The weeks have divided into a patchwork quilt of days where the house is full of men crossing paths. Chimney sweeps arrive with huge vacuum cleaners and friendly faces. Only interrupted by builders and joiners with tape measures and ideas. They prod bits of wood and scratch their heads, pull strange faces, "umm" and "ahh" and promise to return with quotes for us. More often than not, they don't. But we are told not to worry, that's the way here and that when we least expect it they'll come back with enthusiasm and tools and won't leave until the job is done.
There are days where we scrub floors, dust away cobwebs, unpack boxes, stitch curtains, paint furniture or walls and try to restore a modicum of order. New neighbours pop in to say hello and lend helping hands; bring local magazines, ripe damsons or welcome cards, tell us where we can find the best chickens for the run, or bring tools; a ladder and basket to help with the harvest of our ancient plum tree that looks as though it will fall over at any minute. Then return with jam still warm and more offers to help cook what they can see to be an overwhelming crop.
Then there are the run-away days. Where we may escape to London for a day or two, or maybe more, go for a walk or explore a local village, find an amazing shop or cafe; then excitedly return home, vowing not to stay away so long next time.
The gutter has been repaired, a chimney swept and lined, wood burner fitted, oil and kiln dried wood ordered for winter and the boiler fired up. Plum wine is bubbling away in the bathroom where it has been segregated until the demijohns stop exploding like mini plum volcanoes, kindling from the same old tree crackles in the grate. We've had our first visitors who have happily stayed amidst all the commotion twice as long as we expected and are even now planning their next visit...
...how have your days been?