Wednesday, 28 May 2014

New frontage!

The house continues to tick along and this years project was doing the front up - new windows, fascias, guttering, etc.

After a lot of research we eventually went for the Residence 9 windows and Solidor front door (Italia Turin) installed by Supreme Windows (Walpole Highway, Wisbech).

The Residence 9 windows give us that contemporary aluminium feel, with the window openings sitting flush within the frames, and allowed us to have dark grey outside and oak finish inside.

Before . . .

. . . and after

Inside you can see how well the new windows (right) match our existing windows. Very pleased the match was so good!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Garden pond

It's hard to think thats in only two years ago we did the garden and put in the pond. It looks so well established and is full of lots of juicy aquatic invertebrates. The last week or so has seen huge emergence of Four-spotted Chasers. Hoping for Hairy Dragonfly form next year (I had a female ovipositing last year).

Friday, 12 July 2013

A new driveway

It became apparent that the drive had never been dug out and made up properly. Previous owners and ourselves have been simply adding tonnes of gravel every few years just for it to slip slowly and silently down in to the ground.

The winter of 2012/13 was also wet and we lived in a semi-permnanent state of flooded drive and all that goes with it - including lots of mud. So, web bit the bullet and went for a new drive. We liked gravel, its not only environmentally sound, its self draining so lets water move away from the house. Gravel doesn't work on slopes though, so we went for a black limestone at the top of the drive leading on the the drove (with a drain to catch all the water that streams down off the drove when it rains) and as edging and hard standing in front of the front door. The black limestone is a similar black to the black brickwork on the front of the house.

Friday, 6 July 2012

A lime green tobacco flower

Suddenly having a garden means its an endless bout of planting and weeding. One of the plants Liz grew form see and has recently planted out is this stunning Nicotiana. One of my fave plants combining my fave colour - what a cracker!

Garden pond - plants and drags

Its hard to believe looking out over the drive which is largely water thanks to nearly 24 hours of rain, but this was yesterday lunchtime and Jax (thats his curly locks in the bottom right corner) and I sat having lunch enjoying the sun in our new garden, and in particular how fab the garden pond is doing as we watched four drag species buzzing about.

The common reed planted down two sides of the section near the house is doing great and is already being used by Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies.

Water plantain (flowering in foreground) and other pond plants in the shallow section doing great!

Common reed, water plantain and broad-leaved pondweed in the mid-water section of the pond.

The pond as from the first floor. Reeds clear to see and the back meadow area beginning to green and the near clover lawn beginning to come through.

Amazingly, this Broad-bodied Chaser is only the second I've seen in the garden in ten years! He's taken up territory in the garden and was one of four drag species present around the pond today - BBC, Emperor, Azure and Blue-tailed Damsels. Hairy Dragon also present until this last week.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Garden update - its nigh on finshed?

Are they ever finished? Nah, course they arent! Hazelwood Landscapes finished in April Liz and garden designer, Debbie Cooke (Creative Garden Design), planted much of the beds in late April and early May. Since my return from Lesvos three weeks ago we've been adding and I've been playing with the pond!

The bare earth areas are seeded grass areas. The one neared the house is a clover-rich lawn and the banked end of the pond (looking orangey here) and the earth around it near the birch tree is a sown meadow mix.

The pond looking great with the planted common reed along the house end. The near 'wild' end will get planted up once the wild meadow mix has taken hold around its banks.

Last photo is the view from our kitchen windows.

Monday, 5 March 2012

A little gardening

So, now we've finished the house its time for a little gardening! Work began just over a week ago clearing the site which is 27m wide and 17m deep - a fair size space to play with!

Towards the end of clearing of the garden of four unwanted sheds (inherited from when we bough the cottages, a leylandii hedge and leveling the site.

To see how cluttered the garden was see previous posts inc. this one here.

One week on, the site is cleared and level and work begins on the main garden feature - the pond! It will be around 7m long and 1.5m wide and dyke-like reflecting our fenland area. It will be part raised to and edged with oak sleepers which will double up as seating around the deepest part of the pond. And at 6ft deep it will also be able to winter all the wildlife that will eventually inhabitat it - dragonfly larvae, diving beetles, etc. Can't wait!

We're very pleased to be using -

Debbie Cooke
Creative Garden Design

James & Joel Ashton (and team Tony, Jez and Shaun)
Hazelwood Landscapes

Monday, 19 December 2011


We've recently had decorators in and barring a few bits of touching up and hanging of pictures - we've finished the house! Bloody hell!

Some views of the living/dining room with our fab and funky green walls!

Our nice stripy stair carpet.

The dressing room wardrobes.

Our own ensuite - we splashed out on ourselves here (excuse the pun).

Wallpapered wall in our bedroom.

The other ensuite bathroom (its not that big so this is as much as I can get in with the camera!).

We bought next door in the summer of 2006. We started building work in the winter of 07/08. We kicked the first builders off site in March 2008. We got new builders in from June 2008 and they finished their stay with us in January 2009. Since which time its take us just under two years to get round to finished the 20% of the house which was still bare plaster and floorboards - two bedrooms, two ensuites, a dressing and a staircase and decorate the whole lot. But its done! And we love it!

We're starting work on the back garden over the winter - knocking down the sheds (four of them!), landscaping etc to give a complete blank canvas. And who knows, we might even get some plants in before the spring!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

We keep chipping away!

With around 20% of the house still bar plaster and floorboards, and other bits still needing finishing, we keep chipping away. The kitchen is finally finished with the new glass mosaic splashbacks installed at long last. And we're very pleased with them!

And then there is the garden! With a fleet of sheds bough with the two cottages, we want to knock down the old ones and eventually end up with just the one new shed and the garage. So the first stage is the erection of the new shed under the willow which will mean that it will be completely hidden in summer.

More next week when the two ensuite bathrooms in the old no.3 part of the cottage should be installed!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Some more progress at last!

Its been some time since we had anything significant to add to this blog, but this last couple of months we've made a wee bit more progress inside and out.

Above, a new fence and gate added in September ahead of getting this little chap.

In October Steve knocked down one of the five sheds we inherited when we bought the cottages. The 'wet shed' (named cos its roof was like a sieve) stood just left of this shed and in front of the table and chairs. Can't wait to get the others pulled down!

And this last week, Steve's brother Jon came down for the week and has done out the boot room. Oak flooring (recycled from the one we took out of the house) and hand-made units (made from left over kitchen casing (the dark walnut bits) and bought English oak (bench top and shoe-shelving top). Above, the bench with under-storage for boots, below, a cupboard unit hiding the electricity gubbings made from MDF and incorporating room for brooms, brollies and a couple of shelves to tidy things away! We might just keep ti this colour!

Above, shelves for shoes and a corner unit to with wee compartments in to which we can stuff out hats, gloves and scarves. Just got to hide those pipes now.

Jon's done a brilliant job and we're thrilled to have something handmade by him as part of our house! Click here to see how it used to look.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

No news is good news

We're getting the odd email that we haven't posted anything on here for an age. Well, the reason being is that we've finished the building work and we now just have about 20 years of finishing off, decorating, etc. Half of the first floor (two bedrooms with ensuites and our dressing room) are bare plaster walls and floorboards and will take a while to be completed. Anyway, if you become a follower or subscribe, you'll no doubt get some alert or email when we do eventually get to putting something else on here!

Monday, 5 January 2009

New year, new kitchen, new shower-room

Well, to be absolutely honest, it was thankfully all installed before xmas, just, and we've just loved having both a new kitchen and the fab space it brings to the house over teh holiday period.

Still a bit to do - splashbacks etc, and like most of the house, we now just have to get round to decorating it!

The downstairs shower-room was also finished just in time for Elsie's (Liz's Mum) arrival for three weeks. This was a dummy run of her groundfloor bedroom and shower-room ahead of her moving in with us in February. And she's got on with thigns brilliantly. Just a few tweaks - like moving the drain in the floor so the rooms drains properly!

The corridor from the kitchen to the living room with the sliding door to the shower-room on the left, and just visible, door to Elsie's bedroom on the right.

Xmas and colds stopped play over the holidays. It was nice to have a rest, and with both of us falling to the xmas lurgy we wouldn't have managed much anyway!