The Blood, Sweat And Tears: 2015


The study, New Year's Day

The floor needed total restoration

How do you fix anything to a wall

made of mud and straw?

The Devon Peg

Can't find the right door?

Make one..?

Ta Daa!!! Done.


A brand new chimney

And no sooner had the scaffolding gone..

..the thatchers moved in

The beginning of the end for

the hedge around the lawn

Coming down..

...revealing a whole new vista

Now you see it...

Now you don't

The shade from the 80' spruce

was damaging the roof

The final frontier..

Just as the season draws to a close

The opening up of the lawn is complete



It’s strange. Looking back over the posts for the year, WordPress tells me that 5 of the top 6 (in terms of total hits) were not gardening posts at all. They were all about the house renovation. There’s more in the pipeline on both fronts, but keeping up with this year’s pace may be an entirely different matter..


2017-10-24T19:32:42+00:00December 28th, 2015|Tags: , |


  1. Marian St.Clair December 28, 2015 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    Iā€™m simply amazed by your energy and ingenuity. You must be tickled to have so much in hand already. Hope you have a breather before the next project commences.

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      The weather is giving me an enforced breather. I was out on the bank this morning and slithered and fell about so much it was a risk to life and limb. I shall have to wait until it dries out a bit.

  2. Jayne Hill December 28, 2015 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    It’s only when you (we) look back at previous blog posts the amount which has been achieved becomes obvious. Many congratulations on doing so much this year.

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your retrospective . . . might have to do one myself, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, you know????

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 6:57 pm - Reply

      It’s so easy to get dragged down by all the day to day frustrations of life and lose sight of the big picture. We have achieved a lot.. it just didn’t feel like it at the time. Thanks Jayne.

  3. Jacqueline December 28, 2015 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    You have accomplished SO much this year Jessica ….. you must be so pleased with the results.
    OK ….. now you must rest up for a couple of weeks before you start on other projects !!!! haha. XXXX

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jackie. As long as that? šŸ™‚

  4. annincumbria December 28, 2015 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    You have worked so hard to get to this stage, I have loved reading all your posts and hope you will continue inspiring us with the garden and house
    Thank you

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 7:02 pm - Reply

      It’s a good starting point for next year at least. Thanks Ann. I hope Storm Frank isn’t as bad as forecast.

  5. Joanne December 28, 2015 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    All your posts are very entertaining & informative, I’m looking forward to seeing what next year brings x

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 7:03 pm - Reply

      You’re very kind Joanne, thank you. Hope 2016 is a less busy year for you.

  6. Charlie@Seattle Trekker December 28, 2015 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    I love seeing your garden photos and posts, but the work on your house is really special; I go back and look at those posts more than once.

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      I completely underestimated how long some of that work would take, especially as we are on a learning curve with some of the traditional techniques. It’s been so frustrating but worth it in the end.

  7. Freda December 28, 2015 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    Wonderful work in 2015!! Isn’t it hard to believe the pictures of the summer garden….

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks Freda. It seems a very long time ago doesn’t it!

  8. Brian Skeys December 28, 2015 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    I think people find the blogs about the house interesting due to the age of the house and the craftsmanship required to maintain it correctly.
    Happy New Year, I hope you don’t experience to much blood sweat and tears Jessica.

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      Blood sweat and tears seems to come with the territory. All I need to do is go out and prune the berberis! Thanks Brian. A very Happy New Year to you too.

  9. Diana Studer December 28, 2015 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    that whole thatch story fascinated me. Thatched cottages look so romantic, so story book. And you have a story to tell us.

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 7:58 pm - Reply

      They do look lovely, I hope I manage to convey more of the reality of living the story book image. Thanks Diana.

  10. Denise December 28, 2015 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    There’s an element of vicarious living on my part – my cottage in the countryside which remains stubbornly in my imagination….sigh….

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:11 pm - Reply

      You’ll get there Denise.

  11. justjilluk December 28, 2015 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Well done to you both. Cant wait to see what happens

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:15 pm - Reply

      A bit of consolidation as far as the garden is concerned, there’s still some lawn levelling to do before we plant the hedge around it. Next job on the house, some repairs to the render. And then more decorating. Joy.

  12. 1secondhandrose December 28, 2015 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    You certainly don’t let the grass grow do you Jessica? ;0) Many congratulations for having success with so many jobs!
    Very best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016!
    Rose H xx

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:16 pm - Reply

      That’s one thing I can’t allow to happen.. weeds growing on all that bare earth! Thanks Rose, you too.

  13. CJ December 28, 2015 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    I’ve really enjoyed seeing your work on the house, as well as the garden which of course I love. You’ve worked so hard and made a really beautiful job of it. You definitely have a magic touch. I’m wishing you a very happy New Year, and I shall look forward to following your progress inside and out. CJ xx

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:18 pm - Reply

      I wish I had a magic wand sometimes. It would make life so much easier! Thanks CJ.

  14. Sarah December 28, 2015 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    You have had such a busy year and still managed to maintain a beautiful garden despite all the projects and hard work. Looking forward to following your further adventures in 2016. Sarah x

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sarah.

  15. Amy at love made my home December 28, 2015 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    Isn’t it funny to see what the most popular posts are! I did love your study transformation! xx

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      The study has changed a bit already. For the better I hope! I need to do an update post.

  16. CherryPie December 28, 2015 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    I enjoy both your gardening and house renovation posts. I think the renovations give inspirational ideas to others.

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      I would like to think so Cherie, thanks. We have made it a lot harder for ourselves, doing most of the work, but in the long term I hope it will save money too.

  17. Kris P December 28, 2015 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    I love the slideshow posts – it’s especially effective in showing your projects. As to those, congratulations upon completing so many so well! You’re starting the new year with a practically new home and garden, although I won’t be at all surprised to find you at work on new projects in the new year…

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      There are more rooms waiting to be done than done. And considerably more garden waiting to be done than done. I don’t think we’ll get short of projects anytime soon!

  18. Pauline December 29, 2015 at 6:46 am - Reply

    When you put all your projects together like this, we realise just how much you have done in the last 12 months, you are both amazing! Are you going to have a bit of a rest in 2016 or have you more in the pipeline!

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      More, of course! Although with the garden being as soggy as it is there won’t be much happening there for a bit.

  19. Sue Garrett December 29, 2015 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    The total hits thing can be a bit bizarre as some of my most unlikely posts top the hit list, I wonder whether spam hits can affect the ratings.

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      Possibly Sue. Some really bizarre things do happen. My most searched topic is ‘sheep’, I’ve always wondered why!

  20. Christina December 29, 2015 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Dear Jessica, you got an amazing amount of work done both in the house and in the garden! I really admire your and your husbands energy! Wishing you that a wonderful New Year is lying ahead of you with just the right amount of work in the house and in the garden that is not overwhelming but enjoyable!
    Warm regards,

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      I think that’s a lesson we do need to learn Christina. Not taking on so much at any one time that it becomes a stressor. Goodness knows there are enough things that pop up out of the blue to keep us on our toes.

  21. Jo December 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    You’ve tackled so much on both fronts this year and made so much progress. Looking forward to seeing the projects you tackle next year.

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      I’d like to get back to a bit more veggie growing. I kind of gave up on it this year. Partly because the cold Spring set everything back and just through lack of time.

  22. welshhillsagain December 29, 2015 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    I love the house ones because your house is about the same age as ours and I am not used to reading about people encountering the same problems! Another one here very impressed, even possibly slightly depressed, by your achievements and industry. Maybe we will get there ourselves next year….

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      Elizabeth, you have had more than enough demands on your time. When the time is right it’ll all be there waiting for you again.

  23. homeslip December 29, 2015 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    I’ve learnt so much from you Jessica. What you have achieved so far is inspiring – and you both do such a beautiful job.

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      We’ve just learnt as we’ve gone along Sarah, you’ll do the same. It’s a labour of love, truly.

  24. snowbird December 29, 2015 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    You have certainly powered through home and garden improvements this year… gratifying. The improvements are

    • Jessica December 29, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      Thanks. I just wish there wasn’t still so much more to do!

  25. Rosie December 30, 2015 at 9:45 am - Reply

    You have achieved lots in both house and garden this year, Hope you get all those projects gradually ticked of your list of things that must be done:)

    • Jessica December 30, 2015 at 4:00 pm - Reply

      I just need to be realistic about how much can be achieved I think. As long as we’re making gradual progress I’m happy. It’s when the garden weeds catch me up and overtake my progress I get rattled!

  26. Julieanne December 30, 2015 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    You got so much done throughout 2015 Jessica, and the results are great. Pretty big stuff with the tree removal and getting the thatch done. Your study is looking gorgeous. And you have a whole new vista to play with in 2016. Best wishes for a floriferous 2016.

    • Jessica December 30, 2015 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      We can see the river from the house now too… and how fast it goes after a lot of rain! It’s been quite a sight today.

  27. pagedogs December 30, 2015 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    At least all of your blood, sweat, and tears produced wonderful, very tangible results. And you have beautifully documented the transformation process in this blog. Thanks for taking us along. As for next year, remember to pace yourself!

    • Jessica December 30, 2015 at 4:07 pm - Reply

      You’re right. It’s too easy to get caught up in the work and not take enough time off. But when there is upheaval somewhere I just want to get it over with in the shortest time possible.

  28. Linda December 30, 2015 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    While I never miss a garden post, I made my husband read the one about the roof project. I found it fascinating and nothing we are going to see here.

    • Jessica December 30, 2015 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      It was exciting for us too, not something that happens every day of the week. Hopefully about four years before we need to have them in again. Thanks Linda.

  29. bittster December 30, 2015 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Wow! šŸ˜‰
    Things are looking great

    • Jessica December 30, 2015 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      So far so good…

  30. Donna@Gardens Eye View December 31, 2015 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    I can’t get over all the projects you have completed this year!

    • Jessica January 1, 2016 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      It’s frightening when I see them all together. This year may be quieter..

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