Despite our difficulties we’ve made a breakthrough

Those of you who read the last blog will be aware we have some serious difficulties at the moment.  The most pressing is the water situation, of which more later but, despite everything, we have made a breakthrough.  When we moved in we had to use the big shed, christened the “Hotel Majestic” as storage.  The numerous jobs, large and small, that were needed around the house slowed us down and just as we were getting ready to begin a serious unpack Jacqui became very ill.  This set us back almost a year and there were times when we despaired of ever turning the Majestic into the workshop of our dreams.

The last few weeks we’ve had a bit more energy, possibly as we are no longer drinking water poisoned with e-coli and other unfriendly pollutants.  Jacqui turned this into a flurry of activity and we set to in the shed.  This was initially spurred on by the need to clear a suitable area for the new water system, due on the 12th.  Rather than just pile stuff up out of the way we did a huge recycling run, disposing of four sacks of cardboard packaging and four bags of mixed “dry” – mainly plastics.  We try to limit our plastic use but it is still almost impossible as so much food and other goods come swathed in the stuff. 

Our plastic waste has boomed since the water fiasco as we have to use bottled water for drinking and cooking as well as washing vegetables and other kitchen items.  We’ve already disposed of one full bag of recycled 5 litre bottles and have almost filled another.  It’s expensive, time consuming and the only water we can get has a horrifyingly high level of bicarbonate.  Even when filtered it furs up pans and the kettle and leaves scum on the top of tea and coffee.  We bought a new water filter and a cheaper kettle last month.  The water filter will be okay but the kettle is almost trashed already despite constant rinsing, scrubbing and the use of a metal ball that supposedly absorbs lime scale.  Can’t wait for the 12th!

Jacqui has done wonders in the Majestic now there’s some space.  She continued her re-purposing of the battens from the kitchen roof and has now got shelves up on the shed walls, two work benches on wheels and the useless shelf unit all in place.  Having wheeled shelves and benches means we can move them around later and pull them away from the walls if we need to get to the water pipes too.  Suddenly the space went from a dusty, cob webbed jumble to – a workshop.  It’s not finished by any means but now there’s a place to work, decent surfaces and the tools and necessary items can be sorted and be at hand when needed.  It is a real breakthrough.

Autumn has arrived with lots of falling leaves.  The jungle growth in the wood is fading away and last week we removed a couple more dead ash saplings and cut up some of the fallen branches.  I had a bit of a breakthrough doing this.  As a dyspraxic I have always been very wary of power tools.  I hesitate to use a hammer drill and was always very nervous faced with a jigsaw.  This week I used the chain saw, not just to cut up a few logs but to fell one of the dead saplings.  I am inordinately proud of myself – and would not have managed it without Jacqui’s help and encouragement.

Autumn means we need to get the outside ready for winter and the nice blue bench in the yard needs some protection.  After careful consideration Jacqui decided the feet needed protecting.  It now has its own wellies as it rests upside down waiting for its overcoat – a tarpaulin against the rain.  Speaking of rain, we are still waiting for the gutter man to come and fix the downspout and back gutters.  He’s supposed to be here tomorrow so fingers crossed.  As the rain still runs into the water butt and was going straight into the septic tank Jacqui rigged up a bit of hose that runs from the tap into the new soak away.  It works a treat but does mean the water butt is empty all the time.  Here’s hoping for a breakthrough on that front too.

I guess preparing for winter means different things to different people and on Friday we heard the sound of trees and bushes crashing down.  Some were overhanging the road so presumably this was to prevent falls and accidents in the event of storms.  I went to examine the damage as soon as they left and was shocked to see the awful mess. 

Last year there were some trees torn down and chopped using a digger but this is much, much worse.  A whole swathe of the boundary on the other side of the road is torn up and the road was thick with branches and chunks of wood.  A tree has been pushed into the pond and left along with a lot of debris.  And one of our trees, on the opposite side of the road has been hacked at, the top torn off.  I am very, very angry and intend to find out who is responsible for this damage.  We have asked Fergus, our proper tree surgeon, to call and see if he can help save our tree.  Those opposite are mainly beyond help I fear.  The wildlife has gone, of course, and the moorhens from the pond have disappeared.

I am looking for signs to make it clear the trees on our wood side are not to be touched.  I didn’t think I’d need anything like that out here.

Still, despite the delays and the horrible vandalism this fortnight has been a real breakthrough time.  Once the water system is up and running we can push on and maybe start pointing the rear wall of the shed.  Then it will be on its way to being truly “Majestic”.