I hear anything back.
I have my first antenatal class this morning and then we are off on holiday again. This time we are going for a long weekend to a cottage on Exmoor, Somerset. Weather forecast is foggy and damp, so it might be a lot of reading by the wood-burning stove!
Well, the re-painting works have come to a grinding halt. Not because of the size of the bump (as Sharon foresaw and I feared), but because of these:
Apparently all the pain and swelling (and the numbness at night) I’ve been suffering with in my hands is pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome. So now I have to sleep with wrist splints on, and I am also to wear them when my hands are at rest during the day. I am hoping that after a few nights of wearing the splints I might be in less pain during the day and might be able to get back to doing a bit more again (like the painting, say). Simon has said he will finish off the painting when he has a couple of days off after Christmas.
In the meantime, we are off on holiday! We are going to Bruges (Belgium) for 4 days, coming back on Saturday night. We have been before, both separately and together, and it is a charming place and quite easy to get around on foot. I’m looking forward to those Belgian chocolates!
Yesterday we went down to Poole (in Dorset, on the south coast) where we used to live, to visit a friend and her new baby girl. Baby Jessica is gorgeous (sorry, no photos of her – to protect their privacy) and tiny. She was actually due this week but was born 3 weeks ago after induction due to mum’s pre-eclampsia. Mother and baby are doing very well, it is baby number 3 for our friend who is also a childcare professional so she is confident and relaxed and knows what she is doing. Baby Jessica was 7 lbs 4 oz at birth so is a good healthy weight, but seems so tiny and fragile – and then I think of pushing out something that size and she seems ENORMOUS!
Inspired by some pictures I’d seen (and instructions found on the internet), I made a nappy (diaper) cake:
I’m really pleased with how it turned out – not bad for a first attempt! This isn’t something we have over here (though a few businesses are springing up selling them now, at great expense), but I think it is a cute idea. I enjoyed making it, too.
We took a quick trip to the beach to give the dog a run and to see the sea. This beach (Branksome Dene Chine) used to be just 3 miles from our house. The view from the beach:
A close up of Old Harry’s Rocks:
Looking left from the beach – the cliff is part of the Isle of Wight
As you can see we were blessed with good weather (in fact we had the best weather of the day when we were walking on the beach). Coming back I had lovely views of the stars as we drove across the dark New Forest (poor Simon driving had to be content with a view of other cars’ lights!) – a clear night and cold. We had a frost this morning, our first this autumn that I’m aware of. Today has been bright but much colder. We’ve had a very mild autumn so far, but it seems that the weather has finally changed.
I spent the last two Saturdays at second hand sales of baby clothes and toys and here are my purchases:
As you can see pink items won out (the best bargains were bagged bundles for boys or girls, and actually there weren’t that many unisex items). Local branches of the National Childbirth Trust run secondhand sales in the autumn and sometimes in the spring as well. These sales are very very busy. I went to the only two sales I could get to this season, and it was well worth the time and effort especially as the items I bought were better quality than I could have afforded new.
I took a trip up to North London to buy curtain fabric a couple of weeks ago, this is what I came back with:
In amongst the flowers are birds and dragonflies. I also got some blackout fabric to line the curtains with. Curtain making can wait til I’ve got the repainting done – I need to get busy painting while I can still move around fairly easily, at least sewing jobs I can sit down for! My hope is to start work on the painting next week.
I love autumn colours and marvel each year at the way the leaves change. Last week we had a church trip to Sheffield Park in Sussex (heading south from us) – this is a garden with a large variety of trees and it gave us a great opportunity to enjoy autumn leaves at their finest. We left breathtaken by the beauty of God’s creation, and by my stupidity at leaving my camera at home. The photo here is of Ashdown forest (also in Sussex) where we walked the dog on Monday on the way to visit Simon’s birth mother in her nursing home.
I am contemplating trying to bring back a revival of the word “fall” for “autumn” in British English. This was in use when the pilgrims went to America, hence the U.S. usage, but fell out of use here. It is such an evocative word, so appropriate for areas with deciduous trees.