Not so much a blog as a weather report! Lots of fog, freezing the air and the ground, weakening the already weak sunshine. Creating a big fat inversion layer above Loch Lomond but allowing the grandeur of the mountains to rise above.

More news next time, we're just catching up with life and activities disrupted by the winter weather and preparing for the next lot. The fire's lit, we're warm and we're getting ready for Christmas. Best wishes.

Not quite there yet...

The sensibilities of moving in tomorrow aren't really there as progress has been quite slow since our builder went on holiday last week. He's a very good project manager so I think it would all look a little further advanced if he'd been around. We perhaps 'ought' to wait another week but....the jobs fill the time available and Steve and I need to move in. The kitchen is messy but there isn't much left to do there and we could reasonably use it at the weekend after a good clean. The childrens' bedrooms are being carpetted tomorrow so we'll get their furniture in and blinds fitted on Saturday if possible with a view to that being our first night.

The granite worktop was fitted last weekend, just 2 weeks after templating, and we're very pleased with the result. The team were a very pleasant trio from Estonia and Lithuania. The plastic protective wrap on the doors and drawers is coming away on this photo and together with the general high dust and grime levels doesn't inspire but we reckon on using this kitchen this weekend. The caravan hob is just about adequate and the oven ok only for warming stuff. Last summer it took nephew Tommy Boy nearly an hour to part bake/part burn a pizza. We have managed to cook a good selection of food over the past 9 months, we've even entertained a few times, but a real kitchen is now beckoning.

Here's the wood shed (the biomass store!) which has been constructed from salvage timber, notably the joists from the original house and an oversupply of sarking board.The roof elevation will be approx 2/3 covered by the solar panels.

Winter time...and the living ain't easy

Happy New Year from us all. Hope it brings good health and good fortune to you.

Photo taken at 4pm this afternoon as the light was starting to fail. Steve had returned from a meeting in Kinross-shire a couple of hours previously and was concerned about the road conditions as I was travelling from Perthshire. In this age of instant communications the fact that I didn't have a mobile phone today (cos he was using mine!) heightened the concern......if we weren't constantly available we'd never think twice about it.

Being in the caravan is fine with the snow because at least it means the air temperature is around zero whereas in the week before Christmas it was quite quite miserable with several days of frozen pipes making life unpleasant. In a strange kind of way, it also adds an extra layer of insulation to the caravan roof, igloo-style! We were pleased to be away for Christmas even if only for a few days.

Hogmanay and the first couple of days of 2008 were the usual round of house parties/invitations so we've spent many hours in real houses with good friends, lovely heating and comfortable living. Thankfully Scotland is blessed with two public holidays at New Year as well as a huge level of hospitality (which came first?).

We are moving out of the caravan in 2 weeks, initially to house sit for a friend who is going on holiday and then we're taking a 7 week let of a holiday house nearby. This will bring us to mid March. Originally our builder had indicated a completion around the end of February and there have been delays, particularly with the timber frame manufacturer and material shortages so we shall catch up with him next week for a revised date. After 7 months of living in the caravan we are now soooo looking forward to increased comfort, space and amenity.

Turning Chillier part two

A continuation of the previous blog - the technology sometimes prevents such things. The step shown left was finished on Friday. The stone for the whole wall and the step has been recovered from the demolished farmhouse save for the coping stones which have been bought from a nearby farm where the wall had fallen down. The weather forecast for later in the week is distinctly cooler with daytime temps nearer zero and we have had our first conversations around the subject of 'how long can we/will we stay in the caravan'. No decisions to move out yet as most of the time its really not difficult. Naturally we would prefer more space and a lovely big bathroom but that is, quite literally, a work in progress. The office is in an old toolhouse adjacent to the barn which adjoins the house and with its high level of insulation it is a very pleasant place. Steve has been insulating the water pipes within the caravan and we need to tackle the ones outside where they are not underground.

Four Months of Caravan Living

We've been living in the caravan for just over 4 months now, its hard to believe and generally has worked a lot better and been much easier than we expected (all those years of camping provides good training!). Yesterday was a horribly cold damp foggy day though and I felt chilled to the bone. By the evening I just couldn't get warm and the prospect of a warm bathroom in a real house would have been lovely. Its a better morning outside today but the water heater won't work and after attempts to remedy the problem we've called the engineer who is coming out this afternoon thankfully. If it doesn't work I'll be 'phoning a friend'.

We have two caravans both of which are on a concrete area, formerly one of the farm middens (for the English readers that's the place where all the cow muck is piled up!) Our main van has two wee bedrooms, a dining kitchen and a sitting/lounge area as well as a shower room with a sit-up bath tub which is great for the children. The cooking and heating (one gas fire) are by bottled LPG.
The second van is a bit smaller but has been kitted for the washing maching, tumble dryer and lots of clothes rails, our 'walk-in wardrobe'. Initially this van was used as our office and for our nephew who stayed here in the summer. One of the main problems with caravan living is the lack of space but we're lucky enough to have the second van and lots of outbuildings to overspill into.

We don't have a completion date as such but we can easily assume another 4 months to go, it is a nice thought that we're at our halfway point of temporary accommodation but we are now heading towards winter....!!!!

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