Saturday, 22 February 2014

We're still here...

So it's been ages since I posted on this blog. Beyond ages. The good news is we're still here! Well, most of us. We've had the departure of one of our original members, Cassian, and so we currently have 6 members. We're planning to stay at six for a while before returning to seven once the roof is done. Those two things are deeply related, I promise.

So what have we been doing? Small changes have been happening, but no major work has taken place. This is a combination of us dithering, deciding how to pay for the next big job (redoing the roofs - all seven of them), waiting for our accounts for 2012 to be sorted (which affects us applying for money to pay for the roof) and the general fact that we've all been getting on with our own lives.

The biggest small change (if that's a thing) is our new cooker. The saga of the cooker purchase was rather special and certainly isn't one of my proudest moments but I might as well share it to give you a giggle. We bought it from someone we'd found on Gumtree and it was in great condition. It's a big range cooker with four normal hobs and one giant one (all gas) and two lovely ovens with glass doors.

Lloyd and I trundled off in a van to Cardiff to collect it, paid for it and put it in the van. All good so far. As we drove away, we felt the warm glow of knowing roast dinners would nevermore have to all be done in one roasting dish which might mean the potatoes actually got crispy. Huge pots of pasta for ten would suddenly take less time to heat up and everyone would find cooking for tonnes of people less frustrating. Joy!

Alas, as we turned the corner out of the road the guy lived on and heard the most almighty crash from the back. Disaster! Opening the back doors to survey the damage was not a happy moment. The glass doors had completely shattered and some of the framework of the doors was bent. We rang ahead to tell our housemates the sad tale and spent the journey home alternating between ranting at each other and consoling each other.

It turned out that you can't buy the doors any more and you can't buy the glass either (except at incredible expense) so it took a week of me wondering how to atone for not securing the cooker well enough to conceive, investigate and realise the idea of getting stainless steel sheeting cut to size. Now it looks fabulous again, sort of. You can't see inside to check how your cake's rising but it genuinely makes the best roast potatoes I've ever tasted. We've eaten a lot of roast potatoes recently.

Industrial chic
Some progress has been made on painting the garden wall, but unfortunately the incredibly wet weather recently has meant that it isn't finished yet. Still, even what we have done so far is a vast improvement in brightening up the space. Eventually it will be a gradient running from the bright orangey colour at the bottom of the garden to white at the top.

So much brighter and lovelier than before :)

We're currently in the process of getting a new front door to replace the drafty, insecure, hideous one we have at the moment. The door is unusually large so we're having a local joiner make us a spiffy new timber door  which will be Tardis blue with lovely brass door furniture. I'm excited. In preparation for this we are stripping, repairing and repainting the door and surround so that they look fabulous too. I'll show you a before picture now and when the new door arrives I'll make some sort of wondrous montage for your to enjoy.

Just urgh.

The garden ended up producing us quite a bit of veg and generally enriching our lives hugely last summer. We had picnics on the lawn, barbecues and lovely afternoons spent talking about the flowers and insects while reclining in fabulous deckchairs. What's marvelous is that we did all this whilst the garden was, to most peoples' eyes, still a complete shit heap. Imagine how great it will be when it's all finished!

We also had a really awesome Christmas (actually we had two) with gorgeous roast potatoes (of course), lovely friends and copious presents.

In other news, we held a mushroom log making day for a local permaculture group. Making use of the large room being empty of tenants meant the weather wasn't a problem and everyone got a new skill and three logs to take home (one each of oyster, Indian oyster and shiitake).

I think that's all the things I have to update! We are mostly working on the door just now so if anyone wants to strip some paint then email us at

- Hannah

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