Tuesday, 30 September 2008

What day is it today..

We have had turmoil on the world markets as the Americans expect the public purse to compensate collapsed capital.

So we had Meltdown Monday Turbulent Tuesday, tommorow will be wild Wednesday and so the week will progress to s^^^ you pants Saturday.......

Management of course is making bread, we could do with that, anyone fancy making a couple or 300K for me?

Oh wrong sort of bread...


Just when things are going well

So of course, just when things are going well life deals cards from the bottom of the pack.

Out of the blue the purchasor has phoned to say the chain has broken. We allredy knew this but it looks like this is a bigger hitch than we were first told. His house is going back for sale and I suppose ours must too. Or will it, I feel like saying stuff it and getting on with working on the house here.

He still wants the house mind. Then again I want a Jaguar....

But unless I have money I cannot have, and without money neither can he.

Life is a real roller coaster isn't it??


Monday, 29 September 2008

Historical houses

One of the nice things about an old house is that it will usually have a bit of history if you go looking for it.

Having safely got the annual MOT for the car out of the way, on a whim she and I went off heading for the county records office.

Researching the new house was the objective though quickly I decided that "new" is not the word. We had spent a few years researching local houses so we knew a few shortcuts, we had placed Penole in history in 1750 and found it on the original OS map of 1809. But I was quite blown away to find a reference to our new house dated 1625 and named on the OS map of 1809. Thats damn old even for round here!!

This refers to the site rather than the house though. It would be incredibly rare for a house locally to be built in stone before about 1800. That said it has the most incredible blocked off inglenook fireplace which is screaming to be restored

Interesting though the house is older than the village which only came into being with the arrival of the railway and it's brief history of having a station.

My wanderings round the site have convinced me this was once a water mill but something didn't quite add up. Now I have found the 1909 map that makes reference to a saw pit so maybe we are talking a wood mill.

A saw pit is an interesting feature, basically a hole in the floor with two people on a big two person saw. This has found it's way into everyday English, the poor sod in the pit being showered with shavings would be the underdog. Whilst his companion breathing fresh air would be the top dog. The "dog" being the frame on which the tree would be resting.

Of course management has her own take on this, with her hobby in the trees, according to her the underdog would have the easier job as they would be able to use their weight to pull the saw down whilst the top dog actually has to use muscle to pull the saw upwards.

But all in all a very good day.

Next stop will be Aberystwyth and the national library.

Not this week though.


Sunday, 28 September 2008

Sunday sunday.....

Yet again I am indulging in luxury, writing in bed still with a wonderful lovely lady of whom one could never be bored, well not and live anyway.

Today she assures me I desperately want to go to the Sunday market. The children are displaying considerably more enthusiasm than they did for log choping and I am taking consolation that whilst I remove my collection of aching joints and painfull muscles to the sunday market they are not being required to lift a chainsaw or wield an axe.

Perfecto, my step son, has with lift in prospect emerged from the woodwork with the same speed that he disappeared into it when it became apparent there was hard physical work to be done yesterday.

Of course this is just the morning, the afternoon has yet to be planned or rather I have yet to be told what I want to do.


Saturday, 27 September 2008

My darling the slave driver.....

No one would ever describe my beloved, the mistress of all we owe money on as a tyrannical slave driver. No that would be quite suicidal..

But, every so often the command comes to jump and the only query can ever be how high.

So, out of bed she bounded this morning in action mode. Firewood cutting was announced to an audience who did not quite burst into excited cheering.

We nearly avoided it, the chain saw would not start but unfortunately I quickly discovered a blocked air filter, thinking about it maybe leaving it for two years without cleaning it might be stretching things a little.

So the morning was whiled away with the chainsaw, well some of it was anyway. The rest was spent axeing with my trusty Elwell. the kids were delegated to barrowing whilst she undertook the skilled job of constructing the stack.

Lunch time would have offered a brief respite had she not remembered that we need to swap wheels around on the Iveco. So equipped with various jacks, stands and my big socket set, the girls and I set to. Branwen was away last week on a geography field trip which in turn meant outdoor kit sourced form an MOD dealer. She has taken the stuff off since, I am sure she has, just maybe I never saw her then.

But anyway my "army" and I set too. Trouble with the Turbo Daily is it has such amazing lock it wears the tyres out in an odd way. The only way to stop it being to swap tyres round the various wheels periodically.

The IVECO is not as big as a Green Goddess, but those wheels are a lot heavier than a mini and the wheel nuts need to be on the tighter side of tight.

So anyway much sweating and profanity and we had the job done.

Time for rest then, errr not. having rushed us through lunch the management announced our newly devised wood shed was not quite full enough so we could cut more wood.

Unfortunately the chain saw started fine and of course a clear air filter means it runs for longer between refills of two stroke. An impressive mountain of wood could mean only one thing. I had to get the axe out and split it all so the kids could barrow it and she could stack it to her satisfaction.

Still every day must end and here I sit with a cold orange juice, there being no beer in the fridge.

Worn out giving so many orders, management has retired to the bath. I would get in the shower but don't think I have enough strength left to stand up against the jets of water.

But all is not lost. With the strategic wine stocks worryingly low she has announced I can go shopping to France soon. So long of course as she can come with me and chose the bathroom suite she has decided I want to fit in our new house should this deal ever come off.


inastate agents.....

There can be nice things about technology.

I am writing this whilst I am in bed with a beautiful woman, I had better add that this is management to avoid any recriminations later.

We are having a Saturday lie in, well we would be had not Deimund the cat decided he needed to come and announce to us that we love him and even though it is 7 am we really want to fuss him now.

Closely followed by Da man on the same mission.

But of course we did get coffee thanks to little D and Gwion so all is not that bad.

Yesterday night I took management out for a ruby and on our return we noted that whilst the inastate agent had not bothered to replace the "for sale" sign that blew away, every inastate agent and his brother has lots of stuff for sale, but he had put up a "sale agreed" sign so that everyone passing knew he was the local inastate agent who has sold something.

Assuming the sale goes through that is...


Thursday, 25 September 2008

The exciting life we lead....

Those who have known me a few years will know that nothing in my life is ever smooth and never goes as planned.

So of course today the phone tintinabulated and it was the inastate agent.

Life as far as I was concerned was going well, the solicitors were getting on with it and the sale going through.

Ahh yes, should have read the runes.

Aparently the person who is buying the house of the person who is buying our house has displayed a lax attitude to contracaption, they are full of arms and legs. Not just one set but two. So of course the deal is off but aparantly this is just a "glitch".

"Glitch", sounds a bit like an inter city hitting the buffers at 120 to me.....

But no it just means the house needs to go back on the market, they put it on this morning and have 3 viewings already.

However, this means our big plan to move over half term is off.

Here comes the prospect of the best Xmas ever. Never had so many boxes to open, shame they were not presents but we were trying to remember where in the mountain we packed the most vital and essential small items. I hope the chip shop will be open Xmas day....

That of course assumes that, as the year draws in, we can persuade solicitors to forgo a season of Xmas parties and socials to do a bit of work.

Still it has a positive, it's more likely we will be able to say we stayed here 15 years, nicer rounder figure than 14.

Of course with the deal in limbo we had best not watch the news from the states where birds seem to be coming home to roost by the flock.


Wednesday, 24 September 2008


A quiet relaxation day today.

Just a quick run out to the post office then home to the plague house. Bethan and Gwion both off sick but looking suspisciously well to me...

Management off to do some special training course of tree ology, she was chuffed to beans to be invited.

Me I am keeping the fire in and supervising the dish washer.

Tough job but......

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


I have had a long and frankly horrid day.

Poor old management has retired to the bath.

Last Wednesday I set myself the task of filling in an application form.

With her off ripping trees apart I sat here with my writing blocked.

In a day I achieved precisely not much.

Today my nose was held to the grind stone and I got the job done.

It was not pleasant, nice or fun.

But it is done.

I am writing a bit raw because I gave it my all.

Poor old management was as stressed as me. She is off to talk to the tress tomorrow.

Last day we helped a carer who has had their child of 5 years taken away because of something she said in the heat of the moment and immediatly retracted. She was removed against her will and is being denied her familly, last heard of she had gone on the run and might be at serious risk of harm.

That links into my application, if I get this job I will be in a position where social workers whose judgement is flawed can be worked out of the system.

I will be able to help them on their way.

I like to help.

I am drained and off to bed.


Monday, 22 September 2008

Our new house

Now don't get me wrong I am going to miss being here at Penole.

It is the most lovely spot and a fantastic house.

It will be a tough day the day I go.

But yesterday we took a builder so see our new place.

That's when it hit.

Having someone who knows a bit about project management and all he could see was possibility.

Within weeks we will have what will in effect be mini flats for my own birth children. Places where they can be themselves and be a bit more free.

We can relatively easily convert the tin roofed barn into a two bed cottage and without the turmoil that the current plans require.

We can create for not much cost another and separate one bed cottage.

The roofless building will fairly simply convert into a simple one bed pad.

All this makes the place look the more impressive and dare I say it commercially viable in it's own right.

And there is place to build a proper shed to protect the fire engines.

Furthermore we have traced the outline of the mill leet and worked out how it can be refilled. Just what every fire engine owner needs; their own lake.

Management seemed a bit apprehensive about that one....


Saturday, 20 September 2008

Normal service is resumed

It has struck me that we have actually been a bit quiet recently.

Ex social workers might not recognise me and management from our delinquent past.

I think we have had a period where we just got out heads down and got on with the job.

All has changed, it must be the prospect of being mortgage free and independant.

I have all these external bodies that treat me as an asset not a nuisance and she has her developing interest in forestry.

But anyway Daycastle has announced it is introducing a policing scheme where Foster carers are required to attend training, no matter how irrelevant, attend meetings, no matter how brain numbingly boring, and go down the pub, yes honestly they will give you marks for going down the pub, or risk being demoted.

Unfortunately, when we fed back our views about this, they in turn decided to respond in writing. I have spent a delightfull evening draughting a response, using such unwelcome phrases as regulation, legislation and of course Care Council.

I am suddenly fired up about fostering again.

Though I suspect there might be a fire in the office on Monday.


Wednesday, 17 September 2008

I will confess...

Today I am in the grip of writers block.

My usual diarrhea flow of words has dried to a trickle.

Yup put me in a position where I have something important to write and I am stuck

I am trying to throw together a CV for a very important job with the Welsh Assembly, something so senior I would not normally even bother with the application pack but two very senior people approached me independently and suggested I should apply.

Massive ego boost but I cannot string two words together. I need management at home to help - don't tell her that mind.

At least I have a couple of referees lined up - I hope.



Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Hells teeth......

I hate homework.

Well when I say homework I mean my kids homework.

My BRANE hurts.

Been helping the kids with their maths homework.

Me A level maths (failed - twice) and her, CSE maths (not good grade) have been experimenting with methods which help the children devise strategies to succeed and solve the problems.

Translates into English as help them with fractions.

Have definitely been pushing the boundaries of our ability.

Stick three shovels in the corner and ask me to take my pick....

Management has retired to bed

Or write in her blog anyway.

A cat has crapped in a bedroom - just thought you might wish to savour the moment, no one would savour the aroma..

The solicitor announced with delight he is ready to exchange contracts so we could be moving next week

We won't of course as the guy buying here is not ready to go yet, but it brings it home that we need to be organised.



Bloody hell.....


Sunday, 14 September 2008

Weather, don't talk to me....

Yesterday we cut serious fire wood.

Loads of it!!!

So of course we lit the fire last night full of joy.


But of course last night was nice and mild and we lay awake for much of it sweating in the tropical heat.

Tonight the fire is stubbornly refusing to light with a flue blockage being the prime suspect.

I could really manage without this just before I sell. Cleaning a blocked flue is about the worst job you can do if it had held a month the new owner would get the pleasure.

Of course I can console myself, I do have all the kit. On a certain green vehicle.....

Saturday, 13 September 2008


Today was a wonderful day.

A sunlight special day where the temperature hovered near where it should have been this summer, the clouds stayed where they should have been all summer.

The morning we devoted to the pursuit of winter warmth.

The chainsaw consumed two stroke and in turn consumed wood.

We might be moving but we still need warmth.

A lovely day of activity.

A break from solid weeping rain.

Several weeks firewood, all it takes is one good day of sun.

I love the fireaxes, beautiful tools from long ago.

My big spliting axe must be put aside. It's a 41/2 lb Elwell, they are the very best of axes 50 years old, and this one was unused, too rare to use again.

I really enjoyed my day.

And now I pay.

Someone has filled my shoulders with hot coals I am going to heat some bath oil and soak in it for a few weeks.

Friday, 12 September 2008

School days - the happiest days, ehhhhhh

So the childer are back in school.

Back a few years they were in the local school. 30 pupils, so sending 5 there was filling the roll just a touch. There were years where that school stayed open because our kids went there...

Now we have 6 in a high school so close to the new house to which they can walk.

An hour wiped off their day in an instant.

This would mean that we have just the one in the valley school

Which is the same distance from the new house as the new school is from Penole.

But, here is the parental dilemma with only himself at that school Gwion has taken off. He is suddenly himself and not anyone else's brother or foster brother.

That is giving him more confidence, sense of self and self worth.

Of course what Gwion sees is his friend Felix.

Without him Felix would not have a proper friend at school.

So he needs to stay to look after Felix.

So it looks like we are doing big mileage every day - which is OK.

He is big above his years.

Today I was talking to Bethan; one of her friends had decided school is not for her, the school counsellor was not there and she needed to talk to someone. She was distraught emotions on the wing.

The year tutor was far too busy so she trusted Bethan to talk her through whatever it was she wanted to say.



I am dealing with this second hand, but Bethan did proper real deal Motivational Enhancement Therapy without having done the course.

Not having done the course she would not have known how she did it of course.

Oh by the way she is as dippy as a dippy thing, but hell I am proud of her.

And Gwion


Thursday, 11 September 2008

Odd times

It's an odd old thing.

Tallie, he's a good lad but not happy.

He does not like the new house.

A restructuring of his life of hilltop happiness.

Who could blame him.

I love this place of open freedom.

Breathe in the open everything.

The sunset tonight was....

Well it was a Penole sunset.

A magic of the Celtic moment between light and dark.

But Celtic is tribal also.

Last night, he went to the new rugby club.

Training went really well he really felt involved.

He is fired up about playing on Sunday.

This is of course a good thing.

So maybe the move will be a positive for him.

This could be good.


Wednesday, 10 September 2008

What a night

Lets not mince words, it's foul.

Life in the clouds, wet mist swirling round the house on the wild driven wind.

A fire, lovely beacon of heat burns in our log burner.

Our Franco Belge, our friend, companion of many a night. Deliverer of wonderful warmth.

People who live in town, hit a switch, the zombie pump whirs and the radiators warm.

Miss a lot.

Our new house will have central heating as a secondary system.

A back up for the real heater.

We are going to buy a seriously big mega log stove.

Eat your hearts out....


Out of the mouthes of babes and Branwens.....

We took the kids to see the new house yesterday.

Reality has started to dawn.

Lots of children swarming over the house and much "this is my room"ing

A chance to look again at our proposals for the house and measure them against what is really there.

It is quite hard for them, my children have no recall of a morning where they did not wake with this house as home. We are known colectivly in the locality by the house name.

The girls were quiet. Taliesin was positively silent. There is no where to ride his motor bike drive his land rover or a green goddess.

Branwen, who we have always called wise old Branwen said:

"It does not really matter what we think dad, we will only be here for a few years and then we will be gone to university and work. Al that matters is that you and mummy like the place and will be happy here."

And I think she is right and we will.


Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Bored bored bored.

The mist has fallen on the hills and damp wetness bleeds from an ashen sky.

The wind tosses is everywhere and rattles the french doors causing nasty draughts to whirl and swirl around me as I sit at the computer.

I really should go and get some firewood.

I really should get up and light the fire.

I really should clean the table

I really should read the 8 application forms I brought home from University to short list for interview.

I really should go up the drive and see if the application pack for a governor post for the Care Council is there.

I really should....

The sky is grey the mist is grey my mood is grey.

I am bored bored bored.


Saturday, 6 September 2008

Deal done

I am still in bed.

The bed we bought last year to replace one that was many years old.

The Velux I have laid at night and looked out of to see the stars roll by lets in the weak light from a cloudy sky.

It has resonated with rain, rattled with wind and poured in sunshine.

All those things I have seen through my special window.

Another is Gwions window, where as a baby he would look in wonder at the wonderful vista that is the view from here.

They say that location is all, and they are right.

This has been a very special house for us. The place where we have brought up our children. They are wonderful children and the wonder of this place has been part of them and will be forever.

My oak tree, the one I planted in 199,3 is growing and will stay here to be part of here for another century.

I will not. But this house will be a place of happy memory a bustling busy house for us and a bustling busy house for another family now.

I would hate for my children to visit me here when I am old and only feel the empty echo of their childhood.


Friday, 5 September 2008


Today i did one of our annual rituals.

I lit the Aga.

Now unlike previous years I took the thing to bits and cleared everything rather than just light it and coat the house with soot.

But as I did that I was aware, old Wyn the plumber who came out here and did the job I did, and then told me that I knew how to to do it now and don't call him again to do that again.

But, I suspect, I will never pull the bell out of our lovely aga again.

Someone bought that, it was their pride and joy.

It was theirs in about 1930.

Now pause

When did you change your cooker last - quite.

Agas are cookers you buy, put in, and leave as part of you that is part of here.

Others decide if they are going to pick up the banner

People love them or hate them

We have sold this house

Today I serviced that aga for the last time.

I could of course take it with me but I will not.

This aga belongs to this house, just like the range she says we are buying belongs o our new home.

We probably agreed to pay too much.

There is the rub.

However, this whole process has left me in total meltdown.

At least it is sort of done now.

We know where we are headed.

I think I need to escape to Brittany with management very soon.

The mistress of all we may soon owe a hell of a lot less money on.

I hope.


Oh dear what have I done

So today things came to a head.

We did the deal.

What a game of poker!

Offer 250k

Reply 300

O 270

R 285 without polytunnel garden sauna and living van

"Fine by me I was going to have to pay to have the van taken away"

O 275

R 280 and leave the lot behind.

There we have it the deal is done.

We are armed with red paint and heading for town.


What morning

We awoke today to precipitation on the torrential side of torrent.

Management went to take youngest to skool and braved the swollen flooded roads and home to give me an impressive list of tasks all of which are on life in Noah's house hold.

For the third time in 15 years we have the spring in the living room in active mode.

She is on her knees with towels and buckets impersonating Canute and being nearly as successful.

Thank goodness the buyers surveyor is not popping in today.


Thursday, 4 September 2008

Holy moly

I cannot take much more.

No really

My limited erudition has gone and left me.

We have agreed to sell

Ahh but we have not quite agreed to buy.

So as it stands we will be out of here in mid October.

But we will not have anywhere to live.

Anyone know a good campsite?



Wednesday, 3 September 2008

The significance of sandals.

Sandals are great things; light, comfortable, easily thrown on, don't fill with sand, save on washing socks, mind you she says I do that anyway. Change socks when they go to holes...

Sandals are a symbol of summer, you know the summer is here when I get my sandals out; when I casually walk across the grass fields. There is something nice and light and free.

So tomorrow I go into trainers, it might well just be the start of september but the fire is lit in the living room another of our annual rituals.

Time for trainers, boots come next.

Stess is getting us both now, she has retired to the bath and I am siting here contemplating the corkscrew.

I will be glad to get this house selling done.


The suspense here is killing.

I have the inastate agent off trying to get a price knocked down.

Then I have another inastate agent with another property we might here about soon, certainly the vendor has taken a break from chasing Kangaroos to give him a bell.

Then this morning by accident the management and I stumbled across another house.

It would really be camping out for us for a while if we went there, really basic with a capital "really". More like a rebuild he started half a dozen different projects on and finished none of them.

Would have to be bloody careful around social services too, make sure it's my own kids who are living in the caravan, then of course you would have the looked after kids complaining that they were not!!

But they say location is all the this is in the right location and might even be close to the right price.

Now I find this sort of thing both hard and a little bit exciting, Adrenaline junkie that I am.

Management cannot handle it at all. I am my usual serene easy to live with self, she is close to rabid.....

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Selling a house, bring on the valium...

So of course it's now our turn.

I have to go and buy a house, this is actually not so bad. I know what I want and what I want to pay.

We have had one house in mind for a while and the price is moving towards the area of right. So yesterday afternoon I put in a bid and sat back. Turns out the vendor has flown the country and moved back to Oz where her current address is a camper van. "A camper Van OZ". I can anticpate a problem sending her a letter....

So anyway much talking to ourselves, a quick drive round to look at a few others from over the garden wall and well I made an offer on another house. But this one has been on for over a year and the asking price reflects values when it went on.

I had the kind of conversation with the inastate agent they really hate. You know:

R: "I don't want a huge protracted negociation, you need to get the most money for your client but you don;t want them sat there for 5 years waiting to sell either."

A: "Quite"

So far so good.

R: "There's no point wasting each others time, it was on for 450 (Thousand) that means you thought it was worth 425 personally I think that was a bit strong too, and that was last year so since then the market has shifted, 350 would be realistic so if I offer 370 that would be top money"

A"This is no way enough and an offer has to start with 4."

R: Laughs.

A: "In fact the client wants closer to 425."

R: "I want to sell my scrap rover car for 4000 pounds too. Do you really want a sale?"

A: "yes but...."

R: "And you have had lots of offers of that sort of money?"

A: "No but....."

R: "And there have been loads of viewings at that money?"

A: "There have been a few"

R: "Really? When I phoned last week and said I had viewed the place they asked me if I was Mr H or Mr Sims. That would make errh 2"

A: "Yes but"

R: "So really when I said that 450 was a bit strong back in June when I viewed I was not too far out"

A: "well, perhaps it was."

R: "So I suppose your client needs to decide if they want to sell now or wait 4 or 5 years for the market to recover."

A: "They would accept 425."

R: "I bet they would, in the current market, if I was them I bite my hands off! I have offered 370 and that is all I will go to"

A "But the offer really has to start with 4 to be seriously considered"

R: "I am not a charitable grant giving body I can only offer what it's worth"

etc etc.

But this is the rub, things must be a bit desperate, I was chatting to my estate agent and explained the situation to him. How I cannot accept the other guys offer till I have somewhere to go, I cannot camp in December. So the estate agent who is selling for me has offered to see what he can negociate with the other estate agent who is selling to me.

Things must be tight in for inastate agents....


Monday, 1 September 2008

Strange old world

The Americans are indulging in self congratulation at how well and despite the village idiot they managed to cope with the threat of Gustav. They have 80 helicopters on standby.

Meanwhile in India they are screaming out for help for boats and helicopters without either people are going to die and have been dying.

Funny innit, still it could be worse, if they had oil India would probably have been invaded.

Strange times we live in though.

Russia goes steaming into Georgia in defence of it's gas pipelines and suddenly such actions are illegal. And MR Brown is very upset.

Would that not have made our little land grab to stop Saddam trading his oil in Euros a weee bit illegal too.

Mind you had Saddam really started to trade oil in Euros, then the Dollar would have been worth less than toilet roll and the whole world economic edifice collapsed a whole lot sooner.

God I hope I can swing this house deal.


Offer offer cash in the coffer - maybe....

Now, I am not entirely clear who reads this so I will be a bit circumspect.

We have now had a credible offer, fair old whack off the asking price but it is do able.

Do able in that if we can cut a deal on the other house we have in mind the arithmetic will work.

Ohh deary deary, we will not know that till tomorrow.

Management has gone out to buy clothes for the kids leaving me here biting my nails.

I am either excited or need valium. Think I might need to use the corkscrew later.


The games people play......

OK I confess I am still in bed.

I know, I know, I should be out of bed and doing things.

It's 9.20 and all I have managed so far is drink a cup of coffee.

Inastate agent calls, mysteriously he wants to see me in the office at 11.30 and he won't say why.

The games people play.....

Best you all come back and see what he said.

Management is getting very jumpy - but, she won't come with me.