Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Man in a Skirt - Two Months Later

Two Months since I last posted. Been very busy.

My wife and I completed the barn as previously mentioned to first fix now at plumbing, electrics and plastering stage. Then in early March we dismantled our study. Two huge purpose built desks (by us) dominated the room and we realised viewers that looked at the house never really walked in to that room. This made us decorate it. Although good move, it was also a bad move. We then decorated our bedroom, the hallway/landing, bathroom, kitchen and dining room. February was dominated by barn and day to day living, March was dominated with decorating and day to day living. Amongst this we noticed on searching for our house it didn't come up on 4 bedroom search, only two. We called an appointment with the Agent to discuss and other aspects. They said the house only had two bedrooms, the other two were in the barn annex therefore legally not allowed to list as 4 bedrooms. Interesting. We pointed out their brochure refers to four bedrooms, describes four bedrooms, grantedly two to be finished but nether the less bedrooms. Their own website stated number of bedrooms 4 etc. The meeting was amicable, especially as the previous week we insisted that they removed the price range £300K to £325K as the seven viewers in January all talked at £300K. This was changed to £325K a price we feel more comfortable with. At the end of the day Estate Agents want a sale to earn profit, buyers want a cheap house and the seller is left holding the baby as they say. We do not have to move, we are doing so by choice. My wife has recently retired, I'm semi retired and my self employment work can move with us so why give the house away! This took place in the latter part of March and subsequently we had an offer from one who came in January, 4 visits one with a builder and offered £45,000 below the price. They were told no.

On top of this we had a few inches of snow in February, but March was something different. Very cold to start off with with a cold easterly wind. At 1100ft on top of a hill we catch easterlies, westerlies, southerlies and northerlies but the easterlies, they are cold. The fire, log and coal, heats the whole house and water, and comfortably hits 21/22 degrees in the house. In March we struggled to reach 18 and we even moved one of the dogs to a warmer place in the lounge! -16 degrees wind chill was muted for us but in early March the air temperature was hitting -6 and only this last week has the day time temperature gone to 4, 5 or 6 degrees. But it was the snow. Over 22nd/23rd March a foot fell, with strong winds. It snowed Friday afternoon and most of Saturday. On Sunday we went out. 2 feet on the drive, 4 feet by the gate to the garage/shed and the garage shed door was half covered. That faced west, when the snow/wind came from the east. The snow drifts on the east side of the shed hit 4 feet, and throughout the day the wind kept blowing. The single track road and Council maintained passing our house held and kept open to 4WD vehicles until Sunday late afternoon. It became blocked just below the house with 4 feet drifts and for the next three quarters of a mile had numerous drifts one reaching 6 feet. Time to call the Council. All Sunday we dug out the drive, shed entrance back and front, around the house etc. The council were telephoned at 9 am Monday morning and although the whole of the Yorkshire Dales National Park within North Yorkshire had heavy snow, we were dug out by snow blower by 2 pm the same day. The Council got a congratulatory complimentary phone call, bearing in mind only three houses were affected by our blocked road.

All that week we had to continually dig out out the moor gate on the road below our house due to drifting snow from the fields. At this point the road is very narrow by two high field walls and the road dips. This was done twice a day, so as not to leave it and create a huge problem. The Council were good to come promptly but we knew they wouldn't come so quickly again that week due to our wide area required for attention by the Council. England's highest pub some 12 miles to the north of us was blocked in till much later that week and we heard a road out of our area heading north east had a ploughed track through snow drifts of 20 feet! The rest of our road for us was kept at bay by being much wider and our Land Rover Defender loves driving through snow so long as it does not exceed 2 feet high. I have driven it through such snow in previous years. I don't mind this as if the car slides on our road you go no where as it has wide grass verges, field walls and no steep drops unlike some Dales roads. It was not until Thursday pm that tarmac was started to be seen and ever since we have had a steady thaw, very slowly since the day time air temperatures got to 4 degrees. It kept us fit constantly clearing blown snow each morning better than paying to go to a gym. Our road was blocked for less than 24 hours, passable by 4WD thereafter and open to standard drive cars from the Friday.

All in all not much time for public skirt wearing, only at home when not in the barn, decorating or doing chores where skirts not practical. The weekly shop was basically it until last week. Went to Northallerton to get materials to finish our porch currently at first fix or what the Estate Agents call sun room. They say there is no need to finish as what ever we do it will be undone by new owners but we feel first impressions count as it is the first room. It also completes the Farmhouse part leaving only the Barn annex at first fix. Northallerton included lunch out, grocery shopping and trailing round tile centres and DIY stores. This last weekend we met a friend at a pub in Harrogate again I was skirted and again no problems. The odd glance as you pass by a few, after all it is different. In Sainburys in Northallerton a young girl, around 18 thought I was highly amusing and discreetly took a photo of me, well not too discreetly as I knew and saw the flash. She laughed and ran around the shop beside herself. Needless to say she was in chunky boots, jeans, hooded top with large writing on, not really traditional dress for women if as a man she obviously expected me to be in traditional male attire. Anyhow I obviously made her day. It still didn't get me on UTube or Twitter!

Today, 2nd April I have put two Blogs on my main site, the first since September, 2012.

Over the weekend I opened a Twitter account under @TheSkirtedMan. I'm not going to be a regular tweeter but I have put three about Men in Skirts and replied to one on the BBC News account about UK  Christians being marginalised. I don't intend tweeting like some do about going on holiday, a birthday party or the fact we have snow but if I feel I have a point to say or one to reply to I will post a tweet.

Stopping to sign off. May start the porch/sun room tomorrow, other events are pencilled in the diary and the weather forecasters say we could hit 8 degrees by the weekend as warmer but wet weather from the west reasserts itself, and into next week will be at average double digit temperatures. That means my clients gardens will come to life and in a few weeks time the 2013 Garden season will be upon me. I don't wear skirts gardening, get far too dirty trailing when bending down, although they would be far more comfortable in the hotter days to come.

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