Two weeks in and the place feels like home. The Coffee Shop still feels and still looks like a building site but things are progressing.
The laying of the oak floors is completed in the dwelling. Chris manages all the tricky stuff around the bookcases, the stairs and the curved stone base of the woodburner. We decide to ask Chris and Derek to carry on and lay the flooring in the Coffee Shop as we need to move things on quickly if we are to be ready to open for business at the end of March. Bill gets on with finishing the domestic kitchen installation, including applying six coats of danish oil to the worktops. In the middle of this work we are slowly unpacking and rationalising the myriad boxes of stuff that have arrived from storage in Gloucestershire. Very quickly the main attic is filled with boxes labelled ‘memorabilia’ containing a miscellany of stuff from the children’s childhood. At some point they’ll enjoy sifting through the stuff, in the meantime, thank goodness for loft space. The bookshelves are filled very rapidly and we realize we either need more shelves or to get rid of some books. We decide on the former.
At the end of our first week Emily’s parents and her godmother pay us a visit. They’ve been staying in a freezing Landmark Trust property in Richmond and, as well as being pleased to see what we’ve achieved, are grateful for the opportunity to perch on stools - in the absence of any proper furniture - in front of the log burner and get warm. It’s good to see the place through other peoples’ eyes. They take us out for a meal that night to the pub/restaurant in the next village. It’s great to eat a proper meal as we’ve been managing on tea and toast for most of the week.
Our furniture purchases from the auction house in Scarborough arrive. At least they do eventually, when Bill manages to flag down the van on its third pass through the village. Their satellite navigation was directing them down the track to the ford which would’ve been the end of them and our stuff if they’d attempted it. We have bought items at the auctions over the last few months, mainly for the Coffee Shop to create a suitable Victorian ambience. Fortunately for us, Victoriana is out of fashion at the moment, so good, substantial pieces of furniture can be had for not very much money. We can’t quite remember what we bought though so there are some surprises as things are carried up the path by the movers. The exciting item is the grand piano which we got for £150. The guys manoeuvre it, minus its legs and top, onto some piano wheels and bring it up the path and the ramp through the gate. It gets through the door into the dwelling and ten minutes after setting it up, Emily is playing ‘Fur Elise’. Bill is relieved as he was the one who bid for it, hoping it would turn out to be playable. It’s obviously not properly in tune yet but still sounds ok. It looks as if it was made for the space though. We now have chairs to sit in too. We have to change our minds about the dining table though. We bought a circular extending one with ‘ball and claw’ feet that is two inches too wide to go through the door into the dwelling. We swap for one of the ones intended for the coffee shop, and the substitute looks fine. We discover we have an extra chandelier we hadn’t remembered. We decide it can go in the bedroom for a bit of glamour.
Over the weekend Bill makes use of the electrician’s platform to fix the hanging system in the Coffee Shop, ready to take the pictures and prints we have accumulated. He also fixes the Ansonia chiming wall clock to the wall in pride of place. Its ticking reminds us of the need to get on and get things ready.
We take delivery of the units that will form the basis of the Coffee Shop servery. When Chris and Derek temporarily run out of the membrane which goes under the flooring they make a start on the servery. Bill has decided to use match boarding on the front and sides of the servery with an Iroko worktop which is on order. He designs the shelving and wall treatment behind the counter that will provide the support for the miniature railway running over the heads of the staff.
Bill, with some trepidation, installs cabinets, mirrors and shelves in the bathroom and shower room. He’s anxious not to mess up the beautiful tiling and is relieved when the items are safely in place. We also assemble the bunks and beds in the two downstairs bedrooms. In between all of this we make trips to the municipal dump to prevent us being buried under a mass of cardboard. Thank goodness it is recyclable.
We finally move into the dwelling on Friday 3rd of February. We have been ferrying stuff across from the rented flat in the Landrover and trailer all week. Nothing is quite finished and the Coffee Shop is still a building site but it’s great to be in at last. The day after we move in the snow arrives and blankets the place. We’re warm and cosy with the underfloor heating and the log burner.
The new few days are challenging with loads to do, culminating in the arrival from Gloucestershire of all of our stuff. It’s been in storage for two years, since we sold our house in Wotton. We’d forgotten quite how much there was of it: over two hundred boxes, ferried up the 125 yard path on trolleys by the father and son (plus one) team of removal men. Bill had spent the previous day clearing the 125 yards of the path of snow and hard packed ice to prevent our belongings skidding into the river along with the movers.