I've been on Blogiday.
It's like a holiday, but just from blogging. Obviously all the other many and various on-line communication systems I use were being hammered regularly, but I never quite got round to feeling like writing anything on here. I blame Twitter. If it takes more than 140 characters I can't manage it these days. Attention span of oooh look! A squirrel!
Anyway. How is everyone? Not been swept away in the floods, or the gale force winds, or the rains of ash and blood we've been having this summer? Not yet, at least, I hope.
We've been very busy here at WithaY Acres. Once all the horrible, complicated but not TOO* expensive plumbing issues were finally resolved we were able to get the back garden into some semblance of order again. There's still a stack of stuff out there which needs to be found a home, but we're definitely winning. Mr WithaY's new workshop was completed this week, with some very smart custom-made work benches in there, and all the electric sockets any man could ever need, including a massive "don't you touch that red button now, Father Dougal" for his lathe.
Every time I go in there it draws my eye, compelling me to step closer, to reach out one finger and just have a little go. I will press it one day, I just know it. It's big and red and looks EXACTLY like something from an old sci-fi movie to stop the launch of a spaceship with bare moments to spare.
In my head.
The other end of the garage is now a proper rain-, bird- and mouse-proof pantry, complete with freezer and ample storage for cooking stuff, pots, pans, jars and so on. It even has a little double-glazed window, which makes it feel like a Wendy house. We still need to finalise the "moving stuff around and optimising the space" thing - I want all the giant vices and boxes of carpentry tools out, for a start - but we're very nearly there.
Just as well, as I have a visit from the Environmental Health lady from the Council next week.
She's coming to inspect the kitchen, which has recently been registered as somewhere that will be producing food for commercial use - i.e. cooking for other people for money - and as a result our downstairs doors have blossomed with dog-proof gates in the last week. I've washed the floor more often than ever before, and all the corners that previously housed collections of esoteric kitchenware have been emptied and cleaned out thoroughly.
I've also started my new part time job, which I am enjoying very much indeed. It fits very handily around the rest of my life, there's a four minute commute (by foot) and the people I work with are lovely. So, a fine result.
Can I just say that a four-minute commute on foot is about a billion times nicer than a three-hour one involving a car, a train, a bus and the London rush hour?
If I can find another local part-time job (about 15-20 hours per week) I'll be made up. Until then, I am enjoying having lots of time to spend with Mr WithaY and the dog.
This morning we all went for a long walk.
I took some photos:
Walking up the hill to the woods, admiring the impressive sky. Hello trees, Hello clouds.
The woods themselves were dark and pretty muddy. The dog loved it. She's very good off the lead, and comes back when we call her, which is more than our last one did most of the time. Someone told me "Labradors are born half-trained, Spaniels die half-trained" which I rather like.
The river, looking just lovely in the sunshine. There were some swans but they got a bit lairy when they saw me staring at them, so I thought I'd better not try and get a photo in case they broke my iPhone with a single blow of their wing. They hate the Paparazzi, do swans.
Mr WithaY insisted - INSISTED - that this was a path. Yes, yes, yes, it really is. Stop moaning. Crawl under that log, then just scramble over this bramble thicket, then through the bog and nettle patch. It's very straightforward.
He and the dog nimbly hopped and pranced off through the greenwood, I lumbered after them, mud dragging at my wellies, nettles lashing my face, brambles snagging my clothes. It was great.
We're so outdoorsy.
He's off for another weekend of Bushcrafting, I am going to work, and to a party, and will chill with the dog. I might even get some sewing started. I bought a load of fabric and patterns the other week, but have yet to cut anything out. It's my least favourite part of a sewing project, cutting out, especially if I have to cut the pattern out too. Once it's all cut out I love to get on and sew it all together, but the start of it puts me off.
Plus I will have to make sure the dog can't wander in and lay down to sleep on top of whatever I am doing. She does like to sleep on top of things - my feet, Mr WithaY's feet, a heap of freshly-ironed clothes on the bedroom floor, a carelessly dropped towel - if it's on the floor it will end up with a small black dog snoozing atop it.
The hoover is earning its keep these days, I can tell you.
*Under £500, thankfully. And they did a good job of tidying up afterwards, too.