five on Friday

1) Chimney sweeps do not look like anyone from Mary Poppins, nor do they sing or bring small victorian children with them; most disappointing. ;) The first chimney sweep I've ever booked was a lovely guy, and did not seem to mind my endless questions, or the fact I sat and watched the whole process LOL... I did explain that we were from the city, and had only ever had difficult gas boilers previously, not any real fires. You'll be pleased to know, (or maybe you won't, but I was) our fire has clean bill of health a safety certificate and a new log basket. No matter how pretty stacked by the stove logs look, - nor how many house magazines you've seen that it - logs stacked by the woodburner is a safety issue he would not let pass. So now I know. 

2) The number of leaves on the floor after high winds this week would lead you to believe there can't possibly be any more left on the trees, but oh there are. Realising if I want the goats to eat all the fallen leaves so the horses don't I will need an ARMY of goats to do so. My two goats aren't really coping. Plus to be fair they prefer biscuits.... 

3) I've become addicted to audio books whilst I paint walls. Painting is dull and the radio doesn't always hit the spot so now I've been listening my way thro the latest bestsellers as I paint. Cant decide if this makes me a genius or just old, but either way - I recommend it. 

4) I'm pretty sure there is nothing worse than an outsider moving in and telling you how things should be done, so I've tried to not moan about how it is, or how things have always been done around here. but please, for the love of all sanity, can we just name some of the local lanes. Any name you like, just a few of them. Because none of them have names, all of them are identical - single file traffic, high hazel hedges, pretty damn hilly - and all of them lead to very different places. Directions to places like great dog walks/stunning views/cute little farm shop/brilliant riding track  - i.e.; things that aren't on a sat nav - are given in at the form of long list of random things to look out for.  Go right, then keep right, when you get to a grassy bit, then go right again, go up a steep hill, look out for a tall barn, turn left there... its like mental torture, and I never want to be rude and point out to anyone kind enough to give me directions that my head stopped taking it in after line three. Grassy bit? hills? barns? We are in the middle of WALES; its entirely hills, grass and barns round here! 

5) You might recall a post about dustbins and the lack of them. as an update, here in month three we still don't have them. Its been three calls, four emails, and an complaint form. Apparently they are on they way.  No holding breath. Mind you, quite possibly they were given similar directions as above tho...


picture of the gorgeous ginger pony and I riding out,  with a rainbow ahead. 

Puzzle ride rainbow


Things I can't be trusted with

the list grows... 

Sat nav use. I swear my Sat Nav hates me. Why else when travelling to the same far off place, from the same starting point, would it take me four very very different ways.... including one that added an hour onto my time.  Realised my Uk geography is shocking as I had no clue whatsoever if I was heading in the right direction, nor where I could turn off or cut through. 
Still, now I can say I have been to some places I've never been before. {and am never likely to be able to find again}  Also can we start a campaign for service stations, bathrooms, Starbucks and sandwich sellers on all minor A roads please? Because when you are driving along thinking I'll surely be on the motorway in a minute -for over three hours- you would dearly love to see one or all of those things. On the plus side... no, there is no plus side.  What I saved in calories I used in petrol... 

Matches. As a lover of all things vintage and of items 'with history',  I do not keep my matches in a match box, I keep them in a metal tin that says OXO on the lid and is a delightful battered shade of red.  However lighting a match and dropping it INTO the tin of other matches today, causing them all to light, gave me enough grey hairs to contemplate match boxes not being a bad thing after all.  I do now know however that vintage stock cube tins are fireproof. hurrah. 


East, west...

There’s a saying;

Create a life you don’t need to go on holiday from. 

Or something like that, if not a little more wordy. 

I go one further from that. 

Create that life, then go away and realise yep, you didn’t need to travel to realise you have it best at home. 


I live in one of the prettiest places. I hope I never stop seeing it. I hope I never NOT notice it, looking so stunning  that I need to pull over when driving to take a picture of the view. Or calling out to the kids to look at the mountains today. 


If I had a £1 for everyone who said they are just a bit envious of us upping sticks and moving somewhere more ‘us’, I’d be pretty damn wealthy. 

They all say they want to. How they often wish they did.

But, they all say, they couldn’t do it. 

Work. Or relationships. (The family reason does make me laugh— if you don’t live next door to your family you dont stop loving them. Or even stop seeing them, or contacting them.) Or you know the big starting again thing. All a bit scary. They couldn’t do that. 


(And sure, I’m fairly sure a muddy welsh hillside is not everyone’s dream)

Tho, there is a voice inside me wondering if you never ever step outside the easier, predictable comfort zone of what you do, of what is expected, of WHERE it’s always expected you will live, then you won’t ever know if you COULD do it, if it could work.  



I am far to old to ‘begin again’- but we did, and I’m way too old to say I’m living my dream... I switch the word for my ideal, sounds way less cheesy!!. But funnily enough I actually say it every day.  It isn’t perfect - by living the ideal I don’t mean it’s so perfect and dreamy. It’s got rain. Mud. Isolation. Sharp learning curves. A constant to do list. It’s really living my ideal. Not playing.  Doing it. Rough bits and all. 


As I write this, I am in a hotel room, having travelled for work.  I drove for hours and through a variety of landscapes. I got to do my favourite job, and also as a bonus see some good friends. It’s clean, has everything I could need, there are many shops and a billion facilities within minutes of here. 

Except of course, my dog. Or those views, that soft morning mist, snuffly pony noses, stone floors, homemade cups of tea, familiar sofa seats, goats that empty your pockets, fresh eggs in straw...  

 The best bit of travel is going home. 




List of five on Friday

My list on this Friday composes of things I have never done before.... 

until living here!

1) Booked a chimney sweep.

2) Built a wooden fence - with screws and drill, not sort of propped type fence up!

3) Hoovered firewood. Its a thing, honest. 

4) Learnt allll about the important bacteria in Cess pits and septic tanks. {all glamour here, obvs...}

5) Cemented anything.


It could be a much longer list. And some of them weirder than others, but I think its just a life skill crash course. right? ;) 


Barn beginnings

Today was an excellent day… 

Not only did the building work in the kitchen finish, (stud wall came down and my kitchen became huge and delightful!) I also got to gawp, drool over and stare at seventeen year old photos of a crumbly white painted barn. 

Surrounded by knee high grass and part metal barn it was not vision inspiring. 

Yet, it became this house that I sit in. The photos I had the privilege of looking through showed the journey of this ancient beautiful barn into a smart house. Not losing any of the good bits -fab beams, solid welsh stone, and views, shedding some not so good bits - flaky whitewash, metal roof, and dodgy hayloft ladders. It was lovely to see, making us appreciate all over again the history and journey of the house. If you think I’m waxing a bit lyrical, you should know I have never lived anywhere ‘pretty’  Granted often the inside became pretty but the outside of the houses? Nope. 



Giving thanks to the farmer/shepherd/ancient bloke who build the barn, hundreds of years ago, and the {brave} builder who made a house out of it, seventeen years ago.  


heading into month three...

So hows it going you want to know, three months in to living a couple of hundred miles away from where we used to be. Swapping edge of city for edge of mountains.  

Its going ... well, I can't concentrate on anything other than how on earth is it only three months? It feel so very much 'home' that it feels a lot longer than three months. 

Its good. I love it. The girls are settled and have friends. I've found a dentist, a Drs, hairdressers, multi animal vet, good feed store, farrier, fencing contractor, carpenter (outside) carpenter (inside), electrician, builder, hay and straw man {best hay ever}  Dans found a garden/farming machinery store {we own a lot of it}  and a huge motor bike store...  We have neighbours, albeit further away than any other neighbours previously, but friendly lovely ones at that.  The house is great. Large, good-looking and quirky enough not to be dull. Owning land is still making me so happy, all of us happy actually. The animals are all flourishing - quite genuinely blooming here, all of them. 

Its not all perfect, don't be under any illusion that this is a my life is so idyllic blog.  Life is also ironing, washing up, laundry, bloody stupid things just like anywhere else.
There is a busy road that runs along side one of our fields and I wish it wasn't there. We have caused a lot of mud, a few months before mud was expected, because of contractors having to drive on field entrances, and I foresee mud being a freaking nightmare in theses areas until spring.  Farmers have quite happily fenced off bridleways and public footpaths and there is no way of knowing until you are far into the route. I still can't get any bins delivered to the right house.  The tv arial is erratic at working on every tv/channel, and appears to come in to the house inside my fitted wardrobe. 

I missed some food from Waitrose so much the other day I got it delivered, from a town a good half an hour away.  How sad does that sound? LOL! But yes it was worth it, even if the delivery driver couldn't find us for some time...  I totally took for granted having every store you can possibly name at your finger tips. I googled my favourite clothes store the other day and discovered its 40 minutes to one, and an hour to the other.  Luckily amazon know EXACTLY where my house is. 

Would we go back? No. Unanimously  no. We do miss some special people, but we love here. Mud, lack of dustbins and all. 

city cynic

The one thing I still have trouble with, and its shameful to say so, is that people around here are nice.  No ulterior motives. Not trying to con us, not trying to find out if we are worth a burglary, not trying to sell us anything, - nope, just being nice, friendly.  Genuinely helpful. kind, approachable. 

Of course people are kind in the city.  but.... not this friendly to strangers, genuinely interested in you, time to talk kind of nice. 
You'd think I'd be a more trusting soul - I was once known for my naivety about people not all being lovely, but apparently thats worn off; with age maybe, or because I married a businessman who has met every single type of dodgy type there is.  I am pretty disappointed in myself for thinking so cynically about people. I can only hope Wales rubs off on me and I stop assuming theres a possible con-man in everyone. 

Everyone is also related to, or lives by, someone who can help you with your next project/is selling what you want/knows the man you need. I love this. I am not quite sure what the heck anyone can recommend me for, but I look forward to making the local 'word of mouth' directory!