So here we are, another seven weeks on from the last blog. Probably the strangest seven weeks of our lives . All I can say is thank goodness for the weather. It might not be exactly what the farmers want but, being reluctant to leave the house, the sunshine has been a godsend.
In fact it was so nice that it even tempted Marion back onto her bike after years of hesitancy following a nasty meeting with a pothole on a steep hill.
She did well and we managed a very pleasant ride of about six miles.
We booked a decorator to paint the outside of the house last summer but he had a mishap which meant that he was unable to come. He re-booked for April but, of course, you know what happened next. Part of the job was my garden office. If it had been done last summer it would have been fine but is started to deteriorate badly over winter.
The paint flaked so badly that there was no alternative but the dreaded DIY
I think we did pretty well.
Carried away by the success of the office we decided to paint Marion's beach hut shed. The pillars at the front showed signs of rot so I started to dig away at it. My cutting away of the rot went on and on.
And on until there was more hole than pillar.
I've filled this and it's now ready to paint. The only problem is that the chosen paint by Cuprinol is out of stock so that job is now on hold.
When we moved here we had the whole house stripped out and that work included a new en suite shower. A few weeks ago we noticed water leaking through the hall ceiling. The insurers called out an emergency plumber.
So the hall ceiling now looks like this. The plumber was great and kept his distance and wore a mask but he showed us the cause of the leak. Our original plumbers had to join a standard pipe to a non-standard fitting. They botched it completely and the fitting cracked but miraculously was water tight for seven years when it finally gave way and split completely. It was shoddy work and if it was not so long ago I'd be asking for them to pay for repairing the ceiling (which is not covered by the insurance - well it is but it's not worth paying the excess).
A consequence of the beautiful weather has been an equally beautiful blooming of roses. We've planted a lot of roses over the seven years that we've lived here and they are really making a fabulous show.
The rest of the garden is also looking good
Gardening and cycling apart, I've busied myself with The Times crosswords and am gradually creeping up the leaderboard in the Times online Puzzle club. I'm just in the top 300 for the cryptic puzzles but I am nearly into the top 100 for the concise ones. It will take a long time to get much higher as they use so many obscure words - this morning there was "Barratry" which is an old word for a type of fraud.
I've also dipped my toe back into buying and selling on eBay aiming to sell about five bits per week.
Here's a beautiful 19th century Italian faience wine jug that I bought at auction in March and want to list on eBay.
The signature is very clear but I can't for the life of me decipher it and I don't want to sell until i've identified it. Any ideas?
Here are a couple of nice finds made on eBay and sold for a reasonable profit.
Chinese export bowl made for the Isalmic market c1790
Hand painted Hicks & Meigh desert service c 1820
This bad taxidermy lizard turned up in a box of pottery at auction. I didn't want to throw him away. Amazingly he sold on eBay for £25 and the buyer was absolutely delighted.
If you're on Facebook or Instagram you'll no doubt be familiar with Emil Pakarklis who constantly pops up in videos trying to sell his iPhone Photography courses. I've always liked his simple videos but been put off by the cost of the course. He put on a lockdown special price of £49 so I subscribed. And I have to say that it has been £49 well spent. I've finished the course now and have started with the editing course (which cost more) but I think that it's been money very well spent.
The videos are very simple. Emil is self taught and makes everything very understandable and I'm pleased with the results. Most of the photos above were taken since starting the course. Below are some that I've taken practising the tips from the modules.
Alium edited using the Snapseed App
Framlingham Castle at dusk
An old friend and colleague Max asked me on Instagram if the photos were edited. Here are a couple of examples of the editing.
I feel that I am learning a lot from the courses and hope to get out practising more and more.
Hoping everyone is well in lockdown. We've no plans to get out anytime soon. We're not convinced that we can trust the Government to get this right.
We're not going out but this little fellow seemed determined to come in!