Monthly Archives: March 2012

  • Finally Open for Business….

    Sorry for the delay in getting this post written….I can say with my hand on my heart, that I have never worked so hard in my life. In the last 5 weeks I have painted the barn from top to bottom, painted & sealed all the windows, extended the patio so that the hot tubs fits on it (more about that later!) I have sorted out all the fencing so dogs stay in, horses stop eating trees, chickens don’t get eaten by dogs or foxes & guests dogs don’t have a free run of Cornwall! I have cleaned, cleaned & cleaned, I have managed to get the stubborn corner units into the barn, I have put all new (very posh) bedding & curtains in all the bedrooms, sorted out new furniture so that our guests have somewhere to put their stuff, I’ve had 3 huge bonfires and all the other stuff that didn’t burn has been taken to the tip.

    I seem to have had our electrician Steve move in while he sorted out all the lights that didn’t work and put up new ones so that I can see at night! He was also a great help with the hot tub fiasco!

    I brought the hot tub down with us from Kent as I thought that it would be a great edition to the barn and that our visitors would enjoy sitting in it with a glass of wine while taking in the views – sounds idillic doesn’t it!!! It cost over £700 to have it delivered here and it couldn’t be put where it was going to live as there was not enough patio and what there was did not have a concrete base – if I had put it there it would most certainly have sunk! So I set about finding someone (at short notice!) to put in a concrete base & paving slabs for the hot tub, Bob the builder (yes his name really was Bob – excellent!) came and sorted it all out, Steve, our ever present sparks put in the electrics and then last wednesday (3 days before our first guests arrived) a local hot tub company were supposed to come and lift it into place (not an easy task as it weighs nearly half a tonne when empty) on Wednesday I got a call about an hour before they were due to arrive to say that they weren’t coming. Something about a van being off the road but to be honest I wasn’t listening, I was in full PANIC mode! I went out to tell Steve, who had been waiting for them to turn up so he could help lift it if extra muscle was required. Once I told him that they weren’t coming and I guess he could see the wide eyed panic setting in, he got on the phone to one of his mates who had a small hiab on a trailer and within an hour he had gone off to collect it and we were all (we had roped in Chris the plasterer at that point too!) scratching our heads working out how we were going to do this. With the aid of several crowbars, blocks of wood & straps we managed to get ropes under the tub and then very gingerly set about lifting it. At this point the hiab looked very small indeed but give it its due, it did the job and after a bit of tweaking of ropes we had it airborne! Then came the tricky job of towing the trailer round the corner and into the field, we had taken down some of the fencing to the garden of the barn as we could see that the hiab was not “man enough” to lift it over the fence and onto the patio. Steve’s definition of “i’ll drive slowly” is obviously Cornish for “lets get this over with cos i’m not sure how long that hiab will hold that tub!”. So he drove his van which was pulling the trailer which held the hiab which held the hot tub dangling from various bits of rope and stuff we found in the workshop, while Chris on one side and me on the other tried to keep the hot tub from swaying out of control as Steve ‘drove slowly’ through the gateways and field! 10 mins later and there it was sitting all innocently on the patio as if to say “I really don’t know what all the fuss was about – moving me is easy!”. Meanwhile we three breathed a huge sigh of relief that a Cornishman, A northern man and a Surrey lass had managed to move this thing without 1 – dropping it or 2 – hurting ourselves! After a round of mutual congratulations I set to work cleaning (Yes – more cleaning!) it and filling it up, then I plugged it in and off it went. Fantastic – I was over the moon – it looked like we had pulled it off……..then when I checked it yesterday for some reason it is only luke warm – I have had several attempts at “fixing” it but its being stubborn and now I have to wait for an engineer to come and hit it with a stick and make it work again. I hope our guests understand and with any luck the Hot Springs engineer will be down early next week with his magic wand and make it work again.

    On top on the hot tub business we have also had problems with BT, well I say problems, one really – they never turn up. They were supposed to have had a new pole and line installed on the 7th March – in plenty of time for our first guests and they still haven’t been – whats more – when I called them this week they said they had nothing to do with it and passed me on to Open Reach – who said they had nothing to do with it and passed me on to BT! The last thing I was told by BT was that they were coming to erect the pole on Friday and guess what ……..they didn’t turn up. Guess who i’m going to be calling on Monday morning!

    The chickens are all doing well – most of them are now laying – well except Whitney – but she is special and will probably lay a square egg if she ever lays one at all! She has finally mastered putting herself to bed at night now so is clearly not blind as I had initially thought! Goldie is the boss – even though she was the last to arrive and Stevie has gone broody for some reason and is refusing to come out of the nesting box! I physically lifted her out this morning as she had been in there for 24 hours and I was worried that she hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink – she had a quick bite to eat and a little wander about and promptly went back in! I hope this is just a phase as I don’t really want to shut the door to their house as the others may want to lay an egg! Oh the trials of being a chicken mummy! Oh and the eggs when they do lay are delicious!

    Alison from the Donkey Sanctuary came out last week – it was the most lovely sunny day and she and I chatted for a good couple of hours sitting in the sun! It was a lovely break from cleaning and I was sad when she left cos it meant I had to get on with my chores! She is happy to recommend that I am a suitable home for Donks! Yay! I do have to build a shelter first though so I will need to save up a bit first as funds are severely lacking having had to spend so much on the barn. I am hoping though, that if I get some more bookings and have a good summer then I might get the shelter built by the end of the summer, beginning of Autumn. I can’t wait to have a couple of Donkeys here – and you are even allowed to train them to do stuff, like pull a cart & jump! I am also seriously considering getting a couple of alpacas too, since I spent a bit of time with Jaqui the chicken lady’s ones….they might come sooner as they don’t need a shelter oh and maybe a couple of pigmy goats too! I’m getting carried away I know but I’ve got all this land and its a bit too tempting!

    Well there is the update…..I hope you’ve enjoyed it and here are some pictures of how the barn looks now…….

    Have a great Easter!

  • My first post!

    Well I am now living in Cornwall! I moved down in February with  4 dogs and Mutty the cat & I am well and truly settled in! The dogs just love it here! They particularly love flying round the field with ‘Mum’ on the quad, in fact Tally (the Jack Russell) will actually tell “Mum” off if he is going too slowly! 

    I still can’t get over the natural beauty of this county and the fact that I actually live here – this is my home! Just driving into town it still surprises me to see the sea so close – and walking down to Costa Coffee in Newquay last week the sea view was stunning.  There is so much to do and explore and I’m sad to say that I’ve done very little exploring since moving down as I’ve been so busy,  but there is plenty of time and if I discover little gems along the way I will blog about them so others can enjoy them too!  I did pop out last night for Rick Steins Fish & Chips from Padstow – its only about 10 mins drive from here, if that, and they were quite expensive for fish and chips – but were they worth it – YES! The best fish and chips i’ve ever had – worth having every other week (to counter the cost!) and a welcome night off for me and my Aga!

    I started to build the chicken house & run a few days ago….I have wanted to keep chickens for as long as I can remember but I have never had the room – well that is not the case now! So a fairly intelligent person set to work building a chicken house and run….14 hours and several do-overs later I am nearly finished! I think the instructions left a lot to be desired.  Or maybe its my ability to follow instructions? Anyway the “Chicken Hotel” as it as been renamed by my friends is all but complete.  Now all I need to do is get me some chickens!  Not having had them before I bought a couple of books on which chickens to get – now I’m more confused than I was to start with! I would like 6 chickens – although the “Chicken Hotel” will sleep 10 – and I would like them all to be different breeds (mainly so I can tell them apart!) I have found several breeders in Cornwall so watch this space – I will post pictures of them as soon as they arrive.

    This week I will don my painters outfit and start painting the barn! It just needs a little freshen up and I want to put up new curtains as it currently has blinds – and they are just not cosy are they! I don’t really enjoy painting if I’m really honest, so I bought myself a paint pod in the hope that it makes it easier and quicker……..we shall see!

    Well quite enough waffling for my first post – I’m not even sure if anyone will ever read it – its my first blog ever and I’m not even going to pretend that I understand how all this works! Just making it up as I go along (like building the Chicken House!).