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Tuesday 10 May 2016

It is widely know that we are hugely affected by our environment. A ray of sunshine after days of endless rain is a simple test on our emotions of the power of the visual world. The huge rise in the installation of pocket parks across our cities and the neverceasing growth of the National Trust at a time of general institutional shrinkage are just two of many many indicators that suggest what we surround ourselves with by choice is fundamental to our general wellbeing. 

Here at The Green Room we are seeing an increasing number of clients who like what we are offering: a design service that encompasses uniting the whole site, house and garden (and borrowed landscape too where we can) rather than looking at just one of these in isolation. If we are only going to work on the garden, we always make sure that we design from the house out. So you get great views from windows, good in-out access from doors and a garden that looks just as stunning when viewed from within the house as when you are outside in it - as, let's face it, living in the UK we can't always expect sunbathing weather all of the time! And if we are just designing the house, then views out are key too. Even if you have a small space to play with, using the outside areas to give a greater sense of space can change the whole face of a project.

So, before you think about moving house to get more space or dispair looking out of the window at your unused garden, ask us whether we think you could get more from your 'site' instead. We believe that even sites that seem hopeless to some, have potential for clever, thoughtful and appropriate design to be implemented to great and life changing affect.


 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Berkshire
Tuesday 01 March 2016

Come and join us over the first bank holiday weekend (30 April-2 May 2016) when The Green Room will be taking part in .  With exhibiting artists , Jo Chance and , the house and gardens and our studio will be open to visitors to see their stunning work.  We will also be serving coffee and cake, so it's a date you won't want to miss.

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, England
Thursday 08 January 2015

I was just reading the architecture section of - always a source of interest and inspiration, and also a little bit of design controversy too. Frank Gehry is mentioned, architect of the sublime in Bilbao, and one of the most important architects of our time. He cites good architecture, with reference to the Museum in particular, as something that can transform cities. And the Guggenheim Museum is a good case in point. 

Back in the mid eighties Bilbao was an ailing, industrial has-been; local authorities were wringing their hands and fearing the city would go the way of so many waterside giants before it. But, with some local cash injection, some forward thinking people and the audacious idea that a large museum that cost millions would bring prosperity back with abundance, a competition was launched to find a designer. 

Over a decade later, in 1997, the museum was unveiled to the public. And nearly 20 years on from that, Bilbao is most defintely back on the international map, probably more robust, successful and well-known than ever before. Incredibly it only took around three years for the city to be turned around by this monumental piece of architecture. During those first three years nearly four million visitors passed through the doors of the museum, and the city too of course. Ok, so it's a really big building, you can't miss it can you, but doesn't it seem incredible that one building can transform the prosperity of one city in such a short space of time?

Well to be honest, I for one am not surprised, but then I'm the preacher and am already converted. It's also exactly what we are all about here at The Green Room: good design, whether it be in the home, the garden, the workplace, the community, the environment or evidently in industry, is key to emotional, psychological and economical well being. It can also be great fun, sociable, exciting, educational and inspiring - I cannot tell you the adrenalin kicks I have had from seeing and being in well designed spaces. 

You only have to look at nature too to see that good, simple design and efficiency in evolution and in ecology, is paramount. It's even thought that good design can aid healing and psychological disorders. At the that are dotted throughout the country and provide cancer care for patients and their families, the design of the building and its surrounding environment are key to the level of care they wish to give to all who come to them. They have engaged some of the world's top designers to help them achieve this. People that have used and continue to use their centres are in raptures about them. 

Along similar lines there was a time when I had a crisis of confidence that I didn't have a job that really helped people. You know, doctor, nurse, fireman etc. But it suddenly dawned on me that this is exactly what we do do. Someone once asked me what the favourite part of my job was. Incredibly I love all of it, but the greatest buzz I get is the excitement that designing brings to peoples lives. When they can see that the space they have can be made so much better, improved so much more and see themselves living there, loving it. It makes me feel really priviledged to be part of something that can be so life changing for potentially millions of people. And even if what we do is life changing for just that one client and their family and their friends, and their postman, then it's enough. 

As we move into a new year, we have lots of new projects on the go and lots in the pipeline too.  We are really looking forward to making lots of changes for the better, enhancing peoples live through design and creating lots of excitement for many years to come yet.

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Garden Design, Henley on Thames, England
Tuesday 23 September 2014

I just have to tell you about this garden - I love these kind of projects!

I went along in May 2012 to see Hilly Beavan about her garden, a wonderful chocolate box cottage with an almost wrap around garden. The situation was just perfect, you almost wouldn't know the house was there at all it was so hidden from view from the road. I drove past a few times before I found it. It was one of those classic things: I thought it was wonderful when I saw it. It was May, the apple blossom was out, the sun was shining, it was totally private and secluded. I just wanted to spend time in this garden. How on earth was there a project here?  Well there wasn't, at least not at the front anyway, and at least not until I got my hands on it that is.

So we looked around the back. Wow! Not so cottage garden around there. Here's what it looked like:

Almost totally in shade in late spring, huge conifers towered over the garden, looming from over 30' up, all along one boundary and along the back where the garden bordered an open, unused field. What a shame.

This is generally how it goes when I go to look at a new job where the client has lived in the house for a while: we have a little walk around, talk about what they like, what they'd like in their garden, what styles they like etc. Then we come to their favourite tree or rose or shrub they have had for ever and it's grown into mammouth proportions in the middle of the lawn, and deep down they know it's not working for the garden, or for them. But, it's buried so deep down that it has to stay, and that it hasn't even occured to them what it might look like without it. So then I come along and ask that fateful question: "Do you like this tree/shrub/rose?" And that's it really, within around 1-2 minutes said specimen is history. 

What a relief!

So here we were, Hilly and I, head torches on for more light, discussing the merits of these conifers. I phrased the question slightly differently I think: ''Imagine what it could look like if these mature trees (I was being kind) were all taken out." I can't remember what happened in the interim, apart from maybe an eye-watering amount of money being exchanged for the removal of what quite frankly are weeds of enormous proportions.

And here's what it looks like now. Yes, we have put in some more trees and yes we have kept just the odd one or two of the trees that were there before (no, none or them, I repeat none of them, are conifers - it's a cottage garden for goodness sake!) but man oh man, look at that view, and the sunshine! It shines all year round into the garden and it's just a wonderful place to be.

Another favourite thing of mine is demonstrated here too: the picture at the top is the garden in Spring. It was planted last September. The one underneath was it a few weeks ago. A garden can take shape in that short a period of time. 

Country garden with alliums and greenhouse

Country garden with greenhouse, tree and beautiful planting

And here's the front: before and after. I couldn't keep my hands off it! No longer obscured by yet more huge conifers, it's still got its original charm. What a wonderful place to be. Enjoy Hilly!

Country garden in Spring with daffodils

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, England
Monday 25 August 2014

It's that time of year isn't it.  Especially today; the rain having been falling, straight down, outside our many windows, for almost the entire day.  I wonder how many other blog posts will be written today, in comparison say, to one of the lovely warm bright, sunny days of late.  Quite a few I should think.  

Anyway, in Ronnie Corbett style, I have quickly digressed from my opening gambit.

It's that time of year isn't it.  A bit like New Year.  Except warmer.  A time when we are retreating indoors a bit more.  A time when we are starting to think about the woodpile.  Whether it is ready.  Know what I mean?  And with all of this comes reflection.  Time sitting inside, looking outside, wishing we were out there, or being outside, cagouled up to our ears, wishing we were inside.  Which ever way it is, I think there's a lot more tea being drunk and a lot more sitting around on our bums, even if it's after you've come in a dried off (the best way!).  It's nice to do this isn't it.  Nice to just sit and stare, without feeling like we have to rush around, pull out a weed, make the dinner, pack madly for holiday.  

Just recently, we had a wonderful opportunity, a surprise one, for just such reflection.  At the - always visit when you are passing, always, it's right off the M1 - there's an old Victorian deer shelter, transformed by James Turrell into 'Skyspace', a simple yet powerful space.  James has created an inground/slightly above ground chamber, with seriously comfortable polished concrete formwork seating all the way around a simple square-shaped 'room', their tapered backs stretching up to 30' to the ceiling, in which is a huge square hole, opening the room to the elements.  That's it.  Nothing more.  You enter the room via simple corridors, with 90 degree angles, so you have no idea what you will find around the next corner.  I suppose to some you don't necessarily find anything much.  

You can see the sky.  

The tapered seats mean you automatically look up.  

It was a glorious sunny day when we went, so one wall was a complete sun trap, heavenly.  But I imagined what it would be like there if it had been snowing.  The snow would fall directly down through the hole.  Straight down, forming a square shape on the floor.  I want to go there when it's snowing.

There's nothing to do there, in that room.  It's a shelter.  Luckily you can't get a mobile signal there either.  Sacre bleu!  So I guess you just have to stare at the sky.  And be alone with your thoughts.  That doesn't happen much does it?!

Bliss!

Thank you James.

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Berkshire
Wednesday 16 July 2014

We are very excited and quite honestly rather chuffed to have been awarded a prestigious award by the Leamington Society for our efforts with the landscaping at The Old Library renovation in Leamington Spa.  

We went up to Leamington last week to receive the award and also to see the project, now that it is really bedding in and doing its stuff, a few months on from planting and completion of the overall project.  The Leamington Society supports thoughtful, warm and inclusive development of the local environment and in particular the street scene and awards are given for everything from teeny residential projects that show sensitivity to materials and architecture through to larger developments, impressive new builds and commercial properties that contribute to the visual improvement of the town.  We were given particular praise for our progressive and inclusive landscaping for the library project, the mainstay of which is provided by perennials, grasses and bulbs, which will look stunning all year round and are already giving enjoyment to both residents and passersby alike. 

The Old Library Leamington Grasses and concrete bench

Our approach to the car parking was given particular praise, a space which includes new trees, blocks of beech hedging and various lovely materials on the floor that demarque parking and offer clear routes of flow for vehicles and residents.  We really cannot wait to see how things grow up and develop over the next few years and it's fab to think that not only does our work make life better for individuals and people who live in the homes we work on, but also that it has an impact on almost everyone that sees it - and in such a prominent place in the town, that's quite a few folks!

 

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, near Henley-on-Thames, England
Monday 19 May 2014

We are very proud of our latest creation for TAG Exclusive Properties in Leamington Spa.  This courtyard garden sits in the central atrium of their new baby; 28-luxury, industrial-styled apartments on Avenue Road in the city centre.  Sadly they are all sold, such is this company's success in this up and coming spa town, but if you are in the market for a high-end, stylish weekend pad, then keep your eye on their website as more projects are on their way.  The courtyard we created is viewed from almost all of the apartments in the development and also can be seen from the road, through a grand entrance.  It complements the groovy interiors of the properties and forms a front garden and tranquil courtyard for those residents whose homes front directly onto it.  Whilst the general style of the garden is very much in the 21st century, the presence of Olga, our resident bookworm, gives a nod to the history of the building, which was used as a public library from its inception at the very beginning of the last century until the beginning of this one.

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, England
Tuesday 25 March 2014

I don't tend make a habit of maintenance.  It's no good, even though I know what I am doing and can easily instruct others, I'm just not that good at it myself.  I can design gardens, create planting plans and get the whole thing built successfully, but I left the actual dirty work behind long ago.  That makes me seem incredibly prissy doesn't it?  Well, I am a designer you know!  But as I tell my daughter on a fairly regular basis, we can't all be good at everything. 

Anyway, today was an exception, as is my own garden of course!  We built this garden in #ChalfontStGiles exactly 10 years ago last month.  It was planted on a cold, windy, rainy day at the beginning of Feb.  For me, as completely green designer, it was terrifying.  Planting.  Perennials.  In February!  How on earth could that work?  Well, I followed the rules (plant any time apart from in drought, water-logged soil and when the temperature is under 5 degrees on a falling thermometer), and it paid off.  By June of the same year it was looking like this...

Seems incredible doesn't it.  That's the beauty of perennial planting.

Now, 10 years on and it still looks amazing; thanks to the client and to their great gardeners.  It also has great structure and great topiary and some pretty awesome planting.  Liz + Liz from in #ChalfontSt Giles helped me (well, did most of the work really) and they were very kind and said they knew when they passed by the garden, which they did quite regularly, that it had been done by someone who really knew what they were doing.  Well that, considering it was one of our first projects, was praise indeed. 

Today we were giving the garden a revamp.  Splitting giant clumps of perennials and giving over-crowded borders room to breathe and to thrive.  Even the best laid out and planted garden needs a fresh look every few years.  There are also inevitably some plants that don't thrive, some that don't make it and some incomers that are really not welcome at all.  These all need to be dealt with.

And so, with another day or so of similar work, the garden will be ready for this year.  We've added in some new things to fill out some gaps that had appeared and to add a slightly different look where it was necessary, but all in all, it's still a very lovely place with what was planted in the first place. 

We were really lucky to be able to go and revisit one of our favourite gardens.  It's so crucial when you take on a garden that you carve out a good relationship with the client from the off; that way as the garden grows and develops, you get to see this and to have a hand in its future.  Who can ask for more than that?

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, England
Thursday 20 March 2014

I'm so glad I have just seen that Google also believe today to be the first day of Spring.  I thought I was going mad when on the 1st March 2014 the Beeb continually told me that it was the first official day of Spring.  Since when I thought?!  Yes, the sun may have been shining (whilst today it was not...) but since I've been on the Earth, the 21st of March, June, September and December have been the first days of the new season.  Even if some silly government official in a small office in the middle of London which has its own weather system has decided to change the rules because of apparent climate change, then I shall ignore it, today is the Spring equinox.  So nerr.

And so, it being Spring now, I have decided to have a clear out.  One very large item has now gone.  Many more will follow tomorrow as I continue to enforce minimal living on my family, who are fast tiring of the lack of 'things' in our new minimal residence.  

Here's the very large item that has now gone, towed away to a better life, with another careful owner, , who like us is soon to embark on his very own house renovation whilst living in it.  The question is, will it stand another permanent resident and more importantly does Mr Bishop know exactly what he is in for?!  I shall be emailing him a link to this blog shortly, in order that he may find out and in the hope that when I awaken tomorrow morning that said 'van' as we have affectionately come to call it, is not back in the driveway...

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Reading, England
Tuesday 18 March 2014

Open plan living - according to estate agents, this is what sells houses!

I knew when I started my career in garden design that it was a perfect path to follow, if you'll pardon the pun.  I just recently found out that my Dad, who has been a Structural Engineer for over 50 years, came to his chosen career in exactly the same way as me, except he chose a different profession ultimately.  He figured that he didn't want to be chained to a desk all day long, but would rather be out and about, on site, in the fresh air, with others, creating and making.  

Back in 2000 when I was wracking my brains as to how I could extricate myself from my desk bound job in marketing, I went through a process to work out what I could do to satisfy my then frustration, to put the desk to the back of the queue in terms of its role in business life and to sate my love of the outdoors.  The Green Room was born in 2002; it took me while to come to a conclusion!  I'm not sure I had a steadfast idea of what I wanted it all to be then and where I wanted it to go, but I knew I needed to create, to be my own boss and to do something visual.  I didn't realise then just how ingrained this was in my psyche, in my genes and in my soul.  In fact I am only realising this all now, as I compile my business plan for 2014 and beyond.  

I've grown a lot in the last year, have realised I can take on massive projects and make them successful, have learned to have faith in my own ideas even when others question them, have learned to be bold when I am feeling much less than that on the inside.  In short, to have the courage of my convictions.  This last year, during which we have created what many are calling our very own 'Grand Design', a 1960s bungalow transformed into a super-slick, open-plan, most definitely brought into the twenty-first century studio house.  I've dreamed of doing this house, even before it ever came on the market.  Not this house exactly, but one kind of like it, a pseudo-bungalow if you like.  Being the other side of the renovation now, has brought into focus all of those ideas and dreams and theories that I wasn't absolutely sure would work.  Yes I had them in my head and they looked as if they had potential, but would they work in reality?  Well, the answer is a resounding yes.  It's official.  I do know what I am doing!  And what I have done is to make a home, a home for a family, a family who are not the cleanest and tidiest, spend a lot of time outdoors, have a dog, like to entertain, to have visitors, to cook and to appreciate the good things in life, especially the space around themselves.  This home, our home, is not about a house in isolation, a building that was just thrown up without knowing who would live there, how they would live, what they would be like and what they would like doing.  This home is about the bigger picture.  The bigger picture being us, the house, the site, the landscape beyond the site, our neighbours and our neighbourhood.  It works within all of those parameters and more in my opinion.  It's a wonderful place to be, with spaces that work as planned, amazing views from the windows and creative garden design that flows from the house as an integral part of the overall design.  

And this is what does.  We aren't architects or interior designers or garden designers.  We are all three and we are home makers.  Making spaces that define our clients; their wishes, their dreams and their lives.

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Maidenhead, England
Thursday 13 March 2014

Small garden design in Wargrave Berkshire

Even the very smallest project can be cool and exciting.  We've just designed the very smallest section of this mid-sized garden, the area nearest the house, to really help link the house with the garden and encourage use of the garden.  Wide steps opposite french windows lead the eye out into the space from inside the house and give good generous access to an existing seating area when you are outside. We've managed to squeeze in a smaller seating area with retaining walls doubling as perching space.  This area can be enjoyed in the later part of the day, as the back of the house is North-west facing.  Planting will feature some low-maintenance specimens including bamboos, phormiums and grasses.  Simple, but effective. And now the weather is looking up I can just see the client sitting out enjoying a G&T on a sunny evening!

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Berkshire, England
Tuesday 25 February 2014

I wanted this blog to be a true and up to the minute representation of the rigours of a house build.  The true rigour of that house build was that it was just so full and on and so stressful (although I didn't realise this until recently), that any possibility of writing anything even vaguely legible whilst surrounded by mud, multiple tradesmen, incessant downpours and living in a caravan with a small family and a dog with a vet collar on since Christmas was, well, you get the picture, it just wasn't going to happen.  So I'm cheating.  I am going to re-live for you the final weeks of the build (those bits since Adam the stiltwalking plasterer), that have got us to where we are today.

Thanks to very lovely friends, we had a good break over Christmas, in somebody elses house, alone, just us, whilst they tootled off to sunnier climes.  It was heaven for us, even without the sunnier climes.  We had a great break from cabin fever and from building site grot and everything and everyone else.  We returned to site and to the caravan, cleaner and more sane.  For a while anyway.  Over Christmas we had returned daily, only to make sure no-one had burgled us - quite likely as there was a huge aperture where the front door should have been, that we did not block up as we are quite secluded.  We also covered up our precious polished concrete floor to protect it, which was going off nicely with the warm weather (joke).

  

Various views with the floor covered up - it's starting to look more like a house though!

Two thousand and fourteen brought back the builders with avengance.  They had to be off site and on their next job by 1 February at the very latest.  Starting back on 7 Jan didn't give them that long.  This is the full on bit, the bit when project managing everything became really tricky.  Tonnes of decisions every day and they had to be right.  If this bit went awry then it would all have been for nothing.  Thank goodness for pre-planning is all I can say.  I'd spent two years dreaming this project and I knew exactly what colours I wanted on the walls, which finish for the floor, how the architraves should look and even what towels we should have in the bathrooms.  It was all inside my head I just had to get it out.  

I can see why projects like these finish marriages and cause nervous breakdowns, especially if you are a stickler for quality and nothing less that fabulous will do.  It's a full on final push and would try even the most experienced.  But, bless our builders and every other tradesman on site, they did everything they could to get it done on time, on budget and to our exacting specification.  I moved my office back to site and issued orders (aka requests!) and they were all met, bar none.

Builders having a brief cuppa (again).  How dare they!

So here we are.  Almost done.  Almost moved in and with the builders almost gone.  So how did it all go in the end?  I'll let you know next time...

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Reading, England
Thursday 20 February 2014

Crocuses in Shottesbrooke Park

A little broken and battered but fresh and bright and beautiful nonetheless!

Is it me or does winter not seem to have happened this year?  Daffodils are starting to bloom, snowdrops are out in swathes and today I even saw haw blossom in full flourish and the elder in the woods starting to sprout.  I know we need to see these things to keep us sane after all the rain and with no doubt more to come, but I can't help but feel a little nervous that we haven't had a really good prolonged cold snap to kill off unwanted bugs and nasties all round and that things are rather a lot out of kilter.

But, there's nothing we can do, so let's get on and enjoy them all before they are battered by the next deluge!

Posted by Jennie Herrington, Garden and interior design, Berkshire

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire England
Friday 17 January 2014

It's been slowly dawning on me that since starting this blog about our house build, that rather a lot of the images featured have been of toilets.  I apologise profusely for this, but it is a cold hard fact that they are a main feature in most of our days.  I mean all of us, not just us here at Timber Crest. 

Toilet facilities have been a point of tension throughout the build, but today marked a momentous occassion (mostly for No. 1 daughter), as the general use toilet (ie, the only one) was removed from the No. 2 bedroom.  It was a great relief for all of us.

Sorry, I just don't seem to be able to stop those double entendres.  Desparate I know...

But I digress. So, the toilet has gone.  Well, as far as the garden at any rate.  It now has pride of place in a very prominent corner of the front courtyard.  I must stress to all existing and potential clients reading this, that it was, unsurprisingly, not of my doing.  This wasn't the first place he tried (our builder that is!).  First of all it was on a manhole.  That classic place where people put planters, pots, urns, water features etc, in an attempt to disguise them.  Which in fact is the opposite of what actualy happens, as you eye is just drawn to it all the more, it's a focal point after all.  Especially when that focal point is a toilet.

So, here it is in its original place.  Slightly less offensive with the seat down me thinks, but none the less distinctly unsavoury.

I have sort of gone off this subject.  I am sure you agree.  So I will choose to leave at this point and propose that if you are ever tempted to disguise a manhole in such a way, please refrain and remember that a toilet always looks better in a discreet corner of the garden, planted up with a beautiful shrub.  

Adieu!

 

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Reading, Berkshire, England
Wednesday 08 January 2014

Announcing Adam the Amazing Stilt-Walking Plasterer!  Quite a few of you requested a picture, well here he is.  A little shy, but doing his best to get a flat ceiling in my new office, whilst on camera.  What a clever boy!  

 

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Reading, England
Tuesday 07 January 2014

Another momentous day today.  Our first working toilet in 131 days!  Ok, so it's directly opposite the rather large aperture left for the front door and side panel and there's no door on the shower room as yet either, so it could be classed as somewhat unsavoury in the level of detail provided, but we are super excited.  A little too excited perhaps?  Ooh, excuse me for just one moment, I must just....

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Reading, England
Friday 03 January 2014

Underfloor heating ready for polished concrete floor

I don't deal well with stress.  Or Christmas whilst living in a caravan.  Or the two biggest single expenditures of our build happening in consecutive weeks.  Many people say that stress is really just fear.  Well I agree and in this case I was well and truly petrified.  The truth is that I am not actually finding the overall experience of building our own home that stressful.  I am absolutely loving it in fact, which is good, as this is also my job.  What I am finding stressful is spending HUGE sums of money on a very regular basis, especially now as we near the end of the project.  Couple this with living in a small box almost the same size as the smallest cupboard in our new house, with one small girl, one small husband and one small and utterley nutty dog and during the wintertime and the stress levels are beginning to rise.  Add into this one small business and I'm just about boiling over.  So, bearing in mind that getting back into the house would pretty much put an end to all of my stresses, getting said windows and said flooring done on time and before that huge seasonal deadline so that the rest of the project could come in one time in the New Year, this made me the most highly strung ever in my life.

And we all know that already dreading an event is more than likely to mean that even the smallest thing will tip you over the edge.  We shall see!

The week of the supposed window delivery arrived.  Windows never arrive on time on Grand Designs do they, so of course they were going to be late on our project.  For all I knew, they may not have even been on the production line yet.  Maybe they wouldn't be made until AFTER CHRISTMAS!  No windows, no floor, no finished house.  Not for a very long time?  A very very long time indeed?  Maybe even next summer!  And we would have to live in the dreaded van through the wind and the gales and the snow and the ice.  Ahhhhhhhhh!  But I should know better than to be misled by the media.  They always need a sensationalist story.  And believe it or not, the very large lorry trundled down very narrow driveway bang on time with all of our lovely windows and doors sitting inside.  And just over a week later they were all snuggled into their little (actually rephrase that, quite large, but that doesn't sound all warm and cosy) apertures, thus turning our shell of a house into an almost home.  Phew, first really big spenny part of the project done and dusted.

Onto second big spenny part of the project.  Polished concrete floor.  Oh cripes, there aren't many of them around are there.  I have trawled the internet for information on this.  Who should do it.  How it's done.  If I use an independent supplier who hasn't come recommended by someone whose opinion I trust, how do I know they are any good.  I mean really good.  To my very exacting standards? I know.  Have a look at that trusty website.  Channel 4's Grand Designs again.  Is this tempting fate?  Two GD risks in a row?!

Anyway, to cut a very long story short and to avoid all chat about us deliberating over whether we should change our mind and use a different flooring and save enough money to build another small house etc, the day before arrived.  Two chaps showed up as promised.  They threw some steel reinforcement onto our beautiful underfloor heating pipes and went away again, destined to return the next day to 'pour the floor'.  Interesting.

The next day a small army of men arrived.  With a big pump and a few large cement mixers.  One for cement, one for tea, one for cement etc.  And some very large dragonflies.

Pump and pipe for pouring our polished concrete floor in Oxfordshire

Pouring our polished concrete floor in Berkshire

Polished concrete polishers

And in precisely eight hours, they poured and polished our floor and then went home.

Here it is.  It still needs its final laquer coats, which will go on a few days before we move in, but WOW!  Why was I stressing?!

Almost finished polished concrete floor near Henley on Thames

 

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Oxforshire, England
Wednesday 11 December 2013

Oooh, we've had a request!  This means people are actually reading this.  You know I never really thought they would.  You would.  I thought it would be a therapeutic exercise in dumping all unwanted psychological baggage accumlated along the way to a new house.  Most of us have at least moved house in the past and know just how bad that can be, so making your own house over a series of months whilst living in a small, uninsulated box with only 2 wheels and a tow bar must surely take the biscuit.  No?  Oh yeah, that was the builders again...    

On the moving note and in a very 'Ronnie Corbett style deviation' way, I must firstly make a huge and very public apology to our lovely new neighbours and their various accoutrements, which were not able to become new neighbours and stuff for over 48 hours due to our very own and very large skip blocking the driveway and thus preventing large removal lorry from delivery said items.  What a terrible start for them.  Unable to move into lovely new home and once finally in, living one door down from a bunch of travellers.  It's going to take some serious dinner parties, childcare and other general favours and niceties to put this one right I can tell you.

Anyway, back to the travellers.  That would be us.  Some of yo want to see where/how wer are living.  Well, you may not actually.  Our sanitation levels are diminishing day by day, our boots are getting muddier and our dog is, well, I just can't describe her really.  She's a spaniel, so if you know the breed you will be aware of just how much dust, dirt, debris and detritus they are able to collect on an average day.  And if you times that by just over 100 hundred days with no bath and barely even a brush, you may get an idea of just how foul the beast has become.  Add into this mix some very cold weather and very weak willed owners who now let her sleep in the very small box thing at the bottom of their bed and you may get an idea of the state of play.  It's not pretty.

But to move away from further attempts at smellivision, here's a selection of visual delights showing life in the 'van.  Don't be fooled - many of these were taken in the good ol' days.  ie, Day 1 (and some pre this) to about Day 14.  I couldn't possibly take any pics now.  It's just too too bad.

Ahh look, lovely clean awning, sunshine and leaves on the trees.  Oh yes and a path made with slabs.  Not mud.

 

Tidy interior shot number 1...

 

Tidy interior shot number 2.  That's it on the interior shots.  The sum total of our space.  Two beds, end to end.  Well there is a bathroom but why would you want to see that?  It's the size of a portaloo.  Well, it is a portaloo actually.

 

The Foul Beast of Wargrave

 

Life for a small child on the road.  Or rather in the garage.

 

"And next time on The Green Room Blog.... terribly exciting almost finished house pictures!"

Bon nuit to all you lucky readers who have a toilet plumbed into the mains this happy night.

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Berkshire, England
Monday 02 December 2013

This is the life eh!  Stunning Ercol coffee table, flowers from a friend (yes, I thought it was a nice but unusual gesture too, not sure caravan living and flowers really combine well, but I am grateful, honest, they definitely brighten up the dreariness), fetching Costco kitchen roll table cloth and the latest Jim Lawrence catalogue.  Not to mention an old wheelbarrow, our outside but not connected sink and our faithful pot bellied stove.  Life doesn't get much better than this.

Well actually that's not quite the truth (again).  Rumour has it that our windows are arriving on Wednesday.  Yip yip yip, yippidy doo daa and hurray.

Watch this space! 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, near Henley-on-Thames, England
Wednesday 27 November 2013

 

I'm posting this image as it's about all that's lovely about leaving a toasty caravan of a morning and entering what can only be described as an ice hotel, without the hotel part and any form of cosiness whatever. As lovely friends remarked recently (before they lent us their amazing house for a week whilst our shower was leaking), camping is for the likes of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, not for normal people.  I'm pretty pleased she thought we were normal though.

I'll let you into a secret.  They've said we can have the house in the week for as long as we like too.  We're just bowled over.  By this and by the huge generosity of absolutely all of our friends and family, and nationwide too, not just locally.  Everyone, bar none has been so super lovely and kind.  Sunday lunches, suppers, offers of showers and beds and childcare.  It's quite tearjerking really.  Especially as we've got ourselves here.  It's all our own doing.  Our own madness!

Here's where we've been this past week...

Amazing isn't it.  A beautiful house, built by two great people (literally by them), our once clients, now friends, .  We've been so lucky to get to stay here during one of the coldest weeks of the build.  With the offer to stay longer you may be wondering why on earth we would choose to go back to site.  It's simple really.  Doing this kind of project, we just have to be close to it.  We have to live it every day.  To walk around when the builders have left, even though it's dark.  To chat to the builders in the morning before they start, to have a cup of tea with them and to know what the day ahead holds.  If we stay away, then the build becomes theirs.  Their decisions, their remit.  As we can almost see the end date on the horizon, it's crucial that we are there, making the final decisions, seeing the finishes, watching it all take shape.  For me, as the biggest project I have done to date, seeing the minutae is the future of my business.  So, whilst it's flippin' freezing out there, we just have to be there.  Frostbite and all.

I hear the weather's looking up for the rest of the week though.  Time to break out the shorts me thinks.

 

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, England
Sunday 24 November 2013

It's funny how things seem to progress during a build.  Last week felt like nothing was really doing.  We only had Whip and Dell (builders) on site and whilst sometimes they seem to be super human in terms of what they can achieve in a day, last week it seemed like they were on go slow because of the cold.  That's ok though, I know exactly how they feel.  I'm probably being slightly harsh though.  I mean they ate enough biscuits to feed a small army, so they must have been burning them off somehow.

This week though, it's been super exciting.  Trades everywhere and things have come on hugely.  Here's our very first rad.  Ok, so it's probably the smallest radiator any of us have ever seen; not amusing given it's been an average of 4 degrees this week outside, but it's ok, it's going in the airing cupboard.  We don't have a hot water tank, so this is very necessary.  It also looks like it's halfway up the wall, which technically it is right now, but the floor will come up quite a bit once the polished concrete goes in.  As you can see our airing cupboard is a happening place.  Not only will it serve as home to the usual linen cupboard paraphanalia (although this could be quickly reduced to an old flannel and a hand towel the way things are going), we will also have an assortment of exciting wires and the manifold for the underfloor heating.  It's amazing what can be crowbarred into a one-storey house with some careful thought you know.  

Actually that last bit was a lie.  There is very little room for careful thought these days.  I am finding that the term 'flying by the seat of my pants', quickly followed by that old gem 'steep learning curve', along with others I cannot possibly mention here, are featuring heavily in my day to day.  By golly there is a lot to think about.  I was pretty proud before we started building when a Quantity Surveyor friend, who challenged me quite brutally about what I had actually included within my tender, concluded that actually the only things I hadn't thought to put in were the door handles.  So financially things are more or less on track, but if I don't turn up on site everyday and have a good walk around and talk to everyone involved and literally eat, sleep and breathe this thing, then it just isn't going to be what we want it to be.  

It's a good job I'm loving it is all I can say!

Here's another very very exciting picture that almost all of you will find incredibly dull.  My kitchen with both insulation (yes, I have secreted away a few bits for the 'van) and plasterboard.  I am so loving my plasterer.  Not only is he a master at his art, he is also a very cool stilt walker.  Oh yes, and he's giving us finished rooms.  Well, finished rooms without windows that is.  And doors, and skirtings, and floors.

 

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, near Marlow, England
Thursday 14 November 2013

I've been absent.  Sorry.  Strangely (!) it's all been a bit hectic.  And cold.  Anyway, this is a short one but hopefully it tells quite a story.  Things have progressed somewhat.  Apparently the plasterers are coming next week.  But please, don't get too excited.  We won't have doors and windows until the second week of December - at least.  I say at least as I have decided I cannot believe they will come on time until they are actually being unloaded from the lorry.  I think this is sensible, don't you.  After all, if you are reading this you are probably a 'Grand Designs' nut in which case you know, for sure, that it's always the windows that hold it all up.

I can't possibly type anymore, I've had a few problems with uploading photos so have been at this for 2 hours already and my fingers will be being served up for tomorrows tea at this rate, they are totally frozen.  Yes, we are on thin rations.

So, here's a taster of how things have come on.  My favourite is the last one.  Taken yesterday morning after a pretty heavy frost.  Brrr.  But they are forecasting snow for next week, so that should be even more exciting (sorry, I mean interesting).

 

Cruel parents we are - this is her playground!

 

Quite a soggy site, but with some roof at least.  Not the glamorous paving, nicely reduced to hardcore by the lorry that delivered the RSJs!

 

The front door - capacious!

 

Entrance hall!  Plus utility and wet room.  Very wet room.  Very wet rooms in fact.  Roof still not quite there...

 

Kitchen with first fix electrics.

 

View from the sitting room through the house - cripes it's huge!

 

Sitting room - with new furniture, and concrete floors!

 

Ahh, a sparkly morning, and a finished roof.  Phew, just in time methinks!

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Henley on Thames, England
Sunday 03 November 2013

It's Sunday.  It's November.  It's cold.  Right now, it's dark and it's tipping with rain.  It's after 9pm.  In my 'house' are two chaps, Lee and Dave, still working, after over 12 hours of being on site.  They were here yesterday.  They will be here tomorrow.  I'm quite gobsmacked really.  So here's a picture of them, with their booty; over 1 mile of networking cable, half a mile of speaker cabling and plenty of other telephone cabling to boot.  Yes, they are being paid, but having quite a bit of experience with 'the trades', this really is going that extra mile.

We've had a pretty crappy week all round, which I will no doubt go into another time, so it makes our hearts glad to have such dedication in our midst.  

If you want to know about the techy bit, the boys are putting in first fix for Sonos (so we can have music across different rooms, outside etc), networking (so we don't need Wi-fi to get internet tv, email etc) and for all our telecomms.  If you want to use them, they come highly recommended - .

In addition to this, today we have mostly been - sweeping leaves, fixing leaks, emptying grey water, walking in thick mud, drinking far too much whisky with lovely neighbours and lighting our new pot bellied stove (courtesy of other lovely builders) for the first time.

You know what, it's not all that bad here.  And here's one tres happy pup (Lou-Lou Bubble Muffin!) to prove it.  Ok, so she doesn't look that happy, but it is raining cats and dogs...

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, England
Tuesday 15 October 2013

It seems an obvious thing really.  Living in a caravan and cooking in a garage isn’t easy.  At least I don’t think it isn’t (sorry, grammar was never my strong point).  Not that I can really recollect what was easy about living in our house, pre-demolition anyhow, but dishwashers, hot water from a tap and normal sanitary conditions are long gone.

So meal times are a challenge.  In the beginning we didn’t eat that much - whoopee, slim for Christmas!   That didn’t last long though as it’s pretty calorie-intensive living primarily outdoors and hardly ever sitting down for prolonged periods.  Especially as the weather is much colder now, moving around is crucial in order not to let the cold set in.  I even caught Baby Smurf sweeping the gravel drive today.  What a cruel mother.

So, soon after the enforced diet, extreme eating set in.  And is seemingly here to stay.  But what to cook.  Really. 

It would be totally simple if you didn’t mind eating fried eggs and baked beans for every meal.  Or baked potatoes come to that.  Or ready meals.  Hey,I’m missing a trick here.  Yes, I do have my oven, so am pretty spoiled really, but in all honesty the actual cooking isn’t the issue.  Washing up is tiresome, you have to boil the water first and add in cold from a water carrier (usually empty), plus everything has to be dried up too, so it’s time consuming and leaves things rather damp, including me.

So we are back to minimalism.  The fewer pots the better, ideally just the one.  Multifunctional utensils and if you can eat it from said pot, with your fingers, then it’s a good day.

So ok, here it is.  My most minimal and supremely scrumptious offering thus far.  As we are all aware, apples are literally dripping from the trees, so I was inspired to use up a considerable pile of rather sad looking specimens so I could go and raid the local trees some more.  And thanks to Abel and Cole, I had a pack of rather lovely Cumberland sausages to hand too, and approximately 15 green pointy cabbages languishing in the veggie drawer of the fridge…

Sauçisson a la garage

(you may need to reduce quantities for smaller than garage-dwelling appetites)

 

A big old dash of rapeseed oil

6 big fat sausages

2 big onions

3 big cloves of garlic

A big pile of eating apples, old, wrinkly ones are acceptable

A big pile of potatoes, scrubbed, skins left on

A big bunch of thyme, sage or rosemary

A big glug of red wine

A big glug of basalmic vinegar

A small cabbage – any kind will do, but ideally not a bulk standard white one

Salt + pepper in abundance

A big lasagne dish, skillet or heavy baking tray

 

Pre-heat your oven to really quite hot (baking potato temperature), 200 degrees C for my fan oven.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown off the sausages until almost charcoaled on the outside.

Peel and cut the onions into big chunks.  Flatten the garlic with the same knife and remove the peel.  Core the apples and cut into quarters.  Cut the potatoes down their lengths and then cut in half again, lengthwise.  Add all the ingredients to your chosen vessel and season well. 

When your sausages are browned off remove them from the pan and cut into bite-sized chunks – but leave your pan on the stove, heat turned off.  Add them to the dish and stir to mix with the other ingredients.

Add about a glass of red wine to the frying pan and allow it to deglaze the pan.  Add the wine to the dish and splash over some vinegar.  Tuck in your herbs so that they don’t burn in the oven.

Drizzle over a bit more oil to keep things from burning in the oven.

Pop the dish in the oven for about an hour, giving it a shake every now and then.

About 15 mins from the end of the cooking time shred the cabbage finely and stir into the mix, making sure it’s coated with all the juices.

Remove from the oven and eat straight from the dish if you are a garage-dwelling heathen, or serve in big dishes if not.

Enjoy with the rest of the wine, if it’s not already gone to counteract the effects of extreme coldness.  In the interests of minimalism, drinking straight from the bottle is acceptable.

One final point.  Leave the oven open during eating, to warm up the room.  Nothing should go to waste.

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, near Henley on Thames, England
Wednesday 09 October 2013

Gosh excuse me, I just couldn't resist that title.  It pretty much sums up my day and a few other things besides.

So, it's finally happened.  The bubble has burst.  Now I think on it, it's been creeping up for a while, I've just been pretending really well that of course I can do all this.  Of course I can, it's no sweat.  It's me ok, I'm hardy.  But.  I'm really not enjoying the prospect that colder weather is only just around the corner and that we are mostly living in the great outdoors.  Most likely it will be here in the morning - says she, sitting at her screen having donned bobble hat and winter coat.  Hey, I'm ready alright ;)  And trying to work is proving challenging.  For a start, this really is my biggest project to date and whilst clients are essential (as well as lovely, patient, generous, helpful, etc, etc, brownose, brownose), I just have to get this all right and that means making literally hundreds (I kid you not) of decisions, cups of tea, phone calls, cups of tea, emails, cups of tea, cups of tea etc on an almost ongoing basis.  On top of this there is darling dog, darling daughter and darling husband (hopefully I got that in the right order...) all needing various levels of attention throughout an average day.  Oh yeah, then we seem to produce an inordinate amount of waste - water, food, washing up and other unmentionables, which need very regular maintenance.  Just typing this is wearing me down.  How's it for you, reading it?  Loving your house even if it hasn't been decorated for 10 years and you haven't taken down last years Christmas cards yet?  Yeah, I know.  It's all my fault.  All my fault.  Sigh.

So anyway, that's an average day when clients are being nice, the sun is shining and all is well with the world.

Well, today wasn't that day.  It was all that and just a little bit more.  A little bit more included a school trip (oops, you have to take a picnic today do you darling...  eek... mad dash to the supermarket), an after school trip mega-tantrum for no apparent reason (dd, not me - mine came later ;), a trip to another building site (as if I hadn't had enough of this one) to take some levels only to find that my laser wouldn't work (grrr) and the builders telling me that our one and only semi-connected toilet would be out of action for a good long while.

Oh yes and the buildling inspector pointed out (bless him) that the main beam over our kitchen, the one that weighs one and a half tonnes and is 7.5m long, is too small.  Note to self.  When you have two planning applications both with corresonding building regulation drawings, remember to dispose of all previous drawings before said job starts.  Even if it happens to be written in great big lettering across all drawings 'superceded by further planning application'.  So after that gut wrenching reaslisation that it actually was too small and that almost all the roof had gone on today and oh flip, are we going to have to take it all down and the builder proposing they leave site now and come back on Monday, darling Daddy and on hand structural engineer (utterley undemanding of any attention you understand) saves the day.  Well partially saves the day - it just involved me spending about another 'three-er', if you know what that is, on sorting it all out.  It was just text book.  A text book error.  I really should know better.  I will not do it again.  Ever.  Honestly.

Anyway, the solution is in production and we'll have that lovely crane driving over my plants again by Monday and all will be well.

So it was with great joy, that I came home after delivering my flea market bargain to Steve at for revival (more on that later), that I found this little gem left for me by the hastely departing builders.  You have to love 'em.  And that cute loo roll holder!

 

Even though they messed up that flippin' beam and pushed up my nearly perfect budget.

 

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Henley on Thames, England
Friday 04 October 2013

I love my builders.  Not only have they made astonishing progress thus far;  steels this week and nearly all walls built.  Roof next week, apparently.  Weather permitting.  Chippies don't work in the rain, it rusts their tools.  Seems fair cop.  Brickies don't either.  Just because.

 

No, I love them because of what you will see in the next few photos.  This is them gone for the weekend.  It's 3pm and they've left.  And I don't care, because firstly, it's Friday and we should all break into the weekend gently.  Secondly, they have left the site so completely tidy it puts my caravan to shame.  Take a look for yourself.  Or if you are one of the many unfortunate soles who don't have such a pristine looking building site, then look away now.

 

Tidy site house build  wargrave henley on thames

 

Tidy site house build  wargrave henley on thames

 

Tidy site house build  wargrave henley on thames

 

Have a happy weekend everyone - and if you happen to be in the immediate Berkshire environs, enjoy the sunshine.  In October.  Someone is seriously looking out for us!

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, England
Tuesday 01 October 2013

 

 

 

The view the other way is much nicer ;)

 

The dividing wall between the kitchen and the bedrooms 'wing'!

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, England
Sunday 22 September 2013

Every now and again when you wake up early, you just have to get out of bed.  Never more so than when you are lying in a slightly damp caravan, with a dog whining in the garage I find.  And so it was this morning, at a very unsociable 6.30am, that I clambered reluctantly past my slumbering family, out into the morning attempting not to disturb a soul whilst I cringingly opened our ailing 1960s garage door to reveal our garage-kitchen-kennel.  Once the dog was skipping merrily around the 'garden' (read that loosely) carrying out her doggy ablutions, I realised what a very special morning it was.  Or that it was going to be at least.  The mist was thick and low and the air was crisp.  A stunning day lay ahead I felt.  It was one of those mornings where you are glad you got out of bed and where you know that whever it is you are going to go, you have to have your camera with you.

 

It turned out I hadn't been that steathy in extracting myself from the van - after contemplating the mist, I turned to find No. 1 daughter also skipping merrily down the garden path.  I muted a walk.  I thought I had no chance, but, she went for it and before long we were out in the fields, just as the sun was breaking through the mist.  Around about 6.50am I should say.  Wow!  It really was stunning.  Not a soul about.  Calm, peaceful, special.  Even the dog knew it and didn't race after the many birds that were still snoozing amongst the stubble.

The landscape slowly revealed itself through the mist, layer upon layer, field, copse, wood, hill.  Into the middle distance.  We followed the layers and when we got to the edge of the woods we crossed a disused field, thick with spent wildflowers and grasses.  The brownery (as it was no longer green), was just smothered in a zillion cobwebs, carefully arranged around every flower stem, every blade of grass, some even floating on the air.  It brought it home just how many creatures there must be in that field and the world around us, each with its own agenda, each toiling away at its own masterpiece whilst all the humans were a-slumber.

 Only for a soggy springer spaniel to come and run right through it of a morning.  Ah well, back to reality.

 

The joy of such a morning, such a memory makes me think that if we weren't building this house, if we had decided upon a flat instead of a caravan to live in whilst we did it or if sleep came more easily and deeply, that I, that we, would have missed all that.  All that beauty, all that landscape, all that world around us.  That beautiful world that never ceases to bring surprise and beauty and learning.

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, near Henley-on-Thames, England
Monday 16 September 2013

 

When we moved out (into a caravan in the garden that is!), there was a moment when I had a small strop at the husband for adding too MANY cupboards into our 'garage-kitchen'.  I'd had this notion for many months that the kitchen would consist of one double cupboard, an L-shaped work surface with staging underneath for pans etc and the fridge/freezer, which was obviously the most crucial thing right (yeah, when it's 5 degrees and falling, I'll really need that!).  That would be it.  So when he started ripping out the old kitchen and installing it in the garage almost in its entirety I did have some very minor objections.  Very minor indeed you understand.  However, after having attempted to crow bar not that many items crucial for preparing and eating food into said cupboards - a very brief list would include, glasses, plates, bowls, cutlery, pans, egg cups (ha!), the odd spice, olive oil etc, food for a family of three, not really wanting to eat rehydrated meals designed for the Norwegian army everynight, plus the odd breakfast and lunch - the extra cupboards really didn't seem that much of a problem.  Really, as many as you would like to install darling will be just fine.  So now, with my sink (yes!) stationed outside my garage and my pan 'cupboard' complete with pull-out wire draw, I am in the process of rationalising the many things I have migrated from house to garage-kitchen that just aren't being used.  Quite frankly the fewer items required to make a meal the better - eating out of pans is now perfectly acceptable in our 'household', as is eating with your hands, scraping up food with a bit of old, dry, few days old bread, drinking from the bowl and sharing drinking vessels (this last one is positively mandatory).

 

Are you sure you don't want to visit?!

 

 

Over the weeks of the build I would like to share with you the various culinary delights I will be whipping up for my enthusiastic family and will also let you in on their honest feedback on the ratio of great food versus 'ooh I think there was a bit of hardcore in there Mum'-type comments that will no doubt be forthcoming.  In some instances I may even gift you some of my sublime gastronomic recipes so you can make them at home and imagine how it must feel to be eating the same thing in the garage with sheeting rain falling on claggy mud just feet away from the dinner table. 

 

Here's a taster... chicken soup (homemade stock) with sweetcorn (home-grown) and rice (supermarket bought, sorry, it's wet here, but that's too faffy, plus we are on a flat site).  No rude comments please, it was my first attempt.

 

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, England
Monday 09 September 2013

People keep on saying we are 'brave' to do what we are doing.  At first I wasn't sure what they were referring to; knocking down the house or living in a caravan whilst it happened.  Now I've realised that they mean both.  And when they say brave I think what they really mean is 'nuts'.  When we first thought about doing this, I didn't really think it was a big deal.  Last week when the sun was shining I didn't think it was a big deal.  Today when we had torrential rain all day and the builders left after their first cup of tea this morning because they are jessies, it became quite a big deal.  But we are hear to tell the tale.  Well darling husband went off to work in a nice warm car/train/office is.  Daughter who went off to school and had her lunch cooked for her and the benefits of a nice warm classroom is.  I on the other hand who was left to deal with an over filled skip (builders are in for it tomorrow), a non-English speaking skip driver and an irrate skip company on the other end of the phone, a muddy dog walk and a less than refined lunch hour is not so fine.  Sorting the skip only took a mere half hour, but during that brief period of time I became soaked to the skin and had to change almost all of my clothes before 10am.  After lunch the muddy dog walk resulted in much the same scenario.  This may not seem a big deal for those who have a normal life/house/washing machine thing going on, but to me, with my washing having left for the week with the kindest lady who will be washing, drying and folding/ironing it, it was a huge pain in the proverbial.  Clothes don't dry in a caravan, not on the first soaking wet, autumnal day of the year anyway.

If we aren't nutty now, then I don't think it will be long before we are!

 

 

Said skip, being unloaded into new empty skip...  builders nowhere to be seen.  Many thanks Tomo at !

 

Posted by Jennie Herrington
, Wargrave, Henley on Thames, England

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