Beginning to start to commence (as Dad would say)

We’ve bought a house built in 1985 near the Mumbles in Swansea. It’s set back from the end of a Victorian terrace of houses, next to a wood that leads up to a castle, 500 yards from a greengrocer and a fishmonger.  

Oh, and across the road from the sea! 

We’ve lived here now for a year and our ideas of what to do with the house have evolved, with lots of help from Gil Schalom, the great architect who designed the refurb we did in Nottingham, which worked so well. http://www.superhomes.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Gil-Schalom-Binder-GSD-Architecture.pdf 

 

The house as it is now, in all its grotty glory   

The house as it is now, in all its grotty glory

 

This picture (below) shows you the flat roof over one of the ground floor rooms, the funny shaped garage next to the house, the porch etc. 

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The ground floor as it currently is, and showing the unusual shaped plot!  Also thenconservatory and porch which are to be taken down.

The ground floor as it currently is, and showing the unusual shaped plot!  Also thenconservatory and porch which are to be taken down.

Current first floor, showing three bedrooms and the tiny one and the rather cramped bathroom

Current first floor, showing three bedrooms and the tiny one and the rather cramped bathroom

A CAD image of the proposed design, for which we have planning permission!  

A CAD image of the proposed design, for which we have planning permission!  

The idea is that the pale surfaces will be a warm light-coloured render and the dark will be the timber extension and covered in probably dark wriggly cement cladding, or similar. We hope to vary the colours of the window frames. All these will have to be agreed on site with the planners.

The trianglular structure sticking out at 1st and 2nd floor levels allows for sea views from all bedrooms.

 

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This shows the proposed ground floor including a much smaller bike garage behind where the current garage is (replaced by an area of garden where we can enjoy a G&T while taking in the view). The old kitchen will include the MVHR and the tank for the air source heat pump-heated water, and a shower to hose off the sea water and the biking grime.

 

1st floor showing the larger room including the space over the current flat roof., and the new view of the sea from the back bedroom.

1st floor showing the larger room including the space over the current flat roof., and the new view of the sea from the back bedroom.

2nd floor new space - but we won’t have the small kitchen but rather a larger bathroom with the bath (replacing that in the current bathroom with a shower). 

2nd floor new space - but we won’t have the small kitchen but rather a larger bathroom with the bath (replacing that in the current bathroom with a shower). 

Now to see if we can afford it!  

Main things are to have great air tightnesss and insulation so we don’t need much heat at all. We plan a concrete floor downstairs with underfloor heating, and elsewhere just towel rails for heating. Intention is to only finish internally where we have to, with plumbing in place but a minimum of finished bathrooms. 

What d’you think?

 

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Views - top from the garden, the other two are in either direction from the seashore across the road, at a very full tide. 

Views - top from the garden, the other two are in either direction from the seashore across the road, at a very full tide. 

The woods to the castle

Just behind our house and to the side are some woods crawling up the side of castle hill to Oustermouth castle. 

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From the path through the wood I can see the allotments and the back of our ugly lovely house (just barely through the trees now, will be clearer when all the leaves have fallen). 

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There’s a bench on a clear grassy hillock from which I can see so much.  

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This is looking at the bay over across where our house is.  

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Oystermouth houses

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and looking inland - Oystermouth castle!

A quick bike in the woods

We’ve got a few hours on a beautiful day so have come out toClybe Country Park, just round the bay into Swansea.  

Lovely deciduous woods, leaves on the ground as well as turning on the trees.  

Clare off to try the red bike route as I write this! 

Bike tracks with rocks and stuff are definitely less scary on the mountain bike but I still get some major squeals out of the brakes even in the main track - and C freaked herself a bit on a steep berm, so going again!  

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C disappears down a route

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Cycling back round the bay

Brilliant concert last night!

We saw the Society of Strange and Ancient instruments perform Soundhouse at the National Waterfront Museum as part of the Swansea International Festival - inspired by Francis Bacon and a wonderful combination of ancient music, new music, ancient instruments and modern recording and playing with sound, and words. *Really* worth a listen and to see them if you have the chance!

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this is a trumpet marine (it has one playing string made of something like 80 twisted strands, and up to 48 inner resonating strings. It is bowed and has a vibrating bridge so makes a sound somewhat like a trumpet - apparently used by nuns as women did not use wind instruments!)

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and this is a Nyckelharpa (a bowed keyed fiddle, with twelve under strings which are sympathetically resonant).

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And the view when we got home after the concert! You can see the Mumbles lighthouse even though the moon was so full it made the world not dark!

Running in the sun by the sea

I've been slow to get going here, with how I want to be, but today I got into my running things under normal clothes before C set off for her shift at the hospital, and went out for a walk run at 8.30. Enjoyed it, the sun shone for me which helped! 

Tomorrow I plan to get back onto the couch to 5k or similar so I can build up and enjoy the seafront every day. 

Wish I'd taken a picture!

Two weeks no cake no booze

We’ve decided not to eat cake or drink alcohol for two weeks, moral support for Torie (likescakenotrunning.blogspot.com) who is being forced to abstain. 

Not a bad thing for the start of this new life! 

Last night I went to volunteer for the http://theswanseafringe.com/. (Though in fact my help wasn’t needed) at https://www.cinemaco.co.uk/. (I also saw where Volcano is on the high street which was great - they have some interesting stuff going on over the next few months). 

I heard ?Keith Williams talking about “when pop videos rules the world” - he did concepts and directed (latter sometimes) videos like When Video Killed the Radio Star;  I Need a Hero; some Olivia Newton John etc. It was fun! 

The *real* start of our life here

I've finished my happy, happy time with Inclusion Healthcare in Leicester, so now I'll be here in our ugly house in a lovely place full time. 

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Reena made this beautiful sign for me and we both love it!

It's strange but good to be here and know I'm not going away. Life will be very different - more like when we spent that year in Sydney and I didn't work. Less money, more time.

We're getting ourselves sorted for both! A fun challenge tolive on less. I shall need to sort myself out for work, and make connections, as we wouldn't get a mortgage easily perhaps right now, and we'll need one to do what we want to the house.