Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Interesting times......

Another blogging hiatus... due to events outside my control.

Aren't they all? *sigh* no particular order.

  • STILL working on the office makeover due to other stuff happening
  • Dental abscess. Ow, Ow and OWWWW!
  • Website woes
The office makeover is ongoing..... the main thing is that it has been re-established as a working space and it's only the whimsical stuff still to do, which can wait.
Following an emergency dental appointment and a course of antibiotics the dental pain has resolved... but it did take a few days out of my already busy schedule.

However the website problem has had us tearing our hair out.  Out of the blue earlier this week I noticed that there were some odd characters in the text across the site which hadn't been there the day before.  Apparently, our hosting service had updated the PHP on their servers, which caused the issue, and although it doesn't affect the functionality of the site, and everything still works, it looks unsightly and odd.

Trying to edit out the characters only made matters worse, because as soon as I tried to edit a listing, the entire text would disappear... permanently.  Cutting and pasting wouldn't work either.  We've spent the past 3 days trying to work out what to do, and the answer seems to be, not much.

Ideally we need to do a full rebuild of the website then install eleventy billion updates, each of which would almost certainly throw up glitches which have to be individually tracked down and fixed.   

An extremely time consuming and frustrating process.

However, our hosting package only runs through till next April, and I wasn't planning to renew it as I'm aiming to start a new venture in the spring.

I've finally managed to work out how to add new listings without them disappearing into the ether, so over this coming weekend I'll be listing the last of the special miniatures from my own collection, as well as my final Christmas-themed kit, to which I'm still putting the finishing touches.

Although the website issue is a real pain in the fundament, I'm taking it as a sign that it's run its course, and my decision to retire it next April is the right one.  It also gives extra impetus to my plans, as there's nothing like a proper, irrevocable, immovable deadline to galvanise me into action.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Comedy of errors.....

Today started out well enough.  

We had to take Small Dog to the groomers, as, although she definitely rocks the Fu Manchu look, she was beginning to look more like an ancient dreadlocked hermit.

On our return, with SD neatly trimmed and smelling like a summer flower, we set about trying to fit the new carpet in the office.

It was never going to go smoothly.

First, we cleared a space in the sitting room in a manner not dissimilar to those games with a grid of little tiles that you move around inside a frame, trying to complete a picture.
Then we dragged the roll of carpet through and tried to lay it out flat.


While we were working out our next move, we tried to lift the old carpet, which had welded itself to the floor, especially where both our office chairs had been rolling over it for the past however many years.  We finally had to resort to chipping it up with a knife. leaving piles of black/grey dust, where the gel backing had degraded and disintegrated.  

While we were both rolling up the old carpet on the floor, Small Dog got the devil in her (possibly as retribution for her grooming session this morning) and despite our cries of "NO... DON'T COME IN HERE"!!!! she blithely hopped over the carpet, dodged round both of us trying to catch her, then ran around in all the dust, before hot-pawing it out, straight into the sitting room where she jumped up on the sofa, complete with black-dusted paws.

As we could only cope with one crisis at a time, and were already on our knees and keen to avoid the 10 minutes of moaning and groaning that accompany standing up, we carried on rolling up the carpet, both of us starting to look like chimney sweeps, then taped it into a massive black refuse bag, acknowledging that it was too far gone to use as a template, even if we had the room to spread it out in the sitting room.  

Which we didn't.

So, after we'd vacuumed ourselves, the floors and the sofa, we decided there was nothing else to do but try to cut the carpet to size, in situ.

Obviously, we don't have proper carpet fitters tools, so we raided the tool cupboard and made do with a wallpaper scraper, a bit of wood and a hammer, as well as various other household utensils.

Three hours later, having broken a screwdriver, ruined a perfectly good pair of scissors and rendered the air bright blue, we finally finished, and I have to admit, it's not a bad job, despite all the drama.

It's only 4pm but we've thrown in the towel and poured two LARGE G+Ts, which aren't even touching the sides.  

Tomorrow....*sigh*....... relocating the desks and computers etc, and I'll be giving the bookshelves a (hopefully) final coat of paint.  It feels as through the house will never be tidy again, but I'm on the home straight and determined that by end of the weekend the ground floor will once again be habitable.

I know I've said this many times before.... but..... what could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, 10 October 2019


Office makeover - Day 4

I am never, ABSOLUTELY NEVER, doing an office makeover.... ever again!

Not only is the entire ground floor awash with office stuff, and we can't find a damn thing, I'm also teetering on the edge of complete and utter exhaustion.  I suspect I was a tad deluded over-optimistic about my energy levels/competence/enthusiasm for the project, especially given events of the past few months.  I'm a firm believer in 'doing good stuff is positive' but all I'm positive about at the moment is that when it's done I want to sleep for several days.

Granted, progress has been made.  Over the past four days the office has been emptied, cleaned and the feature wall papered.  The bookshelves (which are an absolute pain in the derriere to paint) have had two coats of paint and are currently drying on the dining room table.  I'm dead beat now, so if they need another coat it will have to be done tomorrow.

Also, tomorrow we're planning to fit the new carpet, which will probably take 3-4 hours and no end of cussing.  We need to find a big enough space somewhere in the house to lay out the new piece, so that we can use the old carpet as a template to mark out the cutting lines.... which means moving even more stuff *sigh*.

Then, over the weekend we can begin the process of relocating the desks, bookshelves, filing cabinet and all the office stuff.

After which I can take my time to make the finishing touches.... well, yes, alright..... the bunting.  Plus I have to make SD's cosy nook, recover the pin boards and add some quirky elements and accessories.

I'm sure it will look lovely when it's finished, but right now I wish I'd never started......

Monday, 7 October 2019

The thick of it.....

Office makeover.... Day 1

For such a relatively small room, the office contains a LOT of stuff.  Aside from two desks, a filing cabinet, 2 sets of bookshelves, 2 office chair and Small Dog's bed, there is all the paraphernalia which running a small business requires..... 2 computers, printer, router, phone, assorted software and books, printer paper and card, envelopes, labels, specialist papers.... plus pens, pencils, marker pens, staplers, postal supplies, notebooks, storage boxes etc etc etc.
It's been a mammoth task getting everything out, in preparation for cleaning and jooshjing.

Predictably, it didn't go entirely smoothly.

My corner desk, which was assembled in situ, wouldn't go through the door no matter which way we turned it, or how much we swore.  In the end we had to take the top section off, and were then able to manhandle it out of the office and into the sitting room, where it will be a temporary home for PP's computer. 

Removing it revealed a quantity of dust, webs and spider husks.... presumably any live specimens quickly abandoned their lairs when we started the operation.  

Small Dog is not a fan of the vacuum cleaner, so she looked a bit disgruntled when I dragged it through to deal with all the debris, and burrowed down under her duvet while I dealt with years of hitherto inaccessible dirt and dust.  When I then started washing down the skirting boards she still stuck to her guns and refused to move, giving me a hard stare when I tried to move her out of the way.  However by that time I was ready for a break so she was granted a reprieve.

So far so good..... tomorrow we will move PP's computer and dismantle her desk.  Then I can finish the cleaning and assess my next move.... *sigh*

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Solace in action.....

The past two months have been a trial, with every emotion possible, sometimes all in the one day.

In order to avoid sinking into a deep slough of despond, especially as this is my least favourite time of year, even in normal times, I'm trying to keep busy and find things to do which might cheer me up, and if they improve our lives in the process, so much the better.

I know I really should be concentrating on other stuff, but this coming week I shall be attempting a makeover in the office, which has become unbearably scruffy and rough round the edges, as well as looking incredibly boring and a place of zero motivation.

PP and SD spend a lot of time in there, involved in various pursuits, although SD's mostly involve napping.  It's a small room, just 2.6m x 2.0 metres, with the advantage of a large bay window.  It's already painted white, and I don't intend to repaint it, but we will be replacing the flooring, which is tatty and threadbare, and I'll be jooshjing up the room with one wallpapered feature wall and assorted quirky touches, some of which still exist either in my head or as ideas on a Pinterest board.

I've started to pack stuff away.... I've cleared the two bookshelves (which will be painted) and thrown out loads of junk which has accumulated on them over time.  My relatively small desk will be relocated into the sitting room for the duration, for PP's computer.  My laptop will take up temporary residence on a table in the workroom and PP's large office desk will be dismantled and stored in the dining room, which currently looks like a huge stationery repository , as ALL the stuff from the bookshelves is on the dining table.

When the room is cleared I will clean like a mad woman, then paper the wall and we will fit the new flooring, using the old carpet as a template.  The bookshelves will be painted.... they're currently bare wood.
I'm going to create a cosy nook for SD and I'll make her a new dog bed, as she currently resides on an old duvet in a cut down flannel duvet cover.

I'm also going to upcycle our tatty old pinboard, and create wall space for photos and prints.

At this point in my planning musings, SD perks up, having heard about her new dog bed.....

SD:*keenly* A nue bedd?!  Fore me?!!!  In a kosie knook?
Me:*proudly* Yes SD.  All lovely and fresh.
SD:*warming to her theme*  And whoot els?  
Me:*blithely* Well.... new carpet, quirky wallpaper, new pictures, and, of course....
SD:*interrupting* kno whott yure goen to sai.
Me:*innocently* Yes?
SD*accusingly* Yure goen to maik bunten.... arnt yue?
Me:*guiltily* Well... yes.  I will make some quirky bunting.
SD:*triumphantly*  AI KNUE ITT!
Me:*defensively* What's wrong with bunting????  I love making it, it cheers my soul, and by dog my soul needs cheering.  It will look lovely.
SD:*suspiciously* Aim knott haven bunten in mai kosie knook am ai?
Me:*evasively* Possibly.......  I've not decided yet.  But if I do it will be absolutely lovely and totally in keeping with the ambiance of your sleeping arrangements.
SD:*scathingly* Ai have kno ideer whott 'ambeeyons' are, butt ai doant thinck ai wont them.
Me:*cajolingly* Oh SD.... come on.  You will love it.  Promise.  No other dog in the land will have such an amazing sleeping nook.... fit for a Proud and Noble Yorkshier Terrior.
SD:*mollified* Hmmm.... wel oakai.  Ai supoas itt will be fyne.  *thoughtfully*  Prowd and Knowbell.... yess thatts me to a tea.

To be continued......

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

In memoriam.....

This time last week we were in Cornwall for my brother's funeral.  After a week of brilliant sunshine and unseasonably high temperatures across the south, our time in Cornwall was characterised by grey skies, epic rainfall and impenetrable fog, especially around Bodmin, on the edge of the moor.... which felt entirely appropriate and in tune with the purpose of our trip.

It was an emotional end to a harrowing six weeks.  

I took an album of photographs of Tom when we were growing up... all those 'bucket and spade'  seaside holidays, learning to swim in the sea, birthdays, Christmas... high days and holidays, when photos were taken sparingly and took weeks to be developed. 

My flowers were a mixture of thistles, heather and white roses, echoing the Scottish theme which ran throughout the day.

The funeral service was personal and moving and I was pleased to be able to contribute my own memories of his childhood and teenage years... adding to the stories from his later life. 
There was his favourite music, relevant readings, and the views out over the valley were stunning.  Afterwards, the wake was held at his favourite pub, where tales were told, tears were cried, and laughter lifted our sad spirits.  

He would have enjoyed it.

A very sad day, but one which affirmed his place in many hearts.

Sleep tight Tom.....