David arrived on Monday and ended up staying for the whole week, much to my joy. The doors have been an absolute pain, because we left the original doorframes in and they weren’t quite square, so there’s been a lot of shimming and planing. But they’re in and they look fabulous. (Please note how I have accidentally managed to buy a landing lampshade in nearly the exact same colour as the stair wall!)
The living room door has been a particular pain in the behind, because the area of the wall to the left was only half an inch wider than the oak surround David was using. He suggested that he get some more oak skirting board instead and use that, rather than leave me with a tiny strip to paint. It’s very slightly lighter, but not too noticeable and I think it looks neater having it flush to the wall.
I have some very careful painting to do on the inside of the door frames where David’s planed them down. He’s also fitted the upstand and splashback in the kitchen and tidied up the cupboard doors on the landing – the composite board he’d made them out of has shrunk quite badly in the warmth from the heating manifold and there was a big gap between each pair of doors. He’s carefully fitted a wooden strip to each so that they close flush again. Not sure whether to paint these or not – they tone in with the carpet and I quite like the contrast.
We’ve had two further bookings, from complete strangers this time – both of them couples and bringing dog(s). One is for a week in April and the other is three nights in mid-March, so we really have to get sorted now! Mick has been doing more tiling in the bathroom this afternoon and now there are no more doors or furniture being carried around the place, I can get my overalls back on and paint the hall next week. So nearly there…
We’re having an unexpectedly soggy start to it up here – we were forecast a nice dry day with a gentle breeze to the south, so Mick set off down the road this morning intent on clearing out the woodwormy boards from the barn and having a big bonfire. It was going well until about half an hour ago when the skies opened, but he’s manfully carrying on, as there isn’t that much left to go (we had a big fire on Saturday as well and got rid of all the wood lying out in the field).
I’ve been cramming myself into the corners of the bedrooms with my tripod and camera and think I’ve managed to come up with some photos good enough to go up on Scottish Cottages. They accepted the exterior ones anyway, which is good, so I’ve sent five shots of the bedrooms over and tomorrow I’ll get Mick to help me load the coffee table into the car and then I can stage the living room and photograph that as well.
In very exciting news, we have our first booking!!! Cheating a bit, because it’s a friend, but she emailed me the other day to say she’d booked a week in the summer and was looking forward to seeing us 🙂 Neither she nor I have had a confirmation email through yet, but I’m assuming that’s because everything’s shut down for the holidays and the agency won’t confirm until the deposit has cleared through their payment system.
As far as I can tell at the moment, the start of 2018 for us is going to look something like this:
January & February: finish Ethel’s. We have 59 days until we could potentially have a guest, as it’s available from 1st March.
March: Hopefully welcome first guests (it’s an early Easter this year). Get house-cleaning routine thoroughly documented so it can be handed over to Clean Bees if necessary.
April: Get to grips with social media promotion before lambs start arriving for cute photo ops!
What we’ll do post-Ethel, we’re still not 100% sure. Our options are:
- Buy another holiday let
- Buy another project to renovate into a holiday let
- Buy a plot and build a holiday let
- Build a house and agricultural shed on a big field we already own in the village (I need to get planning through for the shed this year, as I need to apply for a crofting grant for it before Brexit happens – it needs full planning rather than prior notification because the site is less than 25m from the road, so we might as well put a house on the same application)
- Renovate the house we live in which is, to put it politely, looking a bit tired
One thing’s for sure, it’s not going to be boring 🙂