Our first was not so much a visitor but very welcome all the same. Stephen Grogan, our new chimney sweep, who swept out our crud filled flue. This is one of the flues that we were assured by the previous owners were regularly cleaned: indeed the last time they was serviced, the company had said they barely needed cleaning! Had we known just how bad a state they really were in, they would have been the first thing to be sorted out. As it was, we used the main burner for a few weeks before Stephen cleared it of a large amount of very flammable residue, which could have caused a chimney fire.
Last month we had proper guests, our dear stalwart friends from Cinderhill Farm drove up from the forest of Dean to be our first visitors, despite the deplorable state of our decor. These good people are storing my various letterpress treasures and helped us with the big move. They stayed for supper by the fire.
This time they brought local Severn cider, farm cured bacon and four precious winter eggs, two duck, two hen from their own flock.
In a great bit of recycling, their own two breed sows have enjoyed the leftover cider apples used to make the Severn cider - here is Lady Penelope with a big smile on her face. (Neither of them are the bacon above).
Also welcome visitors this month were Valerie and Sue, two bloggers I've known for a while, who are now a little nearer to me. Valerie of course, is 'Acornmoon' and has written about her visit and Sue is 'Mouse Notebook'. They too brought lovely gifts...
Sue had brought us both one of these delightful little chapbooks from the Incline Press, who we visited recently - I met the people at the Incline Press before I knew that Sue knew them; what a very small world it can be.
As you can see, we all got on as well in real life as we have done online - Sue on the left, Val in the middle, both looking glamorous and me on the right looking rustic but happy.
Latest attempts to drag this cottage into some kind of habitable state - the bathroom was hiding this rather twee plastic floral paper behind a mirror.
Andy has begun stripping out all the ghastly trappings, including the cheap dado rail. One day we will get the walls fixed properly, but as funds won't stretch that far, he is just filling in the holes and painting the walls with a nice vintage-y turquoise. It can only be an improvement, but it will be a few years before I get a bath. Showers just don't do it for me.
I now know I am finally growing up...I want to wake up on Christmas morning and find that Santa has fitted a new damp course, re-plastered and painted all the walls, re-floored my studio, fitted a new bathroom with bath, ditto kitchen with a range, re-landscaped the garden and levelled the drive. Oh and a proper bed would be nice. Bit of a change from a Tintin book and a magic kit.