Saturday, 14 January 2012

Dingle Dell.

I could not write about Heddon on the Wall without mentioning Dingle Dell. It is, after all, one of the reasons we moved here.

Let me recap: there we were, Ken, Isla and me, (Angus was with Granny), driving around the Tyne Valley desperately trying to find somewhere, anywhere, to live where we would all feel comfortable. We had a short list of places which seemed worth while researching and checking out and Heddon was on that list. Isla who was still breast feeding, was hungry and we all needed a break and recharge. We needed to stop so that we could chat and reflect. We were in Heddon and there was a sign rather grandly directing people to a "Shopping Centre". We thought we would try there. As I have mentioned previously this is a shopping centre of mixed pleasures but naturally we homed in on Dingle Dell. Suddenly Heddon went so much higher on my list of places where I could live. Here, in a small village, was a coffee shop with a decent coffee machine where I could buy cappuccino, cafe latte, americano, and eat cake. And there were toys for my child to play with. Indeed, a coffee shop small enough to be friendly but large enough to have a steady flow of people so that you could be inconspicuous if  you wanted. Warm and cosy; friendly but efficient.The only down side was that, unlike Germany, the dog was banned.

We asked the lady who was serving us about Heddon and it jumped fairly quickly to the top of our list of potential places. Dingle Dell has become a place to meet friends, have chats with the vicar, buy stuff you need, drink coffee, hang out when you don't want to be at home, check out what is going on in the village, reward Angus for some achievement, or just pass the time. I do get concerned about the calories, though. Just not for long (enough?).

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Heddon Nativity: Another reason to live in Heddon

Just prior to Christmas I was stopped by the Methodist Vicar whilst walking home from school one day and asked if I would mind being an angel. I said, "Of course." I was subsequently phoned up and asked if actually I would mind being Mary instead as she was ill. "Naturally," I said. "But I do think I am a bit old." "Never mind," she said. "You are the youngest one available."

Okay - so at 40 something for the first time in my life I got to play Mary in a Nativity Play. Was I in a church? No.

A village hall? No.

Somewhere noble? No.

I was sitting outside a pub on a cold and snowy day with Robert (more about him on another day) and a chap from the library whose name I can never remember.

Heddon Churches had decided to do a live nativity and had various characters from the story dotted around the village in dress: the Wise Men were in the library reading which was suitably wise considering the temperature; shepherds and sheep were in our previous landlady's garden; we were outside an inn as there was no room inside and the Angels were outside the newsagent's telling good news. Roman soldiers were being very threatening and making people register for tax purposes.
A lot of fun but very cold!

The House - respectable enough!

I have finally decided that the house is sorted enough to take some pictures and let you see where we have got to. As you know, the kitchen has been having a bit of a revamp recently. It doesn't actually look much different: the flooring has been replaced and we have acquired some cupboards (rehashed from the ones we took down to create more work surface), but other than that, all the work was under the floors and so can't been seen. However, this is where we are now:

The rest of the photos really speak for themselves. To see some idea of what the house we like before we started building, click here I haven't shown the garden yet as there is still too much to do before I am satisfied that you can see it but rest assured it is under way. As there was so much to do, there are still things that we haven't done yet in the decoration area. Pictures are up mostly but I still want to decorate Isla's room in a more little girl friendly way; we still need a wardrobe for the guest room and decent curtains in there; light fittings are being done one room at at a time; some of the doors haven't yet been varnished and the back of the garage that has become a utility area is still bare plaster. Some things just have to wait. These will be done but slowly and in a financially responsible way (damn!).

Enjoy the pictures:

Before: the top of the stairs. The metal railings were original but no longer legal or safe. We opted to take them out as Isla loves climbing too much! The carpets were foul and this was the only place in the house to have white skirting boards. The wall at the top of the stairs was asking to create an emergency trip to A and E!

After - there were five different architraves and four different types of skirting. We went with the majority in the house and ended up with wood!  We also removed the non-child-friendly banister rails and wall.

My creative space - when I have time. It still needs the final piece of shelf replaced but that is surprisingly complicated, and I want a notice board. They can both wait. It's usable and that is fabulous.

The stairway (with Christmas tinsel!). Much better, cleaner, far nicer carpet, safe and not a dull brown colour. We have currently opted for cream throughout the house and neutral carpets as that saved having to make loads of decorative decisions as well as all the structural and building decisions. Colour can come later and in the soft furnishings - when we get around to buying them.
Leaky, foul, dark, no where to wash your hands (how disgusting is that!?)
You do not want to know what we found in that cupboard or on the back of the door. Or under the bath, for that matter. And the brown in the bath was rust. Let's just say it all had to come out.

We knocked down the wall and blocked in the extra door. Much better. And we painted over that orange. It will be even better when we can dispose of the nappy bucket with changing table and find a mirror that fits the space above the sink.

Do you like the tiling? I did that. Cleaner, no rust, no disgusting items hanging on the back of the door, and you can shower with a warm towel afterwards. Lovely.