Hard Graft Maketh Woman

Many milestones and personal triumphs this past week – a huge one (that was particularly emotional) was finally achieved and means that my home in Bath is now a little safer for me. I won’t dwell; if you know, you know.

I ended the week with another triumph; my first solo drive to Llandrindod Wells. Okay, I had the SatNav, but mainly for the voice filling the van. I like chat whilst driving, I like the world to be beside me whilst I travel. In the absence of that, I choose a friendly voice offering me help! I travelled up on Friday evening – another first, as it happens and something I’ve been meaning to do. I don’t sleep in Bath, not well anyway, but I do in Wales. So the opportunity to have, not one, but two nights of uninterrupted sleep was too good to pass up. When I set off, the weather was clear. When I reached the Severn Bridge, the wind and rain was hideous…

I arrived at the house (home) around 8, grabbed a beer and fed the dog. A brief check in the cupboards sent me over to the Nisa across the road, where I replenished the beer and picked up milk. Django, chin resting on the sofa, waited impatiently behind the front room window. I took my beer to bed, watched iPlayer on my laptop for a bit and fell asleep. Loneliness kicked in and I quietly sobbed into my cushion that I snuggle up to. This is a nightly thing, wherever I am, nothing more.

Django woke me up just before midnight. Something was unsettling him as he barked and growled in the front room. I grabbed my dressing gown and went to investigate.

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Big mice or ‘helpful’ pup?

In the middle of the room was my Orbital Sander. Django had obviously decided to check it out… Little monkey! As I grumpily stomped upstairs, I caught my big toe on the spikes of a gripper rod. Blood everywhere – great!


I love waking up here. I mean, I feel totally unburdened and happy. Django finally settled to sleep around 4am beside me and was there when I woke. I love that.

Coffee, breakfast and into the garden for a pee (Django, I use the toilet). Off then to Boys and Boden for sandpaper discs, bathroom door fitting and shower hose/head replacement. I managed to get everything bar the shower bits. There’s no urgency though – I’ll see if I can get something online. First things first, bathroom door. If I ever have people to stay, then it’s a must…

I did manage to sand back part of the panelling but it looks to be a long and arduous task so I won’t post pictures until I can see I real difference. I have a feeling my biceps will be transformed before the wall…

Oh, I also picked up a DAB radio alarm from Tesco. My nights will be less lonely with Radio4Xtra! Next week I may stretch to a TV 🙂

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Though the bedside cabinet needs a rethink!

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Hard Graft Maketh Woman

Christmas, not the time to be moving into a new home apparently! But absolutely the time to herald a new chapter.

So, with the decision made to spend the two weeks of the festive season in ‘sunny’ Llandrindod Wells, I packed up my (limited) tool kit and sallied off to Mid Wales.

Dressing the front window was at the top of my list – being so close to the road meant that all and sundry were privy to any of Django’s shenannygoats!

Next, I turned my attention to the dining room. The door on the cupboard-under-the-stairs clearly had glossed plywood tacked onto what I hoped was original panelling. Reasoning that even if that wasn’t the case, removing the grubby ply would be an improvement, I prised it off – voila!

Just a few days into my festive retreat, I decided to tackle the landing. Now, I knew that the original something must still be behind the plywood and plasterboard but really wasn’t sure what I’d actually find. Again, though, on balance, it must surely be an improvement.

First, I had to remove the door at the bottom of the staircase. It wasn’t remarkable in any way (not original to the house) so no qualms were had.

That left the frame to deal with… but first, let’s pull off the panel on the side.

My ace neighbour, Roger, had popped in with some dining chairs. He noticed (because I mentioned it) that I was pulling the house apart and was keen to see what I was up to. On seeing the job I was attempting and the meagre hammer I was using, he hot-footed it back to his garage, reappearing moments later with bars, hammers – all sorts of heavy ironmongery. Together we made light work of both the side panel and the very well put together door frame. Yay, thank heavens for Roger!

Christmas Eve, and my lovely boys were over with their cheer. I gave the DIY a break physically, though was itching to uncover the rest of the panelling in the dining room… You know that dead space of time, between Christmas Day dinner and evening board-games? Well, that’s when I scratched the itch.

Gabe helped pull the plywood away from the panelling, then Harry carried it to the outhouse. I was left with a messy floor and an inane smile on my face!

Okay, so there was more of the gloopy preservative that, undeniably, had to be stripped off. And then the sanding back, filling, re-sanding, undercoat, top coat… But still, just look!

With my remaining week, I worked the heat gun fit to expire. When I wasn’t stripping the panelling, I was stripping the banister on the landing. Django thoroughly enjoyed the mess, as only a puppy would.

At the end of my labours I took a break. I strolled through the Victorian town I now loved and found a delightful bloke with the oddest collection of bits and bobs. Amongst it all, I found the perfect piece for my new wall; a cross-stitch depicting a biblical quote I’d never heard of: ‘Consider The Lilies’. Perfect.

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After New Year I went home to Bathampton. When I returned to Wales, it was on the first anniversary of Nigel’s death. It was with strange serendipity that Marianne, the one friend who steadfastly faced as much as she physically could alongside me, stood with me once more.

Ours wasn’t a drink-fuelled, let’s-cry-at-everything weekend; more a practical, let’s-see-what-you’ve-bought! type of affair. I was delighted that she fell in love with the place as much as I and think, that with so much happiness already visited within the walls, I will be very content here.

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A girl and her Airedale. A smiley girl, with her crazy hound, laying on a rug from Marianne 🙂

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