dear diary :: there’s no place like home

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my last post. I am sure we will be making some time soon to get the cottage plans sorted but it is no use starting when we know we have a Christening to organise, a first birthday party to attend and Christmas looming on the horizon.

After leaving Scotland we drove down to North Yorkshire to stay with my daughter and the two grandchildren Little L and Sweetie. We tend to stay with my daughter now rather than with my mum as she cannot manage washing and changing the bedding anymore in her spare room. She is about 30 miles from my daughter’s house so we are able to take her out for a drive but eat and sleep at my daughters.

On Saturday we went out to a garden centre just outside Northallerton for lunch and on Sunday we had an absolutely beautiful run down through the North Yorkshire moors to Helmsley – a dry sunny day cold and crisp and the trees turning a wonderful golden orange colour. I have no photos as mum requires full attendance on her now all the time we are out.

On the Monday and Tuesday we went out with the girls and one of our visits was to the Druid’s Temple at Swinton Bivouac. Little L ran in and out of the caves and hidey holes that make up this Stonehenge type folly hidden in the surrounding woods. Sweetie just slept through it all as usual and only woke up when food was mentioned!

We travelled down home early yesterday evening and it felt so good to be back and not living out of a suitcase (or rather a selection of those blue checked laundry bags in our case). We didn’t stay anywhere long enough to fully unpack.

The house was quite cool when we arrived and being quite tired after the journey we just unpacked the car, put the food away and then went to bed early with a hot water bottle and read. Today I did the rest of the unpacking and putting things away. I had brought a few hydrangea stems home from the cottage to dry in our kitchen – although from the same bush the colours are quite variable. They do brighten up the kitchen though and I love all the muted autumn colours together.

Being away from home, even in the nicest of places, always makes me glad to be back in my own little house. Sometimes when we have been away and visited houses that are beautifully decorated and presented, like my friend’s new house the other week, it motivates me to have a good clean and declutter in my own, however, when we have been to stay at our daughter’s rented house I am always glad that we do not have to put up with the poor standards of the majority of rented property and it makes our own house look like a palace in comparison.

To say that rented properties are so expensive you get very little in return for handing over the rent money every month. It does make me feel rather cross that a tennant is expected to live with battered and substandard equipment and fittings – missing knobs, mouldy sealant, windows that don’t open, doors that don’t close and fans that won’t work as well as cracked ceilings, damp walls and poorly painted woodwork…the house she is in at present is marginally better than most she has lived in but still has its problems.

DH has spent quite a bit of time, effort and money trying to make some of our daughter’s rented properties just that little bit better to live in. Sometimes just a few little changes can make a big difference. In the present one he replaced the dirty old rag stuffed in the ventilation hole to block the draught in the kitchen wall with a proper air vent cover and this time we bought an old fashioned plunger to help unblock the drains as the plumbing is rather old and the pipework does not have a good fall on it so allows the dirty dishwasher water to gurgle up into the kitchen sink through the plug hole – not very hygenic in my mind. The plunger did help to get the water draining better.

Whilst we have been away there has been a heavy fall of leaves from our cherry tree so I spent half and hour in the garden this afternoon raking them up and piling them into a bag to make leaf mould.

Whilst on our travels I bought these from the little vegetable shop in Thirsk – they always have some very reasonable bedding plants and I couldn’t resist these colourful outdoor clematis which I will put into pots at the side of the front door.

These painted clay pots are waiting to be cleaned and then they will go on one of the stalls at our annual ‘Crisis’ coffee morning in November where we raise money for the homeless at Christmas. They are from a lady in the village where our cottage is in Scotland. She has bought an old mill building to renovate and found hundreds of these pots inside – so she leaves them at her gate for anyone to take away. I think they will be quite nice with spring bulbs in them.

That is most of my news – DH is feeling much better now and has been back in the pantry today doing a bit of sanding. The next step is to buy the paint tomorrow and make a start painting the walls and ceiling. I also need to go to town to buy food and a few bits and bobs.

I am going to make the tea now – something quite quick I think and I must go around and change the rest of the clocks as we were away during the hour change, so I keep thinking it is later than it is!

12 Replies to “dear diary :: there’s no place like home”

  1. Why do renters have to put up with poorer conditions? It seems the same in Australia as the UK. I don’t think it is so in Germany.

    How lovely to be able to spend time with your grandkids and mother. What lovely meandering!

    I love all the displays of, what I thought are cyclamen, in Europe. We have them, of course, in Aust but they do not last. Too hot!


  2. It is a shame that so many rented properties can be like this but it’s kind of you and your husband to do what you can to help.
    The painted pots are lovely. What a find. I think your idea for spring bulbs is great. X


    1. The previous houses have been particularly bad and far worse than the one they are in now. The area is far too expensive for them to buy – even the rented properties are so expensive they cannot rent and save at the same time. x


  3. The landlord should be responsible for the repairs on his property and your daughter should keep a record of when she requested the repairs and if they were done. Here we have a Landlord and Tenant Tribunal that deals with disputes like that.


    1. The landlord of this house used to live there themselves and sees nothing wrong with the problematic plumbing and heating and the bathroom window not opening and the shower cutting out. There is so little housing to rent in their area that they can afford that they are too scared to rock the boat as there will be plenty of tennants to replace them.


  4. I am sorry to hear that your daughter is having to put up with substandard accommodation, it really upsets me the way some landlords treat their tenants. Our next door neighbour rents the house next door to us, he has been in the house for 16 years and the landlord has done no work on it in that time. A window got broken by a tree falling in a storm and they put up his rent by £50 a month to pay for it. He desperately needs a new front door the current one is full of holes but he can’t afford to buy one or ask the landlord as they will put the rent up again, he is a pensioner with a very small pension. We have been hunting for a new door for him for some time and hope to find one soon.

    I so agree that there is no place like home, it is lovely to go away but home is the best. It looks like you have visited some amazing places on your journeys though, I love your photos.


    1. I feel so sorry for your neighbour – there ought to be more legislation around rented properties for both parties as I know some tennants that rent do not look after the property so I can see from both sides. However windows and doors should be attended to and not charged to the client after all if the tennant moves he cannot take them with him.


  5. What a fun place for the Druid Temple was for Little L. I can well imagine my grandchildren racing in and out of all those hidey holes. I can also well imagine your relief at being home among your own things. Happy to hear DH is mostly on the mend. Sounds like his wonderful skills are greatly needed at home and ‘abroad’ (e.g. everyone else’s homes). Now you both need to store up enough energy to sustain yourselves during all the activities of the next couple of months. Good luck!


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