It's been a busy week. We're don't officially re-open for the summer until 1 May, but , as a favour to our pals Nicola & Teddy, we're making an exception. We have a group of writers coming to stay for a week's workshop from 25 March. So we have to get the house and garden in guest mode a bit early.
As a result Ali has been painting like a dervish all week, the green bathroom's now germolene pink. We're not at all sure about it, but hope that the addition of lots of art and photos might make it bearable. At least it's a lot lighter now. The ceiling has yet to be lowered and new lights installed. I know, wrong way round, but you try getting a workmen at this time of year. Ali's now moved on to the orange bedroom, re-painting the ceiling and a couple of walls.
Some of the windows have taken a battering during the winter so a little outside work has to be done on those. The windows and shutters are wonderfully battered and beautiful. The paint's weathered naturally into the most glorious multi-hued fade - the sort of thing TV makeover people try to do by distressing things. There's nothing remotely stressed about our shutters, they're just slack and gorgeous. But that comes at a price - we have to be gentle with them, just doing enough to ensure they're safe and that they work, but not deciding to replace them with brand new ones. When it comes to that time we will sell up and move. I would be very sad to see this beautiful old girl tarted up like a teenager on a date.
I, on the other hand, get to tickle the garden back into shape. Actually, it's less of a tickle than a short back and sides. Having spent the whole winter pruning our vines the garden has had less attention than usual. But we must have done something right in the previous six years because it's stood up to this neglect rather well. The plants are all thriving and there really aren't millions of weeds. Last year we invested in a garden shredder and shredded everything in sight, tossing the mulch on the garden. I'm assuming the weeds gave up in the darkness because relatively few have bothered to surface.
Actually I'm rather disappointed. I was hoping to have tons of garden waste to take to the tip in our new trailer. I am particularly hopeless at reversing it and the municipal tip is the perfect place to practise. It's a huge open bit of ground and if I choose my timing carefully there might be no-one there to witness me jack-knifing repeatedly. For the moment, though, I'm doing it in a simulated kind of a way. See how you get on in this reversing game .