Thursday 23rd. January, 2014 – Working on Mum’s Morning Room 

The Morning Room at the end of today’s work programme -- what an improvement, but you'll see there is still much to be done

After I woke I took Mix for a walk up the Swinton Road. It was fresh and a little warmer than yesterday, I think – although by the end of the day it was quite cold again. Breakfasted in the farmhouse (I am still on porridge) and while I was finishing Tom and Dorothy arrived: Dorothy to go off with Rachel to Berwick to their stained-glass class; Tom to work with me on the project of the day.

Our project for today was to start work on Mum’s Morning Room. For the folk who had the house before us, this was a utility room and one which housed the washing machine and the fridge. There was also a large sink and draining board along one of the walls. And yet, it was easy to see that this could be one of the nicest rooms in the whole house. It has windows on both the south and the east walls so that the room catches the early morning sun and the mid-day sun as well. In addition, the windows to the east look out over a huge expanse of garden: lawn first and then in the distance the little orchard and, off to the left, the place for bar-b-cues with the raised decking and the slabbed area around an outside table. The window to the south overlooks an area of rockery and plants growing among the stones with several bird facilities – so there is always something to watch.

Today Tom and I removed the sink, the draining board and the cupboards underneath. Then we set about moving the washing machine and the fridge to the wall just when one enters the farmhouse so that the morning room has much more room. It was quite a task as neither Tom nor I had done much plumbing before. But we got the bits from Pearson’s (who will be declaring record profits this year) and cut pipes and joined pipes and soon had the washing machine plumbed in to its new situation and the excess pipes removed. In fact the most difficult task was to find out where the water turned off. (It is outside the front gate at the side of the road. We’ll know next time.)

We’ll start on the next stage next week. We need to install a skirting board, build a shelf under the windows on the west wall and box in the pipes, we will move the light fitting to a more appropriate place, we’ll remove the wall tiles (appropriate for behind domestic equipment but now a bit unsightly), and then we shall decorate and put down a carpet. It will take a bit of time but it will be worth it.

This morning Scott (an electrician) came to visit and we went through our plans for the hen house and the barns with him. He has gone off to cost what we hope to have done and with a bit of luck we shall make a start there soon. Meanwhile we have to empty the stables and clean them out before using this secure building as a place to store everything, free from worry about whether things will be damaged by the birds when they return from their safari later in the year. It would be good to have the upstairs area of the hen house completed as part of our spring projects.

Tom and I visited Pearson’s twice during the day; on the second visit we stopped for lunch (soup followed by haggis, neaps and tatties – well, it is that time of the year). Mum had been driven to her Guild meeting at Gavinton by Digger.

Rachel and Dorothy came back from Berwick and I settled down to prepare music for Gavinton Church on Sunday. This took me until dinner (and a bit beyond). Rachel had missed dinner because she had gone off with a friend to sing with a choir in Berwick – she now has a very busy Thursday programme. With Rachel away this evening both dogs and I settled down in the summer house where I completed the music and sorted out some papers – got a letter from the Church of Scotland saying that my pension was to increase! Can’t be bad.

Rachel returned and we watched one episode of The Tunnel (which we started to watch last night). I guess we shall watch at least one episode each night until it is done. So one way and another, it has been a busy old day. I’ve started my antibiotics and already they are making a difference but most of all, I think this energetic life-style is suiting me: normally if it is daylight we are outside (or at least – as today – working manually). When it gets dark I am inside with lots of little projects to keep me busy: preparing music, revising my Italian, learning to play the ukulele and thinking about starting my book – all this and a pension increase as well.

We walked the dogs and retired to bed.


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