Stop the world

My life is spinning so fast. We took the children back to university this week. Oxford on Wednesday was damp and foggy so not a day to linger and the remainder of the day was spent choosing a rug, collecting lighting and placing orders for kitchen appliances. We are moving ahead with the cottage and although there is the occasional setback I am feeling positive and happy.

I spent a lovely last day with my daughter on Thursday. I bought her a teapot and she baked and we went on a golden hour walk together at Polesden Lacey.


On Friday the sun shone all day. The three of us went to Margate and the seafront was bathed in sunshine. The new Turner Contemporary art gallery was looking its best – a crisp white angular building seen against the bluest sky.

The gallery was fun aand we spun around in Thomas Heatherwick’s spinning top chairs. There was a ghost band playing pared down musical instruments constructed from decommissioned firearms. This was our introduction to the current exhibition titled “Risk”, a thought-provoking and at times extremely uncomfortable exhibition. but it is good sometimes to step out of our comfort zones and experience something new and different.

Lunch in the gallery cafe was excellent and afterwards we ventured out into the town, a mixture of kiss me quick arcades and lots of vintage shops. It was very quiet but I imagine it heaving on a Bank Holiday weekend. My favourite building was the Sea Bathing Hospital which dates back to 1791.


We drove to Canterbury via Broadstairs and Ramsgate. The road is elevated above the marshland of the North Kent coast and wind power farms are prolific in the Thames estuary. We were heading due west and the setting sun was blinding. Soon we saw the familiar outline of Canterbury cathedral. We unloaded the car and said goodbye to our daughter. We arrived home in just over an hour and saw a beautiful sunset en route.

Yesterday we spent all day at the cottage. We collected a rug for the sitting room and more lighting for the bedrooms and a carpet man came with his sample books. We have decided to lay sisal in the dining hall over the old quarry tiles and lay new carpet upstairs. The bathroom carpet will be replaced with a sheet of of linoleum. We removed redundant curtain poles and bathroom fittings. In due course I will prime and paint the curtain poles and paint the dark brown bathroom fittings in Skimming Stone by Farrow & Ball.

We have decided to paint the walls Barley White by Dulux and use white eggshell on the woodwork to maximise light through the many small windows. My new favourite yellow, Custard by Little Greene, will feature on the inside of the kitchen cupboards. Once the kitchen has been overhauled by a carpenter I  will clean and oil the wood. It is a really lovely kitchen and receives many compliments and I’m glad I am not the only person to see its potential.

I finished cleaning the windows inside and out except for two windows in the eaves room above the study  which I forgot about.  (For years I have had a recurring dream where I discover a forgotten room in my house.) There is a winding oak staircase leading to this room which is crying out for a colourful stair runner. This is the modern part of the cottage, added in 2000, and it needs bringing to life.

Today is a rest day. I have a backlog of laundry and cleaning to do, my desk is a mess and I need to clear some space so I can start altering curtains but today we will go on a favourite walk, high up on the chalk downs and away from the mud. Later I hope to sit down for an hour with my latest therapy, English paper piecing using one inch hexagons. This is very addictive in a good way and is an opportunity  to use up the scraps from my two log cabin quilts. So far I have stitched about 150 hexagons together and have a piece of patchwork the size of a pillowcase – there is nothing like a slow burn project.  Later we will roast a pheasant and no doubt fall asleep watching War and Peace and so ends another week.

This time next week if all goes to plan we should have heating and lighting in the cottage and a new oven and hob in the kitchen.


I never stopped loving you – neon text by Tracey Emin.



14 thoughts on “Stop the world

  1. Thanks for sharing all this with us Sarah – you are living life to the full and are certainly on a roll from what you say. I don’t know this part of the SE at all so was interested to read Margate and Canterbury. Good to hear a litle more about the cottage – you are saying that the little room in the eaves is in a modern extension? Sounds intriguing … will you be showing us pictures? I have had dreams of the sort you describe – must mean something!


  2. I’m so glad you’re feeling happy and positive about the cottage. It sounds as if it is going to be absolutely wonderful. You’ve had some lovely trips I think, I’m glad things are going well. Love the Tracey Emin text, I’m a big fan of hers. CJ xx


  3. You have some big changes at home with them back at school. It must be so quiet now, for better or worse. I hope you had a nice walk today in the midst of your chores. Take care and have a good week.


  4. I’ve had that dream too, thought it was just me! The daughter of my husbands cousin works at the Margate gallery and we’ve promised to visit so good to hear about it from you.


  5. My daughter’s dance school holds two big shows a year at the Winter Gardens, so I’ve done my fair share of trekking around Margate. It is a funny old town – your photos make it look very good 🙂 – but the Turner is definitely worth visiting. It sounds as though it’s all go with you, Sarah. You’ve made such great progress on the cottage – will there be photos at some point? I’d love to see it (being nosy!). Have a good week.


  6. I have the same recurring dream! Lucky you to have such a blue sky – ours seems to have been grey for weeks. I hope you have more luck with F&B paint in your bathroom than we did as ours has flaked badly – it’s fine in the bedroom but definitely does not like the atmosphere in the bathroom.


  7. I just discovered your blog after seeing your lovely marmalade comment on Sam’s blog. It made me laugh to read that you have recurring forgotten room dreams. Me too. Sometimes it’s a good room, sometimes not so much! Enjoy working on your new cottage.


  8. I have that dream too and it’s full of the most wonderful treasures. I cannot believe that I have forgotten about them each time. A variant on that dream was a pretty stream running at the end of our garden.


  9. A sea bathing hospital. The poor souls who put their faith in that. Wonderful photographs. We once did actually find a hidden room in our house (a childhood house of mine, not our current house) . I have often mulled over the possibility of writing it into a story, but am never sure where to start with that type of thing. Your plans for the cottage sound wonderful. I love the thought of custard yellow cupboards. X


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