Monday, 6 November 2017

The brief return of Bekir and Sally

So much for being strict with myself and not letting it go past two weeks again. The last two week have gone in a blur of over work for me however I'm now finally just about out of that stage, I hope, and have a few minutes to quickly post up an update. It will be no means be exhaustive (I could sum up my two weeks by the fact that last Wednesday I did a 23 hour long working day) but I hope you enjoy it non-the-less.

Invasive species

If someone said to me that I'd be spending a chunk of time and money protecting the building from attack by woodpeckers I would have laughed, but that is exactly what has happened.

Where the woodpecker was pecking
Where the woodpecker was pecking
Our attempt at a bird scarer
Our attempt at a bird scarer
A is happily rigging up the CDs
A is happily rigging up the CDs
Sally fixes the holes
Sally fixes the holes
A paper bird of prey
A paper bird of prey
A was disturbed by a hammering sound and we went hunting, thinking it was maybe something in the roof. Imagine our surprise when I disturbed a woodpecker which was busily digging a deep hole in our insulation. We made an attempt with CDs to create something that would scare them off but the wind just kept blowing them all back onto the roof terrace. They had made quite a few holes, and this was a big issue with winter closing in. A printed a bird picture out to stick in the window but that wasn't really going to work well. With the visit of Bekir and Sally, however, Sally fixed the holes and also has rigged up the bird scarers. I don't have a picture of those as I keep forgetting to take one and now it's dark. Hopefully we have won that fight.

The balcony is sealed

The main reason for getting Bekir and Sally back for the three days they were with us (three days where I was so busy that A did the transport both ways every day; what a trooper) was to fix up the balcony which was leaking.

The crumbling old grout to be removed
The crumbling old grout to be removed
Bekir grinding it out to replace it
Bekir grinding it out to replace it
Playtime for Thelma and Bekir
Playtime for Thelma and Bekir
Sally doing some patching up
Sally doing some patching up
A smiling coffee break
A smiling coffee break
A whole lot of grouting gone on
A whole lot of grouting gone on
Sally does his cleaning dance
Sally does his cleaning dance
While Sally was fixing up after our bird attack Bekir got stuck in cleaning out the old bad grout and replacing it with silicon and proper outdoors grout. He worked away and it took about three days end to end, including having to shift Sassy out of the way, but now we have what is hopefully a waterproof flat roof and we won't have to run the dehumidfier for hours at a time, like we already have had to this autumn. Sally also got stuck in, once he'd finished patching up the small holes A had spotted in our insulation made by small creatures over the summer. While they were here I got a hand putting the back on Thomas so we're now pretty much ready for winter; just need to pick Pat up from the garage where she's had her winter shoes put on and we're fine.

Trying to get out

I have been over-working however I've tried to get outside a bit more; I've a tonne of pictures on my phone of me sitting in the sun for ten minutes now and then. The simple pleasure of the sun on my face was something I was really noticing missing.

A foggy start to our lovely lunch with SandS
A foggy start to our lovely lunch with SandS
The smile says it all...
The smile says it all...
As does this one; I love the sun
As does this one; I love the sun
Three puppies sharing the heat of the day
Three puppies sharing the heat of the day
Out on our Sunday drive
Out on our Sunday drive
Glowing poplars against a dark ridge
Glowing poplars against a dark ridge
Fishermen at the reservoir
Fishermen at the reservoir
We managed to get out to have lunch with SandS which was a truly lovely time, and then they managed to drop past ours for breakfast as well a few days later; it's so good to see friends. The day we went for lunch was really foggy to begin with but it cleared up and A dragged me onto the balcony to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. I have also, as I've said, managed to get out at lunch onto the patio and soak some rays up. Today the puppies joined me which was lovely. On Sunday the heavy overcast, which had seriously threatened snow for a while, cleared up and so we were able to go for a lovely drive into the mountains to our east. We stopped a few times, finding some lovely sights include a little dam with a load of people fishing around it, and it was just what we needed after the intense weeks we've been having.

Puppies and garden

Smiling Thelma with her ring
Smiling Thelma with her ring
Louise doing her best parrot impression
Louise doing her best parrot impression
Thelma wakes up
Thelma wakes up
Play time, Thelma with dimples
Play time, Thelma with dimples
Sassy saying hello
Sassy saying hello
Both puppies wanted a cuddle while I was working
Both puppies wanted a cuddle while I was working
Lots of frost damage; A cleared it all out
Lots of frost damage; A cleared it all out
I'm going to wrap this up now and leave you with some pictures of the puppies (and Sassy) and the damage the frosts have done recently. I've done a small amount of modelling, we've got one game in and that's it, and A has become SUPERB at her artwork as she is practising so much; I will see if I can get some pictures in for you next time.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Another two weeks flies by

Wow, how fast time flies when you're as busy as we are right now. I've just sat down, Sunday afternoon, after a lovely morning drive with A and the puppies and I am looking through the three hundred photographs I've got to work through and do not even know where to start. The last time I updated we had our guests here and I was typing away madly while they were sleeping, also on a Sunday but this time very early in the morning.

And at that point I threw the toys out the pram and shifted my desk down into the kitchen for the winter office; I was too annoyed at being sat up there on my own on my supposed day off. Now to try and write this again, about three hours later.

Very pleased with my new desk
Very pleased with my new desk
And I'm stood up at my desk!

Views and random

I'm going to start this update off with the thing I usual end it; photographs of views and random things from the past two weeks. There are some wicked ones as well.

After rain, the beautiful morning
After rain, the beautiful morning
Pre-dawn glow
Pre-dawn glow
Cloud formations in the distance
Cloud formations in the distance
Golden leaves on the tea tree
Golden leaves on the tea tree
First of all going back to early Sunday morning, 8th October, after the absolutely torrential downpour of the day before, with the sun shining brightly and glistening on the run off through the town. It was a really beautiful morning and our guests spent as much of it stood on the balcony enjoying the view as they could, while I cooked them breakfast. That Saturday rain was the last we've had and the sun has shone brightly every day since. I've had some disturbed nights, with being so busy, and woke before the sun came up to get another shot across the valley. It really is a stunning view! While  I was working away A came and grabbed the camera as there were lenticular clouds hanging around to the north and west of us - we seem to see these quite often now. The year definitely is moving on, however, and the show outside Room 13 window put on by the tea trees has moved to the Stunning Golden Glow stage. This is just beautiful in the evening sunshine as the sun goes down behind the house - the winds are slowly blowing the leaves off and soon it'll be bare for winter.

Fog in the valley, sun above
Fog in the valley, sun above
Pre-dawn photograph taken with my phone
Pre-dawn photograph taken with my phone
Very shortly afterwards, with my camera
Very shortly afterwards, with my camera
Sun beams through the tea tree
Sun beams through the tea tree
As regular readers know (and welcome, by the way, to my new readers. Thanks for joining us) we see some absolutely amazing sunrises here. This time of year often leads to heavy fog where we are which gathers in the valley and rises with the sun. If you time it just right you can get some stunning pictures. Sometimes the fog doesn't rise and these days are clear and warm from the start. It's a beautiful time of year and a beautiful place from which to appreciate it.

Such an amazing sky greeted us on the roof terrace
Such an amazing sky greeted us on the roof terrace
The sky which alerted us to the show
The sky which alerted us to the show
Long shot down the sky
Long shot down the sky
Such a firey sunset, amazing in real life too
Such a firey sunset, amazing in real life too
The show drawing to a close
The show drawing to a close
Finally for this section, however, is the most amazing of sunsets that we watched last week - I was sat working (as usual) and A was in the kitchen and we both looked out, independently, and saw the amazing sky colour from the opposite side of the house to the sunset. Her message to me, to tell me to get up and get a picture, went unanswered as I had just run up to the roof terrace myself. What a thing, and we stayed up there until the show was over. Just beautiful. Later on there's a video of the puppies which also shows some of this sunset.

Guests

Of course the last time I was updating you we had two lovely guests with us, Cis and Michiel from Mechelen, where I was working this time last year. Actually this time last year I was entering my final week away and was very very excited to come home (to a Thelma who ignored me for most of the month of November).

The newly exposed area, empty of archaeologists
The newly exposed area, empty of archaeologists
An old path, paved with red glazed tiles.
An old path, paved with red glazed tiles.
Louise climbed the tower with A
Louise climbed the tower with A
Cis and Michiel relaxing and enjoying the view
Cis and Michiel relaxing and enjoying the view
Feeling on top of the world!
Feeling on top of the world!
After a lovely evening, described in the previous entry, despite the torrential downpour outside we woke to a fresh morning and I cooked breakfast while Cis and Michiel enjoyed the view from the balcony. We had planned to get out a bit on the Sunday and so the weather was a boon. After some discussion we decided to visit Perperikon again and had a wonderful time. Thelma was again reluctant to go over the bridges and this time I didn't climb the tower but stayed at the bottom with her. Because we went on a weekend there were coach loads of tourists around however the dig was not active which meant we could go down into it a bit and see the new stuff. All in all it was a lovely visit and we headed back to our favourite restaurant for lunch feeling quite happy. We went on from there for another drive around the area to show them some more sights and then headed back home where everyone fell asleep and rested.

A bottle of Big Peat split three ways
A bottle of Big Peat split three ways
Michiel set with his Elves
Michiel set with his Elves
Cis picked the Uruk Hai
Cis picked the Uruk Hai
A with Dwarves (and Louise)
A with Dwarves (and Louise)
I played with Beorn and Bear
I played with Beorn and Bear
Michiel won, thanks to Tauriel
Michiel won, thanks to Tauriel
That evening after eating a superb dinner (and drinking some amazing beer from my mate on Islay - seriously - GO BUY SOME!) we set up on the kitchen island to play a quick game of SBG. I made small lists for everyone and, after a little while explaining the basics, we set to and rolled some dice. What a great evening it turned out to be and full of laughter. This game is so easy for new comers to pick up it was Michiel who won in the end. I had a lot of fun throwing (tossing?) Dwarves around until finally A was able to kill my Bear. We ended the evening sipping whisky and then headed to bed. They had to go the next day, after a too short visit, but hopefully they'll be back soon.

Puppy time

And now for some puppy loving. Lots of awesome pictures from the past couple of weeks of the canines who make our life full of laughs.

Happy with a happy Thelma
Happy with a happy Thelma
Trying to attain the correct temperature
Trying to attain the correct temperature
All three puppies on the top bank
All three puppies on the top bank
Louise fell asleep on my lap
Louise fell asleep on my lap
Thelma getting the marrow out of the bone
Thelma getting the marrow out of the bone
First of all we headed out in the car with the puppies for some reason (I cannot remember why now) and A drove which meant I got the pleasure of being sat on by Thelma. she loves to ride up here as she can see where she is going and she gets a little car sick when she cannot watch the road. Another day we were sat on the balcony eating our lunch and it was so warm Thelma had to regulate her temperature carefully; half in and half out of the sun. They have got back into playing on the top bank, since the temperatures aren't quite so brutal now, and Rambo even joins them. We've had some lovely time watching out the window as they bounce and chase around. A went out to the shops one day and Louise was most unhappy at being left so she jumped onto my lap while I was working and then fell fast asleep. Bless her, she was out for the count. We do spoil these puppies - they each got a huge bone after Sunday roast and Thelma got to the marrow - she was not very pleased with me taking pictures of her though.

Louise climbing all over A to get away from the vet
Louise climbing all over A to get away from the vet
She cuddled up with me all afternoon
She cuddled up with me all afternoon
Later on, snuggled by the fire
Later on, snuggled by the fire
This shit STANK so bad
This shit STANK so bad
She's so cute, when she wants to be
She's so cute, when she wants to be
Fighting in the glow of the sunset
Fighting in the glow of the sunset


This week we had to take Thelma and Louise to the vet to get their jabs so they can come with us next year to the Whisky Festival. As usual they were less than impressed with having to go there, despite the fact that the jab was over very quickly, and afterwards Louise wouldn't go far from me at all and fell asleep on my lap once more. They then spent the evening curled in front of the fire. Thelma has demonstrated the two sides of JR life - coming in with the stinkiest neck ever and then sitting looking as cute as a button hoping I'd stop taking pictures and start throwing the ball. Finally the picture (and video) hinted at earlier, taken on the roof terrace during the wonder-sunset.

Around the place

So finally a few other items to remember. Well done if you've got this far.

Circling predator
Circling predator
A with a barrow of kindling
A with a barrow of kindling
Chainsawing - awesome woman!
Chainsawing - awesome woman!
Fruits of her labours
Fruits of her labours
More wood A cut
More wood A cut
Making a brew the old fashioned way
Making a brew the old fashioned way
A strong arm to help me out
A strong arm to help me out
Rambo and Thelma help me out
Rambo and Thelma help me out
We were witness to another swoop by a sparrow hawk, though not on our land, and then watched as two huge birds, possibly eagles, swooped in low towards us then slowly drifted away while we watched; they were certainly after our chicks. Awesome. A has been super busy this week, while I've been stuck at my desk. She broke up a load of the smaller twigs from the trees we collected at the beginning of year and then, this weekend, got the chainsaw out and chopped up a load of the bigger branches. We tidied the garage and our collection of kindling is growing again. We've also had a few power cuts recently, one of which lasted all day. Unfortunately the generator died on us and we were reduced to making brews with the gas stove. My desk was delivered that day. We had a lovely visit for breakfast from Nick and Emma, and Nick helped me load the generator onto the back of Thomas then A took it to the garage. It ended up being a destroyed spark plug as the fuel had gone off; no surprise as it was about 18 months old. We have now drained the fuel and will be putting fresh in soon to test it again.

This place is so beautiful
This place is so beautiful
So there it is; another two weeks and what a two weeks. I need to get back into the weekly habit I think, as it's so hard to remember so long ago with so little sleep and so much work. Today has been epic, I've not worked at all and we went for a lovely drive this morning up to the lakes. I'll leave you with this one picture.

See you again soon. Thanks for reading.