Wednesday, 15 February 2012

And we're blooming last!

Much too-ing and fro-ing dogged the summer of 2011. I thought I had a builder then I didn't have a builder, I thought I had another builder and then he disappeared.
At last I got a quote but I wasn't sure about the builder, I got another quote and sat down and had a good cry.... how much?

By the end of the summer in a fit of abject frustration, convinced that all these problems meant I shouldn't be doing it,  I shelved the plans and put my dreams of building a lovely little holiday cottage in my garden on hold.  The desire to become self sufficient took a giant step out of reach.

So the quaint old Bothy remained sturdy in its lovely courtyard, bathed in beautiful summer sunshine, surrounded by pretty flowers and seeming to defy any proposals of change.   

Then winter arrived and the old Bothy's troubles began. A funny smell led to the discovery of  a big damp patch, the result of grout damage and slipped roof tiles. 
 I called in Lyme Cottage Industries trusty handyman Ade.  
"What...." I asked Ade as he battled to get the grout in before the light went, " is wrong with this window sill. " I prodded the offensive looking wood, all rippled and strange, I prodded a bit harder, my finger went right through the wood and met the edge of a pain of glass. "Ouch"
"That would be rotten" replied Ade peering over my shoulder. It was in fact really really rotten  - before long I could see inside from the outside through the ever growing hole in the window frame.
A temporary batten to keep out the wind, a hot radiator to dry out the wall and the Bothy welcomed family at Christmas as cosy and warm as ever. BUT there was no avoiding it, the sweet little old building was crying out for some tlc and there seemed no point whatsoever spending money on renovations unless they included going back to the original plan to build the new Little Bothy Holiday Cottage.  

So after a head in the sand Christmas I pondered the future and with an inspired post Christmas thought I was off!

Within days I had found his number and called him, Kevin from Broadoaks construction. The clever builder who had done the renovations at Lyme Cottage for its previous owner as well as building the lovely new garden room. 
Kevin immediately impressed me with his positive attitude (a pleasant change from some of the head shaking and sucking in of breath I had experienced the previous year). He liked the plans and was back with a a quote a just few days later. 

This time I didnt cry, just very calmly said "That is too expensive, where can I compromise?"
Compromises made (on both sides) and a price agreed, the next stop was the bank. 

To describe me as financially phobic would be an understatement. For more than 25 years I have relied on my lovely husband Brian to organise all our families financial matters.  I was just the 'sign here dear' person. So to find myself sitting in the bank discussing a mortgage, albeit a relatively small one, was a truly alien experience for me.  I shall be forever grateful for the gentle understanding of Nationwide staff in Ludlow, who having got me through the horrors of post death of husband financial ramifications, now led me gently and un-patronisingly through the complex mortgage process.   So with the finances now in place we are well and truly off the starting blocks!!!!!!

One of the 'cost compromises'  agreed with Kevin was that I would rope in my family to do some of the preparation of the building area.  Sunday saw a busy working party invade Lyme Cottage, with ages ranging from 2 to 62years old. All beavering away in the unexpected but very welcome February sunshine. 

With additional barrows and shovels borrowed from neighbours, the gravel from the courtyard was moved out to the 'much in need of gravel'car park and the wood pile dropped earlier this week was moved into the woodshed. 

The old Bothy was divested of its curtains, shelves and pictures.  New homes must be found for the children's toys that have lived in its big cupboard and its furniture has been recycled round the family (yet again).

Next on the agenda was a visit from James the Gardener to move some precious plants out of the way. Hopefully he has been able to successfully take a cutting from the lovely old orange blossom which sadly has to be sacrificed to the footings and Little Bothy's new patio. 
Finally he moved the old sleepers from the courtyard planter to re-use when he builds the veggie beds beyond the orchard in a few weeks. 

And so .... we are ready for Kevin and his team to arrive - hopefully on time (weather permitting).

Lyme Cottage and its Bothy have undergone many changes over the years. I hope that this change, creating a wonderful little holiday cottage for two in its pretty garden will be a successful one. Providing a lovely space for lots more people to come and share in the charms and the history of this lovely old home. 

Penny x

For more information about this project read previous blogs or visit our website at