Thursday, 22 December 2016

Renovating at the Old Forge whilst studiously avoiding Christmas

Window board on left hand side of the lounge
Window board left hand side of lounge

Window board right hand side of lounge
Window board right hand side of lounge
The building industry is crazy busy at the moment, at least on the kind of work MTM is doing. MTM bought a quantity of planked oak for windowboards and a new custom built in stand for our TV and DVD player to go on instead of just balancing it on a table.

Our oak windowboards were started in the summer and have been waiting to get a joiner back to finish them off. The wood for the TV cabinet was stored under our bed and under the dining room for months - not exactly ideal! Finally, Stewie, one of the joiners who works with MTM became available and we had him here for a couple of days a few weeks ago finishing off the windowboards.

Custom built in stand for TV and DVD player
Here is the new TV stand; he's made such a good job of this. We're having two baskets made to fit underneath to store the messy newspaper pile which I use to start the fire in the woodburner and probably keep some DVDs in the other one.

Stewie also fitted out the new linen cupboard with shelves. This cupboard used to be the dark old shower enclosure in the family bathroom. The shower is now going over the bath. All the pipework has been done, just got to finish off the tiling and we can get the plumber back to fit an electric shower. I'll do some pics of that when we're finished in the new year.

In all the spare time I've had since Stewie has been, I've been putting two coats of dye on all the new wood to darken it to medium oak so it matches the fireplace. On top of that, three coats of satin varnish. MTM has been doing the tiling. I've been grateful to be kept busy to stop me thinking about Christmas too much. In common with many people, I always hate how it starts so early these days so I don't normally start thinking about it until at least the middle of December. The house got so dusty with all the sanding down inbetween coats, it's just as well I didn't get a Christmas tree else it would be a right pain getting all the dust off the branches and baubles. It's so late now, I'm not going to bother and haven't put up any decorations either.

This year, I've been feeling even less festive than usual. I usually manage to get into the spirit once I start present buying or get a tree. This year I have had major present buying anxiety. I was quite shocked to realise that because the family have been spreading out visiting mum to help her feel less alone, I haven't seen either of my sisters or my brother and their partners (except one fleeting visit from Sharon) since Dad's funeral in April and so I have no idea what to buy any of them.

We started Amazon Wish Lists a few years ago but none of the awkward buggers have added anything new to them for ages! I realise that following relevations about how these big companies treat their employees that some may not wish to patronise Amazon any more but you can add things from other shops to your list now. Anyway, after stressing about it for a few days, I have found a cunning solution I hope they'll be happy with.

The weather isn't helping much either, being so mild, cloudy and rainy.

My broad beans think it's spring and ....

so does my rhubarb.  I split two small pieces off the rhubarb patch growing in my dad's garden in October and both are thriving! I think I'd feel more Christmassy if it was colder and frostier. Most days in December have just been damp.

Then came the very sad news that Uncle Arthur, dad's surviving brother had died, aged 95. He and Dad were so alike. His funeral is tomorrow, MTM and I are travelling to Norwich for it. Cousin David apologised for the timing but it was that or late January. I agree with David that it's best for the family to have the funeral before Christmas and then they can use the holiday to start to heal and get used to life without him. Like my dad, he remained fit and active through most of his eighties. I feel so sad that we lost both of them in the same year.

I was hoping to see mum before Christmas, I could've gone today with MTM as he is travelling to Haverhill and he could've dropped me off at mum's house on the way. Unfortunately, because it's Christmas, there are no other Sainsbury's delivery slots available so I'm stuck here waiting for the food shopping to arrive. MTM is going to drop the family presents off when he's passing. She's going to the New Forest to be with Sandy for a few days so I know she'll be well taken care of! We're staying here, having Christmas lunch hopefully with my brother, if he's feeling well enough.

To be honest, I just want this awful year to end and for 2017 to be a fresh and happier start. On a brighter note, we had the solstice yesterday, the days start getting longer from today and although I'm not being very Christmasssy myself this year, I do hope all my blog readers have a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New year.