another frustrating day, all round. It started well enough: Tony tackled the chores, & I rolled up my sleeves to deep-clean the house, starting with the kitchen in preparation for tomorrow’s filming session for James Martin’s new TV cookery programme. To be honest it needed a ‘spring clean’ – wrong time of year, but good to sort things out at last. It also gave me the chance to put the herbs & spices Tony brings me back from Damascus, into properly-labelled jars; & now they should retain their flavour more effectively, as well. Although the day proved largely cloudy the rain thankfully held off. In the first light of early morning the sky had blushed a traitorous, delicate pearlescent pink with the full moon an opaque, ghostly glowing orb hanging low on the western horizon thus promising a pleasant, sunny day to come. Last night’s harvest moon had however, brought a significant change in the air: Autumn is definitely here now, the cold pushing away the last vestiges of summery, short-sleeve weather. Luckily today was the day that Idris-the-Sweep came to brush the chimneys in readiness for the colder weather. I was concerned at one point, when he suddenly cried “I’ve cracked it!” thinking he was referring to the recently-repaired chimney pot; however thankfully he was just expressing triumph that he’d discovered the ‘mystery item’ which was preventing his brush from popping up into the blue sky, above: Kev’s hammer, which he’d lost when working on the roof at Easter. Luckily we hadn’t lit the fire, since….!! Idris carried it away like a trophy.
Thus my day was spent in cooking & cleaning; & for a short diversion, in helping to write yet another increasingly frustrated letter to the Planning Office – for Tony popped out to buy some wood & came back in a mood darker than the ominous clouds which were ballooning in from the coast. On collecting the mail he’d discovered that the Planning Office had returned the application we’d submitted a week ago, stating that it was incomplete as we hadn’t included an Access Statement. This basically confirms that disabled access has been catered for; which as this is an agricultural livestock building & not a private dwelling, seems to be overegging the pudding somewhat. And as the building has doors at either end, designed to accommodate a tractor….I think we can safely say a wheelchair could get in & out. Anyway. when the Planning Office had sent us the requisite paperwork for our renewed application (if you recall our Permitted Development application was turned down as we’d been incorrectly advised as to what to submit, in the first place – costing us an extra £100 in fees, maps etc & over a month in terms of our valuable time) there had been no mention of the requirement for an access statement – otherwise, of course, we would have provided it. So Tony spent a further frustrating half-hour attempting to determine whether this was a genuine neccessity, or just a mistake (no, they do need it); & the next hour, writing said statement & printing off the usual five copies they demand whilst I ‘fine tuned’ his covering letter in the hope that the ‘office wallahs’ get the message that we are now genuinely starting to panic; because the wheels of bureaucracy are turning so slowly that we may not be able to get our goats pregnant this season, for fear that the new building to house them, will not be ready to receive them when the kids are born – ergo, no milk – which could cost us £1000s in lost income. But whether they take heed & try to help hurry us through, only time – literally – will tell….
So Tony drove back down to Carmarthen in order to redeliver the application – again, by hand in the hope that it is looked at more quickly – & I continued my relentless round of cleaning & cooking. Tony returned at around 5pm & built a cover for the cat’s litter tray – something I’ve wanted for ages – then, just as I’d about finished the kitchen, the telephone rang – it was our friend Boo from Maes-Y-Derw B&B, with whom the TV crew were booked to stay that evening. Unfortunately it would appear that Patrick has had to cancel filming tomorrow; & will contact us to arrange another date, in the morning. So all that hard work we’ve put in….darn; in fact it’s just as well I hadn’t taken the piece of plump pork I’d selected out of the freezer as it would’ve been completely wasted – & we’ve only got a couple of joints left (pigs having only four legs, at the last count!). Still; looking on the bright side, I suppose it gives us another week to ‘fine tune’ the place; the old plough could do with a proper scrub, & I might be able to finish painting the external wall of the Kidding Shed, after all! However, it is a bit frustrating as all the essential tasks we wanted to achieve this week – such as worming the sheep – have been put ‘on hold’ to prepare the place for filming. Hopefully the weather will now prove sufficiently kind to enable us to hurriedly complete these outstanding tasks.
Tony was too tired & fed up to chop any wood for the fire, this evening; & to be honest, I didn’t blame him as I’d spent so much time grovelling around scrubbing floors, polishing windows etc – that the last thing I felt like doing, was cleaning the hearth. So I cooked us a simple bowl of curried fish & rice to blow away the dusty cobwebs which have caused me to sneeze continually throughout today’s frenetic round of cleaning, & decided that I’d grab the luxury of a relatively early night to salve a disappointing day. There’s always the promise of tomorrow….