The swallows have returned and fill the air with their chirruping. So far only three have arrived but I am sure more are on their way. Having negotiated the journey from Africa one bird managed to fly straight into the house where upon Dave had to carry out a rescue operation.
We have brought our table and chairs over and it's been lovely to sit outside in the early morning and at the end of the day and escape for a while from all the endless pressures of this project. An example being my kitchen tap - first the wrong tap was sent in the right box, then the right tap came but it turns out to have a hole in the stem and so is unusable - finally the right tap arrives and is fitted but it has taken 10 days to get to this point. All this with a very expensive tap from a well regarded British company. It is the stress of all this not the work itself that takes the toll.
I have spent the last few glorious days digging and planting. We have potatoes, broad beans, parsnips, carrots and potatoes along with salad vegetables, and peas, sweetcorn, tomatoes and courgettes in pots. In between the vegetables are flowers and herbs. I was desperate to get on with this as I know it would be only too easy for us to have missed the chance to get our vegetable garden in place for this summer. I have felt guilty to be working outside while Dave toils endlessly indoors.
My new kitchen starts to take shape. It arrived neatly boxed although took much longer than predicted - a two week order date ran into over a month and then was delayed by a further day but it's here now and looks good.
The new oven is unpacked by three men - I decide to stay out of it while they work out how it has to be installed - you can't really see the electrician as he is behind it!! Dave wanted us to buy this better model and it is very impressive. Soon we will be able to move on from our microwave suppers.
The kitchen units are carefully packed but getting them out involves a strange sequence of operation: first you are supposed to open the box, then you turn it upside down and finally you remove the box. With a few minor modifications to this system my new units appeared.
We were going to have a built in fridge in the kitchen (as opposed to a larder fridge in the utility room). I thought that the cabinet for the fridge was basically a box into which the fridge fitted, however it turned out that Matt needed us to have the fridge so he could assemble the unit around it. Dave was sent on an errand to buy a fridge as he had to go back to Burton - impressively he found one and I got out of bed to help him unload it on his night-time return (he'd been at Peel Mill watching football).
Ever since we bought the farm our water supply has come from a bit of blue pipe with a tap on the end and a builders bucket to catch the drips. Today however the plumber cut this off in readiness for a proper sink ... and the start of a tap saga ...
We have a lovelorn pheasant who spends all his time walking round our fields and calling. This morning he made so much noise that I got out of bed to see what was happening only to find that finally he had a female companion. By breakfast however he seemed on his own once more.
As my workday clothes are mainly black I invest in an exciting 'sort of paper' suit to keep the paint off. It looks more and more fetching as it starts to split across the seams. I will spare you the full body shot!
It may only be a simple thing but I am delighted with the new door handle which replaces the cheap looking brass one. For supper tonight we escaped to the Vernon Arms and spent our £25 lottery winnings!
So far I have dug three and a quarter plots for the kitchen garden. This is now my view as I wake up in the morning. The last small section will be made to about three quarters the length of the main plots and is where we plan on growing mainly fruit. The raspberries are already in place and determined not to be moved again.
For some reason our bed order failed to arrive meaning a much longer sleep on a mattress on the floor than anticipated! You realise you are not as young as you were when getting up involves first starting off on your hands and knees.
After a major glitch with our bed order (when it totally failed to arrive) I was delighted to see the John Lewis lorry pull up and even happier with the bed. We managed to assemble it quite easily and it was wonderful to not have to crawl out of bed at floor level. Later we got our chest of drawers and bedside table from Peel Mill and so now we can also put our clothes away ...