Friday, 26 July 2013

A new lamp

Whilst I was at the IWA Festival at Watford I came across some rather nice replica (but quite old) brass lamps at only £15 each.  I thought one of them would look good in the towpath level window of my house.

It's not an easy thing to take a photo of but hopefully the one to the left shows that the lamp does look in keeping with the house.

I think it may look better in the winter with the curtains drawn.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Sitting Room sorted

I think I have finally got the sitting room sorted to my satisfaction. I moved the bed that won't go up to the second floor this morning (into the kitchen - via the outside of the house) and adjusted the 'French' doors - they caught the tiles when they opened but the internet had information on how to adjust them.

The picture on the wall is an enlargement of a picture taken by the Ministry of Information of my Aunt (Daphne March - later Daphne St Joseph) stowing the cabin strings on her working boat Heather Bell at Tipton in the West Midlands on 28-April-1941 for an article in 'Illustrated' magazine to show the effort the women were putting into the war.

I am so pleased to have got one room to my satisfaction - seems the easy way to do it (for the benefit of my friend Rodney) is to make trips to the dump!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Slight Crisis

Phone call from my neighbour last night (I am on the boat at Watford) at 22:35 to say water leaking from beside rear door accompanied by loud banging noise.  Luckily I had put a key in a key safe outside the back door so I was able to give Mel (neighbour's lodger) access - she switched off the water. Bless her.

Text to the builder - he has responded this morning at 08:30 and is off there this morning (Sunday) with a plumber to have a look.

That's what comes from employing a reputable builder - I am sad it has happened but delighted with the response from the builder.  Well done DJ Hutchings of Towcester.

A follow up from Tom from DJ Hutchings this morning (Tuesday 23-July). The issue was caused by a spike in the water pressure in Stoke Bruerne and the hot water heater not being able to react to it because it had been set to just above the value the water company had advised.  A pressure reducing valve has been fitted and the problem should not recur.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

A good week

View from the front door
(better without Indian Chief I feel)
Thankfully things slow down in Stoke Bruerne during the week.  I've taken to sitting outside on the step to have my mid-morning cuppa and have met a number of local people all whom approve of the work I've undertaken (well had done for me).

I still cannot get my divan bed up the stairs so it looks as if that is a non-starter now - bit sad about that.  Tom the builder came round on Monday to do the snag list - there's a few things need doing but the vast majority of the work is excellent and I am very happy with the outcome.  I have rearranged the sitting room (at towpath level) any number of times but think I now have something that looks good and suits me.  I haven't put anything up on the walls yet (apart from a mirror) as I want to get the feel of the house fully before committing to that sort of thing. I have also cleaned out the 'hole' where the kitchen windows go - that looks much better now.
A lovely summer scene looking
in the direction of  the tunnel

James (next door) kindly invited me to a BBQ on Tuesday evening which was very pleasant and very kind.

I have still not registered with a doctor.  The one of my choice in Towcester seemed to have no one at the reception desk for the 20 minutes I waited there so, as it was so hot, I gave up and will go back later.

There's still some work to do on the windows - have found there is no motar between the repaired frame and the wall and the frame and the window sill on the two top windows but has been done on the lower window.  I'll have to find out why that is.

I am getting used to going up and down the stairs (having lived in a bungalow for 27 years) and am sure it will help with my cardio vascular system! (Or so my friend Sue would say).

One of the things I find very useful is the mile-upon-mile of retail outlets in Milton Keynes (just 15 minutes drive away).  I think they look awful - just big amorphous corporate buildings but they have everything you could wish for and I console myself in the knowledge that just 15 minutes up the road is a little oasis of calm called Stoke Bruerne!

I was sitting on the step this afternoon (Sunday) and started talking to very nice elderly lady.  It turns out she was the daughter of a gentleman called Jack James who lived at No3 and started the Canal Museum off in 1963.  She was most interesting and told me a little about the layout of the house. The lower ground floor as the coal and wood store (now the kitchen), the towpath level was the living room cum kitchen with a large pantry at the back.  The second floor had two bedrooms (currently one bedroom and a bathroom) and the top floor was the big bedroom (and still is).  Other facilities (loo etc) were behind the house in the area I now park the car.

Shortly after this I was standing on the steps and along came Rob Locatelli who I know very well from Basingstoke and River Wey Navigation times - what a small world.

Off for a few days now to go to the IWA National - don't particularly want to go but I think a break from the house is perhaps a good idea.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

It's taking longer to settle in than planned

The Morris men at the top lock
But that's because there are so many distractions!

On Sunday a number of Morris teams (is that the correct collective noun?) or is it 'sides' arrived at set up on the far side of the top lock.  It was sorchingly hot but they all danced for a couple of hours in rotation and then marched into the pub (the Boat Inn) in strict line to the very loud beating of a bass drum.  I am not sure that Morris dancing is my 'thing' but I did enjoy seeing a traditional English pastime being enjoyed by so many and some of the team's turnout was a credit to them.

Nutfield and Raymond being breasted
 up prior to the Stoke Bruerne 7
Then in the evening Raymond and Nutfield moored (temporarily) right outside my front door as they waited to lock through the Stoke Bruerne top lock.

I didn't get anything done in the house that day I am afraid.

In the evening a had a chat with a delightful couple (Katherine and Tony) who were renting No4.  I talked to Katherine about curtain poles and she suggested talking to the blacksmith at the tunnel mouth. I walked down to see him and he would be very happy to make curtain poles to fit in with the style of the house - great and it puts money into the local economy and not into some amorphous corporate!

Friday, 5 July 2013

The reason I moved to Stoke Bruerne

Well one of them anyway.  The view this evening from my front door is just wonderful. On the left you can just see the back of Bideford, (Towcester's butty), then there's the butty Moon, then Lamprey, Kestrel and Sculptor (the Canal Museum's boat) and a hire boat making a valiant (and successful) effort to squeeze through the only available space.
Without the hire boat 

It could almost be a picture from years gone by!