Thursday, 31 July 2014

Three Positives - Day Two

And yes, you may well see that I missed a day.  Not through my usual scatterbrainedness either.  A day of constant pain, and two hours sleep, and it's hard to grind the positives.  I've left that typo in because it made me chuckle.  I love you autocorrect.

1.  Slow release Tramadol.
Could this finally be the drug to manage my pain?   Yes, I've been giggly and happy and less ratty and tense than usual... This is a bad thing?  

2.  Day out in Llandudno.
My troops, Mum and Dad, brother and girlfriend and Emma went to Llandudno for the day.  We all had a lovely lunch in the Queens Hotel, before descending on the pier.  Mr G had a reading with a medium - very insightful, before we headed to check out the natural remedies in the Llandudno Emporium kiosk.   We now have oils... 

3.  New Cat.
Mr G bought me a new Maneki Neko :-).  A stalker version of one I gave already :-)

Laughing so much.   A smaller version of one I have already!

M x

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Three Positives - Day One

I've been tagged three times now to do the social media 'Three Positives' challenge, so thought I'd best pull my finger out and start.  These are for yesterday.

1.  Finding Sam
I lived alone in Manchester from the age of 16.  I only knew one person there, a good friend from school who had left that summer to go and live with her father.  I remember meeting her father, Sam, and feeling at home.  He was a softly spoken man, a true gentleman, originally from the West Indies.  He took me under his wing, he looked out for me, he made sure I never went without.  And what a cook!  My first introduction to Hot Pepper Sauce.  He wasn't only a father figure to me, he was a good friend to me too in his own right.  I probably spent more time with him than I did with his daughter.   I lost touch with them both in the mid 90's, but found my friend recently on Facebook.  I had asked several times about her father but that question was never answered.  I didn't want to push the issue because - they may have been estranged.  Or ever worse, he may have passed away.   I thought about him often.  My friend recently had a baby, so I sent a message of congratulations.  She sent me a message to say her Dad often asked about me over the years, but had only been talking about me the other day.  I was partly gutted and partly ecstatic to find out that he still lived in the same house.  Gutted for the wasted years but thrilled that I could get in touch with him.   So I have handwritten a letter to him, and in this letter I have thanked him for his support and friendship all those years ago.  I doubt I expressed my gratitude to him at the time, being a selfish teen, but as an adult I realise that my life would have been a lot darker without him in it.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to be able to tell him this.  This particular chapter of my life housed three regrets.  Three special people lost from my life.  One friendship is beyond redemption on both her and my part.  The second... I tried last year to put right but I made things much worse.  Sometimes doing what you think is the right thing for someone else, is the wrong thing to do for yourself.   Some hurts will never heal.   And then Sam, a genuine 'losing touch'.  Lives drifting in different directions.  And he still thought about me too.  That made my day, week, month and year.   I hope to meet up with my friend and her daughter soon, and it would be lovely if Sam could be a part of that too :-)

2.  Adam's Birthday
Adam turned 8.  My 'baby'.  I asked him if he was still my baby boy, and he said yes.  I asked him why and he said this...

Adam:  Because I'm a boy, I'm the youngest and you gave birth to me


I didn't get a chance to make a cake this year, what with the weekend's road trip and subsequent pain, so told him he could choose any cake in Tesco.  He chose that.  The cake is only about a centimetre thick... But kids and their Haribo!   He had over £100 in money, and has already invested in one of those fish things, and a pair of much coveted Stompeez slippers.  The rest, I am informed, is being spent on dinosaurs.  Because what this house needs is more dinosaurs.   Thanks to all my friends and family for their cards and gifts :-)

3.  Healthy food
I've been feeling a bit bleugh after these last few weeks, what with visitors, entertaining, days out, meals out, grabbing food on the hop.  I definitely see a connection between diet and my energy levels.  So from yesterday it's back on the salad, wholemeal pasta, bread, wraps etc and fresh fruit.   My mum is taking 11 of us out for a meal on Thursday, let's see if my resolve holds!  (It won't, I can tell you now, it will be fresh battered cod and chips...). But if it's only once in a while, it's ok.  

That's my three positives for Monday.  I have a sneaking suspicion that one of today's is going to be pain relief!  Ouch :-(

M x

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Lewis

It's Sunday morning, and I am sat in my hotel room in the Premier Inn, Wrexham after a wonderful night's sleep.  Whether it was the bed, or the wine consumed last night remains to be seen, but either way, that mattress is coming home in my suitcase!  

We had a lovely, lovely day yesterday.  The weather, at home, in Oswestry and in Wrexham was perfect (until about 10pm when we had to take snoozy kids off to bed).  It looks like another glorious day today as well.  

Here are some pictures of the day... Including the dead bird on my head.  

Caitlin all ready to go, the boys and Mr G travelled in t shirts and got changed in the car park as it was HOT!

Pre wedding selfie.  See what I mean about the fascinator?  I look demented!

Waiting for the bride to arrive, while the groom paces nervously.  

Mum and Adam, who manages to look cheeky in every photo we take of him!

The ceremony was delayed as the bride's car had broke down.  The registrar had shut the main doors to the room so Nigel didn't see Stephanie... And we were all dying a death in there.   She told us later shed'd had to help push the wedding car.  What a girl!  Anyway, she made it and they're now husband and wife finally!


I want some of that...


A quick Diet Coke in the pub next door before we made our way to Wrexham to check in and have a quick wash and change...

Our lovely, comfy, inviting bed... But first, partay!

Llay Miners Welfare, where the reception was held, as it came into view, Mum said 'Look at that building, isn't it lovely?'  I told her that's where we were bound.  

The reception room was big, a lovely size for a party.  If I lived locally it's definitely somewhere I would use for a big party.  Drinks prices were reasonable too, soft drinks for 5 and a small red wine for me was around the £8 mark.  The tables had been dressed lovely with helium balloons, sweets and lovely wedding favours.

These scrolls were in pretty little voile bags with sugared almonds, little gems and a small butterly shaped mirror inscribed with the wedding details.  Lovely keepsake of the day!

Cait photobombed us...

Bride and Groom's first dance to 'Wonderwall'.

The DJ for the night has to be applauded too.  Not only did he play a fantastic mix of music, Motown, Indie, 80s, to present day, but all night he was taking photos from his podium but he walked round too table to table taking pictures and updated the big screen up on stage with photos of all the guests.  I hope that Steph has copies of them because there were some good ones of my lot.  

Too soon it was time to go back to the hotel, it had been a long day for everyone.  We went outside to find pouring rain, which was a bit of a relief after these last few days of incessant heat and humidity.  

A welcome sight...

That was our day, in a nutshell.  Now, we're going down for a coffee, and come back and pack our bag, then off home via Corwen and lunch at The Berwyn Arms, to celebrate Adam's birthday and round off a lovely weekend!  

Friday, 25 July 2014

Cinderella *may* go to the ball, after all!

Mr G arrived home little after 9 this morning, discharged.  With a determination that this weekend's plans remain unchanged.   The Doctor thinks it may be muscular... and with a promise (again) of a follow up appointment with Mr Abdullah (won't hold breath), the absence of the stomach pain that sent him in clinching his release.  I'm not convinced. I think he's lying.  I have four children, I can smell bullshit at twenty paces.  I made him swear on lives but, he may have had something crossed.  

The house is wrecked.  Hangers hang from door frames, with dresses and shirts.  Every available space has crap on, from deodorants to Eccles cakes.  Oh and this abomination...

...will be perched on my napper.  No crows were harmed in the making of this fascinator.  What a stupid name.  Fascinator.   What the hell is that all about?

I have a list.  Stuff to pack.   Should be relatively simple.  But.  Instead, I am sat outside in sweltering temperatures, drinking a Miller beer.  From the bottle.  Like a lady should.   Because it's 5 o'clock in the world somewhere.  While Mr G roasts on a duck feather duvet #sticky   

It's going to be a shambles.  Look out Oswestry and Wrexham.  We're coming... 

M x

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Not again...

Guess where Mr G is.  Go on.  Humour me.  Make an uneducated guess.  An educated one.  A wild one.  Take your pick.   On one of the hottest days of the year.  And which mode of transport he went by.  Again.  Oh yeah.

So it looks like were we planning on going to a wedding this weekend, and had I spent loads of money on five new outfits, four pairs of new shoes, make up, had my hair coloured and my body a ridiculous combo of 'burned' and 'the mythological creature who turned orange after drinking five litres of a Sunny D', not to mention paying in advance for rooms which I don't get a refund on... it's very likely that we wouldn't be going.  

Believe me now?  The curse is real, my friends.  The curse is real... 

What's wrong with him?   Don't know.  Had bloods taken, another x ray, hooked up to a morphine drip, currently on a ward waiting to see a registrar.   I leave in an hour, bearing roast pork and stuffing baguettes and fresh orange juice.  Hoping to find out more.  Very hot, very bothered and very, very fed up with it all.  After dealing with three hot, bothered and very fed up children all day.  And when I get home, there's an £18 bottle of Chianti with my name on it.   Well, not literally my name, it's not like one of those Coca Cola bottles or anything...  But it's getting opened, and I'm going to go in the summerhouse and I'm going to drink it.  All.  By.  Myself.  And grieve the loss of a too-rare night in a hotel bed.  And a lovely meal in our favourite little pub in Corwen on the way home, for Adam's birthday.   Meh.  


M (eh) x

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Trial Post

I've not bitten the bullet as yet and posted with my ipad.  I've tried, and I've realised you get to a certain point in the post and can't scroll down. A frantic Google search reveals that it's not just me. Thankfully.  It usually is.  One 'solution' is the blogger app.  And reviews aren't too brilliant.  However, like film reviews, music reviews, I prefer to make my mind up.  I am sooooo willing this to work.  And for (got) autocorrect not to (yo, really autocorrect? Yo makes more sense there than 'to'?) autocorrect me too embarrassingly, and me miss it, you know.  

Obligatory picture upload, tonight's tea, al fresco...

Ok, so seemingly I can't caption... Or can I?  If you use this and know I can, jet me know in the comments.  Let me know.   Jet?

So, I'm about yo hit post on this. To.  Not yo.  And then look at it in my browser.   To see if it works.  Weep.   Deep.    E e e p.  

M x

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Mr G. Morphine. Day 3.

Such fun...

He's currently sleeping in the shed.

Most sense I've had out of him was this sentence...

Mr G:  Is that your thing coming out of your thingle there?

Me:   Er... I genuinely don't know how to answer that?

Mr G:  *Half sobs and moves in for a hug*  I don't want to be a crackhead...

Such.  Fun.  Is it 'wine o'clock' anywhere in the world yet? 

M x

Friday, 18 July 2014


It's hot...

'It's called Summer.  Have a Solero and shut the f**k up' - Peter Kay.

We're in Wales.  Not Wigan.  Wales.  There is a huge family party currently going on in a posh hotel (that isn't a funeral) in this weather?  And we're not there.   Instead.  I am upstairs on my PC with a bottle of Pinotage, and Mr G?   Well.  He's downstairs on the sofa watching Widnes v Warrington.  On slow release morphine.  Yeah.  That's been a special kind of fun.  He's gone from giggly, to moidering, to smacked off his tits over the last few hours.  At least the liquid morphine used to knock him out cold, almost instantly.  There's me hoping for some kind of respite and instead I get a cross between Justin Fletcher, Alan Carr and Pete Doherty?   Shudder with me people.  Shudder with me. 

We went wedding shopping.  We're not going to a wedding in Wrexham next weekend.  But were we going to one?  We would now all be kitted out (except for the boys shoes).  I tried my dress on.  It's been here for two weeks.  Hung up.  And I've gibbed out on trying it on until this morning.  I halternecked my bra.  I tried it on, and... it looks ok.  At the end of the day, it is what it is.  It's a stunning looking dress on the size 8/10 model wearing it online... and it's an ok looking dress on the size 20/22 woman wearing it in real life.  But nowhere near as bad as I anticipated, either?   I think the 50's style dresses are more accommodating to us bigger ladies than shoving ourselves into the obligatory PC stocked chain store version of something we should never, ever be wearing.  Don't lynch me - I say this as a big girl!  I had some bargains too - I got a dress for Cait, also black with red flowers on, half price.  Two fascinators, one for Cait and one for me, mine is a bit over-the-top for me, I don't like too much fuss, but hey - who the hell that knows me is going to see me, right?  Trousers and (sale) shirts for the boys in Asda, and the trousers will do for school after, also half price shoes for Cait there.  Claire's had a load of nails reduced, and I chose two sets for us girlies that came to a whopping total of £4 and the cashier told us they were 3 for 2, so we had 3 sets for £4.  I had been toying with the idea of a spray tan, but my upper body isn't too bad thanks to the sporadic, bonkers weather we've had since April.  Thankfully, after trying my dress on, all that will be seen of my legs is my cankles so I've given them a rub of EVOO, a sprinkle of sea salt and some sprigs of Rosemary, and will be displaying them at every available outdoor opportunity between now and next Friday.  Just incase we decide to go to a wedding on Saturday.  But we don't plan to. 

I am serious about this blog jinx, by the way, incase you didn't realise it...?  ;-)

M x

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Curse of Frazzled Shell

I've come to the conclusion that my blog is a jinx.  You know, how celebs sell their wedding pics to these gossip magazines?  Then divorce a year later?  I think this blog does the same for all and any plans that I might make.  The Curse of Frazzled Shell.   I'm not even joking.  I say this, this and this will happen, and that, that and that does so none of it happens.  Or it all goes so awry that I don't even know how to begin explaining or getting a post out of it?  So in future, I'm saying or doing nothing on here, until it's actually done!   

Well, the party was... just was.  It happened.  I think everyone who came enjoyed themselves.  Except me that is.  Something happened early on in the evening, leaving me very disappointed, pissed off, upset and in floods of tears.  Kind of ruined my whole evening after looking forward to it for so long.  Didn't open a bottle of wine.  Didn't bother my arse picking up my camera to take a photo even, I was that fed up.  I may have said it before, but never, ever again.  I put myself out to more trouble than anyone I know, and certainly to more trouble than anyone ever puts themself out for me.  I spend a lot of time and money trying to make sure that everyone has a lovely evening, and feels appreciated as a part of my life.  I do this despite being in a lot of pain daily, more pain than people probably realise, because I just push on with life every day.  Do or die, and I'm not ready to die yet.  I've done more than my fair share of hosting now, either someone else takes over the role, or they don't.  Simple as.  I'm done.

The inlaws went home today, we had a couple of nice days out; Swallow Falls and Betws y Coed, and we went to Llandudno yesterday.  Mr G took them to Beaumaris last night for a stroll, and they went to Moelfre, Lligwy, Red Wharf Bay for a drive on the Sunday as I cleared up my wrecked house (well, wrecked compared to how tidy it was before the party!).  The plan is that we go to stay with them in Wigan this weekend for a family party, but the knock on effect of Mr G walking around for longer than usual this last couple of days means that he is flat out on the sofa, in 'more pain than when you called the ambulance for me'.  We've noticed this has happened a couple of times before, when he's walked around for a while, doesn't have to be for necessarily long distances either.  It suddenly strikes him down again.  My Mum has just phoned to inform me that my Great Uncle is in hospital in Devon with the same thing, having had his gallbladder out a short while after Mr G, but he too has the same pain, and just as bad as before the op.  A Google search reveals this is very common, known affectionately as 'phantom gallbladder'.  Pain relief doesn't work on Mr G.  So, short of a miracle cure, it looks like we are going to have to cancel this weekend.  Unfortunately I don't drive.  We were meant to be taking the eldest to his father in Manchester, so that's thrown a spanner in the works there too.  Our friend's wedding in Wrexham is the weekend after, time will tell if we get to go to that... but I really hope so, I'm so looking forward to it, and to seeing her again, this time under happier circumstances.  I'm not feeling great either, the knock on effect of sleeping in our daughter's very soft and springy double bed since Friday night, and you may as well cut my lower body off at the waist for what good it is.  My back, my hip, my lower leg and my knee, all griping away at once, like a nerve throbbing in each one.  I hurt on both sides, and my body doesn't know which side to limp on for the best, so when I walk I'm sort of staggering, with one leg that bends and one that doesn't want to?  Stairs are a particular spectacle.  Both going up and down.  Lol?  I must look a bloody sight.  Ok, there's no 'must' in there.  I look a sight.   

So I'm feeling very down, very whingey, which isn't like me.  I try and keep positive and look for the silver lining in everything, but I am having a very hard time doing that at the moment.  

Two things have kept me semi-sane this week.  Firstly the very brilliant Hollyoaks.  I've always had a soft spot for Hollyoaks from the start, because it was aimed at my generation (back then, not my generation now, sadly!).  It hasn't always been this good, granted, it lagged behind the 'Big Three' for years.  But it's recent win of Best Soap at the Soap Awards confirmed what we fans have been saying for a good couple of years.  Not just the storylines they tackle, but the warts and all way in which they tackle them. The recent domestic violence storyline with Maxine and Patrick sends chills down my spine, and I hope both Nikki Sanderson and Jeremy Sheffield get recognition next year for their brilliant performances.  Even if they don't, if the story helps at least one person finally seek help then it's been worthwhile. 

Secondly, my Facebook feed has been awash with people raving about 'Orange is the New Black'.  So I downloaded the book.  Loved it.  Absolutely loved it.  It wasn't what I expected, it was entertaining, enlightening and inspiring.   Now the search begins for the next book to read.  In fact, the Goodreads Challenge is just about the only thing that I've been able to stick to so far this year! 

School finishes in two days, and just to clarify, we have no plans for this weekend, and no plans for the summer holidays in general.  No days out, no camping trips, no meals out, no picnics, no trips to the beach, no walks in the countryside.  Nothing.  Planned.  All.  Summer.  You hear me, Life?  Nothing.  Pfffffffffffft.

M x

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Let's Party!

At last, two weeks later than anticipated, we finally get to have a night with our friends and family to celebrate our fifteen years together!  This last week has been spent between the house and the garden, cleaning and clearing and cooking and freezing!  We've added some bits to the summerhouse, some pretty fairy lights, two bar stools, and I found some Coca Cola merchandise in local shops - a wastepaper bin and a straw dispenser.  A little ice bucket and some wine glasses complete the bar, and Mr G's Jazz Band up on a shelf.  It looks the part now, only curtains and flooring needed.  So far, at the time of writing this, it's dry, although it's promising rain.  We pre-empted disaster and put the gazebo up too, on Thursday night.  We had a glorious day yesterday, I burnt the old boobage (again...) at the Sports Day.

I've finalised the menu, and I really hope that I manage to remember to take photographs of the food - something I rarely do, only remembering to when it's all gone.  So if you're coming tonight, this is what you have to look forward to!

Pulled pork, stuffing, apple sauce and crusty baguettes
Homemade sausage rolls, two varieties, plain and sage and onion
Homemade scotch eggs, two varieties, breadcrumbs and sage and onion coated
Vol au Vents - mushroom
Salad, Homemade coleslaw, potato salad and American-style potato salad
Helen's Curried Carrot (mine, all mine...)

And for afters... (and they're all homemade, to save me typing the word!)
Mandarin Cheesecake
Scones with Clotted Cream and Jam
Victoria Sponge
Chocolate Cake
Coffee Cake
Fresh Strawberry Tart with sweetened whipped cream or ice cream

For the little ones...
Cupcakes, sausages on sticks, pizza, crisps and anything above they'll eat!

Really looking forward to this, and I am so on the ball for once.  Famous last words?  We shall see!  I might try and post tonight, while it's all going on?   Live blog post, ooh!   Again, famous last words, because once that vino is opened...?

M x

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Phase Two... Part Two - Making it 'Ours'

What a glorious day it has been here today!  It's nearly 8 pm and it's still so, so hot!  The sun is beaming down, and I've had to shut all the blinds at the front of the house.  Sheesh!  I've left Mr G lying down in the summerhouse with his newspaper and a bottle of Diet Coke.  Yes, I know, it's his 'Shedpub' but the irony there is - he rarely drinks at home?  He enjoys a pint when he goes out, which is also very rarely, and if he has a drink at home he usually only has one or two.  So, on his part it's going to be a very dry Shedpub.  However, I am more than sure that I can compensate for that.  Especially if Denise and/or Helen are over too. 

We spent today working on the inside of the summerhouse and it's looking lovely, we're both so pleased with it.  It's a little bit him, and a little bit me.  Here are some photos we took, see if you can guess which bits are him and which are me... but before I show you, Mr G had this to say...

Me:  It will do.  It's fine.  Nobody will notice.  (Something was crooked).

Mr G:  No, it won't do.  I'll know.  I'll do it again.  That's just triggered my OMD off, that has. 

OMD.  You know, the 1980's New Wave, synth-pop group?   My husband has that, and today, it's been triggered...

♬ ... A little Catholic girl who's fallen in love... A face on a page, a gift from above ... ♫

Meanwhile, back at the ranch shed...

I know, it was his choice... nothing to do with me...

The Shedpub was being called this from the start.  Before the summerhouse was even a twinkle in our savings account.  Those who know us, or rather, know Mr G.  Those of you who are Northern.  You will need no introduction to the word 'Thrutch'.  Will you?   I don't anymore, but there was a time when I didn't know what it meant.   And words are, quite literally, failing me.   So, if you feel the need to know, check out the definition of the word 'Thrutch' here and then you can feel quite queasy at the fact that my husband has played on words to make the name of his Shedpub, a Wigan slang term for having a crap.  There.  I said it.  It can never be unsaid...

View from the bar...

That's where I'm going to be spending most of my time, feet up (see the strategically placed air freshener on the wall?  My husband thinks of everything!), glass of wine, Kindle, music, multipack of Reese's Pieces... you get the picture...

Guilty #girly

Pretty big shed, Dad?

I actually have the 'Mum's Shed' to match this one.  Know where it is?  Kitchen.  Say no more...

These are postcards taken from prints by a local artist based in Beaumaris called Janet Bell.  They all depict scenes of places on the Isle of Anglesey and Mr G and I both fell in love with them, they're so cute!  We shoved them in frames and they take up the wall opposite the sofa.

My two favourite ones, Menai Bridge and Beaumaris!

Mr G's clock made out of a Holsten Pils bottle.  I bought him this in 2011, in Devon, at a little shop that was closing down.  He kept it in its box all this time, with his 'Stuff for my Shedpub' :-)   It's lovely to see it up finally!

Mr G's two large Wigan Warriors pictures had been languishing in cupboards gathering dust since we moved to this house.   The picture in the middle is the Menai Suspension Bridge, and it's a print of a painting by an artist called Kevin Platt, and Mr G picked it up for 50p in the school Summer Fair last weekend!  Bargain!

Wine.  Large.  Red.  Now. 

Can you see my little Maneki Neko on the bar?

Busted... he's on Diet Coke, I'm on coffee, but it is a school night!

Behind the bar, ample space for 'The Coffin' (our camping freezer box, which is so big that someone is getting buried in it, to save money...) and the cushions from our pallet furniture on the decking next to the summerhouse - saves lugging it all the way from the house and back every day!

My biggest boy and my littlest boy, awwwwwwww!

Finally taking a well deserved lie down, thank you too for all your hard work Mr G, you've made it look lovely for us all :-)  I love you so much xxxxx

M x

Phase Two... Part One - The Build

Although a little later than I'd hoped, nearly two weeks later in fact, we are done!   Ok, admittedly we're not completely finished, there's still a lot of 'titivating' to be done (Mr G's favourite new word to describe what he's going to do to his new love... which oddly enough for him, or me, isn't as filthy as it sounds).  But the exterior is done, and now we can get to work on the interior!

First and foremost, we'd both like to say a big, huge, massive 'THANK YOU!' to Ali, Darren and Gavin for all their help in building, and to Dan for helping to carry all the heavy stuff around and helping me lug 2 ton of aggregate from the front to the back garden by bucket.  By hand!  I know!  When Mr G and I were pulling our hair out, wondering how on earth to remedy things when they had gone wrong, between them, they sorted the job to completion in three days.  Took an objective look at it, told us what to buy, we bought it, they sorted it.  Hard work, late nights and plenty of panads.  As Darren would say 'Shell, what's the twentieth letter in the alphabet?'.  It's 'T' apparently... oh, right, tea...  Brilliant friends and family.  Also, we'd like to thank their wives for letting us monopolise their men.  

So, the exterior is done.  The interior, in time, needs insulating and panelling off, before the winter sets in.  We want to put some flooring down, something that is easy to clean and should any water get to it, it won't ruin, so we're probably going to go with lino.  Our friend Helen came round for a coffee the other night and mentioned that she had bought a new sofa and armchairs, and did we know anyone who wanted a two seater leather sofa and a recliner chair and footstool.  A bit weathered and worn, scratched a bit by their dogs on the sides, but free of charge, only could they take it asap as it was currently stuffed in their kitchen.  We did know indeed!   Weathered and worn was perfect for what we wanted it for, to fit right in and look cosy, like it's always been there.  Her Mum has offered to make us some curtains, so we need to find some material or old curtains that can be doctored.  The next job is Mr G's bar.  Yes, a bar.  Yes, I know.  I'm used to it after fifteen years.  He is halfway done already, that will come in the next post.  Here's a few photos to show you the start to finish!

In the beginning there was a summerhouse.  Which arrived six days late.  A day before our party.  And when it arrived, we couldn't even start building it, because the floor that we'd also paid the company for?  To erect the summerhouse on?  Well, they didn't send that.  So they had our floor and our money.  Couldn't we just go out and buy another one elsewhere, while we waited 2 - 3 days for our money to be refunded?  Er... looks like we'll have to won't we, a$$holes!  But that means our party has to be cancelled, because our garden looks like a building site, bits of wood everywhere, the weather is changing and raining so if it's not put up like... yesterday, it's going to ruin!  And it's cost too much to let it ruin, and get wet and warped!   And I can't organise, cook and host a party, and help erect a 12 foot by 10 foot summerhouse, can I?

Everything then went swimmingly until we came to put the roof on.  Ah yes, this is the roof that already turned up with two roof panels damaged, a large corner broke off on both of them.  And for the size of the summerhouse, the roof was utter crap.  Really thin.  There was no way on this planet that it would support a grown man up there, to tack it in to the felt.  The tacks they sent were so crap that they were only barely piercing the felt, let alone going into the roof.  One rogue gust of wind ripped all the tacks out and tore the felt.  So we had to go out and pay nearly £100 for a new roof, about three or four times thicker.  Oh and the felt was crap, and my God, if they hadn't measured it to the millimetre - there wasn't enough to cover the original roof.  So we had to then go out and pay nearly £80 for two rolls of decent roof felt.  

I stained it all, that has been my major contribution to the project (apart from 'hold this' 'pass me this' and 'put the kettle on') and subsequently I was in agony for three whole days after.  For the first day I couldn't bend, either from my back, or my knees.  That was fun.  The old roof came off, the beams moved, the new panels screwed in, the roof covered in this tar stuff, the new felt on, tacked in with proper tacks, and the wood put on the edges.  It looks absolutely amazing now!

Mr G has coveted one of these for ages, his beloved 'shedpub'.  On a smaller scale though.  The kids wanted a playhouse, you know one of those on stilts?.   But have you seen the size on those for the cost?  You can't stand up in them?  The may be 'high' when you measure it from the outside, but they're only a few feet high inside, what could they feasibly do in it without being cramped?  It would be completely redundant in a few years, if that!  So we took into account the cost of a summerhouse for him, and a shed as opposed to a playhouse for the minions, and decided it would be better to get a big summerhouse, and everyone could use it.  The children could play in it, Mr G could have a beer in it and watch his rugby on his tablet, and I could go there with a good book and a bottle of wine.   The children have already decided that this summer, when they camp in the back garden, they don't want the tent up, they want the hammocks going in the summerhouse!  I might even join them!

So, the hard work is done!  Now we're busy adding the finishing touches, some of which we've picked up over the years and some of which will have to come over time.  The important thing is that I can relax and plan my rescheduled party for next weekend!   I can spend the next few days baking and freezing, and tidying for my visitors, and the only thing that can go wrong is the weather.  And even then... it doesn't matter, does it?  :-D 

Part two to follow...

M x