Thursday, 17 February 2011

Big fat gypsy lifestyle......

Ian, Barney and I have turned into a travelling family. This week we are staying with our lovely friend Caroline in Taunton. What a great chance to go for a run.....oh i can't my trainers are in the shed at Pengotton. Well perhaps a swim instead - except my swimming stuff is at mum & dad's.

At least I didn't go to a posh meeting at Harper Adams College in an emergency blue-with-pink-squares tie bought en route from Oxfam in Shrewsbury. Actually it was probably a very trendy tie once upon a time but not exactly right with the white-with-blue-orange-and-pink check shirt he managed to find in the cupboard in our house in Wales. I think his personality carried it off though.

Seriously this has got to be the most stressful time of the whole two years since selling our house in Chedzoy. We give up the house in Newbridge-on-Wye in a month, by which time the room in the garage at Pengotton might be habitable. The Lottery paid for us to move up there with a proper removal firm but not to move back. Of course we are too stingey to pay £800 when we've got a perfectly good trailer, so every week we'll come back with another load. Then the question is where to put it all - back in storage, or elsewhere. So sorting out problems with our roof (the current issue), or getting quotes for plumbing or whatever, happens by phone from wherever. We just can't wait to have everything in one place again.

It's good to get that bit of whingeing over with..... sorry - life's all good really. The house is going well, the builder is fantastic, Ian's loving his new project, the painting course in Wales is off the ground, and Cilla and James and their children are coming to visit next week. So there's lots to look forward to - if I can first work out where I'm looking from!!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Straw bale inspiration

This week's speaking engagement for Ian was at the agricultural college Bishop Barton near Hull. A lovely friend (and fellow Nuffield scholar) offered him the use of her straw bale cottage for a couple of nights - so I decided this was the one speaking trip Barney and I would just have to go on.

Here is the cottage - built by Carol Atkinson ( Note Ian rushing to get to his talk on time....
We loved the way the walls curve in and out and the cosy feel of it - the walls are so thick you can't even hear the wind blowing outside.... it brought back memories of making hay bale dens on the farm when we were children. It's built on stilts cos it floods there - she's a brave woman to build out of straw in a flood plain.

While Ian was occupied Barney and I discovered the beautiful town of Beverley, and the sweeping beach at Hornsea. I've never been to this part of the country before and was amazed how beautiful 'up north' is (apologies to any northerners who already know this). The sun was shining, the waves crashing and the ideas flowing..... could we build part of our house out of straw bales? Or even better out of cob? Perhaps we could build out of materials only found on site.....clay, wood, stone, and all the leftovers of the main build....

Oops, turn around from watching the waves and you could be in Berrow Happy Holiday Village... but a bit more precarious:-
And as a gentle reminder of the industrial north, the River Ouse (I think) at sunset with chimneys on the horizon.