Back to work for us – still enjoying our superb office

Today has been a great day for autumn colour enthusiasts.  Here’s hoping the wind keeps away for a few more weeks so that we can enjoy this spectacle for as long as possible.  Today I needed to drive to one of the builders merchants that we frequent, but there was no contest: on a sunny day, the drive to Blaenau Ffestiniog is awe-inspiring, and the journey back even lovelier.  So obviously I will include a reference shot of the forest so you can check the progress of the season.

Our view is getting more appealing every day
Our view is getting more appealing every day


You may well be wondering what we have been doing.  Today has been almost like a return to the earlier days, except with a steady stream of visitors to the cafe to chat with!   Mike and Adrian erected the scaffold tower in bedroom 8 to put a plasterboard patch into the ceiling that fell down a few months ago.  Meanwhile, I primed a whole new variety of wooden components near the front door, then painted stabilising solution on the new render, and then started top-coating the black sections of the front door.  the photo below obviously doesn’t do my hard work justice…


Front door, still mid-refurbishing
Front door, still mid-refurbishing

as I left it rather late in the day to take the snap, so the light isn’t with me.

Jane very kindly took some photos earlier in the day as we modelled our new work trousers.  These were purchased by our (grown-up) children as anniversary presents, so we include the photo below as evidence that (a) they arrived in the post (b) they fit and (c) that we are very impressed with them as presents and will be working in them from now on:

An attempt at a moody shot, which didn't quite work
An attempt at a moody shot, which didn’t quite work


so we took this detail photo to show the details
so we took this photo to remove a lot of the distraction, and highlight the details


But of course, this was all too much for Mike.  Never a man to do things by half, or be sensible for longer than is absolutely necessary, he then decided as we had the clothes, the forest, and a photographer, we should take that catalogue shot to make us stars as we stared moodily into the distance

yes, well....least said...
yes, well….least said… shall we not give up the day job?

Excitingly, I have now started unpacking some of the boxes we have yet to manage to unpack from our move – ridiculously in a property this size, we just need to find somewhere to put the contents.  I have also booked onto another course, so this week as well as lesson 5 ‘yn Gymraeg’, I will also be taking a masterclass in social media use!  Oh goodie, goodie, that’s what I say…. I’ll tell you more about it later this week if you are really lucky…

Tickets for our folk night are selling like Jane’s cakes!

Over the last few days we have managed to return to Mike’s first love of tweaking the building.  Whilst I have (largely) been finalising our accounts or helping Jane in the restaurant, Mike has been re-rendering the area around the front door.

Front door after we moved it to its new location
Before: the front door after it was re-located earlier this year


and after: door now undercoated, and surrounding rendered
and after: door now re-glazed, undercoated, and the surrounding has had its first coat of render

He has had to learn a new technique to match the render style, but we think once the second coat has been applied, dried and been painted, we won’t be able to tell the difference.  I think Jane has been enjoying herself though: Mike has commented that when he is working so close to the kitchen, he can smell the delicious aroma of baking and/or cooking all day and is struggling to stick to his work rather than come and sit in the warm and eat.  On the other hand, as he is working just outside the entrance, he does get to stop and chat on a fairly regular basis anyway.

Today we took delivery of our level 5 hygiene sticker so will put this up as soon as we have specially buffed the glass door onto which it will be stuck.

On the domestic front, on Sunday I went to Ty Mawr Wybrnant for an open air service during which a lesson was read in Welsh from a very old edition of the bible.  If I understood correctly, Ty Mawr is a typical stone built upland 16th Century farmhouse in which Bishop William Morgan used to live – and he is the man who first translated the bible into Welsh, so the reading from one of his old bibles felt particularly special (even if I understood very few words).  On Monday I attended a meeting  of the Betws y Coed Tourism Association.  So tell me, honestly, which would you rather do – attend a few meetings, of find yourself doing the activity below:


Anyone would think we didn't have a workmate to use for support....
Anyone would think we didn’t have a work horse to use for support….

And autumn is still strutting its beautiful stuff for us – I just hope the reproduction is good enough for you to enjoy the changing colours




Oh yes, and finally, I must let you know that tickets for the Mouton folk evening on Saturday November 26th are selling really well.  Almost all the tickets have been sold or reserved, leaving us with only a very few for anyone who has yet to declare an interest.  We hope that  this bodes well for a fun evening.



Everything in the garden . . . mae’n fendigedig

To continue my theme of approaching autumn, I am happy to announce that Mike and I have started double glazing the manor windows with plastic sheeting again.  This proved invaluable last year to reduce the roaring draughts that howl round the sash windows and, I presume, through other orifices leaving us quivering in front of the wood burner.  We are still holding off on lighting the central heating given the recent rise in oil prices, but we have broken out the thermals and are just about managing to remain frost-free to date.

We are also still preparing for the next phase, as we continue to await the detailed drawings for the new stairwell.  So this week has seen us sort through all the tools we used on the last phase and move them into position ready for the starter’s gun to sound, but has also seen me reorganising the many boxes as yet unpacked from our move here.  Shhh – don’t tell the children, but when they arrive (we hope!) for the Christmas holidays, they might find a new game on the schedule: ‘Whose box is this?’, quickly followed by a round of ‘if you really want it, why not take it with you?’.   Only if they want to play, of course.   Oh, that reminds me, I should probably order in a skip for the last week in December….

Meanwhile, Mike has been preparing the external area around the front door for rendering, and also to box in the various structural elements which really are not the prettiest features of the premises.  As he does this, he can occasionally glance to his left and see the orange tints in the trees gently upping their game….

Scenery, at it appeared on Wednesday 19th
Scenery, at it appeared on Wednesday 19th

If that seems a pretty light load for this week, I should say that we have also been playing mein host and chef roles.  Oh, and thanks to yesterday’s Welsh class I can now say ‘Bore da’ more correctly, and have even learned how to say the weather is awful, should I need to which for all interested parties is “Mae’n ofnadwy”.  But all in all, things are still shaping up wonderfully.  Bendigegid.