Welcome to my blog, where a 30-something couple from the UK renovate and extend an old cottage, build some outbuildings, raise some hens and grow firewood trees and vegetables on our Acre in Hampshire. It's a bit like a smallholding but without too many animals, so we call it a homestead - living within our means, relying on ourselves and having a wonderful life!


Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Newbury Show

Late September always means the Newbury Show. I love its mix of agricultural machinery, traditional animal classes and local society. Although we have moved ‘away’ from Berkshire, the show holds very fun nostalgic memories for me, and I make an effort to go every year or two.

Kristy got a bit ‘tyred’ (groan)

Kristy giving it some welly (double groan)

Simon’s next Purchase No. 1 - it’s got nose weights, PTO and a three point linkage! Want!

Simon’s next Purchase No. 2 - alright, a springer and not a cocker, but the meaning is there. The handler is pulling the perfect 'Oooooh Puppy!' face...

The Great Housewarming Party!

We always think it is nice to have a housewarming party when you move house - particularly important in a small community like ours. It is a great chance to meet your new neighbors, and everyone likes a party!

When our house was sold, it was one of a pair of semi-detached cottages. By tremendous good fortune we get on very well with our new neighbours Graham and Charlie - they have similar ideas of self sufficiency and smallholding, and Graham likes carpentry, Land Rovers and real ale - clearly a proper chap! We decided to pool our resources and hold a joint party for neighbours, family and friends old-and-new.

I didn’t take as many pictures as I would have hoped as we were busy mingling, meeting new friends and drinking beer. Our catering arrangements were brutally simple - two Firkins of ale from our local Sherfield Village Brewery http://www.sherfieldvillagebrewery.co.uk/ and half a pig, spit roast with home made apple sauce. Delicious, really rather inexpensive and huge fun!

Graham (our neighbour) and Kristy (my wonderful girlfriend) admiring the beast.

Charlie helping to set up the marquee - that came free with the hog roast!

The Pig all set up and ready to go.

Yours Truly caught in the middle of feeding 80 guests - excuse the terrible picture, it came from a friend's mobile phone and via Facebook!

And finally some proof that we did actually have some guests! This pic was a still from a timelapse film I made with my GoPro camera. Note the throng of people round the beer tent in the top of the frame!


So, having knocked down a wall connecting our kitchen and the yet-to-be-named room at the front of the house, I had to accommodate a 70mm height difference in the floor. Que some battens, Celotex and flooring chipboard from Travis Perkins...

Here is the room that we are flooring. Inevitably for a house built in 1902, the existing floor was quite wonky, so each batten had to be packed out underneath and supported to prevent a lumpy, creaky floor. The new French Doors helped bring the sheets of Celotex inside.

We chose the sunniest day in the month to cut the sheet - the foil lining of the Celotex was blinding when we cut it with a bread knife (not a bodge - the recommended tool!)

We also had our neighbour’s dog Kiwi (she is the lab - our Border Terrier is Monty) round to visit on numerous occasions - she learned to escape from her garden and open our garden gate, so she was a frequent visitor…

I also fitted a new back door - this was a hand-me-down from my parent’s house, so it’s lovely to have at our new home. The bottom pane of glass is JUST high enough for Monty to peer through when he stands on his hind legs! Note the hole in the wall above the door - this will be the soil pipe exit from our new bathroom which we are making from an overly large bedroom upstairs. Having a downstairs loo is most overrated, particularly in the middle of the night!


Lastly, I screeded the fireplace hearth where our Clearview will sit. Self levelling screed, as discussed before, is frankly marvelous stuff!

Four Months and No Updates!

Goodness, where to begin!

Life has been so manic that my blog, that I started with the best of intentions, has slipped by the wayside. I'll do a new post for every significant event that has occurred in our little corner of England.

More to follow!