Thursday, 24 June 2010

We Bought a House!

For the last few months we have been house-hunting. We have looked near and far, we have ummed and ahhed over locations, we have veered from town, to village, to hamlet, to middle-of-nowhere isolation, we have made (unsuccessful) offers on four houses and now, finally, we have had an offer accepted! If all goes to plan, soon we will be the proud owners of a house in the village of Hinton St George, Somerset (population 404; soon to be 407...)

This is a momentous occasion for the Family W who have procrastinated and prevaricated over moving to 'the countryside' for several years now; we have become a laughing stock amongst friends as we would say 'The current plan is to move to Devon'; then the following week, 'We think we might move to Herefordshire'; next week 'Well, hubby was thinking of applying for a job in Australia'; then we thought we might stay in Henley-on-Thames, then it was somewhere else, then somewhere else, then.... you get the picture. But not anymore, now we can delete all those 'saved searches' on Primelocation and Right Move (yes, probably best to delete them before we see 'the' house in the Outer Hebrides and have to start house-hunting all over again...

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Weekend in Dorset-shire, Part III

DC decided that one lie-in was quite enough, thank you very much, and had us up bright and early on Saturday morning. After a lovely breakfast we packed up the car and headed for Bridport where we spent a very pleasant hour wandering round the antiques market. I bought some fabulous union jack bunting, although goodness knows where I'm going to hang it, and we bought DC an activity cube/toy thing-a-me-jig.

Then it was time to wend our merry way to Park Farm, AKA River Cottage HQ, for the Spring into Summer Fayre. We spent a very pleasant few hours wandering round the site, admiring the kitchen garden, deciding to attend talks and then forgetting they were starting and so missing out on all the ones we were interested in, tasting yummy food, spotting stars of the TV show, and generally having a very relaxing tme. Hubby even took part in the 'swap shop' by exchanging three jars of his homemade rhubarb jam for some cookies, flapjacks, tomato and chilli plants. At the end we decided that walking back up the hill to the car park was a little too much so we hitched a lift on the tractor/trailer combo which DC seemed to take in his stride (think he was actually too tired to be interested.) And then it was time to drive back to urban reality; boo, hiss.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A Weekend in Dorset-shire, Part II

Friday dawned bright and sunny (as had Thursday) - it seems we had picked the prefect time for our weekend away - in fact, it turned out to be a smidge too hot on Friday, but that sounds terribly ungrateful, doesn't it?!

We were very lucky that DC slept in til 8.15am which gave us an extremely rare chance of a lie in together; hubby and I alternate the early mornings and DC is usually up sometime between 6-6.30am, so to see 8.15am and find us all still in bed was not at all unwelcome! After a very good breakfast, hubby dropped DC & I off in Bridport while he went to fetch the Beehaus which wouldn't fit in the car the evening before due to all of our bags/baby stuff/etc. He then drove over to R & G's house in Abbotsbury as they had kindly agreed to store it for us until such time as we are able to accommodate it. DC & I had a very pleasant wander round Briddy, rounded off with a coffee in Costa where, luckily, the air-con was a-blowing. There are lots of really yummy looking independent coffee shops in Bridport and I do have a hankering to go in them, but I find that they are often quite small and, with a pram, almost impossible to navigate. So, for the time being, I shall be sticking to the chain coffee emporia, unless I am able to do a pram-less reccy beforehand!

Hubby then came back and fetched us, and we all drove over to Abbotsbury and we had the grand tour of R & G's new house: a lovely newly-built thatched cottage, very light and airy inside, with an attached shop - more of which later.

After the tour we walked through the village and churchyard to The Abbey House where we had an absolutely gorgeous lunch; I had crab sandwiches followed by a fantastic homemade banoffee pie, yum, yum and yum again. The weather was glorious and we had a wonderful time taking in the views and generally relaxing. Then we wandered back and R showed us round the shop. V exciting stuff indeed. All set to open at the end of June, Lazyhill Gallery will be choc full of loveliness, all of which will be handmade in the UK including, if I may blow my own trumpet here, some cards made by yours truly (will post photos soon). So, if you are in the area, make sure you pay a visit! While R & I played shop, hubby, DC, G and Martha the dog took a walk down to Chesil Beach, which is just a mile from the house along a winding track - what a fab location.

Finally, at about 5.30pm we dragged ourselves away and back to West Bay. DC went to sleep in the room at about 7.30pm and hubby & I were able to go down to the bar (taking the baby monitor with us, of course...) and have a lovely dinner together - something else that doesn't happen all that often, a meal out! I had scallops cooked in garlic butter with bacon, accompanied by the most wonderful homemade chips, and chocolate and Bailey's cheesecake for desert. YUM!
Off to bed by about 10.30pm and we all slept soundly with full tummies and plenty of fresh/sea air in our lungs.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

A Weekend in Dorset-shire. Part I

Hubby was given tickets to the River Cottage 'Spring into Summer' Fair for his birthday, so we used them as an excuse to have a long weekend in Dorset.

Thursday we set off bright and early to wend our way to the coast, via several house viewings in Somerset. We arrived an hour and a half early for the first viewing in Tintinhull, but as luck would have it, there is a small National Trust house/garden in the village which had a little tea room, so we took advantage of the fabulous weather to sit out in the cobbled courtyard of the house with a cup of tea and a slice of yummy chocolate cake. Great timing for DC too as he was able to have his lunch.
Then it was time for the house viewing and, wow, what a house! Dating back to the 17thC, and with an attached, unconverted barn, this was the higgledy-piggledy cottage of Miss Marple delights. Along with the very good sized garden, this place has 'potential' written all over it.
The second house was in Martock; almost the complete opposite of the first cottage, in that it was a semi-detached house from the Georgian era and had been fully renovated to a very high standard. We 'oohed, 'ahhed' and 'wowed' our way round the house, the garden and the two-room studio at the bottom of the garden, but decided that it wasn't the house for us, mainly on account of the garden not being child-friendly (and it would be a real pity to "un-landscape" what has already been done so that DC can kick a football about) and the unfortunate ugly houses slightly overlooking the side of the garden.

The third house we didn't even bother to go in (we did tell the vendor, we didn't just drive off!) - it was situated on a busy crossroads and as we currently live on a four-lane road, that's just not what we're looking to move to.

The fourth house was in the small hamlet of Watergore; it was nice enough, but not for us and, again, was on a busy road.

So, with the viewings done, we drove on to West Bay, with a small detour in Bridport to pick up a present for hubby which I'd won on eBay - an Omet Bee Haus. Now he just needs the garden (and the bees) to go with it...

Finally, about 5pm we arrived at our hotel/pub in West Bay; we had a couple of hours to unpack, relax, etc before meeting our friends R & G for dinner at the Riverside restaurant.I'd never heard of the place before but it appears to be well-known amongst those in the know, and we had a very good meal there, although DC decided he wanted to stay awake for the entire thing which meant either myself or hubby constantly having to attend to his every whim, rather than being able to completely relax. Not to worry, we had a pleasant evening anyway, and DC's late night meant he also slept in til 8.15am the following day, which gave us a very much appreciated lie in!