Sunday, July 31

Away from it all!

We have both been busy of late - what with fires and DIY but Jon in particular has been clocking up the hours at the workshop - all part and parcel of being in business - 17 years next month - so he must be doing something right! Now and again he has to work weekends, this being one. Yesterday he worked throughout the day - I busied myself in the garden - weeding! Today he worked until noon, again I worked in the garden and cooked.
We had a few hours to spare so we headed out on the motorbike. Whitby first then a tootle over the moors.
It is where I do my thinking, on the back of the motorbike......and I realised that as the kitchen units are being delivered on 26th August, plasterer is booked week commencing 29th August - there is nothing more I can do in the kitchen! A bit of packing - but I may as well focus on the garden, on everyday stuff and remember we are going to France the first week in September!
Then......when we return Action!
But till then............Garden!
Sounds a good plan!

Friday, July 29

Another episode with a pyromaniac!

The fitter would come on Tuesday to fit the Rayburn into the chimney. He came, he fitted, he left. The cement had to "go off." ie dry out. 
Jon's eyes were glowing with excitement and anticipation when he said "Shall we light it?"
Now as I have mentioned before, Jon is an avid instruction manual reader and  has been reading up on the scientific operation of a Rayburn for weeks now. The Rayburn was not connected to the central heating system, it was so to speak a stand alone log burner. 
Jon brought in some kindle, paper and logs and lo the Rayburn was lit!

In no time at all the fire was glowing and the room warmed up.

Making use of the warm oven I popped a pie inside, would be defrosted and nicely heated through for Jon's dinner.

The dial was moving in the right direction.

Jon went into the bath and left me to enjoy the lovely warm kitchen. I thought it was a tad smoky but didn't worry too much - and put a couple more logs on.

After a short while Jon came downstairs and I said I would go and have a bath too.

Now Jon is a very calm, unassuming  chap, so when he said, "Em don't go in the bath just yet, we may have a fire!" I did indeed smile - thinking he was joking! He wasn't!

There was a fire in the Rayburn.
We threw a water soaked old towel onto the burning logs and then, using BBQ tools, Jon lifted the burning logs out and threw them into a bucket outside.
After a while the flames inside settled and the fire was under control.

Jon hadn't read the part of the instructions which stated "Never light the Rayburn without filling the water tank with water!" 

The thermostat control ie wires etc had melted with the heat of the flames!

The new thermostat arrived today!

Sunday, July 24

Bird's Eye View.

This is the plan of our new kitchen. The quality of the photographs is poor but it gives an idea of what it will all look like.

The rear patio door, now 20 years old is to be replaced by a door and window. The door has a glazed top and the window is joined on - so the line at the top will continue from the door - it's just the computer software will only show certain options. The sink will be under the window and next to the sink is the dishwasher. The corner unit has concealed opening baskets and next to that are a couple of cupboards, again containing baskets. I am not having any wall cupboards - being 5'1" I can't reach. However I am having a roller shutter unit which is visible next to the black pillar. The pillar wont be black - again the software shows hidden structures which need to be considered in the design. The roller shutter unit will store the kettle and toaster - and will be out of sight.

Here the roller shutter can be seen and then we have a corner unit again with baskets which utilise the space next to a pan drawer unit. The drawer unit has lots of features which help with storage of pans, crockery and cutlery. Next to this is the rayburn - again software just has certain options and the range cooker has the same dimensions as the rayburn. The black wall shows the chimney breast - the walls will be pale yellow/green - or something similar to snug. Next to this is a space where we will store logs. The top gap between the rayburn and the drawer unit will be completed with a chopping board one of our farmer neighbours is making for us, from wood grown in our village. The cupboards above the drawer unit will go right up to the ceiling so there wont be any gaps - solid fuel = dust, another reason why I did not want wall units. They normally have a gap which is ideal for dust to settle! The glass cupboards will be for the various kitchenalia (is there such a word) I have accumulated over the years. I went for the glass doors so I would always have to ensure the cupboards were tidy! There are lights in these cupboards too.

On the back wall we have a double larder/storage unit where all food stuffs will be stored. Again these have pull out baskets. Next to these is the built in microwave (where space is) and underneath, the fan oven - for the summer months (I think this is what they are called - we get them so rarely!) Next to this is the built in fridge-freezer.

We may have an island/table but once the kitchen is fitted we will decide - we currently have a large table.
We have spent a great deal of time thinking and discussing the various aspects of this and I can "picture" how it will work. 

So that's it! Order will be processed on Tuesday and delivery will take 4-6 weeks. This fits in with the various preparations which need to take place - the removal of current units, electrics, plumbing and plastering. The rayburn will be plumbed into the chimney sometime soon - then will be connected to the central heating system and we will fire it up for a trial run!

Watch this space!

Wednesday, July 20


For some time the fuel gauge on our pickup has been dodgy. We live with it by noting how much diesel we put in and roughly calculating how many miles we will get to the gallon. When I see "we" of course I mean Jon - he has a brain for such details and facts - I just drive! I normally drive for about 150 miles per diesel top - up. A couple of weeks ago I was putting some diesel in when the petrol pump "clicked" indicating the tank was full. I tried a couple of times - same "click". We reckoned the tank was full and I had about 400 miles worth of fuel. I carried on with my normal day to day routine. I don't do many miles in the pick up just tootle round the village, workshop and local shops. Major distances and journeys would  not be economical for the pick up - we use the van for such journeys.
On Monday I was visiting a friend for lunch. Jon was using the van for a delivery so I used the pick up to travel to Grosmont, on the North York Moors. Whilst I was out a friend phoned and asked if I could go with her to the DIY store, in the pick up to collect some plastic sheeting for a gazebo project which she has had nothing but problems with. We agreed I would go to Redcar when I returned home from my afternoon in Grosmont. It just so happened then, at around 4.30 I collected Steph and we tootled off to B&Q a few miles away, collected the sheeting, then drove back to Redcar dropped sheeting and Steph off then made my way home. 
The main road to our village is shut at the moment due to some roadworks, so we are using the back farm lane - no problem for the pick up - it has a certain presence which allows it to have right of way! lol! Some people tend to drive a tad too fast but we know all the pulling in places so the route is no problem. Later that night we decided we fancied a bottle of wine. Jon had had a stressful day so off we tootled to Loftus. We went in the pick up as it is more suitable up the farm track. Wine purchased we made our way home and parked up the pick up.
Tuesday morning - Jon left for work and later when it is my routine to go to workshop with Jon's snack I jumped into the pick up and turned the ignition key. Nothing! The engine turned over then nothing. All the lights were on but nothing was happening. I tried again - same!
I phoned Jon who reckoned it had ran out of fuel. According to our (Jon's) previous calculations we should have been ok for another hundred miles - but obviously not.
We went to the local petrol station in the van with the petrol can and filled it up. Today Jon read the manual and located the special button under the bonnet which is used in such circumstances - he showed me where to find it so now I know. In the olden days it was quite serious if a diesel engine was allowed to run dry but I am happy to say it started up first time today. First destination - petrol station.
I couldn't help but think how fortunate I had been - tootling on the Moors, driving home from B&Q in rush hour with plastic sheeting on the back and driving home on the farm track - when Jon was with me? On any of these occasions if I had ran out of fuel it would have been a major inconvenience - but I didn't. The faithful pick up got me/us home - once home it just let us know it needed a drink! Now how fortunate was that?

Tuesday, July 19


Change of plan!
No, this isn't a plan of our kitchen - this was just to illustrate a point, you see we've been thinking!
As a result of the thinking and discussing we have decided to change our kitchen. The Rayburn is in situation now, awaiting the full installation which will be sometime next week. First  it needs to be fitted into the chimney by means of a flu, then the whole thing needs to be plumbed into the central heating system.
Our current kitchen "evolved" over a period of 20 years and like with all projects of the same nature some aspects work and others don' it is back to the drawing board. We have met up with a couple of kitchen planners and are getting somewhere near the best kitchen for our lifestyle. I must say, that looking around there seems to be a standard selection of units available, but the quality is of paramount importance - and the price of course! We will keep the granite worktops and just get new base and wall units!!!

Watch this space!

ABC Wednesday Round 9!!!! (See link in my sidebar!)

Saturday, July 16

Cow Incident!

Yesterday I was driving out of the village when I came across some fine cows in the middle of the road. We have a traffic diversion at the moment due to some building work, so the traffic was busier than usual. The cows were making their way into a luscious arable field - where they were NOT suppose to be! However, due to a broken gate they could easily have come out of, back onto the main road. I was in the pick-up which is quite an intimidating size to a cow so thinking quickly, I pulled as near to the gate as possible and put on my hazard lights. I then phoned Jon - he worked on a farm as a boy - he'd know something!
In my mirror I saw a landrover approaching and recognised it to be a local farmer - he waved as he passed so I flashed my lights and he turned round. He knew whose cows they were so he made his way to tell the farmer involved.
Left alone, me, the pickup and the cows I became slightly concerned when they made their way back to the nearside of the vehicle! Fortunately at this moment Jon turned up, jumps out his van and "shoos" the cows back into the luscious field. I told him Mick had gone to the farm re the cows so all was OK. "If the cows come back just make yourself look big!" was his advice. A mean trick I thought, considering I am about 5'1" tall and there were about fifteen strapping cows! The cows seemed pre-occupied with eating the crops of the unfortunate arable farmer and I remained in the pick-up.
A few minutes passed and the tractor in the distance told me help was on its way in the form of John, the cows owner's son and my neighbour, Emma, his future sister in law. Off they went into the field, John doing a wonderful "one man and his cow" interpretation and with a series of whistles, swearing and mad antics, managed to persuade the cows to head for the road. Meanwhile as motorists were approaching the potentially dangerous situation (some at speed) I indicated for them to slow down so as not to freak the cows As the cows were brought up to the front of the pickup I  stopped the  traffic (no problem for a teacher) and ensuring the cows didn't go in the wrong direction waited whilst  John and Emma  brought the cows up, along the road, across the field and onwards to their own pastures! I must get the names of the cows involved - would you believe the same farmer showed one of his special cows at the Yorkshire Show last week! Her name - Denise!!!
Village life is never dull!

Wednesday, July 13

The past 24 hours!

Tuesday morning saw us drive over to the Forrestry Commission where our nephew 3 works. There were some recently felled trees which were available for a contribution to the "Friends" funds.
We received a pick up full together with some useful tips on chopping wood. Our neighbour chops wood regularly so when we basically asked him about using a chainsaw he said he would be round in a few minutes to show Jon how it was done! We had had a long busy day but were keen to deal with the trees - so last night Jon and Malcolm worked until 9pm. Anne and I moved the logs and stacked them so they could dry out for a year.

Believe me, we were exhausted last night and slept like logs! (groan)
We slept through the 7am alarm, rousing at about 7.40. The rayburn was to be delivered between 8am and 9am - so as we were both tired we said we would get up at 8! As I was just about to doze off for another few minutes I heard a van pull up outside our house - in our village we get to recognise the morning traffic - usually being Mick's tractor at 8am as he makes his way to Ronnie's farm. Yes - you've guessed - the Rayburn was early! We jumped out of bed and dressed as quickly as possible before flying down the stairs.

The Rayburn was moved to the garage where a couple of hours later a few pals and neighbours together with Jon, rope, trolley and roller negotiated the Rayburn into the kitchen.

She (we have called her Sheba as in the arrival of the Queen of Sheba - as never in the history of the Nesbitt household has something been discussed and planned to this degree) now rests on her own concrete plinth, made by Jon's fair hands in the kitchen.
On Monday the heating engineer is coming to assess what needs to be done before we can fire her up and rock and roll!
I am quite exhausted but love it! The colour is wonderful don't you think?

Watch this space!

Tuesday, July 12

Zero hour 9am!

Rocket Man is one of my all time favourite pop songs by Elton John and the words are so appropriate because, after the many months of discussion, planning and preparation, tomorrow morning at 9am the Rayburn is being delivered.
Jon has a few pals and neighbours coming round at 11am and between them, using a variety of devices they will lift it into the house and then into the kitchen!
We will then have to wait for a Heating Engineer to come and plumb it into the central heating system and we should be ready to move onto the next phase in the kitchen.
For now however,we can hardly wait until tomorrow!

Will have the camera ready to capture the events!
Watch this space!

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Thursday, July 7


This is a 5th Generation iPod Shuffle. My birthday present from choice too! I had never used an iPod before and was determined not to appear the dumb blonde that I am when it comes to new technology. The geek in the store was very helpful and did not try to blind me with science. I asked about an iPod and he told me all about the many games, movies and music I could download. I pointed out it was just the music I was interested in - so the shuffle was suggested. I was impressed by this as it was the cheapest option - the geek did not take the opportunity of flogging a more expensive option to the unsuspecting clueless blonde he was dealing with. (Mind you Jon was at my side!!!)
Well we get home and I try it out. Now my experience of plugging anything into the laptop has been that the laptop takes over - ie it knows what to do and what to tell me to do! In this case .....nothing! Conversations with my technically enhanced nephew followed .......result nothing! After a period of utter frustration I worked out, all on my own what the problem was .....the device needed to be fully plugged in to the laptop - - I had not done this.....once done we were away!
The main purpose of the exercise was to sort out some good old dancing music for my bash on Saturday. After a couple of failed attempts I succeeded - I not only had files of various music on my shuffle - I had a party selection which, via the help of a certain cable, I managed to play via our all round sound system!
A great achievement I think!!

Tuesday, July 5

Y....Yes it is all go!

The kitchen is currently a site - a real sight a building site very soon. Today we had the logs delivered and they take up the best part of the garage. The motorbike is now in the shed with the wooden kitchen units and fireplaces (where else?) The Rayburn is coming next Wednesday and it too will go into the garage until Jon organises some pals to come round with various muscles, trolleys and devices and they bring it into the kitchen, onto it's plinth. We will then wait for it to be commissioned ie plumbed into the central heating system and then the kitchen re-fit will happen. Not sure how and in what order, but the plastering and electrics will have to be done first.

The weather is set to change so it just might be a good time to concentrate on a couple of garden projects - not much else I can do in the house - but the garden ideas I want to implement should be fun - Watch this space!

Sunday, July 3

Truly Blessed!

The week has certainly been eventful what with the official retirement and my birthday. We had a wonderful meal on Wednesday evening and then last night my close friends and family came here for a fantastic night. We had pie and peas and the wine flowed!!!!
I had a  surprise on Saturday afternoon when we returned from shopping - a lovely vase of flowers was on the patio table - thankyou so much Shrinky - it made my day!

I am truly blessed!