Sunday, 12 August 2012

End of Part One.

The Garden.  Tame (ish)
A major chapter in our lives ended this week with the sale of our house "darn sarf" finally completing.  If you've been following this lunatic adventure from the off (and if you haven't, where the hell have you been?) then you'll know this has been a major thorn in our sides for well over 18 months.  We were initially blighted by the plunging property market and then by the double whammy of the tenant from hell who's abode in the underworld appears to have been directly adjacent to that of our estate agent.  We spent a delightful week earlier this year removing urine sodden carpets, repairing the mud bath which had previously been our garden and redecorating the place in a last ditch attempt to sell it.  (This despite the fact the estate agent's most recent visit report had declared everything was "in order".)  Thankfully this time it worked and we are now 100% "proper northerners", or at least as proper as I'll ever get.

By way of celebration I've been increasing the pace of work on our wayward garden and have finally succeeded in licking it into some sort of shape; a few finishing touches on Tuesday evening and we'll be done.  I've been ably assisted in this venture by Monty who leaps menacingly on each and every weed I attempt to remove and bounces through the heather in a vain attempt to catch one of out many resident frogs.  Whoever coined the phrase "low maintenance garden" should be shot, or at the very least prosecuted in someway for misleading gardening novices such as myself into believing this means pulling up the occasional weed and watering it should the rain gauge fall uncharacteristically low.

Our "classic" lino.
And it's not just the garden that's in for a little bit of sprucing up; we are finally now in a position to begin the modest renovation of our little bungalow.  Our bright orange worksurfaces in the kitchen have certainly grown on me, but I will be thankful to see the back of the lino.  I'm considering selling the lot to the Beamish Museum as a snapshot of life in 1970's England.  We also hope to add a small extension and this means talking to architects, though having seen their fee structures I feel they will be very quick conversations.  It all seems terribly grown up for someone who still gets excited by funfairs and candyfloss.

Away from the house we decided to explore more of the local coastline yesterday and headed off on a 13 mile loop taking in the Cumbria Coastal Way and the Cistercian Way.  Within the first mile I'd gone up to my thighs in a bog and Steve, in an effort to avoid said bog, was viciously attacked by stinging nettles.  We now had only one decent leg between us, but still we journeyed on.  Our route took us past Cartmel Airfield where, thanks to pooling our combined knowledge of aviation, I can tell you that we saw some "long pointy ones" and some "smaller ones with yellow bits".  It seems they offer the chance for tandem skydiving which despite a lifelong fear of flying, I have always wanted to try.  Perhaps if I survive jumping out of a plane I'll be less worried about boarding one in the first place.  Or maybe I'll stick with the tried and tested herbal remedies which have worked so well for me in the past.  (Gin still counts as a herbal remedy, right?)
Beautiful Cartmel Sands

The thing about living in a county with such spectacular mountains and lakes is that even on one of the hottest days of the year, the coast is virtually deserted.  In South Cumbria we are blessed with Morecambe Bay and a whole host of stunning estuaries and natural marshlands; in Western and Northern Cumbria the views stretch across the Solway Firth to Scotland and wherever you are on the coast, you'll always have spectacular views of the fells behind you.  We paused our journey at the Engine Inn in Cark to take on board a couple of pints of essential fluids before pushing for home. You can't be too careful when it comes to maintaining appropriate hydration levels.

I'm fascinated, and humbled, to know that people take time to read this blog and follow our adventures.  When I started writing it a couple of years ago I had only 2 aims in mind; firstly to keep a record of what we knew was going to be an interesting few years for us and secondly to keep family and friends informed of what we were up to and thus reduce the number of emails I'd need to send.  I am delighted that it has also led to me making new friends and inspired me to consider a future that perhaps includes a little freelance writing (although on that front I've learned a valuable lesson from E. L. James: just because lots of people read it, doesn't mean it's any good).  So thank you for joining us on the journey thus far; I've no idea what fun & challenges lie ahead in Part 2, but so long as I keep my sense of humour & a bottle of gin handy, I'm sure we'll be just fine!