The cottage has been transformed. Old kitchen ripped out, with some of it being recycled into Howard and Sue’s house for their utility room (which is exactly what I did in Chapel Hill House) and after two weeks of puzzling, measuring, sawing, yet more puzzling, the gas spur successfully installed, Fired Earth (floor tiles) / Ikea (units and cooker hood) / Worktop Express (worktop with enough left over to make a shelf and chopping board) / Franke (1.5 sink) / Smeg (aka Smug) oven and gas hob, my lovely old fridge freezer and dinky dishwasher, all fitted in like a made to measure glove. All praise to Ginger the builder and his side kick Tom. What stars and I am very happy.
Before putting everything back in the sitting room, which was made into a workshop for the duration, I painted the walls and floor, reglossed the door and skirting and it looks so much better for it. A pleasure to walk into.
While I concentrated on the cottage, Clive turned his attention to Distant Drum, carrying out any repairs needed, fitting a new radio and fog horn, repairing a stanchion base, sanding down and preparing the hull for anti foul, eradicating the rust around the davit bases, and in the last week, in between paint layers in the cottage, I have commuted to Titchmarsh to get the anti foul painted and apply my decorating skills to our big red stripe along the top of her hull.
I engaged the services of Tad (Clive’s son) and Gareth (Howard’s brother) on Tuesday and Gareth again yesterday to get the anti foul on the hull before she is dropped back in the water today. Clive and I were drenched last night by the time we finished her preparation, getting home steaming from our wet overalls at 10.15pm. Exhausting and good all at the same time.
I have done much crying into paint pots this week as my lovely oldest friend Libby, who’s husband Chris was so ill last year, herself succumbed to a horrid aggressive cancer which none of us saw coming when it hit her last August. She died last Friday evening surrounded by Chris and her family. So heart wrenching for all of us, yet she was in so much pain it was a blessing in the end. When I last saw her, I cried because it was so upsetting to see her in so much pain. She laughed at me and with me as we reminisced on life and old friends from our teens and twenties, and when I left I got into the stairwell of the hospital and sobbed. I knew then that I wouldn’t see her again and this was our goodbye. I’ve another funeral today, my friend Bird’s dad, John Webster, another cracking man who was always full of love and life. I had better wear my dark glasses as it’s hard not to have my heart on my sleeve at the moment… along with a lot of snot if I don’t take a box of tissues too.
Clive and I are going to bring Distant Drum round to Harwich this evening, and stock her up ready to sail to the Ostend at Anchor 2017 Festival on Monday for a much needed break. Belgium here we come!