Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: Trowbridge

The great house adventure – the hallway

I’ve mentioned our house and the DIY activities a few times, but thought I’d do a series of posts to share what we’ve done because to be honest I’m pretty proud of our efforts! So here’s part one all about our lovely hallway.

The lady of the manor and I bought our first house just before christmas 2009, it was something we’d been thinking about for a while but saving that deposit is never easy when you’re paying £700 a month in rent. So we took the decision to move in with the inlaws for 6 months to finally get the money together. We’d always dreamed of owning a Victorian house but couldn’t quite afford a 3 bedroom one in Bristol where we’d been looking so we widened the search and happened upon Trowbridge where house prices were just that little bit cheaper.

Although the house had some of the original features still (floorboards for one) it did need some updating and improving. We’d never done any DIY before having rented for so long, but I’m always willing to give things a go. The lady of the manor also doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty but her attention does tend to wane fairly quickly and she is prone to the odd destructive moment without thinking what to afterwards! One such episode saw her ripping up the carpet in our hallway and off the stairs. This was the only area downstairs that wasn’t wood floor and included covering the hall way which is normally tiled in these sort of houses.

With the stair carpet removed our hallway now looked like this and was the beginning of many hours work for me with a sander!

DSC_0011DSC_0027

 We wanted to restore the stairs and hallway to something close to the original design with a tiled hallway and a carpet runner on the stairs. I sanded the stairs back to the wood getting rid of all the glue and old paint. We then painted them white and lived like that for a while until I had time to tackle the hallway. We hoped and prayed that under that carpet was a tiled floor. On pulling it up we found that actually there was a concrete floor which was strangely higher than all the other floors. A little chipping away at the edges revealed a glimpse of a tile and much excitement from us;

DSC_0002

The concrete came up pretty easily in most cases and after half a days work we were left with this;

DSC_0008

Apart from the big hole near the front door the floor was actually in pretty good condition and just needed a good clean. The hole still needs repairing, although I do have the tiles now to do it, but a little girl has got in the way recently! But the rest of the floor and stairs is done and we are extremely happy with the finished result. Its exceeded any dreams we had when we bought the house. Why anyone would have covered this up in the past is beyond me.

DSC_0125

The fools food heroes – December

Drum roll please, I am pleased to announce the first ever regular topic on this ere blog! In a change to the usual wordy (ranty) posts that my blog seems to have evolved towards, I’m going to intersperse the heavy topics with something a little more light hearted.

A confession

As you may or may not know I LOVE FOOD, that’s right, I’m a foodie (perhaps even a food snob?). I don’t eat fast food, I spent my student years mainly at home so I could spend money on food and not beer and I buy all my meat from a butcher. I’ll preach to anyone that listens how good a free range chicken is or how much better a homemade cake is vs. one from a supermarket. I’m also pretty passionate about finding local, specialist producers who are making top quality and often unusual foods.

The new regular feature!

So I’d thought I’d start a regular (at least monthly) post to share a few of these producers in the hope of spreading the joy of eating the fabulous food that we make in this little country. There will inevitably be a South West England bias here as that’s where I live, but I make no apologies for that the region is pretty blessed. But I will endeavor to include at least some from other parts of the UK and if you know a producer who sells something amazing then let me know, always on the look out for recommendations. I may well stretch the definition of food to include pubs/restaurants at some point.

December’s selection

Until a year ago I lived in Bristol and had done for the previous 8 years, Bristol is a great city and has a rich food culture. The lady of the manor and I often frequented the Sunday farmers market at the tobacco factory where the first 2 companies always had a stall. Even since moving away from Bristol I still buy products from them and would definitely rate them ‘best in class’!

Pieminster pies

No doubt some of you will have heard of these lovely people, they make the BEST pies ever. Fact. The vast majority of the ingredients are sourced local to Bristol, they use a different kind of pastry for the top and the bottom to ensure the perfect pie and every pie is hand made. The pies even have great names; Moo Pie, PM Pie, Chicken of Aragon, mr porky pie. The fillings are chunky, full or flavour and have something for everyone.  They have outlets in Bristol of course, but also Oxford, Stoke on Trent and London, you can even get them on the Deli counter at Sainsbury’s. So if you get a chance check them out! Oh and they’re also on Twitter

Extract coffee

 My second recommendation and another market regular is Extract Coffee, they sell coffee sourced by themselves and roasted in small batches in Bristol. This means you get the freshest possible coffee; compare a bag from them to one from the supermarket and you will be amazed. The smell of fresh coffee fills the room and has a taste to match. You can order coffee mail order which is what I do now for little more than the cost in the supermarket and it arrives in a couple of days fresh from the roaster. My personal favourites are the pacific espresso and the after dinner blend. Many of the coffees carry fair trade or rain forest alliance certification also.

Walter Rose and Son

Finally I’d like to give a massive recommendation for my local butcher here in Trowbridge. Walter Rose and Son have shops in Trowbridge and Devizes, they sell not only meet but also fresh fish and have a deli counter. These days it’s often hard to find a good butcher, but these guys provide a great service and some excellent meat. It may not be all organic etc, but the quality is excellent. If I had to recommend one thing it would be their homemade sausages, particularly the venison and red currants. Yum! So if you ever in the area pop in and take a look.

I’d love to hear who your food heroes are, whose produce to you buy whenever you get chance?