Too many men in my life and a lot of monkey business

This week I’ve been spending a lot of time with Peter, Barry, Mike, Kurtis and Steve. Kevin was here last week and returns in the morning. No I’m not cheating on Mr W its just that unfortunately female contractors are virtually unheard of, particularly in Cumbria, and we have a lot of work being done on the house to transform it from holiday home to permanent residence. In my former life I have been a project manager but its been a while since I produced a Gantt chart. With this many plates spinning I’m starting to think I might need one.

The main job to finish tomorrow is being undertaken by Peter from Back from Black Beam Renovation.  The house is full of exposed beams, many of them original. However, one of the former owners decided to paint them all with gloss paint…..I know, they should be hunted down and shot. Having had the original red sandstone fireplace grit blasted a few years ago when we discovered it behind a plaster board wall (I know, another crime someone should be held accountable for), I have experienced the mess this creates and couldn’t face it again. So I tried to pretend the beams weren’t irritating the hell out of me, until one day I stumbled across an ad for Back from Black in an interior design magazine. The pictures and case studies on their website were impressive but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how they managed to create what appeared to be beautifully restored beams without any chemical stripping or sandblasting. After speaking with them I was none the wiser. They explain the process, but how it works is a closely guarded secret. Despite this I decided to give it a shot, on the basis the beams couldn’t look any worse. So Peter the magician has been here all week and has been steadily working his way through the house. It really is quite fascinating to see the transformation. I’ll share the before and after pictures tomorrow.

If it wasn’t enough to have a house full of contractors I also had a friend and her two children stay for a few days this week. Being the good host I had a list of suggestions to keep the children (aged 11 and 13) entertained. When I suggested Go Ape, the outdoor ‘tree top adventure’ I stupidly hadn’t done my homework. Turns out children must be accompanied by an adult and there was no way my friend was climbing any trees so I got roped in, literally. 2 hours of hauling myself across rope bridges, climbing up nets, balancing on wire cables and planks of wood 30 feet in the air and hurtling down zip lines, all while trying to overcome my fear of heights was not my idea of fun. Mr W though it was hysterical when I complained to him last night that my hands hurt like hell. Turns out I can’t support my own body weight with my arms, not for long anyway. My former employees would laugh their socks off if they knew that ‘their tough as nails boss’ had to be coaxed along a rope bridge by two small children while trembling and close to tears…..oh how my life is changing.


Me and my two monkey companions, Iola and Jacob
Me and my two monkey companions, Iola and Jacob
Me hurtling down one of the many zip lines…..


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