During our Springtime maintenance, i decided to make myself busy and went and bought some whitewash. I spent one of the days painting the entire cottage, whitewashing a brilliant white. This probably needs done once every 2 years, but it means if you’re going up this year the cottage is looking very dapper indeed! I tell you though, it was a bit of a task in the February winds and caused more than a runny nose.
With the help of a borrowed ladder, i also used a half day, whilst it was dry to further protect the roofing, by giving it an extra thickening layer of black, thick, waterproofing rubberoid paint. Taking care of course not to cause any drips, or marks elsewhere. So, the cottage, including the high gables is ready for the Summer!
Feeling a little more adventurous, i used the rest of the paint to give the back of the byre a nice brilliant whitewash, which i’d never done before. The springtime sunshine soon dried the paint. Whilst my lovely wife chilled out with a glass of wine, i got stuck into the weeding around the cottage, edging the grass and placed decorative cobbles from the beach around the wall and edge of the lawn. I also flattened out a better area for the bin store and increased the size of the car parking area at the front. Whilst there, i arranged the emptying of the septic tank, which Scottish Water finally got around to, attending to it thankfully whilst i was there. The emptying of this tank is now on a yearly contract with SW, so i shouldn’t need to be there anytime in future for this.
For some time, i’ve also been meaning to tidy up the existing drainage pipes at the back of the house. The earth had been dug back in previous decades to uncover the pipe coming from the house and whilst renovating, we had to further access the pipe. Due to time constraints in 2007, I never backfilled the pipe. So, on another dry day, i tidied up the drainage by building a manhole over the pipes at the back of the house, cementing in the lid for future access, or if we ever need to clear or rod. Now it’s tidy and safe. This was quite a task and i have to say i slept well that particular night! The trench at the back of the house was also sprayed with weedkiller and i planted many, many bulbs which should flower in the Summer. Inside the house didn’t need much work. Those of you who have been to the cottage before will know how tidy and maintenance free it is. I left some spare heating parts in the cottage locked away, touched up some of the white paint on the internal walls and left plenty more recent DVDs and books! We also replaced some pots, pans, added some more tumblers, a doormat, baking trays, provided a roasting tray, lobster pot and new tin opener. In addition to this, the iron grating inside one of the stoves was replaced (a reminder to all not to overfill the stoves when using them! They only need a small amount of wood/coal!) I replaced a couple of the cushions on the sofa, tested all electricals, checked the heating, reset the clocks for Summertime, new batteries in the remotes and smoke alarm, changed light bulbs throughout the cottage and added 2 new extra pillows in the twin room.
Finally, whilst it sounds like we were busy, that particular week was my birthday, so we also had a good holiday finding some time to relax. We went out for a meal at the Lodge Hotel and took the dogs plenty of walks. This is one of my favourite photos from that week. We were walking down to the beach at Balephuil and had a bit of a mexican standoff with several sheep, who would NOT move. I forgot it was getting near lambing season, hence why they probably felt a little defensive about us passing by! As i write this, it’s now the start of April and the cottage in now fully booked right through to November this year! May i take this opportunity to wish each and every guest this year a happy and wonderful holiday. From Paul, Paula, Jim and Lily.