A Frosty Pause

After my last doleful post, winter got her act together.

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For a couple of days last week the rain stopped, the skies cleared, temperatures plummeted, mud froze,

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and, at long last, it was shiveringly cold.

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Not on a Siberian or Alaskan scale but at -5°C, Sussex was cold.

My first chore on arriving at work is to feed the Priory’s voracious guests.   (Pheasant don’t have an invite but loiter under the feeders nevertheless).

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My second is to make a pre-work cup of tea.

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Backlit by the rising sun, Priory Garden HQ is a warm, inviting lure on a frosty morning and, as I approached, I heard a rousing, angelic choir … if only, perhaps, in my head.   I filled the kettle and nestled on the electric heater like a fat, broody hen.

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As the kettle rumbled to life, I studied ice patterns on the glass

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before the rising sun rubbed them away.

My mini ice-age didn’t last long and warm rain has settled in once more … but it was nice whilst it lasted.  I’d still like some snow-fall to smother the Priory in white again.  We haven’t had a decent amount of snow since 2013 and I rather miss it.

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January 2013

Not everyone shares my love of ice and snow but I like living in a country with four distinct seasons; and, when they are not, it unsettles me.

On the home front, we finally moved into an C18th cottage a few days ago.  Jim and I wander amongst towers of boxes and through unfamiliar rooms with unfamiliar quirks; open windows which we can’t then close; tussle with swollen doors; hear odd noises; worry over odd smells; hunt down draughts; anxiously install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors; sadly shake our heads over tragic 1970’s ‘improvements’; recoil at bizarre decorating decisions; wrestle with an uppity wood-burner (who needs to knuckle down sharpish if she wants to avoid an early Ebay listing); gaze at an intimidating, overgrown, very steeply, terraced garden; and fall asleep beneath a red tractor and giant, garish flowers (painted, badly, on our bedroom wall).

With this large renovation job, you’ll understand if I relegate blogging somewhat.  I shall still post occasionally but plastering, painting and eradicating odd smells aside, we have a garden to make.

72 thoughts on “A Frosty Pause

    • Are you sure, Jayne? Just a little bit of snow? Just enough for a snowball or two? A little snowman perhaps? And the ice portraits haven’t reappeared yet and I rather miss them. Having said all that – roll on spring! Dave

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  1. Ah so that’s what’s been keeping you busy. Yes, your house ailments sound very familiar. But hey, the flip side is the history, presence and life this house embodies. Why you chose it? I wish you heart felt happiness together in your new home. So exciting!

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    • Hi Caro, yep busy organising an electrician, builder and carpenter – and then finding time to do some gardening both here and at work. Thanks for your good wishes, it is exciting but sadly after a day spent in the garden today it looks a damn sight worse than before we started! Oh well, we’ll get there. Dave

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  2. I enjoyed this post. Winter has finally hit us in the southeastern U.S, too, but hopefully Spring is not far away. (My nose tells me so, anyway; I was sneezing like crazy today.) I know you are going to be busy gardening and fixing up your new place, but I hope you have a minute to check out my latest post, as I have nominated you for the Infinity Dreams Award. It takes a bit of work to accept and nominate others, but it’s kind of fun to get, even if you don’t follow through. https://writerdiljak.wordpress.com/

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  3. Hah humbug,, we’ve still not had proper winter, just lots of wet and windy greyness. I miss ice patterns on glass. Humph. But it congrats on moving to your new home! Sounds as if you have your work cut jout inside and out! Hope you will occasionally share glimpses of your new garden-in-waiting…w

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    • Hullo Janet, I imagine you’ve had far worse weather than us and pretty non-stop too. Hope you’re hunkered down with plenty of cake. Thanks re the house move. All three of are a little bewildered, so we’ve hunkered down around the wood-burner (with plenty of cake). D

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  4. I’m afraid you’re outnumbered, David. We all want to see your house featured on the blog and none of us are going to accept renovation duties as a valid excuse for poor bloggage. Least of all me, as I rightmove aplenty for our fourth period property; I need some inspiration to offset the inevitable hassles that come with them! Love your ice patterns 🙂

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    • I can only sympathise, Philip. If we’re getting it bad, I can only imagine how much worse it must be Out West. We’re planning on moving to Glos in a couple of years or so. We’re steeling ourselves for lots more rain than Sussex. I lived in Bristol once and it didn’t stop for three months (or so it seemed). Dave

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  5. Wonderful photos thanks David. Nothing but 30 plus degrees dry days here so I love the icy views. Ah, 70s decorating – I have fond memories of our yellow kitchen bench tiles and our orange lacy curtains. And don’t get me started on our 70s fashion trends – hot pants, white stretch leather boots, brown suits with yellow shirts ……..sigh! All the best with your refurbishments.

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    • Thanks Chris. My biggest bugbear is bleeding artex. Swirly artex. It’s everywhere – every ceiling and most of the walls. Virtually every surface will need to be plaster-skimmed – ugghh. And erm, are you saying it’s time to move on from my brown suit, yellow shirt and white stretch leather boots. Sheesh, break it to me gently. D

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  6. Wow, what a lot of work you have ahead of you – I hope you take a lot of before pictures, so that we can ooh and ahh over the afters!
    In my humble opinion, winter is over-rated! ;-D We’re having a mild winter in New England for a change and I’m really enjoying it.

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    • Might be quite a lot of ooh’s before we do any work, just have to hope for some ahh’s afterwards, Eliza. Getting a few comments re liking and welcoming mild winters. It’s just me, it seems, banging a lone drum for snow-ball fights and building an igloo. Sigh. D

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  7. In theory I suppose every era makes its own aesthetic blunders, but the ’70’s seem to have had an extra knack. I hope you’ve at least been spared the avocado-green appliances. Glad you had such a sparkling frost to enjoy. xS

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    • Hi Stacy, we have a weird shade of yellow sink in our bedroom though why there’s a sink there at all is a little puzzling. No avocado this time. The main bathroom suite is blue – not too bad but it’ll still be replaced by white. (We are now officially posh – we have a bidet. Fancy). Dx

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    • I do like a little of the worst bits though, Charlie if only to throw the rest of the year into relief. One decent snow-storm would make up for all the interminable rain but not everyone would agree. Part of my wish, I’ll admit, is to be able to use my camera during a winter wonderland. Dave.

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  8. So that’s what frost looks like? Still haven’t gone minus here! Now if you don’t record and blog about your exploits replacing that red tractor with a mural of the Trumpton Fire Brigade and doing up the place generally, you’ll regret it! Your readers will complain and you’ll have nothing to look back on in ten years time when sitting in bed drinking your Horlicks. Good luck in your new home together and in the new garden.

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    • Hi John, perhaps I should’ve included a photo of the red tractor and un-pretty flowers. They sound quite jolly but painted on an unsettling mauve it isn’t a particularly nice room to sleep in – a bit creepy. Blogging interest in the house (& tractor) has been greater than I expected, so perhaps I’ll feature the renovation work as well as the garden. You’ve given me a yearning for Horlicks which I now need to satisfy. D

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  9. Lots of hard work coming up for you but I’m sure your both up for challenge good luck and I hope you will still find time to keep us updated

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  10. Great little post, David. And many congratulations on the move. You must, of course, create a new “renovating an 18th century house ” blog. There are prizes To be won!

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  11. This sounds like an exciting challenge ahead of you, good luck, I hope your renovations go as smoothly as these things do. Living and working with nature make a proper mark to each season essential, one days snow just doesn’t cut it this year. Hopefully there will be a few more frosty days and far less rain.

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    • Hi Julie, thanks. The house is an exciting prospect – maybe a little too exciting but it’ll be satisfying to bring it back, sympathetically I hope, to a fit state. As for snow? Bah! I bought a new sledge a couple of years ago – still haven’t been able to try it out. D

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  12. Enchanting photos…You do lead a charmed life… Amazed that you can even contemplate a blog having moved house so recently…Thanks for sharing, and best of luck with the settling in, and the taming of the wood burner… Look forward to your upcoming observations, as usual : )

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    • Several similar requests here, Christina so I’ll see what I can do. I’ve already taken some ‘before’ photos; now to decide where to start! Sorry not to have been a visitor to your blog recently – but you can see why. D

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