Of spiders, bats, toads and worse!

I’m really not good with wildlife, or even tamelife; even such mundane animals as cats and dogs scare me. But I am getting better at coping with the invasion of seriously big spiders every autumn and I can tolerate the bats in the attic, simply by making sure I don’t go in there at night.   However, when a toad crept in through the door one evening and started hopping towards the wardrobe, Nick did have to come to the rescue; it ended up in one of my shoes. Imagine if I’d put my shoe on in the morning and found it full of toad – it really doesn’t bear thinking about!

Now there’s no Hugo to deal with the autumn influx of mice,I’m practicing setting mouse traps, but Nick has to deal with the remains. There was a lot of noise last night, in the kitchen; a strange noise, it didn’t sound exactly like the fridge making ice, so Nick went to investigate. There was a mouse under the sink; it was caught in the trap, but still alive, poor thing (I can say that when it’s no longer there), so he had to dispatch it pronto, by hitting it on the head with the washing up bowl.

But yesterday, when I went into the bedroom to put away some clothes and found a snake in the middle of the floor, it was just more than I could cope with. Nick, thinking “something serious had happened”,(it had!), came hurtling downstairs to find me frozen to the spot and almost incapable of rational speech, only to declare it “just a small one” and “very pretty”, before packing it into a plastic box and taking it to the far end of the vines.

I think I’ll always be a townie at heart.


A room finished, at last!


We’ve been working on our bedroom all summer; the task I thought would be done in a week has actually taken a couple of months, but at last it’s finished.

When Joel, our builder, said we’d have to have a pillar in the bedroom to support the floor above, we had plenty of ideas how to decorate it, but also wondered about using it to create a dressing room. But would that make the bedroom small? Would it make the entrance too narrow? Like a corridor? Etc., etc….

In the end, we bought a cheap, temporary wardrobe, just a few shelves, a couple of drawers and some hanging space, and put it next to the pillar; we could imagine better how it would work and yes, it would work. But it was already bulging at the sides and sagging in the middle (a bit like us, really!), so Nick built some extra hanging at the end, between the wardrobe and the wall and put in a back, which we covered with plasterboard and filled. I painted the new wall and we designed and built some shelves and shallow cupboards. Next came some more hanging and shoe racks across the end wall and it was done and works really well. It’s supposed to be temporary, but……

We’re still using the chest of drawers and bedside tables I bought, unfinished, from Argos years and years ago, functional, but the paint was looking tired and they didn’t match their new home; so I decided to tart them up a bit. The first job was to find the paint. The chaufferie had become a dumping ground for all sorts of stuff apart from paint, from dust sheets to sunbeds, tiles to a table tennis table; you could barely get in through the door, let alone find anything, so we spent a day sorting that out before I could even think about painting.

Then I could start, undercoat, two coats of dark grey, wax the edges, a coat of pale grey, rub off the edges to get a worn look, then a bit of stencilling, a coat of varnish and they look great, in our opinion at least.