Thursday, 28 January 2010

Fate May Be On Our Side

A lady came to view our Henley house yesterday; she likes it so much she's having a second viewing on Saturday. Sounds promising, eh? But better than that: our estate agent tells us that she is best friends with the 'carbuncle builders' who live next door. Fate?!

I really hope my little complaint to the Planning Office won't backfire on me now...

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

NIMBY update

Have had a letter from the Planning Office; they are going to send someone round to admire, sorry, investigate our next door neighbour's delightful extension. Apparently, there are four courses of (in)action from which they can choose: (these are my words, not theirs, but you get my drift)

1) Have a look at the botch job and decide that there's nothing wrong, clearly you are a time-wasting moaner with nothing better to do than try to get your neighbours in trouble
2) Have a look at the botch job, agree that it is hideous but decide it's not worth the bother and allow botch job to remain
3) Have a look at the botch job, agree that it is hideous and ask the eejit who built it to apply for restrospective planning permission (which, presumably, will be granted, or else why not proceed directly to no.4?)
4) Have a look at the botch job, agree that it is hideous and actually do something about it

What do you think will happen? My money's on no.2; still, at least it will put the wind up the neighbours and hopefully make them think twice before they make any more additions to the property.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Who Swapped My Baby...

For this little boy?
DC is now ten months old; yowzers, where did that time go?! He seems to have really grown up just in the last week; he's now (finally) starting to crawl - he only manages a few 'crawls' at a time before deciding it's too much like hard work and sitting back on his bottom again, but at least he's getting the hang of it, and all those out of reach toys/wires/coal scuttles/bags of knitting are no longer safe from his grasp. He's also worked out how to drink from his sippy cup without us having to hold it to his mouth, although he finds chewing the handles and then throwing it on the floor with a loud 'thud' much more amusing.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

A monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend

To quote Prince Charles.

Well, that might be a little bit over the top, but it's still not a pretty sight and I, for one, am not happy and neither is hubby. And I bet dear old Prince Charles wouldn't like it either.

I think I mentioned that we have put our Henley house up for sale. Until about a week ago we had tenants living there so hadn't really been round much. This week the tenants moved out, so when we took a trip over to Henley on Saturday afternoon, we took the opportunity to have a little look round the back garden to assess what work needs doing (we would have had a look in the house as well if we could have got the front door open - old/sticky key/lock combination had us foiled.)

Imagine our surprise, when we walked round the corner of the house and in to the back garden to be confronted by this:

And? you may thinking.

Well, the last time we were in the back garden, the next door house (which has been bought by new people since our house has been rented out) had a upvc conservatory with glass roof, not a brick-built, tiled-roof extension. Our former neighbours specifically had to get planning permission to erect the conservatory since the full-width, two-storey extension they had already added to the house was at the limit of permitted development.

And now the annoying people who have moved in have gone and done this. I almost wouldn't mind so much if it looked tidy, but they seem to be the sort of people who are happy to leave jobs unfinished.

Needless to say, I have already reported it to the Planning Enforcement Office. Am I a NIMBY, or well within my rights?

Friday, 8 January 2010

I'm so done with you!

I totally forgot to blog about the fact that I actually finished a craft project! Yay me! Remember the Christmas cross stitch that I blogged about in September and November? I was absolutely determined to have it finished in time for Christmas, which is sensible really as what would be the point in finishing it mid-January? But then I got distracted by other things, like work, and tv... oh, and DC. I picked it up again a few days before Christmas and told the doubting Thomases (hubby and my Mum) that I would have it finished by Christmas. So every spare minuite I had, I plugged away at it and finally, on Christmas night as we were watching Poirot, I FINISHED!

Ok, so it now needs a jolly good ironing, and to be put in a suitable frame (and it deserves someone who can actually take a good photo), but it's done, and I'm REALLY pleased with it.

I've now started on a sampler for a friend who's having a baby; I don't think she reads the blog so I'm going to take a chance and put this photo up. Penny, if you're reading this, look away now...

Think I might get addicted to cross-stitch, although the kits are very expensive, aren't they?

Thursday, 7 January 2010


We've had plenty enough of the nasty white stuff, thank you very much.

This photo was taken from our living room window on Monday evening at about 8.30pm; snow had been falling for three hours by that point, and was about 3inches deep already.

By Tuesday morning it was about 5inches deep. And it's still here. Hubby thinks snow is wonderful, so he was happy to take DC out in his pram for a walk yesterday, while the more sensible member of the family (ie me), stayed at home, keeping warm and dry. Hubby returned with a gingerbread latte from Costa, so all was well.

Today, even the sensible member of the family (ie me) decided to venture out, now that the snow has been compacted and since I had a pram to hang on to. Luckily the pavement on the bridge over the Thames had been cleared and gritted, (unlike last time it snowed when it was ice-rink-like) so I was able to maintain an upright position and walk like a vaguely normal person.

At least there has been no more snow today, and the sun was out which helped to melt it a little. Now we just have the ice to contend with...

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


Changes are afoot in the W. household. Momentous changes. Life-changing changes!

Firstly, I have finally persuaded hubby that we should sell the Henley house, and it is now on the market. So if you, or anyone you know, are on the lookout for a new home in a beautiful Thames-side market town, BUY OURS!

Hubby has come to realise that we will never be able to buy 'THE' house, without first parting with at least one, and perhaps both, of our current houses. Makes us sound like property moguls, which we aren't; we just happen to own two homes, one of which we live in, one of which we don't, the latter of which is now for sale. And so, the search for 'THE' or perhaps 'The Not-Quite THE' house continues, not helped by the fact that we have yet to decide where exactly we'd like to live; mostly depends on what day of the week it is - today we'd like to stay in Henley or environs, tomorrow it'll be a village on the outskirts of Bath, yesterday it was Chipping Norton. Wherever it may be, 'THE' house has an ever-growing list of must-haves:

*detached (properly detached, not shoe-horned into a plot with neighbours who may as well be terraced to us)
*off-road parking (and a gravel drive if hubby gets his wish!)
*LARGE garden, possibly measured in acres (or parts thereof) rather than feet and inches
*three+ bedrooms
*room for two of us to work from home
*a craft room for me
*a play room for DC
*two+ reception rooms
*large kitchen-diner

Not asking much, are we?!

Secondly, the D.I.E.T. has turned serious. This is the year that it will finally happen. No question. Just as soon as all those Christmas goodies have been eaten...

Sunday, 3 January 2010


Continuing the theme of being a bad blogger, I managed to miss out on posting both a Christmas and New Year greeting. So, 'Felicitations' to you all! I hope you all had a lovely festive season and here's wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

Christmas seems to have rushed past in a blur of visitors and visiting; I can't believe it's nearly time to take the decorations down, even though they've been up for a month (hubby and I like to get the house decorated as early as is seasonally acceptable, ie 1 December.) So, that'll be the end of coffee out of the Starbucks Christmas mugs, mulled wine from the special Christmas tree glasses, Quality Street on the reindeer plate, not to mention the tree, the paper chains, the cards, etc, etc. Still, at least the living room will feel spacious (for a moment or two) as we get used to not having a tree in the corner.

DC seemed pretty much oblivious to all the fuss going on around him. We had considered getting a very small Christmas tree this year and putting it on top of the linen press in order to keep it away from his little paws, but in the end decided to take a chance and go for the floor-standing option. That worked out fine as DC showed no interest in the sparkly lights and glittery decorations and is still showing little inclination to crawl (which is fine by me as it means I get to spend longer in the comfort of my armchair rather than leaping about every few seconds to rescue DC from awkward situations.)

Despite his lack of Christmas awareness, DC was nonethless showered with gifts and utterly spoilt, even though I had said we shouldn't really buy him much. Clearly, I failed to listen to my own advice and went out and bought cuddly toys, clothes and other bits and bobs as I couldn't let his first Christmas go by without the excuse to spend money. Granny, Grandma & Grandad, aunties, uncles, cousins and friends were all on board with the 'Let's spoil DC for his first Christmas' roadshow and bought him three bath toys, clothes, books, cuddly toys, a snow globe, a Wigan Athletic Christmas stocking, a shape sorter, and umpteen other lovely things. Luckily, hubby listened to me (for a change?) and spent no more than the £10 limit I had suggested; this involved buying DC an iconic "I 'heart' NY" vest and then making a noisey tube out of an old breadstick container filled with seeds. Guess which pressie DC liked best out of all those we bought him? Yep, hubby's homemade contraption. Which just goes to show that Kirstie was right about homemade Christmas presents being the best...

I was right there alongside DC with being thoroughly spoilt this Christmas:

My Mum bought me (amongst many other things) this fabulous footstool from John Lewis, which was a total and utter surpise.I remember pointing it out to Mum when we were in the shop looking at dining room furniture for her, but I had no idea that she had logged the info in such a way! I've only put my feet up on it a couple of times - it's way too lovely to use, it's only for gazing at for the time being. My mother-in-law came up trumps with a sewing machine; I've never had my own, and I keep looking at the all of the wonderful things crafty people with crafty blogs seem to be able to make, and I feel it's time I had a go. Watch this space. Arthur bought me a doughnut baking set (he's too young to know about Mummys and Diets). Dear hubby bought me a lovely Cath Kidston sewing basket, tape measure and pin cushion, as well as a wonderful wooden box spotted at an antique shop in Chipping Norton, a Union Jack cushion to match my footstool (also too nice to use, hence still being in its packaging. Can you see a patriotic theme developing round these parts?), and various other bits and bobs.

New Year was spent oop north with hubby's family, for a very relaxing few days where we were pampered and looked after. We stayed in on NYEve (except for a trip to the cinema to see Sherlock Holmes - thoroughly recommended); although my attempt to be in bed, asleep for the third year running when Big Ben struck midnight was foiled; but I was in bed by about 12.10am. What's the New Year equivalent of Scrooge or the Grinch? Cos that's what I am. Just can't get excited about it; would rather be in bed asleep or perhaps reading, although sound asleep is preferable so as not to be disturbed by all those pesky fireworks going off. Bah humbug!

But despite my Grinch-i-ness, I hope you all had a good New Year and that 2010 (two thousand and ten, not twenty-ten I think) brings all that you wish for, and then some.