Friday, 31 August 2012

Our part-time residents

Cherryho Woody!
Last night was our last evening out with Woody and it was such a gorgeous evening we had to take a couple of pictures.
He had his going home bath and clean-up last night and is going back home to Worthing today. Thankfully, we have had some lovely weather during his stay, so he hasn't got too mucky and he didn't find too many dead things to roll in.   It will take us a week to get use to him not being here but we'll probably see him again in December.

This walking lark is thirsty work!


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Keeping original features

In the front office that was originally Benjamin Smith's, (the solicitor of it's day) are these two beautiful cupboards either side of the fire place. 

Both have double doors top and bottom with the original key and internal shelving in that same dark wood. other than an initial clean they have not required any work.  They are deep and offer fabulous storage for our books etc.

In the middle of the office floor (we have kept as bare floorboards) there is a well worn dip in the wood where Mr Smith would sit at his desk.  Many a person from the village have shared stories where they have stood in front of Mr Smith's desk (there is a dip wear in this area too).  From the many stories we have been told Mr Smith sounds as though he was quite a formidable character.

We use the room as M's study and where I sit to type up this blog and if you look carefully you can see one of the blogs in construction. 

Although new, this large partners desk (an ebay bargain) fits in very well with the cabinets.


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Favourite things.

Throughout the house we have collected some favourite items. This rosewood side table is a favourite and came from an antique centre about an hours drive from us and although a different wood from the armchair it keeps company with - we feel it blends in very well. We have no idea of it's age or history but just fell in love with it.  As soon as we got it home we placed it where it is now and placed a small antique jug (on a place mat of coarse) of Sweet Williams on top.  Next morning, to our shock and horror the little antique jug had leaked, the water had overflowed the place mat and soaked to the felt base of the mat and the lamp leaving two white square water marks.  After a great deal of polishing we are left with a very small water mark under the lamp stand - a lesson learnt!


Keeping original features

This cupboard is in our kitchen - what was the main reception room in it's days as an office. 

We can quite imagine it back in 1825 filled with bottles of ink, ink quills, wills, spare candles, invoice books etc and the desks being lit with candles.

When we first moved in it was a bit manky and grubby inside and out.  So we set about scrubbing it clean. M stripped off the doors and painted the external frame, rubbed down the doors and danish oiled them.  I painted the internal shelves and wallpapered the internal walls with this wine label wallpaper.   

Now, the cupboard is very usable and offers great storage for glasses, casserole dishes, vases, party crockery (we are a very sociable couple), table linens etc.

We found this original candle holder and candle under the stairs along with a clay pipe still filled with tobacco.  Being ex smokers we have said that even if we get desperate we would never be desperate enough to bring our selves to smoke it!


Monday, 27 August 2012

Thoughtful gift

M has undergone a great deal of teasing from me this year - as he recently celebrated his 65th birthday and is now officially an O.A.P. I am forgiven for the teasing - he knows I love him!   His sister, Anne and family gave us a great laugh with this imaginative little gift. 


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Prettying things up

Have one of these either side of the fireplace in the kitchen

This one is in the lounge, particularly like the way the pot/vase blends with the wood stand

Like most I love to pretty up areas in the house.  One of  the many ways I do this is with flowers.  We always have the real thing on the dining table but tend to make up more affordable fake arrangements around the house to pretty up rooms

Fresh flowers for the dining table.  This is a double row of tiny bottles in a basket. It's nice and low, so it doesn't get in the way of conversations at the table.

This quite large and covers the whole of the front of the fire in our lounge.  It is moved to the top of the chest of draws in the spare bedroom when the fire is in service during the winter months.
This one was snipped by accident whilst trimming its neighbour - shoved in a crystal glass along with some spider plant babies - arhh pretty


Our part-time residents

Meet the Blue Tits
Every year for the past six, this box has been occupied with a family of blue tits and each year all seemed to have fledged very successfully.  Each autumn/winter we clean the old nest out in readiness for the next spring.  Early this year Mrs Tit (or is it Mr, we're not really sure) visited as normal checking out the facilities.  We expected to see the usual comings and goings with twigs etc - but for some reason this year they didn't take up residence.  We can't understand why as we have not made any changes to the nest or surrounding area.  We have been disappointed as it is lovely to sit in the garden with a glass wine (when the weather permits us to) watching their comings and goings with the hope that we might catch the maiden flight of the chicks.  We'll be up the ladder again this autumn, chucking out the old stuff (if there is anything) making ready for next years potential residents.

We have also installed a new box, on another wall, hoping to encourage more families

You might like this little laugh!  Last autumn, M climbed the ladder as usual and we stripped out the old nest from the box to make way for the next years brood.  M then proceeded to admire Mr & Mrs Tits nest workmanship, how skilfully it was put together - before you knew it he was covered in fleas.  It was then a case of stripping off to his birthday suit in the garden at the back door and legging it to the shower! 
Understandably, we'll admire some elements of nature from a far this autumn.


Friday, 24 August 2012


In need of repair

In need of repair

Work in progress

The brickwork on the rear wall is in a terrible state.  Poor repair pointing, crumbling old mortar and lots of blown bricks.  So this summer, M has put down the fly rods for a while and has taken on the task of firstly digging out the old or bodged work and then re pointing it. He's about three quarters away across the back wall and is hoping to have it complete by the end of the summer.  

Finished and pristine - fab work M!


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Our part-time residents

Meet Pigeon

This little fella, a racing Pigeon appeared around our bird feeder just over a week ago.  He has spent the hot days laying in our bird bath and is feeding well from below the feeders (the sparrows and tits do tend to through the seed everywhere). We can see that he is ringed but he's too timid for us to catch.  We thought we could try encouraging him down from his roust on our roof to the open shed.  That way we might catch him and find out who his owner is - no luck though.  We have also heard rumour that if away from their original home and roast for too long the birds are classed as pretty useless and it could have it's neck rung on return.  So, not being knowledgeable on these things we are a little reluctant now to catch him.  If he likes it here, then he's welcome, he's free to choose.


Keeping original features

Throughout the house there are quite a few original features that we have managed to keep from it's day as an office.  

On the  door of our kitchen /diner, what was the main reception room, we have kept this sign.  I am lucky in that M does 90% of the cooking, so when I WALK IN from work each day I make it a rule to ENQUIRE "what's for dinner?"

At the back of the house there was a large walk in safe. This is still in place although it has now been split into two rooms. One, remaining a walk in safe although a great deal smaller but keeping the original safe door and the other half has been converted into a bathroom.  The safe can be a bit scary as the room vacuums - we never close the door on each other in here.  One night after having had a glass or two of the old van rouge I decided to nip (well I ran actually) to the loo before heading off up stairs for the night.  It was dark, and I ran straight into the edge of the door that was left on a jar. Thankfully the handle had not been turned and the bolts were not protruding.  All the same the collision resulted in me flat out on the floor, sporting a sizable lump for several days, and the door, you guessed it, it didn't move!  It was a very sobering experience indeed! 

This is the bathroom and it has a very high vaulted ceiling -if only I could sing because you can really belt out a tune in here. 


Monday, 20 August 2012

Our part-time residents

We would love a dog of our own but travel too much (I'm certainly not complaining) at the moment, so we encourage our family, friends and neighbours to let us have their dog when they are away, or even to bring their dog when they come to stay.  We have promised ourselves that one day we'll have one of our own, but in the meantime, we'll enjoy everyone else's.
Meet Woody, 

He's very charming and is always grumble talking, (sounds like he's gargling)especially if he wants something. His favourite past times are walking, chasing everything that runs or flies (although slowing down now that he is a little older), rolling in dead things (the more decaying the better), sleeping, sunbathing and hogging an open fire.

Meet Jay,  
She had her first 3 weeks with us this year and already we have her booked in for next year. We thought being such a wee thing that she would be a bit wimpy and winy - how very wrong were we? She is the toughest and fastest little dog we have had the pleasure of looking after. Fantastic fun too - looking forward to her return!



Whilst out walking the dog (not ours, a part-time resident, but more about him later) around the busy harvesting of the wheat last night under this beautiful sky with my husband (M) I made the decision, yes, I am going to write a blog,

So .......................

The original idea to create a blog came from a conversation I had with my sister-in-law, Anne, (check out her blog) a couple of months ago.  We are so a like in our tastes in property and furnishing and we love nothing more than moseying around other properties to gain inspiration for our own homes.  She is already blogging and has sold the idea to me. We are both housey magazine addicts and over the years I have created two large scrap books to inspire me when it comes to creating an affordable look or a change of decor. Having never lived in a period property before, I found that I needed guidance from the scrap books to plan ahead.  We have lots of plans for the house now, but it is a case of affordability, so this blog will grow with the changes as and when we can afford them.  This blog will be very pictorial and mainly about the house, very little about my husband and I, as it will be far more interesting.


Let me tell you a little about the house. It actually started life in 1825 as a purpose built office for the local solicitor Mr Benjamin Smith(1776-1857) (who's main home was the large and grand "Old Hall" approx 75 yards away). We regard ourselves as the lucky ones, as we are the first people to live in it and make it a home.  Originally, all of the downstairs was used for offices, the main reception area and a huge walk-in safe, whilst upstairs, accessible via a hatch from the main reception, was a toilet and metal racking for archive storage. 

We are situated in a little village in  Lincolnshire, England with a population of approximately 430 and the village is thought to be a probable Romano-British settlement, this ideas centres around findings of Roman Samian ware and roof tiles in a local Fen Farm.  

The church (the top of which is viewed from our kitchen and tiny garden) is Norman, Grade I listed and dedicated to Saint Andrew. It has  5 bells and the stained glass in the west window was added in 1854 as testimonial to Benjamin Smith (the solicitor that owned our house) as the promoter of charities and who paid for the 1852 restoration of church.

In our lane is a spring well dating from 1711, it is beautifully clear and many a passer by will stop with containers to top up and take home.
To the right of our house is the friendly local pub and as a wedding present from our neighbours, they commissioned this picture which incorporates our local surroundings.

You will find many a grander Georgian property in this County, but this place is charming, it creaks and the pipes bark, it needs some work, but it is our much loved home.