Starting on the house

So, we completed the purchase of the house on the last working day of December 2016 – hurray! I’m pretty chuffed with that outcome because I secretly had ‘before Christmas’ in my head as a milestone for owning a place, and after the way things were looking in October, three days late seems like a pretty big win.

Since then we’ve had two short trips to the house to get started on some jobs. We also had to go to the Catastro to get the borders of our land redrawn. We sat in the office there for 20 minutes, the guy filled in a form and said it would take three months to process but that it might get refused because although our deed says that we bought 500m2 of urban land, there were only 200m2 there originally. He chuckled and said “It’s like you came to the market when I had two apples on my stall. Then I sold you five!” Yes, how amusing.

We’ve started tidying up indoors and out. There is a lot of random crap in our house. Some of it is useful (pitch fork, shower tray, crow bar, arm chairs), some of it less so (brand new electric blanket [yup – electric blanket], old mattresses, cow medicine, mouldy overalls, etc.). There’s also a lot of stuff growing all over our land, house and stone walls. Whilst we do want to grow lots of stuff, I’m not sure a monoculture of brambles is the way forward.

We cleared some very clingy ivy off the house walls. We did lots of bramble bashing. And argued about where to compost the resulting debris. (Still undecided.)

We disturbed a fire salamander whilst digging up brambles! Don’t worry, he was safely relocated to a spade-free hibernation zone.

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Mind the fire salamander!

We found our water supply in the neighbouring field. It definitely needs a new cover. And we might want to get it tested…

Dave and Tarje set about moving some roof tiles around to try and stop the leaks. At least our roof isn’t hard to get up on – you can walk straight onto it from the back of the house!

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A pleasant evening for it too

We built a composting toilet (I say ‘we’ because although this was mostly Dave’s doing, he clearly would have been lost without my very useful comments that were definitely not criticisms of his masterpiece).

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Composting toilet in temporary position, complete with bag of saw dust and bog roll

The main steps to the house were a bit of a death trap of debris and grass. We thought we were in for a long job of attempted dry stone walling, until we dug down and found these already there! Handy.

And every time we’re at the house doing work, we get to pause every now and then to enjoy the views and the company.

-Anna

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