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Arriving at Amynedd

Late in the afternoon of 14th October we left our Scarborough home and drove across country for many hours to Wales. Chris T had left already; she drove off first thing on Monday morning and went directly to the Estate Agent in Tywyn to collect the keys. Later in the day, with great glee, Chris T texted to say that she was now in the house and she had turned on the electricity. We moved into this place the following morning, having spent the night in a pub at a village further up the coast. Tuesday 15th October saw bright sunshine, blue skies and a gentle breeze to welcome us to our new home…AMYNEDD.

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This shows the front of the house and the Outbuildings near the road. Notice just how sunny it is….ALL the trees you see in the photo are part of AMYNEDD.

AMYNEDD is Welsh for “PATIENCE”

Patience is a trait we are all 3 becoming familiar with….

We saw the house for the first time in August 2013; by October 14th it was ours. The weeks in between seeing it and actually owning it seemed like forever, but in fact it was all completed only 10 weeks 5 days later.

Those weeks were frantic, of course, - packing, discarding, sending to Auction. Altogether it was a stressful experience. Chris T completed her sale before us and she decanted her house contents into ours. When Pickfords arrived, they were awe struck at how much there was to remove….apart from actual furniture… three piece suite, bed, dining chairs (we sold the dining table; no room at the new place) bookcases and conservatory furniture. There were 119 large cartons, 79 medium sized cartons plus several dozen small boxes some filled with my Bonsai, others stuffed with all kinds of things. And of course umbrellas and ironing boards; it is surprising how many umbrellas you can own almost without being aware of it… Moving can be a terrible thing indeed….

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This is the front room before we moved in.

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The same room after Pickfords had delivered the “essentials” – note the TV. We do not watch TV, but we do watch DVDs…

AMYNEDD had been built and owned and lived in by Elizabeth from 1977. Unfortunately she died of breast cancer and to our surprise, not only had we bought the house but we had bought the entire contents too…including the spinning wheel (previous picture) and this baby grand piano…

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Look closely under the stuff and behind the chair…there is a piano there.

Jane and I had left, in Scarborough, a large three bed-semi with two reception rooms plus conservatory and loft room. In the garden, we had two sheds, both full to overflowing, and of course the Shamanic Room, converted from our garage.

Chris T had a three bed semi with a large kitchen dining room and one reception plus a large loft room. She too had a large garden plus shed and greenhouse.

AMYNEDD is not large. We have many things and we are trying hard to fit everything in….it is a tricky task These are two photos of the Garden Room…the first one shows all of poor Elizabeth’s plants…nearly all dead….though we have saved some….the second shows it full (FULL) of our plants…

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The statue in the bottom left corner is a fountain which was Elizabeth’s. I moved it and it broke. Ah well. One less thing to worry about…

The kitchen had been recently installed – 2008 – so we think, just before Elizabeth became ill. It is a kitchen which has had a lot of money thrown at it. The worktops are solid black granite; the cupboards are top quality and the integral fridge is clearly of excellent quality. There was a brand new washing machine; which seemed to have hardly been used; the cooker has a hob which is touch controlled and is either simple to use or incredibly frustrating depending on how sensitive it is feeling to your touch. The floor has been with heavy solid slate tiles and it all looks pretty good. It is great to look at, but it is not, in our opinion, a cook’s kitchen….

Here are a few pictures...

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Note the bottled water. This we found in one of the outhouses; still in date and now drunk.

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Another view of the kitchen - the table, solid pine, and the four heavy pine chairs were here. We have kept the table. The window is solid wood and is the original from when the house was constructed. It is unfortunately only single glazed and, to my continued distress, condensation builds up on it very quickly. We hope to find a solution to this issue, but at the moment, the solution is me and a piece of newspaper drying this and other windows each day…

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Pickfords stored most of our stuff until almost the last day in November. Then it all arrived. This is a sample of the chaos when Pickfords had been again…Notice the dining chair on the left at the front; these now replace the heavy pine chairs. The kettle, featuring in two of the above photos, came with us in our car on our epic journey from Scarborough.

The expensive cupboards had a most imposing cornice. We very quickly removed it and lightened the room considerably….we do not know why the coving is painted pink. It is on our list to change ASAP...

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Here you can see what I mean…much better without the heavy cornice…and here are Chris T and Jane with the ex-cornice.

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Chaos is becoming a close friend….here are several photos of other rooms at AMYNEDD: this first one is our room before we arrived and after Pickfords had delivered the essentials….can you spot which is which?

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The lovely furniture was, we think brought to AMYNEDD by Elizabeth’s mother.

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The bed on the left we moved into Chris T’s bedroom; she had no bed having sold hers before leaving her home in Liverton Mines….we installed our bed instead, but kept the bedside table and the lamp….in the picture on the right you can see the mountain of our “stuff”.

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The bed from Chris’s room looks much better in the spare room. The old bed was taken away by Gwynedd County Council several weeks later…

What you can’t really see is the ENORMOUS fitted wardrobe in the spare room. It was originally a piece of Schreiber furniture, but had been “customised” by Elizabeth. It was huge and smelly and, no matter what we did to it, remained damp. A few weeks later, when she could not stand it anymore, Chris took a hammer and a screwdriver to it and it was gone….but that comes in a later blog…

I think it is important to show you all of the house, before we moved in and what it was like after we first got there…that way you can appreciate just how hard we have worked…. So here is the Study. This strange room is narrow and runs the width of the house. It has two windows, one opening to the front of the house and one to the back. The only entrance is through Chris’s room. Originally, we were going to split the room in half and make two entrances, one from each bedroom. Our half we would have as a “wet room” but very early on we realised that was out of the question. Instead we agreed to split the room and have a new door inserted into our bedroom and to use the two rooms as “personal space”; that is, a place for the computers to be and all the office stuff to be housed. This is what it looked like originally…

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This was the Study; reasonably calm, well ordered and sunny, before we moved in. The entire house was full of Elizabeth and her life, but it was most intimate in this room. In this room were her family photographs, her certificates, the text books she had used while she taught Geography, all the work associated with her interest in the Duke of Edinburgh Award, all her Outdoor Pursuit books and even the exercise books she had as a school child herself. It was here we found books of climbing, featuring Jane’s dad, Albert Shutt, who had been a mountaineer in the 1950s, 60s and 70s; he had named climbs in the Peak District. We found a receipt for a campsite we had also used in the Lake District. I found and threw away –again – Geography text books I had used when I was a school teacher back in the 1980s and 90s. This room was hard.

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Same room, this time with Stuff…look carefully, you will see a photo of Elizabeth in the photo on the right.

One of the main reasons we bought AMYNEDD, is because it has land. It has 10 acres in all, not counting the Garden, which is huge in itself.

Here are some photos of the Garden….

This area, on the left, dominated by a badly pruned and badly drained cherry tree was ripe for us to redevelop. There was so much leaf litter we thought it was all planting beds; we took snow shovels and cleared it of the leaf litter to discover a huge area of paving. We pruned overgrown bushes and let sunlight into the kitchen for the first time in years.

On the right, this is one of the bridges which cross the stream in the back garden. When we viewed the place in August, the stream was flowing. When we moved in, the stream was not. This bothered us.

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The two photos below are of the back garden, or parts, anyway. The “lawn” is very wet and full of mole hills; some work needed there. The view to the left shows Jane and Chris T working in the Pond area. The Stone Table and chairs are pretty Aslan like, yes? Note the greenhouse in the background; it is one of the three in the garden.

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Looking up along where the stream should run; the willow has grown from the Island in the pond, sideways and is encroaching onto the greenhouses…..the black basket had been full of dead plant, but is now empty….

Can you spot the shed in the next photo? We found this quite by accident; no-one knew it was there! Inside this locked building there are piles of wood, bags of ancient chicken feed and much evidence of rats….

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The tree on the left has collapsed and damaged the stream bank; we will sort it out with our chainsaws! We have chainsaws!

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Chris T and Jane getting muddy wet and frustrated at the pond; why is there no water? They were getting very irritated by the lack of water. They walked up the lane following the stream uphill, and discovered it came from the Millrace higher up the hillside; the exit from the Millrace was blocked by a large rock. They moved the rock. The water flowed along the stream…they rushed beside it, sweeping leaves, wood and other debris away from it as it flowed swiftly down the stream bed, over the cascade, into the pond and into the stream bed directly outside the kitchen…watched by the Little Girl in Green, they made the stream bed comfortable for the water….

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Job done!

All of that is very interesting, but it is the Garden, not the 10 acres…..

Check these out…..

The first two of this series shows the view from the first pasture; the hills in the far distance are the hills of the Llyn Peninsula across Cardigan Bay. Look carefully and you will see the town of Barmouth. The village of Llwyngwril is just visible in the second photo.

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This splendid tree is an apple, one of many we have found on the land…

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Is this the Green Man? We found him resting on our boundary dry stone wall… This is the End of Blog 1. I hope you enjoyed it…more to come…..

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