The Estuary

The Estuary

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Monday, 14 December 2015

This bit is over...

This blog is called retiring to Devon. I'm now fully retired and I'm living in Devon.

I enjoy looking at the winter sea

The seagulls on the show house roof are now a familiar sight

I attended the local village Christmas lights celebration

I enjoyed a return visit to Shrewsbury and saw that our old house is 'Sold Subject to Contract'

This chapter is over...

Merry Christmas

 and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Social Scene

Well we've been living in Devon for seven weeks!!

It feels fairly normal in some respects and completely strange in other ways.

Retiring to Devon means that I don't go out to work. That is strange in itself but it also means a massive reduction in the number of people I interact with and that is very strange...

Reminds me of the early days of retirement back in April.
Feeling a bit aimless.

We are lucky that we have had lots of visits from family members so that has helped keep me fairly sane.

I have been making a big effort to meet new people. Not really my comfort zone and I think I may have over done it slightly - bridge class, bridge club, geology club, walking group.

Of course I have met our neighbours on the estate (still only 4 households) and our neighbours over the back. All very friendly.

We have also met the farmer from over the back who has loads of free range chickens. Paul bought some eggs off him today and they were very good.

The eggs from the white chickens have a very pale blue shell!

We see a lot of the Bovis staff and workmen and have got to know them pretty well.

I might consider signing up for some voluntary work in the New Year but don't want to rush into it.

For now its probably best to concentrate on working in the garden and getting ready for Christmas!

Enjoyed some gardening this weekend.
Set up my bird feeding station and started work on my old wall

Monday, 16 November 2015

Walking Group news

Carolyn and Paul's walking group has continued to thrive in our new location.

We have several favourite local walks and have enjoyed sharing them with our visitors.

Joanne gave me some very useful books about walks and places to visit in this area so plenty of inspiration there.

I am going to mark all the walks we do on my maps including the rather special map that Belinda gave me for my birthday.

The map is centred on Fremington and has our names and van on the cover!

During his recent visit Sam visited, Isley Marsh, the local RSPB reserve just along the Tarka Trail from our house and saw a number of typical estuary birds, e.g. egret, curlew, spoonbill. He also heard the fairly unusual Cetti's warbler.

Drawing of a Curlew from RSPB website

On November 2nd Paul and I walked from Fremington to Instow and back. 7.9 miles and the weather was lovely. We spotted some of the birds Sam had told us about but I really need to improve my bird identification skills.

We had a good lunch at the Instow Arms (recommended in Joanne's book) and I attempted to fly an old kite on the beach (more about that in a future post).

On the way back we spotted this butterfly enjoying the winter sun. It is a Comma - Polygonia c-album

Whilst on the subject of butterflies...later at home I found this moth on the wall of my upstairs room.

Herald Moth

I discovered where he spent the night!

He seemed a bit tipsy and fell on his back,
but his legs were moving so I put him outside on Paul's Rhododendron viscosum.
He was very well camouflaged so should be o.k.  
Last week we became members of  Barnstaple U3A (University of the 3rd Age). We joined the walking group on a linear walk between Bideford and Appledore. Just over 3.5 miles and very enjoyable. We then had lunch at the Beaver Inn Appledore which was very good with fantastic views across the estuary.
We are looking forward to discovering more local walks and getting to know a few other walkers.

Monday, 9 November 2015


Today's post was going to be about birds, butterflies and kite flying, but unfortunately I have been distracted by....BLACK MOULD...

YUK!!!! (The cold room)

New houses have to be well ventilated and fairly evenly heated to avoid the growth of black mould. The humidity level is high due to concrete and plaster drying out. We had been leaving the sitting room cold during the day and keeping one room very cold to store wine and some food. We had also been keeping doors shut and had forgotten about ventilating the under stairs cupboard.

The cupboard under the stairs has its fair share.
 Well we've learned our lesson. I've washed off all the mould and we are keeping all rooms and cupboards warm and ventilated until the house dries out.

Lots of useful information online but we were a bit too relaxed about it. I would recommend anyone else moving into a new build to read this carefully and follow the advice...,31929,en.pdf

Never mind, plenty of time next week to write about more playful pursuits.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Instant lawn!

In place of a muddy patch resembling a ploughed field we now have rolling green lawn...

From this....
to this....

and this...

The turfers rotovated and levelled the ground, and laid the turf all in one day.

We have to try not to walk on the turf for four weeks, so have a number of large boards that we move around to make paths to various areas.

Here is the temporary board path to my temporary washing line.
 We also have to try and keep the leaves off the grass so have invested in a leaf blower and vacuum cleaner. Quite fun and we can make loads of leaf mould.

Happy Halloween!
I managed to attract one 'Trick or Treater' with my Jack o' lantern on the front lawn.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Progress reoport

We have unpacked most of the boxes...

But still a few more to go.

Including us, there are four occupied Bovis houses in our cul de sac. Round the corner there is one occupied Barratts house, so only a few neighbours so far. Everyone is very friendly.

Definitely occupied.
All occupied. Snagging in progress at Number 11.

We have all provided 'snagging lists' for the builders and they are gradually getting through the jobs.

Builders shoes outside people's front doors means snagging in progress!

Paul has made a start on the garden. Mainly 'tidying' overgrown hedgerow trees. He has also been busy managing his plants in pots.

All plants have survived the move.

I have identified an area of garden that I will look after.

My corner

It includes a nice bit of 'Devon Bank' hedgerow, so I am looking forward to restoring that.

Once again we have enjoyed having weekend visitors, Sam and his friend James. It is nice showing people the local walk round the estuary and exploring new places to eat and drink. It is also nice to have some extra help with the heavy jobs in the garden!

Levelling a patch of garden by the shed.

 Snagging should be almost complete by the end of the week and with any luck turf in place the following week. Things are definitely progressing.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

That's why we moved.....

As we gradually unpack our boxes and get stuff sorted with the builders we are remembering why we decided to move here...
Natural garden features

Sunsets over the estuary

Shared sunsets over the estuary

Beautiful seascapes (photo by Paul)

A chance to go swimming in the sea whenever I feel like it

Waves to play in

Actually those waves were quite strong.
The only other people in the sea were three surfers.

We are getting to know the new neighbours.
Paul has been to the local bridge club.
We have had our first visitors (Joe and Soulla).
I have mastered the back route to Sainsburys avoiding most of the traffic.
We are beginning to feel at home.

Monday, 12 October 2015

We're here!!

We're here and I'm so tired I've hardly taken any photos. Hopefully I will be in a fit state to reflect on the move by next week, but meanwhile here are a few snapshots of the very beginning...

Here we go! Don't forget the bamboo.

Deity installed in the hedgerow.

First Devonshire cream tea of the new era.
(Only the remains as I ate it before I thought of taking a photo)

Lopping time.

This looks interesting...

Great we can buy Thai food in the local lay by on a Saturday night.
Dinner sorted!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Its tomorrow!!

This is going to be a very short post as tomorrow we move!!!

As the day gets closer more and more last minute jobs are getting added to the list
(and carried over to the next day!)
We completed the purchase on Wednesday 30th September and camped in the house for one night.

This is the life.


It's all ours.

First dawn from our new house.

Looking forward to the rest of the week in Devon....

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Waiting for Moving.....still

It has been a hectic and exasperating week and there has been slight slippage of the moving timetable...

Moving day was September 30th but has now stretched on to October 5th

 The week was full of ups and downs.

  • Looking forward to exchange of contracts ready for completion and moving in on September 30th
  • But no clear communication from Bovis.
  • Solicitor returns from leave and says she has not received necessary communications from Bovis so cannot exchange until Thursday or Friday at the earliest
  • Removal men cannot reserve moving day for us unless we give them a clear week's notice
  • Cannot reserve removals in time so instruct solicitor to inform Bovis that we will postpone completion until Monday 5th October
  • Bovis communicate with solicitor and say they want to complete on the 30th and will issue us with a licence to stay in our present house for up to a week to give us time to reserve removal men.
  • Sign contracts ready for exchange
  • Towards the end of the day Bovis sales ring up and inform that there is an issue with the drainage system and the NHBC certificate cannot be signed off.
  • Solicitor says exchange cannot go ahead without the NHBC certificate
  • Bovis solicitor informs our solicitor that NHBC cover note can be issued as long as we sign a letter to say we are aware of the drainage issue.
  • Contracts exchanged!!!!!
  • (so we probably could have booked the removal men for the 30th)
  • Serious difficulties regarding carpet layers - Bovis have parted company with planned fitters.
  • Lets forget about all this and go camping in Cornwall. We can visit Harry and take the fish to their new home...

FISH MOVING DAY September 26th:

They weren't too happy when I fished them out and put them in this bucket.
Quite a lot of splashing and complaining.

Quite comfortable travel arrangements in the back of the van.
Ju-u-rin and Winkie. The fish of Joe and Meena and Luke.

Arrived in Devon.
Alive and well and getting used to the taste of the water from the new pond.

Our friend's Dave and Jan have rather a luxurious pond compared to what our fish have been used to!

Next day there were several sightings of Ju-u-rin getting to know her new friends.
She is just visible as a light shape at the bottom left of this picture.
Winkie has stayed hidden but that's to be expected as he is a bottom feeder and has a very large and interesting pond bottom to explore.

So the fish move went smoothly - lets see how we get on!