December 2020: Who knows where the time goes?

The last eight years seem to have flown and we have been so occupied with the restoration of our cottage as well as work and health issues that there has been no time to spare for updating our website. The good news is that the restoration of the cottage is now complete - just compare the picture above with this one in our archives! We originally set up this website to sell fountain pens but when we took up boating on the inland waterways, we thought this would be an ideal way of keeping in touch with our friends and family - something that this branch of the Oliver family have never been good at. For the last eight years our boat has been moored, more or less permanently, at Cropredy in Oxfordshire - initially on a CRT mooring against the towing path and for the last three years we have moored at The Old Coal Wharf.

Although, our main focus has been on the renovation of our cottage, much has happened in the last eight years and we plan to insert a few additional essays into our archive to cover this gap.

Back to the restoration/renovation of our cottage - the design work was undertaken by Bryan Martin of Byfield. Bryan is usually engaged with the renovation of churches and is well acquainted with the difficulties of working with historic buildings. Bryan's clever layout and the addition of a bathroom with a dormer window above the kitchen has more than doubled the living space available. The building contractor was Kevin Brookes of Banbury and the work, which involved completely gutting the 20th Century internals, stabilising the roof and rebuilding the front elevation in addition to adding the new bathroom feature, has been completed in a professional and sympathetic manner. The third member of the team was Gordon H. Cane our quantity surveyor who did his best to keep the project on budget.

The image below gives an impression of how the new bathroom extension above the kitchen fits in so well with the lines of the thatch. We still have much work to do - for example the bare patches on the driveway (where the contractors' vehicles had parked) will need attention but this and similar jobs can be tackled after we have moved in.

The images below give an impression of the inside of our cottage. From left to right: The new bathroom, the beamed ceiling under the thatch, and, a corner of our 'front room' showing the new oak beams. We are particularly pleased with the curtains that we obtained for the ground floor windows and openings - these came from John Lewis and the pattern is called 'Fotheringay' - thus maintaining an appropriate Cropredy theme . . .

The really good news is that after returning to work a little over ten years ago, Graham has now retired again. This means that not only will we be able to get the last few jobs completed at our cottage, we will also be able to give our boat that long needed repaint and hopefully start cruising again!

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© Graham & Jane Oliver 2020