The long March

Well, before James and Mariery arrive on Thursday evening in the now Spring-like climes of North Lincolnshire I thought I would post some of our achievements – and here I use the word ‘we’ advisedly as my brilliant husband has done most of the hard slog and I have merely organised, made lists, done family stuff and ordered things online – tee hee.


The half finished and new soil pipe is in situ, it looks quite simple but it involved some very hard work in not only taking out the old (very old) stack and then create new holes for both the toilets. The one that is shown here is for the main bathroom but Chris has also to create a new hole for the waste from the new en-suite.


Here it is – the new hole from the en-suite. Chris was in seventh heaven as he got to use a really massive drill piece. Actually, this is quite ‘arty’.


This part was fun! Chris had to climb the ladder in order to put in the final last piece of the soil stack, hold the drill and ‘manhandle’the pipe into position. I helped by passing things up and regularly asking ‘Are you okay?’ – I was being supportive!

Position one for the main bathroom toilet – hmmm, maybe not! Aaah, in front of the window, that is better. Looking good and Madeleine officially opened the facility!

At the end of February I posted my progress with the renovated chair from my sister. Here is the cushion made with furnishing foam, an old duvet and covered in half of a pair of curtains from the British Red Cross. The first photo is the back of the seat with the recycled buttons and the second photo shows the lovely new addition of black and white spotted buttons.


The finished article, not only does it fit in beautifully with the colour scheme in the front bedroom but it is very comfortable.


Of course the littlest grandchildren are not to be left out with the building efforts – here we have the plastic cup construction. Well done you two.


Look at this – incorporating a corner too! Notice the natty flag. Fantastic Matthew!


Madeleine was thrilled to be the winner of the castle building project at school. Good taste as she chose the M&S choccies from the selection of prizes!

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Above you can see the progress with the demolition of the original elements of the bathroom that will now become the new en-suite.

Such a lot of mess and fine brickdust as Chris knocked through the doorway into the wardrobe area that joins the new guest room. The door lintel was already in place as we had this done in December. Chris managed to contain most of the dust and mess by incarcerating himself into the sealed area – this was mostly successful. Thank you darling. The second photo shows the doorway through into the guest bedroom and the space between the two doorways will be a new walk in wardrobe (small but perfect!).

For those of you who had difficulty recognising the dust monster it is in fact Chris! The first photo shows Chris’s Heath Robinson answer to constant grit in the eyes – yup, cling film and masking tape! He is nothing if not inventive.


The colour of the bath water from Chris’s quick wash off after knocking down walls.

I have filled and painted the walls in the back room (what I like to call the study!) – the colour is Buttermilk but it has turned out a little yellow – nice, but a little yellow. In order to tidy the clutter and re-organise files, photos and books I ordered Ikea Billy bookcases – easy to make and they take a ton of stuff!


Now, that’s what I like to see – all neat and tidy. Now, only the doors to put on.


Aaagh! This is not what I want to see – more dust and a great big dust monster.


As you know I am walking 10,000 steps a day throughout March in order to raise money for Cancer Research UK – This was just after I had walked to Tesco one morning. So far I have walked in excess of 120,000 steps – not that it appears to have made much difference to my waistline (perhaps I’d best not eat too much cake). Anyone willing to sponsor me please go to my Just Giving page – Stephanie Bloomfield – I am already halfway to my target.




February – leaps in progress!

So, we’ve just entered March (I know, how time flies) so I am a tad tardy in my blogging posts. To catch everyone up a bit I need to tell you that James and David are coming back to the UK to live and Mariery will be joining us here for an extended taste of British life! This of course has meant that it was imperative that we moved the renovations along apace as no doubt with the influx of people all work will take second place for some time. So, let’s get on with the round up of progress …


After a year of fantastic service the boiler felt a bit faint and so we had to empty the cupboard where it is and boy, what a lot of stuff emerged! Anyway, the wonderful S T Leaning gas engineers came out to check it out again, having previously resuscitated it in February 2015. All well as they fixed they fan but we are living on borrowed time but for now we have hot water and heat.

P1160930 P1160928┬áPaul Jennison came in and started to plaster the stairwell and the roof void – a big job and high, too! Looking up the stairs you can see that we have a nice arch and the left hand side is done.

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Before and after shots of the roof void and the completed archway – it has transformed the hallways and we are so excited about the progress. Thanks, Paul, good job.


Looking down the stairwell it is amazing to see how very light and airy the space now looks. Still lots to do but a very big boost to our spirits.

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Of course, we are not the only ones building – Madeleine spent several weeks constructing a Motte and Bailey Castle for a school competition. Chris kindly ate a pack of Tesco profiteroles in order that Madeleine could create her hill! How very selfless of him!


We rarely buy anything if we can re-cycle, so we had plenty of paints around when it came to this stage. Notice the astute use of a tea towel.


Looking good, Madeleine.

P1170021┬áThe finished article – it really looks good. Now to get it into school.


Not to be left out, Matthew set about his latest Lego model courtesy of Great Grandma. He follows the instructions really well.


Daisy is just perfecting her raison d’etre – to be completely cute and disarming at all times. Go for it, Doodlebug!


Forward planning and measuring is always the keystone for a good finish. Chris’s notes written on a piece of tile carton.

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Of course, Chris was not idle throughout this time of extra curricular activities with the grandchildren; he was busy constructing an inset bathroom cabinet with a mirrored door – stage one.

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Stage 2 – Insert constructed and hinge and mirror fitted. The mirror was a find in the local charity shop and has had several places in the house already – this is its final position.


Ooops! I seem to be on the tilt. Never mind, you can see the mirrored cabinet in situ. It makes a lot of difference and it has such useful storage.

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I know – what have I been doing? See above the side pieces for a chair that my sister gave me last July – you just can’t rush these things. You can see the task I have ahead of me!!


Hand sanding – actually very satisfying and a good finish too!

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As this chair is going into the ‘grandchildren’s’ bedroom I have chosen grey for the side pieces and covered the seat in red.


A big well done to Madeleine who wrote and entered her 500 word story for the BBC2. Good luck.


I have started to grout the bathroom tiles and I was happy that it went so well. It didn’t take too long either.


Chris putting in the new door frame for the house bathroom. I hope that spirit level doesn’t fall on his head.


We have also had snow.


And Valentine’s Day – thank you, Chris, for my lovely flowers.


We have re-potted a lot of our trees in readiness for garden planning in the summer. Looks very colourful and all are doing well so far.


Congratulations on the upcoming wedding of Sam and Will. We are delighted to be able to celebrate this joyous event with them in April. All our love.

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Chris in his favourite position – ooer, Missus! Reinforcing the stairs as the warmth of the heating has caused some creaking. Now all fixed and quiet again. Thank you, darling.


We are delighted to have these beautiful little Long Tailed Tits visiting us daily – in fact, as you can see they come and perch on the edge of the window frames a couple of feet from us! I managed to snap this photo by standing on a chair with the camera held at arms length until they returned again. We watched them over the next few days and it became apparent that the Tits were looking for a place to build a nest. ‘Chris, I’ve had an idea …’

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‘Would you make us some bird boxes?’ So in his spare time Chris made me two bird boxes – he used an old doormat to create an extra cover for the roof, most stylish. I painted them in water based paint having first checked the risk factors of painting bird boxes on the RSPB site. Hopefully they will like these little homes.

P1160909I thought I would leave this month’s post with a picture of one of our little visitors – he/she is very welcome, as are all visitors to our new green home. As I am sitting here working on this blog a small Blue Tit has been showing a lot of interest in the bird box near our dining room window. Fingers crossed.