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!


Thursday, 10 July 2014

A good day - but a sad day...

A day of mixed emotions today. A great early morning (Kristy leaves for work shortly after six am - she is marvellous enough to bring me a cup of tea before she leaves...) saw Monty walked by the river, a hearty porridge breakfast and on with my dirty clothes to finish the block walls for the oil tank...

Amazingly, the two walls ended almost exactly level with each other - only about 2mm out, which I can easily account for with the concrete lintels that will span the walls and support the oil tank. Note the radio on the right - Test Match Special makes wonderful company, even when England suffer the beginnings of a thrashing by India.

The second half of the morning was spent re-pointing the lower edge of the external wall that will soon be encased in the concrete slab for our garden room extension. The corner of the wall in this picture was in very poor repair, and a number of bricks came out in my hand. Hopefully this repair will last a good number of years. I'll finish the job tomorrow.

I also poured two concrete parking bollards in 99p buckets I bought from Wickes. Part of our land is an access track to our house, and also two neighbour's houses. The track is about twice as wide as it needs to be, and we often find that walkers and fisherman park on the verge - fine in the summer when the ground is hard, but a real problem in the winter. I used cooking spray as a release agent, and the set concrete bollards should come out easily enough - fingers crossed!

Then onto the sad part of the day. We were really shocked and saddened to hear that a neighbour of ours had died suddenly of a heart attack last week. Trevor Burgess really was larger than life - he would always stop for a chat and put the world to rights, and was a great wind up merchant - specialising in the false telling off, leaving his audience quaking until he couldn't keep a straight face!  I often saw Trevor walking the dogs as I left for work at 6am, or on my return from a night shift shortly after 7am. He leaves his wife Denise and three lovely Irish Setters.

I will really miss Trevor - although we didn't know each other well, I genuinely wish we had spent more time together. Indeed, a few days before he died we had arranged a trip into a local wood with the chainsaws to clear a fallen Ash together. I intend to take on the duty that Trevor felt - that of cutting the wood for his home - and I'll make sure Denise is well stocked with seasoned and split logs  for the winter.

As a tribute to this lovely man, I plan to speak to the owner of the woods behind Trevor's house with a view to carving the stump of the Ash into a seat. I will carve Trevor's name into the back, and hope it will provide a nice spot to sit and enjoy the birds and the trees.

Trevor William John Burgess; 19th December 1954 - 2nd July 2014. A Proper Chap.

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