Wednesday, 28 July 2010


It's all suddenly feeling very, very real!

Windows have been cleaned inside and out, we can't find another square inch to paint, the place is looking rubble- and plaster-free, and today a massive step forward - the carpets arrived! Garry got here at about noon, and made light work of three bedrooms, a bathroom, a dining room, a hall and a lobby - done by 1600. Nice going!

The dining room before....

....and after! Thanks Garry!

And equally significantly, our excellent sparky Zaz completed his work with the woodshed and rear external light - all done and dusted. Really massive milestones achieved - it really is ready to start feeling like home now.

Thanks, Zaz!

On the biodiversity front, we've added Chorthippus brunneus (Field Grasshopper), and lots of plants - Redshank, Scentless Mayweed, Field Madder and Black Nightshade. The Buzzards have (we think) two flying youngsters, there are Emperors and Brown Hawkers buzzing about, and Julia saw a Roe Deer in broad daylight in the lane. Also a definite whiff of autumn - lots of Phylloscs on the move through the hedges, and a juvvie Redstart down the lane earlier this week....

Monday, 26 July 2010

Nearly there....

More pretty epic progress over the last few days - all the skirting is now fitted (not without difficulty - glue, failed screws and finally masonry nails needed!), painted and looking great, all the filling and caulking is done, all the internal electrics are complete, and virtually all the touching up of paint is done. We are on the verge of being ready for the carpets to arrive....

And we had a very pleasant day on Monday, with a visit from Nicky Plewes and her two young sons. Great to catch up after MUCH too long - and much scoffing of Mini-rolls and other "delicacies" was done.

Nicky with her troupe of semi-house trained Orang-utans

And best of all, Rupert turned up to finish up the boiler/heating job - radiators tightened and inhibitor added. Result!

Rupert helps us lose our inhibitions

Monday, 19 July 2010

Skirting the issue - or "What mitre've been"....

A single issue visit today, with the three essentials for cutting up skirting boards: 20 metres of excellent 6" bullnose boards off t'interweb, an ace £500 bit of kit (motorized circular mitre saw) from Dad's neighbour David, and Dad himself.

Starting shortly before lunch, we scratched our heads and did lots of 3D thinking to get our 45 degree cutting right, but did succeed in a very manly way in slicing and dicing the skirting so it fits immaculately, without the loss of any digits. Good job!

He-man at work

He-man and He-man's Dad

The end result - this was only a small one....

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Much progress!

While this is billed as a wildlife blog, and it will become one, news remains dominated by building and DIY!

We're making lots of progress now - all the ceilings are painted, most of the walls are done, Gary has fixed the rising damp problem, even the gloss is under way, and Zaz is making good progress with the electrics - all trying to get the messy stuff done before the carpets are fitted in a fortnight!

Nurse Julia will see you now....

Glossy cover boy

Even more excitingly, there's the natural history! While it's a quiet time of year for birds, there are lots of juveniles about - Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Blue Tits, Greenfinches, even Jay - but no real sign of the House Martins in their nest, which they rebuilt in June....

Day-flying insets have produced lots of garden ticks - Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Comma, Large White, Brown Hawker, Emperor and various grasshoppers to be identified when they've become adults!

By night, a couple of moth traps have turned up 150+ moths per session, with over 80 species already - highlights have been Bulrush Wainscot, Rosy Rustic, September Thorn, Dingy Shears, various Hawk-moths in some numbers and lots of Buff Tips and Pebble Prominents!

Bulrush Wainscot

Botanically, we've seen various unspectacular but new species - and Simon spent an hour with the mower destroying 100s of Prickly Sow-thistles which were about to set seed!