And, We're In...

boxes on moving in day

Today I've got to give up the never ending clearing and cleaning for the sake of my newly manicured nails - we're off to a 70th Birthday party this weekend.  It gives me the perfect excuse to sit amidst the mess of our move and blog instead.

Ash Cottage, our new abode, is a Victorian cottage with an old butchers shop attached and an acre garden.  She has been sorely neglected for a good 20 years or more and so we are gently clearing, cleaning and restoring the old girl to her former glory.

It has been non stop since we got in here, as I'm sure is always the case when you move house.  We have a list of jobs as long as your arm and more constantly added.  Some days I can't believe how much has already been done, sometimes I can't believe how little.  But, I'm quite chuffed at what we have achieved so far.  The list is something like:

  • Man living in the garden - gone (long story for another post me thinks).
  • Dangerous gas fires - gone.
  • Meters of unnecessary copper pipes, electrical cabling, redundant heating systems, motion sensors, air freshners, burglar alarms, thermostats and fitted desks and shelving (2 skips worth of the stuff) - gone. 
  • Bathrooms and kitchen - steam cleaned.  Showers - working.
  • Trees, shrubs, nettles and grass cut back so we can; a) see out the back room window and b) walk down the garden.  Doors to the garage - openable, "Thanks Jack!"...

 ...although, the old blue sign above the garage door, for what was once an MG Dealership, is no more.  Held together and yet destroyed by the voracious roots of the ivy that covered the garage roof.

old sign

  • Garden fenced so that dogs can't a) commit kamikaze attacks on the cars on the A120 that passes outside our front door or b) chase our neighbours alpacas.   

This gate, part of the new fence, was the first completed job on the house.  The river Ash that runs along the side of the garden is now off limits to dogs and children without adult supervision and I can't tell you the difference that has made to my nerves.

So, here she is the old girl awaiting whatever is next for her.  And, oh, Mrs Fox has plans - crafty Mrs Fox!

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Ladybird Tuesday - The Story of Houses & Homes

Ok it's been a while, but we are back on the case with Ladybird Tuesday linky started on the Being Mrs C blog, take a look at her posts here.  I admit that I am a little obsessed with houses and homes at the moment because we have just moved - oh the stress and strain.  And, as a result I am launching a new blog Mrs Fox's Den for all the inevitable posts about our house and garden and it's renovation.

The Story of Houses and Homes 

Written by Richard Bowood with illustrations by Robert Ayton is a Ladybird Achievements book first published in 1963.

The Story of Houses & Homes

"Man must have a house, for shelter from the weather to provide a safe place to sleep with protection from his enemies and to make a home for his wife and children."

Starting with cavemen and ending with a modernist home in the country this Ladybird book spans the history of houses in the UK.

Vintage Ladybird Books - The Story of House & Home

Ladybird Tuesday - The Story of Houses & Homes

From Norman Castle to Elizabethan half-timber homes, it looks at the history, materials and technology of the British Home:

Ladybird Tuesday - The Story of Houses & Homes

Ladybird Tuesday - The Story of Houses & Homes

However, it presents this history primarily in terms of the architecture with a relatively limited amount of social commentary.

Ladybird Tuesday - The Story of Houses & Homes

There is mention of industrialisation leading to the horror of slum dwellings and this then being cleared to make way for modern council homes.

Ladybird Tuesday - The Story of Houses & Homes

The beginning of our wonderful planning system with The Better Homes Act, which Parliament passed in 1875 giving local authorities the power to insist that every house built had to fulfil basic conditions.

But it is primarily focused on the homes of the wealthy and the changing architectural styles.

It's interesting that the author is clearly subjective in his opinion of these houses and primarily on an architectural level.  He is a bit of a Prince Charles in his opinions, in the thrall of classical architecture, the Queen Anne Home being the high point of architectural beauty in the UK.  He expresses genuine distaste for the Victorian Gothic style and traditional Victorian parlour - one of the few interior illustrations in the book.

Victorian Parlour Ladybird Book - The Story of Houses & Homes

So, with the move to our new home imminent I'm also starting a new strand on the blog; Mrs Fox's Den is a personal story of our move to a little country cottage with an acre of land.

The rest of Mrs Fox's Ladybird Tuesday posts are here and if you have a collection of Ladybird books, please do feel free to join in.
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