Monday, 18 November 2013

Woes and wows and how to prevent yourself kicking the bucket

Having never had a conservatory before, I have previously been oblivious to the charms of the sound of rain drumming on a glass roof.

It is so nice to be in a warm room and hear the outdoor sounds so clear.. actually though.. should it sound that clear?

The answer to that is NO.

What I thought was the sound of rain gently hammering on my roof was in fact the sound of rain coming through my roof and slowly turning my floor into a rather depressing soggy mess.

Now, living in the UK you have to expect rain, so I have started each morning with the dreaded walk of doom to inspect the bucket under the leak.

You're probably thinking 'why doesn't she just fix the leak?' Don't think I have been idle. I have been up chairs squirting silicon into any gap visible.. only to find it leaks somewhere else during the next rainfall.

My roof is now made almost entirely of silicon.

I have however found a cunning way of preventing the rain leaking in.

What I do is put a bucket under the drip. This is a sure fire way to stop the leak. You see, I have discovered that the rain is particularly fond of my carpet. So much so, that it will only rain on parts of my floor NOT protected by a bucket.

No matter how bad the storm if a bucket is under the leak.. well it just won't drip. Fooled into thinking the leak has been fixed I remove the bucket and Ta Da!! it leaks again.

I have found the very best way to stop any future leaks is to completely fill the room with buckets. My conservatory now resembles a trendy art installation.

I have also found the best way to not trip on any of these buckets is to close the door, pull the curtain and gently weep in another room.

You must now be wondering why I don't just give up and move into a tent in a lonely field somewhere.. I often think this myself.. and then something happens that makes me realise why I moved to this little blob of Buckinghamshire.

While washing my dishes and staring vacantly out of my kitchen window what did I see, but this, floating past my window!

Now I can safely say I've never seen a hot air balloon go over my garden in all the time I lived in London!
And though I had to sprint upstairs to grab a camera, turning my feet into little pincushions on the gripper rods as I went, I think it was worth it.
Now when I think 'Wwwwwhyyy???' when something happens with my house/moneypit, I look at this rather blurry photograph and think to myself 'Ah, that's why'.

After nearly three months of living in my house I now have.. da da daaa.. stair carpet! Yes, who would have thunk that something so uninteresting could cause me such delight? The prospect of not getting blood poisoning when going up and down the stairs is really quite a nice prospect!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Slug herding for beginners

Now when I moved from London to Buckinghamshire I was looking forward to seeing a bit more wildlife. To be honest though it hasn’t been quite what I expected.
My first experience of nature was an arachnid. Never all that promising.
Not only do I have an unusual assortment of chairs, I am also vertically challenged when it comes to my sleeping arrangements ie. I have been sleeping on a mattress on the floor. My gorgeous sleigh bed that fitted so beautifully in my house in North London did not fit so well when I moved to West London so was, yet again, stored in my parents loft.
Now here is an interesting thing. Attics get very hot.. perhaps something to do with the fact they are nearer the sun than the rest of the house.. who knew?
Wood and extreme heat are also not the best of friends. Suffices to say when it came to rebuilding my bedframe to move to Buckinghamshire  it had warped beyond recognition and was now more suitable for traversing white water rapids than accommodating a mattress.
Hence the reason that the mattress is now directly on the floor.
Ordinarily that wouldn’t be a problem. Saves on hoovering under the bed and if inebriated falling out of bed is not a painful experience.
However it does mean that you are also near to wildlife.
In the first fortnight I had no TV so wiled away the hours by listening to audio books. I have a good selection as I listen to them a lot while working. But on the fateful night of this story I had decided to listen to one in bed. My small stereo was lit up as it played and out of the corner of my eye I saw the light blink.  Strange. It was almost as if something had passed in front of it. But as my cat was not with me I thought nothing more of it. A trick of the light. I was perhaps tired. Then however I heard it. A faint tapping noise almost like.. a many footed creature.. Holy Macaroni!  Then I saw it. A spider the size of a sparrow.
Now the realisation hit me. I lived alone. No one else here to de-bug my house.
It is times like this I wish I had CCTV. I could have made a killing entering that video into one of those home video shows because trying to catch a whopping great spider with legs like  coat hangers and bobbly knee caps when you are not keen/scared shitless of spiders is a real challenge. 
First you have the running about with a glass and a piece of newspaper. You parry back and forth like a pair of fencers.. I chase it .. it chases me.. I run away screaming before trying to creep up on it from behind and catch it unawares again. Then you have the horror THE HORROR of it glaring at you from the inside of a jar while you rush to a window trying not to throw up only to discover it is shut and somehow you’re going to have to open it by kung fu kicking the latch without the neighbours seeing your underwear.
I can only say it was a stressful first night.
I woke slightly dishevelled and went downstairs. I slid open the patio door and walked into the conservatory to survey my small yet perfectly formed garden. Only to see *shudder* a slug, an actual bloody slug on the inside of the glass ceiling.
How the heck it managed to get in when all the windows were shut was beyond me. How to get it out again was also beyond me.
Now, letting it climb onto a piece of card seemed good at first.. But do slugs adhere to cardboard? What if it fell off and landed on me? *Bletch* The carpet was good I did not want to risk throwing up on it. What about getting two twigs and gently tweezing it off? Seemed a sound idea. I tried it.
It appears slugs are extremely sticky. It did not budge but the middle squeezed in so it looked like it had a tight belt on *double bletch and much running around screaming*. (Honestly there are definite drawbacks to a) living by yourself and b) having a room made entirely of windows that neighbours can see you running in circles screaming and waving your hands in the air through.)
Then the truth dawned on me. I would have to herd it like a sheep. Slugs are an interesting species. They seem to have no sense of direction when it comes to making a bid for freedom.
I nudged it’s bottom and it moved a bit. I nudged it again, it moved again. Progress. It was now moving down towards the door I had opened. Now here was my mistake. I took a small break here to do some more running about and screaming and when my heart rate  had returned to a more acceptable level some 10 minutes later I returned to find… it had gone. *Phew*
Shit a Brick!  It hadn’t gone it was now on the other wall *insert more screaming waving of arms and running about* How on earth? It had bypassed the open door completely. So in order not to be outwitted I began my slug herding again.
It is a painfully slow business. Forty minutes of slug herding later it was gone and I was slug free.
There is I am sure a very good moral to this story, but the only one I can think of, is I have discovered that to add to my previous neurosis I am now scared of slugs, oh yeah, and wildlife is not always what it seems.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

The big move.. or the small shuffle

Moving house is always stressful, but I do wonder if most people have the same sort of experiences I’ve had or if I am just one super lucky gal.
On the first day all was exciting, looking at all the fabulous stuff they had left, the bedroom furniture and curtains, the curtain poles with big sparkly tie backs, they had steam cleaned the oven and repainted walls.. all seemed so wonderful.. except for the living room and the stair and landing carpet.. it smelled a bit.. well doggy.

I bought some doggy odour shampoo though and gave the carpet a good scrub, sure that all would be well in the morning.

In the night though, the smell was so strong I realised my throat was closing up.

I persevered.

The next night however was even worse.. I spent the night being sick... 5am next morning I went downstairs looked sorrowfully at the forlorn carpet and then in a frenzy spent two hours ripping it up and chucking it out into the garden.

Bliss. The smell of rubbery underlay.. but NO DOG!

Oh well, just buy a new carpet I can hear you saying. But for me it was a bit of a disappointment really on two levels. Firstly, though it was red, it was the thickest carpet I have ever stood on! It was virtually ankle deep! Secondly, I had planned to get a dog myself, but what if all dogs are so stinky and I became immune and ended up a mad old dog lady who people avoided in the street due to my doggy odours? My boyf’s family have a Staffy and I distinctly remember playing with her without the need for a clothes peg on the nose. A cloth to mop up the drool perhaps but that was it. Oh horror.. would my dream of owning a dog be dashed before I had even watched Crufts and browsed it like a catalogue to find my perfect doggy companion?
Apparently not. 
In the name of research I have since invited my friend and her wee pooch over and spent an hour sniffing it inbetween our chattery. All is well. I am now of the opinion that it was a particularly stinky variety of dog that perfumed my carpet for me.

Anyway, you would think that now that problem was overcome I could skip down the stairs happily without a care in the world. Indeed I actually tried this. But being a habitual wearer of floorsweepingly long skirts I instantly found after two steps that I was now held firmly in place.

Did I mention that I hadn’t removed the gripper rods?

Those blasted little batons of wood covered in sharp nails usually so useful at holding down carpets are now taking great delight in snagging me every time I pass them.

My poor shoes are now so filled with holes they would give a colander a run for its money, as for my feet.. words escape me.. in fact they have been involuntarily escaping me every time I stand on one of those prickly little feckers.

The problem is I am a bit of a bohemian and like to wander about barefoot which is a hard habit to stop.

Being a bit of a hippy though has come in very handy what with my complete lack of furniture.

The moving in date was delayed and postponed so many times that by the time we had heard for sure what the moving-in day was going to be, there were no removal vans available for hire, what with it being a Bank Holiday weekend. So instead my long suffering parents and sister agreed to form a little convoy of cars and bring up all the essential.. well all those that would fit in their cars.

And as there were no vans for a whole week they came the next day.. and then the next. Now as we looked at what furniture I had left it seemed a bit of a waste to book a van so they have continued to bring up my possessions in little car loads.

It has been a slow process. Not only did I have to move into a new house, I have also moved into a new Jewellery studio. I can heartily recommend that if you plan to do something similar YOU DON’T.

It is an utterly complex procedure. Trying to figure out what goes to what location is something you need to be a member of MENSA to do.

At last though we have squeezed everything into it’s rightful home… hmmm.. something appeared to be missing though.. oh yes.. CHAIRS!!

I had planned to order some new sofas once I had moved in, but that was before I massacred the carpets, so I have no comfy chairs to sit and chat on. Oh and my dining chairs are located in my parents loft, handily situated at the very back behind 7 years of accumulated rubbish.
Now, like a group of toddlers, we sit at the dining table with our armpits level with the top and and our eyes peeping over it. I have had to improvise you see, and at short notice this means we now tuck into our tasty meals while sitting at a fishing stool, a deckchair and a pair of library steps. It is all very.. um.. quirky.

An exciting announcement I do have is that I now own a refrigerator.

It is my second.
The first one arrived with a free dent the size and shape of a big hefty work boot in the side, which I decided was just not really my style, so I had to wait to have it picked up and replaced.

In the meantime I was very limited in my eating options. My milk had turned to butter and my butter had turned to milk and I was surviving on a diet of Pot Noodles. I think there is a reason why they have food like that in Space. Something to do with the fact that no one on Earth would ever want it. The novelty of a kettle based cookery system wears thin very quickly.

As you can see my first foray into life as a Buckinghamshire lass has been quite a challenge.

But now things are slightly more settled and I have Internet again (a month with no Internet and very cheap mobile phone that was less apple and more banana has been a trying experience… oh how I have missed my flickr friends in particular) I will hopefully be able to explore my surroundings and concentrate a bit more on my work that has been sadly neglected.. though this may well continue to be neglected.. more about that next time.

Until then,
Much Love


**On one last note, for those people worried about the safety of my moggy, he has not yet come. I will not bring him until the flooring is sorted and is safe.. he is currently still at my parent’s house where I visit him for kitty kisses regularly.


Saturday, 11 May 2013

Springtime in London

Back so soon?

Me too! How did that happen? Well, I felt I had to share this little bit of Springtime in London.

After months of dreary rain it's so nice to have bits of colour sprouting here and there isn't it?

Now I am no gardener so possibly this is not in fact a rare and exotic bloom, and that passers by were actually wondering why I was taking photos of a weed. But I loved how it looked like a dog that has got it's head stuck in a railing (though of course that would be bad and I do not recommend people squish their dogs heads through railings to see what it looks like.. perhaps watch Disney's 'Bolt' instead.. however do not google 'Bolt dog head in railings' though, as I have just done to check if this was the right film.. because I fear I may now be on some FBI data base for nutjobs.)
Where was I? Yes, I loved how it had pushed its way out from between the bars to cheer up passers by.

This is why I always carry a point shoot with me, to capture little bits of loveliness and because just a few steps away was this gorgeous sight of fluffy pink goodness.

I'm actually standing underneath the tree.. virtually in it and it was like being under a soft pink duvet.
And more importantly I didn't even die taking this photo.

I mention this because a very kind builder on his break moved a traffic cone and a 'Danger of Death' sign that were resting up against it so I could take this photo. Not really sure what they were for.. maybe people were expiring due to its loveliness.

Builders can be smashing :D

Now, I don't mean to sound vain.. but.. I can rarely walk past a builder without getting a comment.
Yes indeed, and though many girls get whistles, I'm guessing few,  like me, get offers of scaffolding to hold up their saggy bottoms.. or cement to fill in the cracks of their face between the worry lines :P

I'm sure they mean well!

Friday, 10 May 2013


With so many exciting new things happening in the land of Elbie it seemed a perfect time to start a new blog.

This will be a slightly more random blog than my work related one, mainly about things I have seen or done, things that have made me smile or maybe even things that filled me with rage and made my face pucker up like a baboon's bottom.

Basically it is a blog filled with general chit chattery.

Let's start with a little bit about me. I am a thirty something Jeweller, Milliner and Blythe obssessive.

If you were wondering, a Blythe is a type of doll and can be a bit of a marmite affair.. If you've never seen one now might be the time to google it...

If you know what a Blythe is and love it.. well we may have met before on Flickr and are probably friends.. but if now you've seen what they look like and think they are creepy.. well this may not be the blog for you.
Because though this is not a blog about dolls, I do have a whole lot of them and am pretty sure they will make a lot of appearances. And if you are the sort of person who doesn't like them and finds them creepy.. well to be honest I don't really care.. I'm sure they think you are pretty creepy too.. what with your tiny head and non colour changing eyes.. and besides I don't need to hear negativity about something I love and if you want to bring some.. well be warned.. my Blythes are all well trained in Jiu Jitsu.. now shoo.. move along.. there's nothing for you to see here.

Oh, you're still here. That's just peachy :D

So on to my news. 

The first major change that is happening in my life is I am just in the process of moving.

Up until now I have always lived in and around London. I grew up in the suburbs of North West London and then spent nearly 10 years of my adult life in North London. I've always considered myself a bit of a Norf Lundun girl.. but now... da da daaa.. I am moving to Buckinghamshire, to nestle between the Chiltern Hills and the Aylesbury vale.

Just me, my cat Piggy, my laptop and cameras to record what's going on. Most photos will be taken with a Lumix point and shoot that is teeny tiny and fits easily in a pocket.. fancy pansy pics will be taken with a Sony Nex. Bear in mind though that I am by no means a photographer and fully expect to take at least half of my pictures
with the lens cap on or with the accidental addition of a camera strap or giant thumb obscuring the best bits.

The whole house hunting was a bit of a trauma. I never planned to move so far out but the first houses I viewed were.. hmm.. how shall I put it .. interesting.
There was one that was held up with mould and paint, the one that was on the motorway, the one that was on such a steep hill it was virtually a cliff.. need I go on?

But *hurrah* I did finally find a house that didn't make my skin crawl so quickly snapped it up.

You, my lucky readers will be able to follow my journey into the country and everything that entails as well as any other exiting, tedious or just plain weird, things I get up to :D

See you soon,