We have honey…

We have been meaning to harvest the honey for some weeks now, but last week we finally had some time and good weather in the same window of opportunity. We still have one hive, but it has done us proud. I was operating the spinner whilst Mike…

…cut the wax caps off the cells before putting them in the spinner. He brought one full super into the kitchen and left one or two combs outside to await our attention but we don’t think he thought this through enough because when we went to collect them…

…his ladies had beaten us to it and reclaimed their honey!!

The super only had couple of combs left hanging waiting for us, but there were an awful lot of bees busy reclaiming their honey, so Mike decided discretion was the better approach, and left them to it! Mind you, when Mike later nipped down to collect his tools and replace the stone on the top of the hive, the bees popped out to give him what for and he sustained quite a few stings since he hadn’t bothered putting his suit on. You learn something really useful every day…

This week, Niall has installed the new threshold under the new front door. Above you can see how it looks as you arrive and…

…here you can see the view as you leave.

Whilst all this was happening, we have been ordering supplies and trying to organise machinery to start underpinning the next phase, of which more (I hope) next week.

Back to work we went…

We are now in October, things have lightened up with the accommodation, and between weekends we are able to return to the building project. Before I show you our progress, let me remind you that we are in part tarting the building up ready for a wedding party to be held here next September. Having spent time in Kew recently, we visited a local plant nursery and bought the plants you see below which are looking good at this time of year, ready to put them in the garden soon.

One of the ‘wedding’ jobs was to replace the door below which sits in the place where the original front door lived. So we started by removing the panelling…

…and then the door itself, with its surround…

…after which we removed the bench seats from inside the porch…

…which enabled us to clear away the carpet in the porch so we could find the floor level, ready to install the new door, lovingly made by Niall.

Of course, it will be less draughty once we have fitted the glass, but we are told our order may take a while to fulfil as there are problems getting hold of glass at the moment.

We decided – on our wedding anniversary – to visit Bodnant gardens, to see if that would give us any more design ideas. So much colour still in Bodnant, so plenty of things to think about…

…but our river looks a little more ‘thundering’ than this picturesque flow…

…but I still managed to find a few essential supplies in their garden shop.

When we got back, we realised there was quite a lot of vibration noise that we couldn’t understand or locate, so we went to walk the dog, and found they were working on the railway…

… we assume the noise was digging holes to take the additional rivets to keep it safe for a few hundred years more!

Then it was on to the next project. You may recall from last time that we had pulled the panelling off the wall, and then we took a week or two to look at it and decide what to do next. As the stonework is covered in soot and sticky residue, and as the carpet will be arriving before Christmas (we hope!), we have decided to hide it all behind plaster having carefully taken measurements so we can revisit this in about 5 years time when we properly redecorate this part of the house.

First, we extended the wooden frame…

…and then started adding plasterboard.

The last piece slipped in a treat…

…and now we just need to organise some plaster to cover it. Did you notice, by the way, that Mike can use the camera, to clarify that I do some of the work too! In the short term, we will slot an electric fire here so that it looks more finished.

You may notice we are currently doing ‘wedding preparation’ jobs, which also enable us to wait for the plans for the next phase to arrive. We still have to decide whether next week is more wedding jobs or will we bite the bullet and start the underpinning….?

From the sublime to the ridic-Kew-lous…

I am thrilled to report that we are still very busy with the accommodation, so the building work is still taking a back seat. We had a couple of less busy days lately, and Mike set to…

…installing a couple of radiators for which the plumbing runs under the floor, so needs to be done before the new carpet arrives next month.

The frame was placed on the wall, and the radiator put in place…

…before the plumbing was connected and checked for water-tightness.

Whilst Mike was doing the construction I was, as ever, on destructive work. You may recall that we removed the brutalist slate fireplace, and now it was my turn to be let loose on the panelling…

…which neither of us like, and which upsets the line of the original 1880’s panelling on the ceiling.

In surprisingly short order, most of the wood was removed…

…but I have left the supporting frame in place whilst we decide what to do next. The choice is, essentially (a) remove the framework; repoint the slate; and leave this slatework exposed or (b) cover the frame with plasterboard; and cover with either paint or wallpaper. If you wish to have input into this dilemma, I confirm that all opinions will be gratefully received!

At about the same time, Kieron returned for his annual visit. He organises events each September to raise money for Stroke Rehabilitiation charities, and one of these involved folk climbing Snowdon. For further information, have a look at https://jkhousetrainingcentre.co.uk/event/mountember-snowdon-2021/. The poor quality of this picture is entirely my fault and that of the sun, just setting behind their heads.

Finally for this posting, I need to update you on our trip to Kew. For our joint 60th birthdays back in early 2020, we were given a vouchers for a vist to Kew plus hotel stay, and, a mere 18 months later, we were able to make our visit. We have timed the visit quite deliberately so we could check out what was still in flower in September, to help us plan our autumn garden for next year.

The double herbaceous border was wonderful, even at this time of year…

… and we took careful note of the plants that were still giving it their all.

Of course, it will be some time before we will have time to use this new knowledge, but we had a wonderful couple of days off and are really grateful to the family who came up with such a brilliant present for us!