Sunday, 18 December 2011

Good bye to a member of the festival family.

Some people make an impact on your life even though they only hold a physical presence in it for a few days out of the year.
I have always gone to festivals during the summer, it's my way of taking a holiday. Over the years we have built up a 'festival family'. It's very big this family and includes people of all ages and from all walks of life. Over the years there have been new partners brought into the fold, and marriages along with that. Some of them had children already and some of us have had children as the years have gone by - extending the family again.
Some of us have developed very close friendships and arrange to get together across the winter months, some of us only communicate via the web outside of festy season. It makes no odds which of these it is - when we get together in a field in the summer it's like we were never apart.
Some people have drifted away from this family, it's the nature of life for things to ebb and flow.
Up until now what we haven't dealt with is the permanent loss of one our fold to death. It is one of those things that you just never, ever expect. Not in a million years.
This week it happened. And it has hit us hard.
So, like i say - some people make a big impact on your life even if their physical presence in it is only for a few days. Ade was one of those people. He was big, both physically and in personality. He laughed. He laughed a lot and he laughed loud. At 5am when you are in a tent and trying to sleep because your 5 year old will have you up at 7am no matter what, this gregarious laughter is somewhat annoying. Right now I'd give almost anything to have the chance to get annoyed with that laugh again. Even if you've suffered loss before, each and every time it happens you still have to go through that process of disbelief - of trying to comprehend that you will never see that person again. There will be no more hugs, no more laughter. There will be an empty space. There will be many times when you forget and think 'Ade will love this' or simply expect to see him in that field at Glastonbury because somehow there is something seriously wrong with a reality that does not have a 6ft odd bald man in a halter neck dress, refusing to put a top on when he's cold because 'i haven't got anything that goes with the dress'...
When the news spread among the family we gathered online and just didn't know what to say to each other. Part of this festival family also includes very close blood relatives of Ade. Not only are we dealing with our own grief at losing a friend, we are dealing with grief of two people we also care about very much. And if our hearts are breaking at this loss then it is so hard to think how much harder it must be for them.

It's been a couple of days now since this happened. I'm still so very sad. The raw shock has gone. The grief is still there. The disbelief is fading.

Ade may be gone in a physical sense but he has left his festival family with a myriad of memories. All of them happy ones. The next time we all get together in a field it's going to be different. The dynamic will have changed. But we'll remember Ade. We'll remember his laughter and his phrases and all the little quirks of our individual friendship, the way we interacted with him. We'll fill that Ade shaped hole with laughter. Lots of it.

Friday, 9 December 2011

another sad good bye

Such a sad thing to write about :( On Weds 30th November our lovely Oz-dog just wasn't right. By the afternoon I was sufficiently worried enough to have to make an emergency trip to the vet. We thought that maybe the pain in his joints was making him really uncomfortable so the vet administered a powerful injection of painkillers to see if it would help him overnight, and we hoped for an improvement the next day. It wasn't so. We got up the next morning to a dog who was clearly ready to go over the bridge. It was an awful drive to the vet with him that morning, knowing that in all likelihood we wouldn't be bringing him back. We had a long chat with the vet about our options but we knew that really the only kind thing to do was to let him go. Oz-man sat on the floor with him while the vet administered that last act of kindness. He felt Oz-dog's head get heavy and was holding him when he finally fell asleep for the last time.
I knelt down and kissed his nose and stroked his ears and my tears were falling onto his fur. I felt my heart breaking :(
I can't begin to explain how wonderful this dog was, what a wonderful loving and amusing companion he has been to me for the last four years. He had the biggest personality of any dog I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He enchanted everyone he came into contact with.
Home is an odd place right now. It's the first time I've lived in a home without a pet wandering around. I miss his prescence. I miss tripping over the daft hound every time I move about. I miss retrieving his head from the bin (he frequently got the bin lid stuck on his head!). I miss him coming to greet me when I get in from a trip out. I miss the routine of the morning with him, watching from the kitchen window as he mooches about the garden while I make the morning cuppa. I just miss him being here.
He came into my life (as did his companion Kelly, who I blogged about last year when we lost her) at a very difficult time for me. I was recently separated from Lemmy's dad and for the first time in just over two years getting used to not being with my son every day. Those days when he was with his dad were emotionally draining. If it hadn't been for these dogs I probably would have stayed in bed those days. I certainly would have descended into deep depression. But I had these two furry creatures to look after, and they comforted me during lonely times. Oz-dog more so than Kelly (she was defintely Oz-man's dog). I cried into his fur - he would nudge me to keep fussing him and was a great distraction for me.
He's not had an easy life with many operations and somewhat limited mobility, and yet even up to the ripe old age of 11 he kept his puppy like enthusiasm for life right up until those last two days.
I miss him. I want my stupid, forever hungry, totally clumsy, ever friendly dog back.
My son was right in his statement when told that Oz-dog had gone 'i'll miss him, but I had lots of fun with him and that's the most important thing'
We're very sad at losing him, but very glad that we had the pleasure of him in our lives.

Monday, 14 November 2011

the mantel and the shower

We finally found a mantel shelf we liked! With the help of our friendly lodger (more about that later) it was fitted yesterday!

And there it is. I'm hoping to get my sewing machine set up so that I can make some pretty things to adorn the front with. I also have a few photos I'd like to place on it and will probably have several candles up there too.

We've also had a new shower fitted. The shower is fitted into the porch space where one of the old doors used to be (still is!) on the front of the house. It's an interesting use of the space. The existing shower had seen much better days, and as it's one thing in the house we do use everyday we decided to spend some of the renovation money on having a shiny new one fitted.

The back of the old front door!
When we ripped the old shower out we discovered in the cavity in the apex of the porch a light fitting! An electrician popped round and thankfully told us it was not connected, but imagine our horror at thought of two years showering inches from what may have been live electrics. Oh the joys you discover when renovating an old property.

The finished shower!
This was also done by our lodger, with the plumbing done by a friend of his. I can tell you that working to a space that isn't uniform created lots of creative and colourful language in the process. And not just from the man doing the work!

And so to the man who did all of this. I was at college with him many moons ago. We lost touch but recently contacted each other again. He's primarily a friend, but also a dab hand with building work and has done a lot of work on the house for us. He's been living with us the last couple of weeks so he can save rent and sort out his belongings, as a week today we'll be waving him off. I'll be sad to see him go, but happy that after a long and frustrating 3 years he's finally got his Visa to move to the USA to be with his beautiful fiancee out there. Her gain is most definitely our loss.......and no not just because we'll need to find another builder!

So, more things are starting to come together at the Old School House. We've made big changes in the garden which I'll blog about another time.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

So a glimpse of the new windows. Still need to be finished off outside, and we have a man onto that - just need to wait until he is free! Eventually we'll be re-painting the house as neither of us are that enamoured with the colour!

We've been making the most of the glorious weather and spending a lot of time in the garden the last couple of weeks. We cleared a bed that had two (unwanted) stag-horn trees in, and ornamental grasses (of which I am not a fan) and have made a start on replanting it. I'm very much a slow gardener in this respect, waiting for the right plant to wind it's way to me.
We did want to replace the trees though and so off to the garden centre we went. After much umming and ahhing the perfect tree called to us. And here she is.....

Her name is Katy. We do love a glass of Katy cider and so it seemed fitting to bring the apple into our garden. We already have three very old apple trees, and probably didn't really need another but - we fell in love with her.

I'm not a huge fan of roses if i'm honest, though our garden has many and they all have a beautiful scent. That is a must for me if they are going to take up the space in the garden. Unfortunately many of them have got leggy and unruly and as I'm not a rose expert I wonder if they can be saved?
Oz has really been responsible for the major changes in the garden as I'm physically not up to most of it. He does like roses and wanted one for the bed, so i steered him towards the David Austin stand (my years in the flower business mean that i can be fussy about growers) and he eventually picked this beauty

L D Braithwaite. A beautiful deep red, the blooms are full right now. This one has a delicate fragrance, you really have to get your nose right in to appreciate it and having to do that has reminded me of the sensual, velvet feeling of rose petals next to skin. I keep going out there and burying my face in the bloom! Oz was given instructions though that he needs to learn how to look after roses if he wants them in the garden!

He's really found a passion for the garden, I think he's actually overtaking me in that respect!
And this is one of Oz's first additions to the garden

our Buddha statue. Up until now he's been sat in this bed almost hidden from view in a drift of forget-me-nots, and quite beautiful it was - but we cleared the bed completely so he needed some new companion plants and we decided to go for some striking Zantedeschia, and then some marigolds. The one he has placed in his hand was Lemmy's contribution, and led to a discussion about who Buddha is.

Well as usual life plods along here. Had a lovely hour with a relative who is over from Australia on a quick visit, always a pleasure to see her - always tinged with sadness that she will be going back, so far away from me. The exhaust on the car gave up on me this week, so my bank account took a bit of a beating.....

And rain......we finally got some much needed rain, though the soil is still so dry out in the garden....

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


The window fitters have been here the last two days, and will be here for two more. We now have three new windows in upstairs, they will be doing the two in the living room tomorrow and Friday they will be boxing in and finishing off.

Now when I say halfway - i mean halfway through this stage of the job. When it's finished it will be halfway through getting the windows replaced on the house. There are several more but I'm afraid we need to save some pennies to get those done.

This afternoon I have unpicked the old curtains that i hurriedly put together for Lemmy's two rooms when we first moved in and have been stitching calico round the edges to make them bigger/better. The sewing machine has been liberated from it box and it has made me realise that I really do need to find a space to set up a permanent sewing corner. It seems such a hassle to clear a space on a table, run an extension cable and then have to put it all away again - so I just don't get it out unless there is a job that I MUST do.
I have to admit I really don't have much of an idea what I'm doing with this machine. I'm honestly just making it up as a I go along. I'm not sure i'll ever realise my dream of making my own clothes!

Monday, 11 April 2011


What a glorious weekend we have had! It's been so warm that even I ditched the jeans in favour of a short skirt and summery vest. We have spent the whole weekend in the garden. There's still quite a lot to do here with the garden, but i'm determined to do it at a reasonable pace and let it develop rather than wade in and change things for the sake of it. I didn't mean to do it but this weekend we cleared eveything that was growing under the pear tree. Much of this garden had been neglected in the couple of years before we bought the house and so much of it has to be stripped right back if i'm ever going to make it truly beautiful
In front of the pear tree is an area that we cleared of pampas grass last year and made a little seating area with a fire pit. We've had old carpet down the side of this to keep the weeds down while we waited for inspiration. Saturday afternoon we decided it would be good to pave it, so we had somewhere to site the barbeque. Sunday afternoon Oz did it! We have an old table next to it that was given to us by a friend, and we sanded the top of it the other week and gave it a coat of emulsion. Next we're going to decorate it as a family and after a coat of varnish it will be done.
Lots of other jobs were done too, tidying up the bed full of garlic, checking the seeds in the greenhouse.

After lunch on Saturday we decided to head up the road to Sibsey Trader Mill and after climbing right to the top had a lovely cup of tea and slice of cake outside in the sunshine. They had a few plats for sale so i bought three saxifrage, an aquilegia and a twisted willow. It was also the first outing this year for Ethel our VW campervan. We were going to sell her, but have decided to keep her just a little while longer and so have ordered a hammock bed to go in the front so Lemmy can sleep in there with us rather than having to fight to put the huge awning up everytime we camp out.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year, New Hopes

So it's the second day of a whole new year, and a whole new decade!

Today I collected Bam from his dad's and we went out for lunch. He was difficult - and it wasn't a very enjoyable experience if I'm honest.
We got home and after a cup of tea we went up to start prepping his bedroom for re-decorating (he's currently sleeping in the spare room).

Oz and I settled down tonight at 7pm to hear the much hyped bumper episode of The Archers. Um - it was a bit of a damp squib really.....I suppose we'll see how the storyline unfolds from here.

After a somewhat subdued Christmas (which in all honesty I did not enjoy and was glad to see the back of) we had a quiet New Year's Eve in together, the woodburner blazing away and good music and a few drinks.

I've been struggling with Winter Blues this year. The most down I've been for a couple of years now and I keep waiting to turn a corner with it. I'm now showing the early signs of a cold too, which I'm hoping will not develop any further. I need to be physically well to fight off the blues.

And so another year begins. I have hopes, and goals - we shall see which of my wishes come true and which of my goals I achieve as the year goes by.