Our Stairs Are Evil – Fact

After a week of moving boxes, furniture, an unhappy Cat and the remaining tat we’ve accumulated that hasn’t fallen victim to the life laundry (yet) by the 30th March we were finally ready to spend the first night in our new home. We still have tenancy of the rental until the end of April so we had the luxury of being able to move at a slightly less panicked pace than normal. We’ve settled in quickly, it feels like home already. We were still surrounded by boxes and chaos but we were in and ready to sit back, put our feet up, pour a glass of something cold, French and fizzy and celebrate being homeowners. (I’m still not sure about the armchair – but it can stay – for the moment).

The ineviatble pain that goes with keeping an outdoor cat in for as long as you can bear after moving house began.

The boxes that we still needed to unpack came in really handy as a makeshift wall to stop him from climbing the chimney as a possible escape route.

We had our first guest on Saturday. Garrett came over for a pub crawl, meal out and house warming. We had a lovely evening in Chippy and a delicious meal at Cafe Le Raj then headed home for a couple of drinks and a chill out with a movie.

I changed into my comfy clothes pre-movie and as I headed back down the aforementioned narrow, winding stairs I slipped down the bottom two steps. One leg went one way and the other leg stayed where it was. After a very bad night and a lot of pain we headed to The John Radcliffe on Sunday morning (which I am very happy to say is still our nearest A&E, it’s a great hospital and if it’s good enough for Harrison Ford it’s good enough for me) I wasn’t planing on crutches and a knee brace being my fashion accessories for my return to work on Monday! Luckily it was just a bad sprain and no ligament damage but damn – it hurt (and still does)

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Adventures in Chippy – The Beginning

Well, that was a busy few months.

Sorry I’ve been absent for a while, there’s been a lot going on. For a start we seem to have bought a house!

On the 10th of March we became the happy owners (ok, mortgage payers) of a little bit of Chipping Norton.

After years of renting we’ve escaped the tyranny of landlords (and landladies) and can bang a nail into any wall we want happy in the knowledge that we don’t need to worry about filling the hole in again unless we want to.

We would have loved to buy a house in Oxford but with the house prices there at the moment we would have been lucky to get a shed within our budget so we looked at areas that were close enough to still be able to get in and out of Oxford easily on public transport. We wanted somewhere that was lively and interesting with a hint of countryside but not the full on village lifestyle. Chippy ticked the boxes.

We’ve got a lovely two bedroom cottage that’s been refurbished recently so we don’t need to do anything major inside (yet). There are a couple of negatives, storage space is very limited which means that I need to have a serious life laundry (more about that in another post) and the stairs are narrow, winding and evil (more about that in another post as well). There’s also no garden, just a small courtyard but we’ll figure out something to sort that (I’m going to apply for an allotment but Matt has no faith in me ever doing anything with it – watch this space). We have two parking spaces, which is a major bonus, and it’s a private road so not only are there only a few houses along the road (and the neighbours are all lovely and very friendly) but there are no cars rushing past so it’s safe for the boy.

We have a solution to the space/storage issue in a longer term project as we also own a little bit of land across from the house which we can build on. The plan is to build an outbuilding which will eventually become a man den/photography studio/general storage space. It has to be built in the same style and the same size as the existing garages/outbuildings and can’t be residential but other than that it can be everything we need.

So far we’re both loving life in Chippy and looking forward to exploring and getting to know the area and getting involved in the community. All change – again.

Some Thoughts On The New Year.

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The general consensus of opinion seems to be that 2016 was a crap year. It seemed that every day the media announced the death of another icon of film, music or the arts. The UK voted to leave the EU and America put a lunatic in the Whitehouse. So we rushed towards 2017 like it would be some sort of cure for everything bad that had happened last year.

For a long time I’ve found myself looking forward to New Years eve with much more enthusiasm than Christmas, neither Matt nor I have a big family and a lot of the people who matter to us are scattered across the world so we don’t get the chance to see them as often as we would want. We made the choice not to have children so Christmas has tended to be a quiet day enjoying time with friends and family where we can and unwinding after what is always a stressful month at work for me.  Once the festivities are over then come the inevitable end of year lists and media round ups and the promise of better times as soon as we’ve got rid of the old year and drunk in the new.

Wherever I am and no matter how the New Year is seen in 12.01 still ends up looking a lot like 11.59. It’s great to feel the excitement of a new start and the chance to move forward and leave bad experiences and harder times behind if you can but things don’t magically change at the stroke of midnight. It’s important to remember that it’s ok to sit in the messiness of process and continue to let life be a work in progress. If we’re lucky we spend our lives changing and evolving and that in itself is a magnificent thing even if our plans don’t always work out how we want them to.

I’m looking forward to the months ahead and moving some of the plans that I’ve been working on forward and embracing whatever happens in our lives over the next year.

Happy New Year

Cathy

A New Chapter?

Well 2016 was a bit crap wasn’t it?

Never mind the day the music died, 2016 was the year the music died – Bowie, Prince, Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen, Glenn Frey, Rick Parfitt, George Michael, Greg Lake and Prince Buster were just a few of the musicians that left us this year.

At times it felt like it wasn’t safe to read the news in case someone else had died and the curse of 2016 came home for us when Matts Mum died in  April after a short battle with Cancer. It’s been a difficult year at times with a lot of changes that were out of our control.

We’ve got a lot of plans for 2017, more changes, big changes but positive moves this time and I’m excited for the year ahead but there were good times last year despite the world going slightly mad so it’s time for the traditional end of year round up of my favourite albums.

Top Ten Albums (In no order of preference)

Wussy – Forever Sounds

Steven Steinbrink – Anagrams

Turin Breaks – Lost Property

Chaosmosis – Primal Scream

Minor Victories – Minor Victories

Little Brother Eli – Cold Tales

Larkin Poe – Reskinned

James – Girl At The End Of The World

Beth Orton – Kidsticks

Cadillac Three – Bury Me In My Boots

Scavenger Hunt 101 #11 A Homemade For Sale Sign

Ok, so it’s not a home it’s a Charity Shop but someone handmade the For Sale sign and I was close to buying a Doggie. If I hadn’t been getting the ‘we don’t need it – step away from the tat’ vibes from Matt I probably would have. If I can remember where the shop was I might still get one and surprise him.

Doggies-web

And just to prove that Moggies can own a shop window just as well as  Doggies….

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How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggly tail
How much is that doggie in the window?
I do hope that doggie’s for sale

I must take a trip to California
And leave my poor sweetheart alone
If he has a dog, he won’t be lonesome
And the doggie will have a good home

How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggly tail
How much is that doggie in the window?
I do hope that doggie’s for sale

I read in the papers there are robbers
With flashlights that shine in the dark
My love needs a doggie to protect him
And scare them away with one bark

I don’t want a bunny or a kitty
I don’t want a parrot that talks
I don’t want a bowl of little fishies
He can’t take a goldfish for a walk

How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggly tail
How much is that doggie in the window?
I do hope that doggie’s for sale

(Lyrics From Google Play)

Scavenger Hunt 101 #74 Food Growing

Isn’t it lovely to eat your own home-grown food.

After all the hard work that goes into preparing the ground, planting, tending and caring for your crops as they grow somehow the food you make with them always seems to taste much nicer than anything shop-bought.

Not that I can claim to be the gardener in our house. I’m more a ‘watch from a distance and offer words of encouragement whilst drinking a glass of wine’ sort of gardener. Although I was recently given some very tiny plants, 1 Aubergine, 1 Cherry Tomato and 1 Pimiento which I am attempting to keep alive long enough to bear fruit (they have been named Arnold, Trevor and Pablo respectively, I feel names are an important part of the growth process).

This years crop includes, Gem Squash (which are a delicious side dish, cut in half, boiled then spread with butter), Courgettes, Tomatoes and a couple of Pumpkins. We’ve never had a successful crop of Pumpkins before but these two look like they’re going the distance. Roll on Pumpkin Soup and Halloween.

Potential Pumpkins