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“Gentlemen, start your engines!”

27th January 2015
Okay, Okay, I know – if you’re going to write a blog, you’ve got to do it regularly!
Well, that’s fine and dandy when you haven’t got a full-time job to do, but when you’re trying to do one and a half jobs already, it doesn’t leave too much time for writing this old tosh.

The reason for this apparent lack of commitment to the cause is two-fold. Firstly, the website design and SEO venture seems to be taking off. This is great, given the amount of time spent on it recently and the investment in some pretty high tech software. Unfortunately, it also means sitting in front of the PC for long periods, which also means extending that period for another hour or so for the blog, puts quite a strain on the old eyeballs.

Secondly, we’re still in the throes of dealing with all things slippy-slidy. Which brings us on to some good news. (That’s a sentence we were beginning to think would never be written).
We actually have a start date for the stabilisation works! 🙂
Come the 2nd February 2015, just 15 months after all this started, we’ll actually have a large number of Men in Boots arriving to fix things.

According to the published plan of works, they’ll spend the first 10 days setting up the site. You know, the important things such as erecting Porta cabins and putting in essentials like water, electricity, tea making facilities and like.
This leaves the second week of February as the date they’ll start grouting the sinkhole – a task unexpectedly scheduled to last for 20 days.
We won’t bore you (yet) with the complete timetable, but suffice to say, once they’ve spent a large amount of time doing things like “Exc & Blind Pile Cap Area”, they plan to finish around the end of September.

As a prelim to all this frenzied activity, we had two Boffins round today to do what they call a conditioning survey. This basically consists of them taking lots of photos of the place so, should any errant machinery crash into the house, they’ll know what it looked like before. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Unfortunately, it also seems like we’ve had a rapid acceleration of slippy-slidyness in the last week so the sooner they start, the better.

If anyone fancies running a sweepstake on the finish date, as defined by the task “clear site” on the 27th September, let us know 🙂


“All right, Mr DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

14th January 2015
If nothing else, some time out there in the distant future, we’ll be able to say we’ve had more than our fair share of TV air time.
To illustrate this over-exposure, Channel 5 is turning up tomorrow to film some material for a new series of documentaries with the hysterical working title of Horror Homes.

As if that wasn’t enough, we were contacted today by a lovely lady from the BBC’s One Show. You know – the one that fools you into singing along with the not-too-complex lyrics of the opening sequence, only for you to find you’ve got to sing two octaves higher than you’re capable of!
The lovely lady said they were very interested in the sinkhole and all things slippy slidy, so asked if we’d take some photos of the current state of affairs, in order for them to be included in the pitch at tomorrow’s editorial meeting.

This led to me having to venture outside and brave the freezing weather, not to mention more trip hazards than you could shake a fluorescent jacket and clipboard at.
The results of this photographic foray can be enjoyed below;

Sinkhole at B&B


Driveway Landslide Damage


Driveway Landslide Damage


Unsurprisingly, the landslip hasn’t stopped sliding (why would it?) so the whole place looks a right mess.

Following last week’s meeting with The Boffins, it transpires someone was telling our MP porky pies, as work won’t be starting on fixing things until “Sometime in February”. Who’d have thought?

One good thing to come out of the meeting though was my ability to finally put to rest the assertion that we’re dealing really well with all of this.
I’m afraid my foul-mouthed outburst, aimed at the Idiot Builders, may have left a few people looking at their shoes. Ooops.

Make a Wish

8th January 2015
Given that we’re forecast to have high winds and rain for the next few days, we thought we’d blow away some cobwebs with a walk around the village.
This simple little activity still provides some joy amongst all the sinkhole/landslide gloom as Oakamoor, our little slice of Staffordshire heaven, is beautiful at any time 🙂

As the sun was shining I thought I’d take the opportunity to take a few photos of the resident fairies. 

Wish Maker Sculpture

This one is ours (well Helen’s really) called Wish Maker. It’s quite possible she’ll be worn out soon as we’ve probably made way too many wishes already. Maybe our first wish should have been “Can I have unlimited wishes please?” Which is always my first thought when Genies, recently released from claustrophobic bottles, turn up offering a measly three.

Wish Maker Village Hall


This little beauty sits on top of the Village Hall. I think I’m right in saying that Robin, the creator of these, and so many other amazing fairies, donated her to the village. If not, and I’m talking rubbish, I’m sure someone will put me right.

You’d be right in thinking that the blog has been a bit quiet lately. This is for two reasons. Firstly, we’ve not been doing much worthy of note recently. I’m sure you don’t want to know about our trip to the shops or that we’ve watered the plants – and secondly we’ve been very busy setting up a new venture.

Laurels Tech Web Design has been in gestation for over 20 years since I published my first website about Formula One to the world wide web. Mind you, back then it probably wasn’t exactly worldwide – more a large number of geeks and some bored people in a web. (I’ll let you guess which one I was).
Anyway, if you’re in the market for a new website, or you’re worried your current one isn’t performing as well as it could, give us a call.
You’ll have to forgive this shameless piece of opportunistic advertising. It’s what corporate beings (as we once were) call leveraging. Which is basically corporate-speak for shameless opportunism.

Just in case you think as a result our blog updates will fizzle out, let us put your mind to rest. They won’t.
You know when you watch just about any program on TV now. For some reason, they have to show you what you’re about to watch before they show you what you want to watch? This is our version;

  • This week we have a meeting with various Boffins about the rear wall (You know, the one we don’t actually need)
  • The week after they’re going to actually fill in the sinkhole
  • Sometime soon after that we’re supposed to get a schedule of works for the main piling work
  • We’ve also got Channel 5 doing a longer documentary on us
  • Plus, whatever crops up that we’re not expecting!

So, as they say – Stay tuned!

New Year, New Start?

2nd January 2015
Here’s hoping you all had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year period.

Like a large number of others, we must have consumed at least 8,000 calories per day and watched TV for at least 75% of the time we were conscious. (Falling asleep in front of the tele doesn’t count). It was disappointing to see, however, that the number of people tuning in to Aunty Betty was down again this year. No wonder fewer and fewer Brits speak the Queen’s English – they don’t know what it sounds like any more. I for one, love to pronounce Europe as Yerp as often as I can 🙂

We are hoping that 2015 is going to bring a change in our luck. We certainly hope so, as a repeat of last year will almost certainly turn us into gibbering idiots.
Having said that, we finished off last year with an interview on the radio – and started off this year with another TV interview for the Beeb, so maybe things are just going to carry on as we left off before our Christmas food and TV overload.

Helen with BBC Midlands TV