Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running
Relaxation and Stress
by admin - 07:12 on 03 August 2011
Richard, Warwickshire's greatest Triumph motorcycle enthusiast, has chosen an interesting week to be a house-guest of The Rural Retreat.
He arrived astride his Hinckley steed on Monday (the day of my most recent birthday), laden with Black Isle Brewery products, to be greeted with enthusiasm by Matchgirl and me and disinterest by Bess, which is as exuberant as she gets when food isn't involved.
Matchgirl's forward planning had gone slightly askew, for she had to work yesterday while the visitor and I enjoyed a tour of the west staged by Aigas Field Centre, near Beauly. After nine hours on his bike the day before, Richard was ready for a break from the saddle.
The day out was one of several one-day events organised by Aigas to test the water. Ours may not be repeated, for the seven-seater VW minibus was occupied by only three people, and one of those was the driver, head ranger Brenna. This was a bonus for us because I could stretch my legs in the back while Richard monopolised the young lady in the front.
Our route was one I've done many times on Kawasaki San – Garve, Braemore Junction, Gairloch, Achnasheen, Garve – but this time I had more opportunity to watch the scenery and not worry about the bends in the road. The weather stayed good, we saw a variety of wildlife and returned home two hours late stuffed with fish and chips and feeling relaxed in the extreme.
Matchgirl, however, was far from mellow.
Not only have we committed ourselves to changes in the garden, we've also taken the first steps to putting The Retreat's weather-beaten exterior in order before another winter battering. This involves the renewal of external paintwork and replacement of worn-out rendering. Not cheap.
As an avid viewer of Help! My House Is Falling Down, Matchgirl knew that nasty surprises await everyone who engages in home renovation. That still failed to lessen the impact when Mr Painter took a look at some of the woodwork, sucked his teeth and said “That'll have to come out.” Claims were also made about the solidity of certain roof tiles.
Mr Painter returns today to begin his preparation work; that's when he'll be quizzed about his gloomy prognostications and his qualifications for making them. If we're not convinced we'll play our ace – Richard the DIY and building expert, who couldn't be in residence at a better time.
He'll also come in handy later this week, after Mr Gardener's put his rotavator to use. That's when knotweed roots will need digging up and burning. There's no such thing as a free lunch in The Rural Retreat.
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