Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Cottage

Not sure if I should think of as 'the house that Jack built', or perhaps I see it more like a pyramid being built from the top downward - impossible I know! Everything depended really on the chimney being fixed from leaking into the attic bedroom, this was done a couple of weeks ago (after the much waited arrival of the scaffolding), so now guttering and chimney fixed, the plastering was finished off last week and final painting is almost done.  Then after all that, the carpeting will go down and the SOFA will arrive on the 29th of this month, so hopefully we will spend some time in Whitby in comfort this Xmas.
 A tv bought a week ago, a satellite dish has already been fixed discreetly on the roof which means I lose two aerials on the front of the house (one belonged to my neighbour) and all my neighbours are getting excellent reception because their tvs are feeding off my dish (I think) any way reception in the yard was pretty bad apparently especially the little cottage in the corner. Did I get threatened by the tv licensing people, for not buying a license this year (£1000 fines for goodness sake) till I negotiated a stand-off period as the cottage was empty but I got one this month so I'm legal in that department.  One idea that had been mooted was to have a camera fixed to the chimney so that you could see over the rooftops to the harbour, I have photos somewhere its pretty spectacular the view but that idea has fallen by the wayside. 
Lots of things we have all learnt along the way, firstly vegetative growth on the roof, the birds must bring seeds which they generously drop in the gutter which then sprouts and blocks the water going down the drain- yikes an ongoing thing.  Now as I walk round Whitby my eye is always caught by plants growing on roof tops. Dampness; now apparently old cottages always have this, no damp barrier as in new houses, but it is not that serious, after all the cottage has been standing for 300 years.   The builder said cottages were kept fairly dry in the past by the fire in the main room which was kept going all the time. One of the things that made me fall in love with Pottery Cottage was the narrow tiny twisting staircases (bit dangerous though) and the door to the stairs down below.  It reminded me of my grandma's door to the stairs  covered with its thick chenille curtain.
The other thing is of course living in close conjunction with the neighbours and sharing a communal space, the delicate play of what we can and cannot do.  My son-in-law has been in charge of all the work and I'm very proud of him, his attention to detail is marvellous, even to the point of telling me off for shoddy work! Though it really doesn't worry me my love is also meticulously tidy and puts up with my untidiness without a complaint slipping from his lips and I really do believe we need a subtle blend of people in this world, those that are untidy and and those that are tidy......
Problems still to work out in a tiny space is there is no space for a washing machine, and various bits of furniture to fill in, though there is an auction house in the lane behind, plus of course a fish and chip shop, and Indian restaurant, food will never be a problem.  My daughter suggested going down from early December so that we could be there for Matilda who has a birthday on the 10th.  She has asked that as a birthday treat she spends a whole day alone with her mum without her sister, they are going shopping in York.  LS remembered something funny this morning about our ever curious Matilda, she had asked him did Japanese ladies keep their chopsticks in their hair? funnily enough he did not know the answer...


  1. Have a wonderful time in Whitby,Thelma. Your lovely cottage is coming together nicely. Will we get to see more pictures soon?

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  3. Yes, Matilda (aka Boudicca) is a 9-year old coming on 17. She’s one of those children that loves the company of adults, and what they know (or do not know) of the world. While in Whitby last time I thought I’d pop across the road for a quiet pint, Matilda, however, decided to tag along and over a Guinness and a Coke (I had the Guinness ;-) we put the world to rights – an extraordinary half hour! We share an interest in fossils and crystals and that's what she’ll be getting for her birthday.

  4. Hi Jarmara, hopefully when the scaffolding is removed, I shall get some photos...

    Hi LS; Boudicca; it's a family female trait - bolshiness, passed down with great care ;)

  5. I'm enjoying your posts on the renovation of the cottage--perhaps because of my husband's building experience. It all takes longer [and more money] than is imagined at the start.
    For me, it would be a huge adjustment to have neighbors right on the doorstep, but then, it doesen't sound as though you will be there full time.

  6. Ah, blocked gutterings. I could write you chapter and verse on those (Keith and Danny have just been hanging off a scaffolding TOWER unblocking the one overlooking the paddock).

    Dampness too - you really need breathable paint (we use the wonderful clay paint which we have to go to Ty Mawr Lime at Brecon to get - a nice drive out). Mind you, having the fire lit all the time is nice too, unless it's one of those rare summers to remember!

    Enjoy your new "holiday" home - you won't want to leave.