Archives for the month of: August, 2013

Plunton Field 002Here’s a couple of pictures of the field, taken on Sunday when the grandparents visited. Matt, Fiona, Howard, Iris and Arthur went to explore our burn in their wellies. Iris’s verdict was it was thistly. Arthur got too cold (bright sunshine became a sharp shower) and Matt had a wee wade.

The burn (Pulwhirrin Burn) is pretty fast-flowing through the field and is about 4ft wide for the most part, going up to 6ft near the bridge under the road. The water is incredibly clean – in fact it’s classed as drinking water by SEPA. The field is pretty overgrown with lots of bracken (good for chicken bedding when dried, apparently).Plunton Field 001

NookWhile Iris was at school, Granddad was keeping himself out of trouble in the kitchen, removing the old cupboard and revealing the innards of the inglenook. We have someone from a local wood-burning stoves company coming on Thursday to discuss the possibility of installing wood-burning stoves with boilers to generate enough heat to warm the whole house and our hot water. At the minute all our hot water (except the ancient Miralec Supreme shower) is provided by the Rayburn. There is an immersion heater but it’s not currently connected up.

We’ve also got another roofer coming out to quote tomorrow. The roofing quotes have been really high so we’re changing tack and asking what can be done within the budget we have, rather than how much doing everything will cost. Looks like we’ll need to do patch repairs to the roof and concentrate the budget on the urgent issues highlighted in the survey and some easy fixes – gutters and fascias.

We also gave away the old carpet underlay today via Gumtree to another Laura who is renovating an old manse in Buittle. She’s just had woodworm treated too but is finding the bare boards draughty!inglenook_flue

Borgue P2Monday was Iris’s first day in P2 at her new school, Borgue Primary. She’ll be getting transport to and from the school but I took her in for her first morning. She is one of 8 P2s, in comparison to more than 80 P2s at her old school.

Borgue School has a long and illustrious history, hence the lovely building, having been Borgue Academy for many years. It was very well respected and for a small school in such a rural area produced several very academically gifted pupils. There’s even a book on the school’s history.

Iris reports that the hot dinner (spaghetti with tomato sauce) cooked by school cook Jeannie was delicious and she was too full for cake. She also read a book about otters (or possibly badgers), did some maths and had PE in the playground.Borgue Primary

The school crest on her sweatshirt is pretty too, depicting the school building, Vikings (Borgue has Viking roots), belted Galloway cattle and honey bees – Borgue was known as the “Land of Milk and Honey” in the 18th and 19th centuries due to the quality of both produced here. The milk is still pretty good – a milk tanker drives past the house twice a day to pick up supplies from Willie’s farm down the road and, of course, the best ice cream in Scotland is made just a couple of miles away at Cream O’ Galloway Ice Cream.

prize winners Yesterday was the Borgue Horticultural Society Annual Show. On Friday night Matt and the kids popped down to the village hall to sign us up and enter a few of the categories. The kids both entered the sea shell and sand scuplture on a plate competition, as Mrs Sproat had kindly popped in last week with sand and seashells gathered for the purpose and a delicious sponge cake to welcome us in – the house was previously lived in by her mother-in-law. Iris also entered the handwriting competition and baked flapjacks.

Keen to show willing (and get to grips with the Rayburn) I also entered some of the home baking categories with lemon curd, courgette, lime and poppy seed muffins and lavender scones. The scones were scoffed before I could take a picture. They tasted yummy but were not the most pretty scones as I couldn’t find the correct cutter so ended up making massive ones!

Arthur won a third prize, Iris a second for the flapjacks and I was flabbergasted to receive a hat-trick of first prizes. We also met more neighbours, Dad won some biscuits in the raffle and bought two giant boxes of prize-winning fruit and veg in the after-show auction. One of the new neighbours we met, Jo, used to keep her Hebridean sheep in our field and suggested we ask the neighbouring farmer, Jack, to graze his cows on the land to get the bracken down (all he’ll need to do is open the adjoining gate between the fields) and then she’d be happy to use it for her sheep again. This sounds like a grand plan to me as we don’t want the field to get too far out of hand but at the same time we need to sort the house out before we tackle it and take on livestock.

As Dad is retiring from the electrics game, he’s also handing over some of his power tools for us to keep and use. One of these is a small jack hammer. Having chatted to the son of the former owner, Benji, we suspected there might still be an original cast iron range behind the obviously covered over and tiled area in the kitchen. So, with three other adults in the house to babysit, I decided to don my work clothes and get busy. The first picture is what was left an hour or so later.

It was the work of a few minutes to chisel off the beige tiles and then the real work began to see what was underneath. Alas, no range in place but there is an inglenook, backfilled with rubble and what appears to be the remnants of a bird nest.

inglenook birds_nest

These pictures were taken inside the cavity. The plan is to take a sledgehammer to what’s left and reveal and inglenook for a possible future range cooker.

rubble  stone stone 2

So we moved in (not without hitches involving overworked removal men and cats locked in showers) and the house is still standing. We are now on to our second “trade”. The woodworm was treated last week and this week our sparky (AKA my Dad) is putting in new plug sockets, switches etc. One room down, 11 to go.  We’re also getting regular visits from roofers and plumbers as well as biomass experts for various jobs. The biomass plan might be about to fall at the first hurdle as it’s looking unaffordable, so we’re now looking into ranges and woodburning stoves as heating. There might be exciting range-related news in my next post. In the meantime, here’s a picture of how most of our floors look just now.Image