Thursday, 23 January 2014

Restoration and Resilience

One of the nice things about getting older is that you eventually acquire a good range of useful skills. And, if by any chance, you do manage to grow older with the one you've always loved, there's an even better likelihood that you can do quite a large number of useful things between you. So then, in the event that you have lived in the same house for the past 25 years & you open up the door to the fire box & you find the space full of water because the wet back pipe is leaking, it's possible that between the two of you, you might just figure out what to do next. Well actually, it's the boy who is most useful in this instance, but I remembered the advice from the nice lady Annette down the road, about who does the best new wood burner deals (& the best quality).
Rob removed the old warped & worn out firebox & flue all by himself, since the man didn't turn up quite on time. And then he asked for advice at the tile shop & made the new hearth as well.
The nice council man (well so he should have to pay him quite a bit!) came in a couple of times & checked that it was all safe & sound; then signed it all off.
It was all completed just before Christmas which also makes us fully compliant with the new council emission rules & carry on & most of the expense can be paid off on our regional rates over a ten year period.
Since the wood veneer was a bit wrinkly & dark we decided to paper the back with some pretty Cath Kidston wallpaper.
I repainted the bricks, so that tidied up the chippy paint bits & now we will patiently await cooler days to have a try out.
Of course one renewed bit of a house often shows up something else in a rather shabby light...such as the paint job on the walls of the living room. So in the following weeks we have moved things around, filled in holes, sanded & repainted with a similar green. Pretty much the same green as before...the colour of green Carltonware.
With lots of applied skill & some fiddling around, the book case got secured to the wall, in case of earthquakes & just this week there was a big one felt here...right in the middle of me reading & recording my Phone News story! Now that all sounds a bit eagerly industrious...just one wall at a time will do, next one soon. 

In the midst of all this, I noticed one evening, that our ancient plum tree had "moved" quite a an unhelpful horizontal direction & when I took a closer look I found that the two source main branches had begun to split & the torque on one of them was particularly great because of the trees absurd summer growth spurt & the wind. So, I quickly got out my pruning saw & took some weight off the limbs that very evening.
Some of the branches are so twisted & intertwined, yet there is so much robust life in the tree.
We may eventually have to cut it down before it falls down, but not just yet.
For all it's size it doesn't produce a lot of fruit, & of course some plums are just plain unreachable, unless you're a wax eye.
I love the white hydrangeas of the summer garden.
And the summer sky blue of agapanthus.
They suit Lucy well, don't you think?
I always feel that it's worth while growing cherry tomatoes for the summer. I also tried these little "heart breakers" this year too. They are small growing & compact & so sweet & tasty & best of all when you cut them in half, each one makes a love heart.
Phew we have had some hot days lately. So when I saw Eleanor's post @ Petite Kitchen I just had to make this iced rooibus tea with honey, lemon & chia seeds....delicious!
I thought this lovely old jar I found recently might be a good thing to fill with iced tea for the fridge.
Despite my ardent intentions to bloom, we have found January to be a very challenging month. I truly don't understand why life has to be so hard when you are concentrating on the good & the lovely & not looking for any trouble what-so-ever! Some evenings we have headed for Lucy & got out the Angel Whisper tea tin of scrap paper,
 lighted our tea light jugs & over a cup of Earl Grey tea written out every thing good we can think of & all the compost too!
Our jars are filling fast!
This week has been truly hideous (can't speak of it just now).
 If only resilience were something that you could send for. 
I would order a whole trailer load & then share it around.
Wouldn't it be grand if all the goodness & the hope were visible like this.
"Elvin route made visible".
Thank you for visiting & being my friends.
Hope you have a good week.


  1. Glad your fire is all set for autumn. Love your room - it is so full of beautiful things.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  2. So sorry it's been such a hard week for you but you can be proud & happy with all you've accomplished! And with all the good you've shared in spite of the hard things. I love every pic you've posted & hearing about everything.

    I've never heard of the heart breaker cherry tomatoes. If I grow nothing else in the summer I grow tomatoes. I'll be looking for these. I hope I can find some around here.

    1. You know Jenny, I am so mindful this week of the power of words. Sure, we've been taught that for years but it wasn't until recently that I have been able to really connect with the real power of positive words, sincere words, encouraging words. They can make all the difference in the world! Thank you for yours! x0x0x

  3. Wow Catherine, the new fire looks fabulous! Great team work by the sounds of it. The freeze on the wall is so pretty. Do you blue tack your china in place for fear of an earthquake?
    That plum tree sure is an oldie......but what marvelous old twisted branches.
    resilience is something much like patients don't ya think? we humans lack both! Happy week to you also.

    1. Hi Leanne, thanks for your nice comments. The frieze has done so's just the old paper variety & has been up for a good 24 years & still looks fine. No, actually I don't do much blue tacking...such messy stuff & sometimes removes paint & wallpaper when you go to move things around! But we probably should use it a bit more often.
      Mmm I guess resilience is a great deal like patience..both pretty awkward & uncomfy..still things are beginning to work themselves out here. Thanks for your visit. Much love Catherine x0x

  4. Love all the photos that you posted on this entry, truly delightful. The last picture is so lovely. Well done with the fireplace, hope all will be good when you use it later.The plum tree looks glorious with it's intertwining trunk. Hope you have a good week Catherine. Shirley

    1. Thank you Shirley. It is so good of you to take the time to comment. I'm glad that you like the Margaret Tarrant picture too. I love the variety of fanciful creatures & the little red robin on the blackberry. Much love Catherine x0x0x

  5. I agree with Leeanne - your new fire looks amazing - bet you cant wait to try it out :-) I love the colour, the tiles & the wallpaper inserts especially. Its odd how we are all now so much more mindfull of the earthquakes & making things more earthquake proof. I love your heart shaped tomatoes :-) Lucy is almost painted agapantha blue isnt she??!! My friend Donna has only recently bought my attention to all the delicious recipes at Petite Kitchen. I was sorry to read of your hideous week my friend - I hope that compost mixture deals to all the nastiness & unpleasantness & you come up smiling & blooming - thinking of you, Julie x0x0x

    1. Hi Julie dear, we ended up with the blue of the bricks quite by accident as years ago I had painted them with a test pot of wedgwood blue..ah, only it was too dark so I sponged over a watery white & we liked the effect very well. The tiles were found in the pool department of the tile where else in all the shop could we find an actual coloured tile. All beige & bland & sand! I was wondering today if some of the Cath Kidston off cuts of wallpaper would be of any use to you? They'd be easy to post with the seeds. The blue woodruff is being a bit slow to set. I actually did take an aggie in to the paint shop once & chose a Resene paint to match, then painted some outdoor furniture with it. I was really intrigued to find that it is actually way more violet than you would imagine. But yes Lucy is pretty much agapanthus blue. Mmm it's going to be pretty rich compost at this rate! Much love Catherine x0x0x

  6. Your fireside make over is beautiful, I have woodburning stove envy big time. The lovely green paint you have on your walls is what we call eau de nil - we had it throughout our last house and nobody entered the house without commenting on how calming it is. Isn't it fun to be able to diy together!

    1. Hello Betty, glad to see you still able to pop in & out from time to time. I am so grateful to still have a wood burner although, of course, it's easy to forget just how much work is involved in the wood part! Yes, you're right the green is very calming & I never tire of it. I must admit it certainly makes the diy fun when we always agree on the choices...funny that we like the same things so well...phew!
      I have been thinking of you with your challenges. I have recently read Jodi Picoult's book House Rules a truly fascinating & very real glimpse in to the world of autism. I was wondering if it might appeal to you too. Much love catherine x0x0x

  7. Dear Catherine, there is so much love and goodness in your posts, I just know it will be returned to you in massive big bundles. You may just have to wait a bit! Our son and daughter in law (and two little granddaughters) also felt an earthquake this week – they live in Adelaide. Very scary and what with that and fires we are always worrying about them, but they seem as calm and accepting of everything as always – so we have to learn from that. We have so much water in the UK we could put out all the fires if only we could pull out the plug! Have a lovely week dear friend. Barbara xx
    PS I love your fire and all your pretty pots & the green wall.

  8. Your fireplace looks great! Way to go! I love coming over here for a bit of sunny weather!

  9. Hi Catherine, I found your wonderful blog when I pinned your doily banner from pinterest. Love, love it and hope to make something similar! The addition of the wall paper on the fireplace is lovely. You have some gorgeous dishes! I love Agapanthus but it is only an annual here and a bit pricey. I usually plant a few in containers. Happy to be a new follower.


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! ♥

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