Now each evening we are drawn outside to sit and see if the magic of the owl will be repeated. Instead we've been entertained by a bat flying round and round obviously saying 'look at me', unfortunately the camera isn't able to capture him (I don't know how to adjust the shutter speed).
Rob came over and worked hard to help us remove the metal panelling from the back of the barn. An afternoon of labour and it looks fantastic. Rob and I were later rewarded by seeing a barn owl fly low across the big field as dusk fell.
Tonight we went to a concert at the church. It was an excellent event but unfortunately, as it clashed with the Rugby, wasn't as well attended as it deserved to be. Holborne Brass were most entertaining and we walked back home under a clear sky with a brilliant harvest moon.
In order to find a home for all our things Dave has been working hard all week boarding out the loft above the utility room. Of course I had taken all the things to be stored up to where I imagined he'd board the top floor loft ...... it was hard, dusty work but I am delighted to clear space inside the study and the guest bedrooms at last.
I woke this morning to mists rolling across the field. It was a very autumnal scene, with the temperature definitely feeling cooler. Now we are past the equinox and the nights are drawing in. We've already had the log burner in action.
The first two items of painted furniture are now complete (although I may varnish the tops to make them more durable). Dave has painted the bedroom walls the same blue as the bedroom beneath and the white bed looks much crisper against a colour. I also have some amazing embroidered curtains that I plan to turn into a throw. Suddenly work inside seems to be racing along.
We have finally got round to sorting out curtains for the top bedroom. It is a little complicated as they need to close hard against the chimney breast and the view is so wonderful I didn't want to mask it, the solution was to remake existing curtains and draw them back just to one side. I'm pleased with the final result.
This pheasant has guilt written all over her face despite the fact that when I looked out from the kitchen she was just sitting here preening. I think she probably has a tummy full of raspberries, but as I do too I can't complain! Mine went well with yoghurt for breakfast.
Today it was sunny and the forecast for the week to come is changeable to say the least and so I decided we should take a few hours off and go walking. The pub in the next village: The Crown in Marston Montgomery has changed hands very recently and it was a pleasant 45 minutes to get there. It's the first time we've walked this route and rewarded ourselves with a drink and the brilliant invention of a Sunday lunch bap: roast beef or pork with roast potatoes and gravy! Highly recommended, we wish the new owners the best of luck with this venture.
The damsons are ready to harvest and I busy myself making jam. As ever the stones are a pain to skim off but I'm pleased with the result of 10 large and 2 smalls jars from 5 lb of fruit. They are swiftly labelled and safely stored on the pantry shelf.
I have decided to try and paint our old bedroom furniture. Made in the 1980's from pine it was quite expensive and is very well made but has developed an unpleasant orangey hue over the years. As we still have plenty of our greyish green kitchen cabinet paint left I am going to see how it looks refurbished. It's a nice sunny day to work outside on the sanding but I will have to lug it back indoors to paint as it's also very windy. The big bathroom makes a good place for painting projects.
There are lots of fungi appearing at the moment. Out walking I spotted two huge puffballs and then a collection of these ink caps. I believe they are edible but I can't say they look very appetizing and I certainly have no plans to try them.
Our many times moved raspberries must be happy at last as after a slow start this season they are now producing wonderful large berries, providing we can beat the pheasants and wasps to them that is! The variety is Polka and I bought the canes for Dave as a present when we had our allotment in Rolleston, from there they had a stint in Somerset before relocating here to Somersal.
Despite an appalling weather forecast for today we had glorious sunshine just when it mattered. To celebrate the centenary of the WI our group held a wonderful tea party with scones and Pimms and our best posh frocks and hats!
The swallows have largely gone now with just the house martins remaining. Everywhere though the garden is full of butterflies enjoying the sunshine. The hedges too are full of small birds feasting on the berries. We too are making the most of the good weather whenever it appears.
Dave is painting the metal supports of the barn behind the house. After a lot of research he discovers Johnstones paint which can go directly onto the metal (like Hammerite) but is available in a wide range of colours. We choose the aptly named 'Horizon' and it looks great when viewed against the sky. Fortunately there is no photo to show us working on the middle section of the beams - I insisted on holding the ladder and for protection was clad in a waterproof jacket with a hood, with a dust mask and a golf umbrella while Dave scraped down the debris from above!
One of our outstanding projects was to fit banister rails to the top flight of stairs. Dave managed to get some timber cut to the right profile and then stained it to match the originals which are on the first lot of stairs. It was a fiddly job because of the way they turn and each run needs fixing to rather undulating walls but the task is now complete and certainly it feels safer when you use them.
My fantastic view from the back door, what a privilege to have a kitchen with such a lovely outlook. Plus for puss it means she can sit outside the window to attract my attention and when I don't respond quickly enough she jumps up onto the garden table to nag! We are well trained though and she normally gets prompt service.
Tom's car has decided that it doesn't really want to drive around any more and after lots of large garage bills we end up swapping cars with him and trading his in for a new one for us. It's comes with a little 'Gordon lamb' named after the dealership we bought from!
Our 'discovery' apples have ripened and the wasps have made a beeline (or waspline) straight for them. It is amazing how a perfect apple can have a large hole in it just a few hours later. I keep checking the damsons as I want to use them to make jam. At the moment they are still not quite ready, but I'd rather pick them slightly unripe than lose them to wasps and birds. There are plenty they can have above my reaching height.
I was extremely pleased with my brilliant onion drying system: the slats on the seat are the perfect distance apart to allow me to thread the tops of my onions through but narrow enough to stop the onion actually falling. This year we are trying to make sure they are really dry before we bring them in for storage as unfortunately last year there were a lot lost to rot. This week though the forecast is good so hopefully the sun and breeze will do the job.
The evenings are really drawing in, which I hate, but tonight the sun sets with a strong red glow which falls on the end of the old dairy building lighting it up. During the day the buddleia has been covered in butterflies all feasting on the last of the summer's nectar.
As I get out of the shower I can here an insistent bird noise and Dave calls for me to come and look. This woodpecker is on the path outside our front door! When I look up the Green Woodpecker on the RSPB website I can see why it's here, under the heading 'what do they eat' the response is 'ants, ants and more ants' and yes on this bit of path there are plenty of those (also on our kitchen windowsill, but that's another story.)