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The white fluffy month

The farmer next door has for some reason herded his sheep from the big field behind us to the small field in front of us (they do this by driving Land Rovers at them and honking). This means lots of sheepy noises this evening.

For the record, sheep do not go baa. They go AHHHHHHHHHH! Which is pretty funny, to be honest.

May is my favorite, and not just because I indulge myself the whole month. All the various thorn trees explode into poofy white flowers (mayflowers, as it were) and the fields are full of poofy white sheep. It’s purdy.

In conclusion, AHHHHHHHHHH! Have a good weekend. The fête season starts tomorrow!

May 19, 2023 — 7:24 pm
Comments: 6

What it is living in a 500 year old house, part #563

Ivy. Growing through a tiny hole in the wood of the windowsill.

I went outside and stripped the brick of all the parent ivy, but this little shoot still thrives. You know what that means, yeah? It’s living off stuff in the house.

The walls are about a foot thick and apparently solid…cement? So godnose. Some Georgian peasant probably walled up grandma.

Eh. I exaggerate. The house was built somewhere between 1505, when the first house in the neighborhood was built, and 1610, when we have a delinquent tax bill for the property. So somewhere between 413 and 518 years old. It’s a real fixer upper.

No, we don’t owe 413 years worth of interest and penalties. They forgive it after seven years.

May 15, 2023 — 6:54 pm
Comments: 6

Floor porn

In yesterday’s thread, BJM posted a link to these engineered recycled wood planks. And very lovely they are, too, but not quite right for Badger House. Everything in this house looks like it was gnawed into its present shape by woodland creatures and then left in the rain for 100 years.

There’s not a large enough area of floor showing upstairs to demonstrate what I mean. I tried to find something similar online and found the mother of all floor porn sites. Look at that parquet!

Each floor is a one-off project, and takes on average 6-9 months from first enquiry to completion. We only take on 5-6 projects per year.

No, we are not in that bracket. That is rockstar money. That is Henry VIII money. We’re hoping for a hod of old bricks and lad who is clever with his hands.

Boris has fallen. I’m not a fan – he was a pretty awful PM – but his hounding out was clearly a media-orchestrated coup. And the lot mostly likely to vie for his job are a dreadful pack of globalists, remainers, greenies and people who think some women have dicks.

I despair.

July 7, 2022 — 5:54 pm
Comments: 5

Wait, I haven’t posted yet?

I didn’t go in to work today. It was absolutely glorious and I sat in the garden and drank herbal tea and shitposted on Twitter allll day long on me phone.

This is the front garden, where the chickens live. It’s where our garden chairs are and we look out over the sheep field. But the real miracle is the back garden this year, out the kitchen door.

Uncle B has been working on it for years, and it’s really coming into its own. Last year was good, this year is spectacular. Everything is a harmonious height and color.

I’m trying to work out how to walk down it with a video camera to give you an idea.

June 15, 2022 — 8:19 pm
Comments: 5

Your daily dose of adorable

This was shot from the garden, my dudes. By Uncle B on his fancy new phone.

I know I was complaining I couldn’t see the lambs for the overgrown hedge. That’s the super big field behind us where most of the flock hangs out. There’s a smaller field next to us (the one I tried to buy for lama keeping) and the flock has access to it. A few sheep wander in it sometimes.

These little puff balls came right up to the fence. A gang of six was pronking around in the grass.

This is the *best* time of year here.

April 25, 2022 — 5:35 pm
Comments: 6

Much reduced

The prevailing wind here is from the West and it is often very powerful. Brisk isn’t in it. In the path of this wind across from us were three large and robust willow trees.

They blocked our view of the fields beyond, but they were obviously planted as a windbreak, and very welcome for it. I called them the Three Sisters.

Then a terrible storm came along and blew down the old girl in the middle. Imagine, a tree as old and established as that. Blew it right over. It very much damaged the one on the left, too.

After that, I called them the One-and-a-quarter Sisters.

Now look! Quarter sister didn’t make it through the Winter. I noticed it on the ride home today. She has joined Middle Sister and is no more. Yes, I’m talking about that sad dead stick way over to the left.

I guess it’s just the tree across the street now. Not much breaking of wind there.

Speaking of windbreaks…we’ve let the brush at the end of the garden grow up to help shelter Uncle B’s vegetable beds. Now I can hear little baby lambs and I can’t see them! It’s making me nuts!

Oh, yes. We have LAAAAAAMBS!

April 19, 2022 — 6:38 pm
Comments: 6


Today’s Adventures in British Architecture: Chesworth House. It was the childhood home of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, but it’s much older than that.

The picture is the banquet hall. I love this about the Medieval great halls: it is simply a continuation of the ancient Viking long hall or Sussex round house. A big open room with a long firepit in the middle (well, it would have had a firepit in the middle) and a high peaked ceiling to draw the smoke away. It’s a design so successful it stretches back to prehistory and didn’t change much until late Tudor times.

The Clergy House in Alfriston is a much smaller house on the same plan. This was the National Trust’s first property, by the way. It was falling to bits and they paid £10 for it. A short but very cool day trip.

It’s also the plan of all the inns and Breezehome, your first house in Skyrim, though game designers didn’t have to worry about where the smoke was going to go so they put a floor directly above the fire.

Badger House was innovative because, you know, chimney. But the mantlepiece is a great beam of wood flush with the wall. They hadn’t figured out they could keep their Christmas cards on it if it stuck out a little.

Anyway, back to Chesworth. It’s a private home. In fact, it’s only Grade II listed – same as Badger House. Last time it was on the market, in 2018, it was up for £6 million. Do have a look around.

The beams! That kitchen!

I’d hate to have to heat the place, but I suppose whoever bought it is a creature made entirely of money.

January 12, 2022 — 7:13 pm
Comments: 6

This is what I’m doing tonight

We got a quadruple load of wood today. We’re expecting high winds and heavy rain tonight. My job is to check the CCTV from time to time to make sure the tarp hasn’t blown off. I’m just about up to it.

It dipped into the low twenties last night. Very unusual here – it does it maybe once or twice per Winter, if at all. I had to boil a kettle to unfreeze the chickens’ water this morning.

That wouldn’t be impressive in Rhode Island, but a 500 year old house on the shores of the English Channel gets cold. I mean, really cold. I don’t know what the insulation R-value of wattle and daub is, but it can’t be good.

No power on earth could drive me out of this comfy chair with my two (2!) hot water bottles and my large fat cat.

Dead Pool tomorrow! Be here, but bring your own hot water bottle!

January 6, 2022 — 7:46 pm
Comments: 13

The bastard made a vinaigrette!

It’s no surprise in a house as old as this that we have a seasonal rodent problem. It’s full of holes and hollow places.

We had the county ratman come out to the house not long after we moved in and he told us many and interesting things about rats. Then he flung blocks of poison all over the attics and crawl spaces. For many years afterwards, we had a Christmas tradition of smelly dead rat under the master bedroom floorboards.

The poison must’ve worn off or been consumed because we’ve got some active squeakers at the moment, especially banging around in the kitchen cabinets.

Last night, I smelled the pungent stink of vinegar, opened the cabinets to discover he’d chewed his way through the base of a plastic bottle of malt vinegar. Also through a bottle of spray olive oil. The bastard made a vinaigrette on my kitchen floor!

Cleaning that up, I discovered this lickety-clean peanut butter jar. The lid must have been plastic – it done vanished entirely!

I don’t work Wednesdays. Tomorrow I shall put on the moon suit and see what awaits me deep in the cabinets.

December 14, 2021 — 7:55 pm
Comments: 8

Batten down the hatches

After a dreary Summer, comes a miserable Winter. They’ve been bigging up shortages, and now shortages are coming to pass.

Partly self-fulfilling. BP announced gas rationing for their filling stations today and this afternoon our local (non BP) station had a brutal queue.

Meat, particularly beef, is getting scarce. I had a hankering for a slow-cooked beef joint and we couldn’t find a brisket for less than £8. (Still not eating the bugs, tho).

Tuesday we went into a supermarket – in person! – for the first time in…oh, fifteen months. It was fully stocked, but the online shopping has shown up some missing products. If they keep talking about it, people will naturally start to hoard toilet paper again.

Natural gas prices have exploded. Electricity also, and little suppliers are going bust. We’re preparing for blackouts.

That’s the second fire of the season. We’ve opted to go with all wood this year (instead of switching to solid fuel for the coldest months) because it’s much, much easier. Also we once had a delivery guy drop a literal ton of coal at the end of our drive, blocking it. We’re getting a little old and crunky for that kind of manual labor.

If it’s a cold one, I’m disappearing under the electric blanket for the season.

September 23, 2021 — 7:23 pm
Comments: 14