Cae'r Bryniau 

Click here to edit subtitle

Blog

Episode 4 - The first Christmas plus polytunnel and Library progress

Posted on 18 January, 2015 at 14:45 Comments comments (0)

My, how time flies! It is amazing to think that we have now been here for more than two months and we are now in 2015! Happy New Year, everyone!

In the run-up to Christmas and the arrival of various special guests we were determined to get the ‘Library’ up and running. This room will be a place with lots of our books, pictures, Elvis (more of whom later) and the piano. It will also double as our dining room and the B&B breakfast room.

The room had been formerly the dining room, but was hampered by a reconstructed crog-loft, that was not usable, but which seemed to dominate the whole space. We were keen to remove it and get the place opened up. On 16th December it was decided to get it as complete as possible by Christmas.


We cracked on. I was delegated with the demolition work (note to readers – don’t try this yourself - unless you go to the hardware store and get lots of power tools, hammers, chisels and saws – and, of course, a workbench!!!)


Suzi worked on the décor, selecting the colours and doing the majority of the painting, and the acquisition of curtain poles, soft furnishings and other furniture, as well as supervision and direction.


There was also a chance to get some of our pictures out and cleaned ready for display. Having had stuff in store for ages, it was good to see them again. 



When we moved in the room was used as store, so the first job was to get the room cleared, so the boxes were moved again – admittedly with some unpacking!

It was a frenetic time – barely time to get some Christmas shopping done or a game of Spider Solitaire (which is the Cae’r Bryniau equivalent of Angry Birds).

Mother-in-law arrived on 23rd and was roped into hanging curtains and supervising the hanging of Elvis.

Elvis is more correctly Michael Jackson. Confused? You should be…

Michael Jackson is a fine stag, shot at Ardross in Scotland in 1911 by A G Grenfell, Suzi’s Great Grandfather. After many years of hanging in one location in Cheshire he suffered an ignominious fall from the wall and broke his nose.


It was only after corrective nose surgery by the talented Jones’ that he was complete again, although hr doesn’t quite look his old self… hence the Jackson handle. Unfortunately someone who cannot be named kept mixing Michael with Elvis (well they are both dead singers, I suppose) so he will be forever Elvis!

We completed the majority of the work on Christmas Eve and somewhat later than usual put up decorations on Christmas morning.


We also woke up Santa and he took up residence in his new home.



Christmas and New Year was a lovely time of food, friendship, walks and recharging the batteries. The daily duties of chicken husbandry are hardly a chore, except when the wind is so cutting that you can feel it slicing through you. We knew that Anglesey is windy, but our first winter has been very windy indeed!


Talking of wind, the preparation for the polytunnel has been going steadily. The location was very important because of the prevailing wind and after lots of standing out in different weathers we chose a spot on the eastern side of the site, sheltered from the prevailing wind by a rocky outcrop. Having sampled the winds, it’ll be fingers crossed! Finding gaps in the weather I have now got all the foundations posts in ready for the hoops, which is the next job.

Instead of being put into hibernation until next year, Santa wanted to be closely involved with the works. We found him with his Hi-Viz on ready to get outside, but his DIY skills are a bit dodgy, so he was over-ruled!



We are looking forward next week to the installation of a fireplace in the Library – the chimney sweep had a difficult job getting it cleaned and the contents of the chimney included a nest and a desiccated jackdaw!

Next time I will give an update on the chickens and the problems of an aggressive cockerel! This morning, however, it looked as though one of the hens had metamorphosed into a pheasant – apologies for the blurry picture. Now, where’s the rifle?


 

Episode 3 - The Land Rover arrives and holes are dug!

Posted on 24 December, 2014 at 4:15 Comments comments (1)

One of the advantages of living in the country is that you are required, by law, to take possession of a four-wheel drive vehicle, and being British the only four-wheel drive vehicle we are permitted to buy is a Land Rover. So off we toddled to the Land Rover emporium and came back with CCA. She is a beautiful 1981 Series III 88 inch in superb condition. She arrived home and settled in beautifully – even the chickens and cats took to her. She even agreed to Izzy and Mikey having a drive! Ok, so the law is self-generated - for our overseas readers, it isn’t really the law, but we needed an excuse!


We also ‘had to’ hire a digger as I needed to dig a pond – it was a great priority! We had selected the location in the old pig field (now renamed the Duck Field). The digger arrived and I got to work, supervised by Suzi, who was concerned I might bury myself! Once the hole was dug I then moved on to dig foundation holes for the polytunnel. Bearing in mind the windy aspect the polytunnel needs to be firmly sited. Even though we selected the most sheltered spot, as someone said the other day, there is nothing between Brazil and us, so there is plenty of scope for the wind to speed up!


In the meantime Suzi started cleaning up the caravan ready for the season, because we are starting to get bookings for next summer, so pressure on.


As I write this we are getting the Library ready for the Christmas festivities so more pictures next time, as well as updates on the pond and polytunnel.

All that remains is for Suzi and I and all the tribe to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year.

 

Episode 2 - Chicken husbandry and other challenges

Posted on 15 December, 2014 at 7:05 Comments comments (1)

We left off at the last part of our story where we had just moved into Cae’r Bryniau and were loving exploring our new abode.


When we moved in we adopted 11 chickens (or rather 10 hens and a cockerel – of whom more later) and three cats. The cats are Fleegle, Bingo and Drooper, although we don’t know what happened to Snorky. For those not of a certain age the four characters were the Banana Splits, on TV in the 1970s – they bore no resemblance to cats, but hey ho. More surprisingly they are also female cats and I had always thought of the Banana Splits as male characters!

Then there are the poultry. We had agreed to take them on when we moved in and they have obviously been pets, all with names, listed below, so will not face the same fate as some of our future poultry stocks (the former owners will be pleased to know)! Did you know that there are thousands of videos on YouTube on how to dispatch chickens? Unfortunately most are US-based and look as though they are made on the Deliverance film set. No duelling banjos, though.


Anyway, we had to get to grips with management of the flock. The former owners had left copious instructions on how to manage the birds, what to feed them, when to clean them out, etc. What they did not explain, however, probably because it should have been obvious, even to an Oxford-educated person like Suzi, was how the water feeder worked and Suzi ended up with water all down her front when the contraption, full of ice cold water, fell to pieces when she first tried to assemble it. I can’t talk. Clyde, the cochin cockerel, appeared to be a bit hen-pecked and needed treating with gentian violet. Guess who, when trying to free the sprayer was looking right down the barrel of the sprayer when it discharged. I still have specks of purple a couple of weeks later!

Clyde is a large and impressive cockerel and he does like to make his presence known. He particularly likes to point out to Suzi who is boss (brave bird!) and has on occasion gone for her, whereas he as pecked my boot once but he knows I am in charge. If it wasn’t for the fact that he is a pet he would have been in the pot already!


The poly tunnel arrived a couple of weeks ago and I have been busy preparing the site. It took some time to select the right location, so we spent a lot of time wandering around the site, with fingers in the air, assessing the most sheltered location.


We have certainly had the experience of the Anglesey wind and the much spoken about ‘weather bomb’ brought very high, cold winds, but we survived.


In the end we opted for a location on the bottom field in the lee of the rocky outcrop. It is accessible and sheltered. The next blog will give an update on progress of the erection of the tunnel, the newest acquisition and the disappearing crog loft – watch this space.