Well, for somebody who professes to love writing I’m not doing very well at publishing this blog. I think it’s because I’m not sure if anybody actually reads it, so it’s a little disheartening writing to an empty void, so to speak. I would able comments except I have written this on a ‘page’ and not a ‘blog’ so can’t! If you want to leave a comment telling me you read it on my Facebook or Instagram pages, please do, as I’ll happily write for just one person, but confirmation of that person would definitely spur me on!
So, what’s been happening in Jill’s world? Well, quite a lot since my last blog in June – four months ago. The house renovations are on-going and we’ve had builders and trades people in the house almost every week since we moved in. We knew it would be a tough reno’ when we bought the house as it was very run down, and it is certainly proving to be just that. I keep reminding myself when the going gets tough, just how lucky we are to have such a beautiful house for our home and business premises, although it really does get tough sometimes.
The kitchen, utility and funny little room with a fire alarm box, have been knocked into one huge kitchen. It’s been a big job with RSJs being fitted (through the outside wall), plasterers re-doing all the walls, joiners finishing off stairways and the inevitable dust everywhere, which is exhausting to keep on top of. At the same time, and to cut down on said dust in the long run, we also had the downstairs bathroom knocked into one room, as previously you had to enter the bathroom through 2 small rooms (weird, I know!). The first room was to allow the door to open from the yoga studio (we had this doorway bricked up and plastered early on) and the other room was a little cloakroom. It was a real mission to get to the bathroom and, like the kitchen, it completely lacked flow. (The house had been bought off the diocese about 30 years ago for use as a care home and had 12 residents, so lots of rooms had been divided up with walls put in everywhere they shouldn’t have been). However, since knocking down these bathroom walls, it all flows beautifully and you enter the bathroom through a little archway off the hall, with floor-to-ceiling cupboards either side for my yoga props, and we now have a lovely big(ish) bathroom with a traditional style bath in pride of place in front of the window.
The whole kitchen renovation has dragged on for months, mainly because I couldn’t let go of the image of Victorian style floor-to-ceiling cupboards being fitted (which were way out of our price range). Anyway, I finally compromised and came up with a more financially viable design of standard kitchen cupboards, but fitted doubled up (as we now have a distinct lack of wall space for cupboards) so they reach up to our 11 foot ceilings. This provides plenty of storage for daily utensils, and also those kitchen appliances not used very often, and we have a kitchen that flows beautifully off the rest of the house. Previously we had to go through the funny little alarm room, which was off the hall, to access the kitchen, not a sensible flow at all and resulted in the kitchen feeling separate from the rest of the house. It was never a Georgian/Victorian design (the house was built at the meeting of both eras), having been butchered up over the years, but now it is once again the heart of the home and a gorgeous, roomy space.
When we first moved into the house, the estate agent told us he had heard there was an additional staircase built for the chamber maids, as the first vicar to live here didn’t like to see them going to bed at night (delicate chap!). My curiosity was peaked and I went around knocking on walls until I thought I had found it – going up behind the wall in the kitchen and above the cellar steps. When the builders came in, we asked them to cut a spy hole in the wall so we could see if there were steps behind and, sure enough, the torch from a mobile phone illuminated a set of narrow, dark, creepy old stairs behind the kitchen wall that had been bricked up for a century or so. We asked the builders to expose it and had a joiner re-fit the bottom steps which had been removed to brick up the wall. It really did look quite scary and uninviting, and it didn’t help that we had recently watched a film (based on a true story) called ‘The Staircase’ (bit of a mystery-thriller type genre, I’d recommend it, but not if you’ve just uncovered an old staircase in your house!).
Anyway, we set about painting the old stairs and walls brilliant white(they were a tobacco-brown colour), we’ve also had lights fitted so it’s well illuminated, and I put flowered decal on the stair risers. All sense of creepiness has been eliminated…yay! The stairs now look very inviting, although we still need to sort out building a mini-landing upstairs as they enter the back bedroom (which must have been the maids), so a bit dangerous for unsuspecting guests in the middle of the night…especially as they’re very steep and narrow.
On another note, I held An Autumn Day of Self-Care here last Sunday (see photo above) and what a glorious day it was in so many ways; six amazing women coming together in friendship can take on the world and we did! We fitted so much in too; yoga, meditation, forest bathing, chanting, sound bath, self-care exploration, discussions, deep sharing, but most precious and healing of all – lots and lots of fun and laughter. The sun shone on us, literally, and after a spot of forest bathing we carried on our self-care discussions and worksheets on the lawn, it was so glorious and warm. The food by Buttercup Bakery in Hebden Bridge was amazing, as always, and the vegan, raspberry and lemon cake was to die for! I received such lovely feedback from everyone afterwards, which is always so heartening and encouraging…I’m putting the testimonials up on the website today, so take a look. I’m holding wellness half days in November and December although November’s ‘Morning for Rejuvenation’ is now full, but there are places left on ‘ A Winter’s Afternoon to Warm the Soul’ on Sunday December 19th, so just in time to recharge your batteries before the festive madness begins.
Anyway, bye for now and I will try to write this blog more regularly but, if you do read it, please consider posting on my social media to lety me know (FB katham yoga and wellness. IG: yoga_every_damn_age). At the moment I feel like a psychic at a séance: “Is there anybody there? Is there anybody there? Is there anybody there?” 🙂