Saturday, 29 November 2014


So Daniel is pretty happy this month - his budgie has laid a couple of eggs!
They're very small and look quite uncomfortable sitting on the bottom of the box, but we gave her plenty of nesting material and she didn't want it.  The boy budgie looks very pleased with himself and spends a lot of his time sitting on top of the nesting box.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The kitchen is in!

Our kitchen is in and working!  At last we have a decent cooktop (gas) and a dishwasher, and bench space and cupboards and things!
The guys from Mosgiel Kitchens came on Wednesday with a few bits,

then spent all of Thursday and most of Friday putting it in.

The benchtop came in 2 pieces which had to be trimmed (10mm overlap) and welded together.  The welder took 3-4 hours to cut it, join it and cut the hole for the gas hob.  You can't tell where the join is except for a very slight bulge as you run your finger along the top of the bench, if you know where to look.  The sink was already welded into the benchtop, and the plumber had to put the tap in.  We got an upstand all round the bench so we won't have to worry about water getting down the wall.

We put the tiles on ourselves, yesterday.  We had a couple of goes at it, as we didn't expect the tiles to be different sixes - some were 1 mm wider or longer than others.  Also, each tile had a square long edge and a slanting long edge, and because we didn't notice that until halfway through.  This meant the wee spacers between them held them different distances apart, depending on whether the spacer was between 2 square edges, 2 slanting edges or one of each.  Very Frustrating.  I ended up cutting up some playing cards (from an incomplete pack) and wedging 2-4 thicknesses of card on top of the spacer in the narrower gaps. The current arrangement wouldn't win any prizes but at least they all line up along the top, bottom and sides.  Tiling is not something we want to do again for a while.

We still have to get one drawer shortened, as it hits the gas pipe under the bench and won't close all the way.  Apart from that minor hitch we're very pleased with how it's all turned out.  It's certainly a vast improvement on what we started with - the old kitchen was actually falling apart, and at least some of it dated back to 1961.  And we would certainly recommend Mosgiel Kitchens for anyone looking at getting a new kitchen.  They did an excellent job, were easy to work with, and have a quality product.  We aren't expecting the doors to start falling off after 3 years as I've heard can happen with the budget kitchen outfits.  They have such a good reputation that they don't have to advertise, and are always busy.

Next thing on the list - lino and wallpaper...

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


The view on the way home yesterday - the sea was such a beautiful colour...

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

All ready!

Yesterday Mr Caldwell came and did the gibstopping.  He came back today and finished it, and put up the decorative moulding.  It doesn't go right round the room because we left gaps for the cupboards.

We covered the floor with hardboard, did some painting, and - tada! - ready for the new kitchen!
Thankyou very much to Dad for his help, and Mum for having the kids :)

The wallpaper we ordered won't arrive for a few weeks but that's probably just as well because we didn't have time anyway.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Nearly there

This was written on one of the cupboards we pulled out of the kitchen...

We've packed the kids off for a holiday with Grandma so as to get a good run at the kitchen.  Last week we stapled in the building paper and packed the wall with batts (or "Earthwool" as they call it - contains neither earth nor wool).

Over the last few days David and Dad have put the gib board, and some plywood, on the walls, and put a new layer of gib on the ceiling.

 Lifting 3m long sheets of 13mm gib up to ceiling height was a bit of an effort, but a lot easier with the frame Dad built, and the props to hold it up.

When we lifted the old lino we found a layer of grey fluffy cardboard stuff underneath, which we have nearly finished scraping off, then we'll put down a layer of hardboard.
So far, we're on target.  And really tired.  Can't wait until it's all done...

Friday, 7 November 2014

Best-laid plans...

So today was to be Gib-the-Ceiling Day, until we found water pouring out of the front garden.  Parts of the mains water pipe are very corroded and decided to fail today.  It's all taped up while David and Dad get more pipe and rearrange their plans for the day.

So that's a pain.  But we have made some progress, the kitchen date is now the 19th of Nov (it was originally the 12th but we found we needed consent to reline an exterior wall, add a week).

This is what the kitchen used to look like, before we moved in.  But not this big - real estate photos make the place look huge.

 This is the kitchen a month ago

 and now...

Friday, 31 October 2014


Yesterday morning we discovered 16 baby rabbits in our three girl rabbits' cages!

Monday, 27 October 2014

New Rhodys

We have had a lot of new rhododendrons come out in the last few weeks.

Four pink 

One is red
 four or five purple

           and this very light pink one just came out today

Saturday, 11 October 2014


Yesterday we started taking the linings off the kitchen walls, in order to get them straightened out before the new kitchen arrives.  The kids were enthusiastic about ripping off gib board.  There was a mixture of Gib, plasterboard and plywood.  Behind the plywood (below the window) was tongue and groove, and behind that were some old pipes.  According to the plans, the kitchen sink used to be there.  We tacked the plywood back onto the wall because there was a wicked draught coming up from under the house.
Above the dining-room doorway there was some interesting joinery.
Some of these bits of wood aren't actually doing anything at all.  The left-hand end of the beam above the door sticks out about 8mm from the rest of the framing, which is why there was a bulge in the wall there.
Apparently if you run out of underlay, newspaper works just as well.
Interesting lino

Thursday, 25 September 2014

New Growth

 There are all sorts of things coming out in the garden now that it's spring.  We have taken out a lot of trees and shrubs, but we decided to leave the Rhododendrons until we found out what they looked like.

 So far we have 3 different colours.  The first to flower was Christmas Cheer, pink - 2 separate plants

Then, a plain red one, 2 plants,

and another very spindly plant produced a red with a white middle.
Most recently we have a yellow one, which looks very attractive when first opening because the buds are slightly orange/peach, but a it's bit boring once the flowers are all open.

 This wee thing was a pleasant surprise

And this flowering cherry (?) is beautiful

 Mum gave me a bit of Rhubarb - I thought I'd killed it by letting it dry out too much but it has bounced back.

There is a rose jungle up the back, Bryony found this in it.  It's due to be cut down though as we'd rather have fruit trees than roses.

We've made some progress in cutting them down,

and have huge piles to be mulched.

 There was a hedge right up this fence but now we have apple trees, 6 planted, 3 to go.  Hopefully I have a couple of weeks before they start to wake up.
Dad cut down a tall conifer here and has taken a slice off each side of the trunk so we can use it for part of a retaining wall or maybe a seat or something.
Lots of work done, lots to go!