Sunday, 31 January 2010

I'm on a bus!

Super-technology on board a National Express bus brings you this post - I am on the M3 and on the information superhighway as well!

Another camping weekend, but this time for Simon alone - Julia had a big yoga day today. But we both had a few hours and an evening meal in our house, as well as enjoying a roaring fire.

A cold night and a hard frost on Sunday - lots of painting to be done, doing the second coat in the sitting room, which Julia started on Friday. A great accompaniment to hearing Andy Murray losing in Melbourne. Lots of bird activity while I worked - no fewer than SIX Redpolls today, plus a Wren, a Kestrel actually IN the garden, and the usual (!) Reed Buntings and Bramblings.

After lunch, Olly Cracknell dropped by to take a look at the Leylandii - he'll get back to us with a quote! And then it was to work in the yoga room - ripped out the louvre-door wardrobe (managing to drop the upper door on my head - ouch! Big lump.....), attacked almost all of the wallpaper and winced at the apparent re-plastering job to be done....

Rather later than planned, I set off on foot for Ringwood, successfully finding the back route to town along the Avon Valley Way and through the houses - about 20 minutes at a reasonable lick. And now we're virtually there!

Sunday, 24 January 2010


Another first - an overnight stay, albeit campsite style, in The Willows. On Saturday, Guy and Carolyn dropped by for tea and a viewing of the estate (we think they approved).

After a good feed and some locally brewed ale at the Redshoot Inn, we had a not terribly comfortable night (camp beds etc.), but we managed to get enough sleep, and did a bit of a blitz on Sunday morning - in the sitting room, we painted the ceiling (which really did make a big difference) and finished preparing the walls - tests suggest they should take the emulsion OK as they are - we hope....!

Outside, we decided to have a go at the smallest (!) Leylandii hedge, the one just outside the sitting room, which effectively blocks a lot of the view down the garden....or should I say blockED.....because to our amazement, we clobbered the whole thing - well, at least back to the trunks, which will have to wait for another day.

Birdwise, things continue to get ever better - unbelievable, really. As well as great views of up to five Bramblings, new species for the list were Nuthatch, Gadwall, Blackcap and (top bird) a single Redpoll visiting the feeders. Mega, really.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Another day, another garden tick

Julia valiantly did battle with the gloss paint in the sitting room today, and in one of the few moments she allowed herself a glance outside, saw not one but two Bramblings feeding on the lawn! Also Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker and two Reed Buntings. Top value, eh? That brings us to 45 species.

Also the first flower - not surprisingly, a Snowdrop!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

One week of ownership

More progress made on the decoration over the last few days - kitchen now virtually done, and living room stripped of wallpaper and ready for painting.

Birds - a few nice new species added, notably Snipe, Coal Tit and Shoveler!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Continued ice and snow - but progress!

Two more days of slow decorating progress - the lobby is DONE, and the kitchen is ready for its facelift. And we've had huge fun removing lots of wallpaper with a nifty steam-powered gadget - £23.99 well spent!

Julia does a complete strip


On the bird front, some quality finds - Wigeon overhead, a male Bullfinch in the garden, two Reed Buntings feeding on the lawn, skeins of Canadas over at sunset. This is just great.

Another "tick" was our first visitation, by Simon's Mum & Dad - we think they approved!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Decoration begins

We made a start on decorating the lobby (is this a hotel?) and kitchen – preparation, sugar soap, Polyfilla and ceilings so far. And we had our first fire – toasty amid the still snowy landscape outside. We also nipped round and said hello to Tony, our neighbour, who has lived there since 1935! On the bio-front, six new birds – Buzzard, Great Tit, Starling, Greenfinch, and Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker – plus Rabbit! The birds much appreciated the impromptu feeding station we’ve set up already, including two bags of Sainsbury’s “Value” apples....for Fieldfares, don’t you know.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Some killer images from Day 1

Simon looking proprietorial....

....Julia doing the same....

....and that crucial FIRST CUP OF TEA!!!!

An opening salvo in the snow

Our initial visit was mostly about swanning about and beaming, to be honest - Englishman/woman's home...castle...etc.

On the bird front, braving (or surviving) the snow were our first 21 species - Reed Bunting, Moorhen, Fieldfare, Redwing, Bullfinch and Cormorant included. And the tiny patch of unfrozen water over the road on Roach Pit was crammed with ducks - Gadwall, Wigeon, Tufties, Mallard.

Perhaps less welcome on the biodiversity front were about 50 Harlequin Ladybirds hibernating in the jamb of the patio door!

It has begun....


Yes! After a couple of months of sweating and agonizing, the day has finally arrived - the purchase is COMPLETE! We are now the official owners of "The Willows" - our wonderful little new home on the edge of the New Forest!

Today, however, it doesn't look like this - as it has been snowing all night....

Still, we plan to be there at 1300, to collect the keys and leap about excitedly in the snow.