Friday 7 May 2010

This old house . . .

Our house, as seen from the paddock . . . a work still in progress.

I seem to have been down memory lane in the brain-singing-a-silly-song department this week - I blame Radio 4 for playing someone singing Noel Coward's "There Are Bad Times Just Around the Corner". Since then my brain seems to have gone through its entire repertoire of silly songs from Music Hall days onwards . . .

Mind you, when the above song was stuck in my head at 3 a.m. one morning this week I ended getting up to come on the computer and try and forget to sing it! I listed a pile of stuff to be auctioned on e-bay, and put it on with a delayed start, only to find out it I'd waited until the weekend I could have listed it for free . . .

Above: the bit I have cleaned off and painted up today, which includes the lower half of the inglenook kick-out of the chimney too, just behind the Damson Tree, which as you see, couldn't have been more in the way if it had tried.

I battled on with the outside painting today. It seems never-ending (the painting in general) - but we have made good progress with the Gable walls these past few days. The paddock side is done bar a section half way up on one side which OH said can be done from a ladder, so we need to crack on with the bits we can only do whilst we have scaffolding up, so we have been working on the Inglenook chimney gable end. I did about 6 hours out there in all - preparing the wall (e.g. removing moss on the lower regions!) and then painting, which takes a long time as it is very rubbly and rough in finish from where it had gravel added to the final render coat when it was originally rendered. OH has been doing the top bit, which involves leaning across with an old brush which is on the end of a long long pole - one his mother used to dust the stair well with and which has come into its own again. I'm very glad he is the one with the head for heights . . .

I thought I would include a couple of photos of the Morning Room now it is finished and will probably be renamed now it has the big old mahogany table and chairs in there (most of the latter still waiting seats). This old table came from a Dorset auction (the auction held at Sturminster Newton market) before we moved here, and was cheap as although solid mahogany, some bright spark had thought to glue floor tiles to the top to render it more "useful" in the kitchen . . . Needless to say the top is looking a bit newer these days and doesn't have the depth of patina it should have had according to its age. Ah well, if it was perfect, we couldn't have afforded to buy it!

Below: Gr. Granny C's little dresser is a perfect fit for the blocked in doorway.

The right hand side of my garden, which is just about to burst into Aquilegia to keep the Cowslips company.

I have to confess, whilst I am house-hunting on-line, although not in the market for a bungalow, I am discarding anything more than two modest stories high, or looking "high-maintenance" . . . This house has held us in thrall for far too long. We have spent a king's ransom trying to restore it in the way it should be restored - lime plaster, lime-mortar, limewash, flagstone floors, half-timbering in some areas, a builder who specialized in restoring old houses, etc. I lived in a building site on and off for 16 years. The house, once tarted up again, is wonderful, but it has been a millstone round our necks and I look forward to a retirement where we can potter rather than work like navvies! We have been the custodians of this old house for over 20 years. Time for someone younger to take over and carry the banner.


  1. You are brave to be painting the outside of your house from scaffolding! You must be tired after 6 hours worth. The Morning Room looks lovely with that yellow paint on the walls, it's a really nice colour that lifts your spirits. I lied about the letter last weekend! Neil & Co were here so had no time. This weekend for definite!

  2. Love the post, your words remind me of my grandparents who recently passed, at near 100...British til the end. Words like 'bright spark and navvies remind me so of listening to them.

    I know how homes can be that millstone, though mine not like yours in terms of work, but I often long for my old bungalow of 850 sq ft...this place takes up too much of my time!

  3. Teri - I guess I'm old-fashioned - I like to keep the old expressions alive as well!

    Rowan - I'll forgive you! Much more fun having your family there rather than writing a letter. :)

  4. What an amazing job you are doing!

    I love the bright foliage of the garden against the slate grey stones.

  5. Keep at it, the morning room is lovely, and I quite agree there comes a time in life when you need not to have too work endlessly in a house.....

  6. Gosh, how brave up the scaffolding painting! I can understand how you feel about your old house. You've done your bit, time for someone else to takeover.

    Shirl x

  7. I'm so impressed at you painting the house yourselves, I wouldn't do our single-storey cottage. You are obviously doing a tremendous job. And your morning room looks lovely.

    I heard the Noel Coward song on the radio too, and it's been in my head ever since, especially that line about the rats leaving the BBC.

  8. The house looks stunning, I'd so love to be the one to buy it (sigh!). You are indeed very brave, I'm impressed at your scaffold skills :)
    I did laugh at your post about the beach, and the conversation with the, ummm, interesting chap!

  9. DW - there are some variagated Iris coming through now which make a big difference. The Heuchera in the main borders do the same there with their burgundy or bronzey leaves. I am come late to coloured foliage . . .

    G. Cat & Shirl - it's called Needs Must. The scaffolders (it's a long story) who were given our job when the quote we'd taken didn't materialize, upped the price by 50% - that was the money for the builder : ( We could only have him a few days, just to do the chimneys mainly, so the rest is down to us.

    Yarrow - what a difference a bit of paint makes. It's K who goes up high, with a bit of help from D to move scaffolding boards around (eeeek - they tell me to go indoors as I panic). I just do the low bits - I am allowed to go up small ladder height . . .

    Thelma - the Morning Room was the "last" room in the house to be tarted up. It has been semi-done for years, but OH had to make the last wall of coving (not the word, but you know what I mean) up himself as not replicated to buy. The roll of carpet had been in there . . . 12 years? - waiting to be laid . . .

  10. I think you've done your bit!!...and a bit more!!

    It is looking lovely 'tho. But you will have to rest up for a few months after all that work.