Sunday, 8 May 2016


April 29th 2011 was the date we moved into Nelson House. We had a five year plan to do the renovations, sell and move on but like most plans we've had to be flexible and five years is looking more like six. Sometimes I look round and wonder what's taken so long but a flick through the 'before and during' photographs makes me realise that we Andrew has done a huge amount of work. This is the blog post showing downstairs when we moved in I didn't have an oven, hob or fridge for seven months! But we are on the last bedroom with only the hall, stairs and landing for internal work so I'm hopeful that this time next year...

We were inspired by a visit to some friend's new house and are determined that our new house will be just as gorgeous. I have known Carol since secondary school and she and her husband have just moved to Hampshire after being in their Surrey house for over 25 years. Their new home is a lovely cottage, part of it centuries old and with an enviable walled garden. We took a long weekend over Andrew's birthday and headed south. Hampshire is a county we don't really know and it is beautiful. Our first outing was to Arlesford which is famous for its watercress, we had a walk by the river and did see some watercress beds but I think they may be redundant.

Arlesford watercress bed

Definitely wash before consumption!
We also walked past what must be one of the most photographed cottages in the area, an ancient fulling mill. Fulling (also known as tucking or walking) was a process of the wool industry where wool was cleaned of dirt and oil. It is also the origins of some very English surnames - Fuller, Walker and Tucker.

Ancient fulling mill

Arlesford is a beautifully maintained Georgian town which made it's money from the wool industry. Now it's full of upmarket shops (I was tempted but managed to resist some more napkins!) and smart coffee shops. I did love these door bells.

The area is very dog friendly and we had supper in a lovely pub where Andrew found two new admirers.

Waiting for scraps
The following day we headed to Selbourne to do the zig-zag walk. I confess to being a little nervous when Carol said we were walking up a stiff hill as I've got use to the flat Norfolk countryside but it wasn't too bad and the views were spectacular.

The zig-zag path was created by Gilbert White (1720-1793) whose family home was The Wakes in Selbourne. White was a 'parson-naturalist' and said to be England's first ecologist. We didn't get time to visit the house but hopefully if we're invited back...

Viewed from a distant it looked quite daunting

Mortimer had no problems

The views were gorgeous

The Wakes is on the right
St Mary's church in the village has two lovely stained windows commemorating White's life

St Mary's - Selbourne
and also seems to have a history of fine bell ringers too.

Sadly we had to leave this beautiful county after what seemed a very short weekend.

Back home I had my own ecological task to do. We have a reconstituted stone table which we bought at least two decades ago and I've loved how it has slowly weathered over the years.

The table in April's snow
However the weathering has got a little out of hand and the table had spawned it's own micro world.

This pansy is less than 2 cm high

I finally gave in to Andrew's request to clear the surface when I found that my wine glass was dangerously unstable!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the snow, sleet and hail is behind us now. The bees are very active, too active in some ways as on last inspection they had started to produce drone cells which is one of the signs they are considering swarming. There has been an aerial highway to the nearby rape field (seen from the bathroom window) which is one of their favourite flowers. Rape honey sets quickly so I'm going to have to get it out of the hive as soon as the flowers start to die down.

So that was April. I'm hoping bedroom four will be finished by the next post and we can move on to the outside, leaving the hall and snagging until the autumn. But best laid plans etc. etc...