Thursday, 10 July 2014

Reality at Nelson House

When I started this blog it was to share the tales the restoration of Nelson House and the ups and downs of living here. It was not to be one of those 'lifestyle' blogs where people seem to live perfect lives. You know the sort, perfect houses where they waft around perfect gardens, cutting perfect roses and arranging them into a perfect still life. Constantly immaculate, when not at home they are visiting friends who live similar perfect lives.  Now life at Nelson House is nothing like that but looking at our last few blogs you may be fooled into believing it may be. So time to put the record straight.

Work on the 'orangery' has been frustratingly slow. We laid the concrete floor ready for a push forward that sadly didn't materialise. I spent the morning on my knees levelling out wet concrete as Andrew wheeled in barrow after barrow.

Man & machine in perfect harmony



 Finally, three weeks on, Andrew has managed the time to start framing out the walls. You have no idea how many re-designs this space has gone through, but eventually we agreed.

Taking shape

I'm tackling another one of our internal doors. The previous owners, probably in the 1980's, decided to strip all the doors, as was fashionable at the time. The problem is that these doors were made to be painted as the wood is not of the quality to be seen. So for each room we tackle I have to sand all the orange-red varnish off, fill the cracks and apply a total of four coats of paint.

Phase one

Then there is the varnishing of the garden furniture. If I don't get couple of coats of yacht varnish on each year then the chairs just look horrible.

After rubbing down

Next on the reality list are the adventures with wildlife. First it was wasps. We'd come back from a dog walk and were in the sitting room with a cup of coffee when an unexpected movement caught my eye; there was something in the log burner. Further inspection showed a dozen or so wasps. We went outside and stared at the chimney and saw quite a few circling the pot, obviously intent on nest building. So. on the hottest day of the year thus far, Andrew had to light the smelliest, smokiest fire to get rid of them. Lord knows what our neighbours thought as black smoke billowed forth.

What next? The other night we were in bed reading when a huge, and I mean huge, moth came in and fluttered round my head. I really dislike moths and panic when they come near me, bees and wasps can land on me and I'm fine but moths. No. So I threw the duvet over my head and shrieked. Andrew responded with a 'what the *********' and next I heard a thumping of his book, to which my response was 'not on the duvet!' It all went quiet and Andrew said it was O.K to come out. Now what I didn't know was that Mortimer had come wandering in from the hall, woken by my yells and had come to see if I was okay. Unfortunately, as I gingerly came out from under the duvet, his tail caught my bare arm. Convinced that it was the moth and my husband had lied, I shrieked again causing the dog to bolt and Andrew to laugh.

Finally there was the incident last Friday morning. Our usual routine is that Andrew prepares breakfast as I faff about and feed Mortimer. Our cereal was on the table as I opened the kitchen door to let M into the orangery and onwards to the garden. However he stopped between doors and stared into the corner of the room, I caught a glimpse of something move. Leaning forward I found myself staring into the eyes of a small brown rat. And guess what readers? I screamed. Dragged Mortimer into the kitchen and yelled to Andrew to get out and deal with it. He seemed perplexed that I didn't want the dog involved, more so when I said that I didn't want Mr M. to get bitten. No I wasn't worried about him at all.
We think the rat was unwell as it was very sluggish and when Andrew got it onto a shovel it didn't attempt to move.

So there we are, real life at Nelson House, warts and all!

Oh! nearly forgot. I hadn't posted the annual Mortimer birthday photograph. Here he is, now aged four.

Is this my best side?


  1. Who needs life in the jungle, eh? And I share your pain about the rat. Do you remember our 6 week battle to evict one (and we thought it was a mouse, not QUITE as bad) last year? I felt so unclean. Now then, you've had enough adventures for a while. Get back to that orangery! Is that really how you plan to use the space?

    1. Actually Margaret the moth was far more traumatic than the rat! As to the orangery, well it was once going to be so but now it will be a wet room and a sun room/dining area. But it's too complicated to keep saying that so 'the orangery' has stuck.

  2. Yep, all sounds like a perfectly normal day to me!

    1. My only relief is that it wasn't over just one day or I truly would be traumatised! And exhausted.