Huh, a ceiling.

When we left we finally gave in and allowed someone to do work on house when we weren’t there. We left a drywall company with a key and Kathryn’s mom with another key on the basis that they would come in and make our ceiling look ceilingy.

I largely managed to avoid angst, apart from a fairly frantic conversation about why their equipment was tripping the circuits in our house ending with me explaining that all the live circuits are AFCI/GFI protected, and there’s no live circuits that aren’t GFI because they’re all ‘wet area’ circuits.

But it wasn’t entirely clear that when we came back the ceilings would be done.

But they are. And bloody hell if they don’t look like competent ceilings.

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We couldn’t afford to get them to do the skylights, and we’re planning to veneer them in wood anyway (and at over $1k to do them to a level 4 finish, it wasn’t worth it for something we’d cover up), but all the other ceilings are looking remarkably respectable.

Even the shoddiest bit:

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Of course, now that people know we’re back it’s all got super intense. We had a nice peaceful day scheduled yesterday, but instead spent it trying to schedule other people. So when I left today our ceilings were being painted (they were primed with some ultra-thick smoothing paint in these photos). They’re hoping to finish that off tomorrow.

Then Saturday our plasterers come back and start putting the finish coats on the walls.

We need to pick up the pace a bit because – well, one, we’d like to be in the damn house, but also, two, our kitchen cabinets are ready.

We dropped by to see them…but couldn’t because they’re so busy that there’s many kitchen stacked in front of them. But they’ve kindly offered to hold them for a while.

We’re also excited to get in.

I also, today, tried to get some traction on the garage build. But it turns out there’s no longer any way to submit paper plans to the city. I’ve nudged our tuff-shed sales person, but will probably end up just paying to have them scanned, which was the planning-tech’s suggestion.

Already the holiday is wearing off.

I haven’t forgotten, though, the feeling on the island. And that’s something that needs to be investigated. If we can make a living, then… yeah.

In which we don’t get our rental EV, or our sleeper train journey

Oh, the joys of a lack of foreshadowing.

So having sat in the lounge carriage on the sleeper (apparently available to those in prole class, if the 1st class passengers aren’t using it) and had a pleasant desert, some nice drinkies, and watched as the highlands rolled past, we slipped to our tired and battered bedroom, and laid down to rest our weary selves.

Of course, sleeping on a train for some is a delight, but for us – well, it turns out neither of us are great train sleepers. Also, the night-light was on. We didn’t realise it was the nightlight and were both deeply confused by the glowing blue light. Now, had we have not been so tired, we might have been willing to switch the lights back on, and then would have noticed the switch marked nightlight. But we didn’t. More fool us.

Mind, it didn’t matter, because at 3am we were awoken and informed that the train had failed. It was an ex-train. It was sat at Edinburgh… and we traipsed, as directed, to the nearby Jury’s Inn where we were treated to coffee, tea, or fruit juice. No breakfast, mind. Nothing at all to eat.

There we sat for nearly 2 hours, before we were herded back to the station to get on a non-sleeper train to London. I can’t say that any of this made us terribly happy. At least the staff were nice and apologetic.

By the time we reached London – hours after when we were meant to arrive – for our one-and-only planned full-day in London on this trip…we were completely exhausted. Thankfully, the hotel let us check in early and we laid on a comfy bed and dozed for an hour. Then we meandered around the area – stopping at Ottolenghi for an insanely good lunch (gods, he is so good). Then we pottered to Spitalfields market, and then on to the Barbican Centre for an excellent AI exhibit.

Sadly, the book of the exhibit failed to include any of the damn women, that they had a whole section on in the exhibit. Which was somewhat annoying because had I have known that in the exhibit I’d’ve taken down a bunch of names. But we only discovered it afterwards. I realised, while there, that I seem to have somewhat imprinted on the Barbican Centre. Having been there so much as a kid the brutalist concrete feels terribly friendly and safe. And it just warms my heart being there. Odd, really.

Anyhow, the next morning was family day part one – and we headed over to see my sister, who took us to see Jerome K Jerome’s grave at Ewelme, along with the fascinating grave of Alice de la Pole. We also went for a potter around the village and saw the somewhat quirky watercress beds that line the middle of the village. It was all in all very pleasant. Then off to see friends in Bristol – where we had a lovely day, and rounded it off with a glass of port and some ridiculous deserts in a nice restaurant.

And then we pottered down to Cornwall to see my mum, where we discovered there’s an enormous number of local walks we’ve not done. We discovered it a bit late, and there were enormous wind storms while we were there, so it didn’t exactly factor into our plans that much, but we did go and potter up to a neolithic tomb, which was amazing. Next time we go we shall have to actually go on some of these walks, rather than our standard loop that we’ve more or less done for the past 9 years.

Yes, I know, we’re insane.

And now we’re back…and that’s a thing.


Squeak, squeak, clatter, clatter.

And so we find ourselves back on the Caledonian Sleeper, the battered and tired old coaches creeping their way back to London. It’s with rather a lot of sadness that we do this, we both fell somewhat in love with the Scottish small isles and would happily have stayed.

Something about a life with less drive to consume. With less of a need to be connected. All very romantic in the sunshine and no doubt bloody hard in the winter. Tempting none the less.

Having made it across on the ferry which was very long because, with only the exception of the first ferry journey, we’d somehow picked an inordinately long route that stopped in other places. Then down (well, across) on the train to Banavie, we popped out to grab food and ended up looking around the castle there.

We noodled around Banavie yesterday, mainly doing laundry but also checking out the local distillery. Sadly, whether or not it’s good whisky, the people seemed meh, and while the tour was interesting, by the end of it neither of us felt like they truly cared deeply about the drink they’re making. It more felt like ‘this is the way we have been doing it for years, so why change’.

Today we hopped on the bus and headed for Fort William where we (unsurprisingly) spent an inordinate amount of time in a book shop, and also took some time checking out the museum… And the whiskey shop (and yes, I’m more than aware of the inconsistency of thinking about a life that is based on less consumption, then promptly going and consuming. Who ever said it would be easy?).

We picked up some thought provoking reading matter and are headed down on the train to London… Where we were meant to be renting an EV. But… That fell though… So sadly we’ll be in a Prius. The best we could manage on our limited budget and without trekking hours out of our way (to the other side of London) to hire. Ask me why rental companies don’t hire EVs… I have no answer but it’s bloody irritating.

Feh.