Archive for the 'The Tea Lady' Category

In For Xmas

Whoa! It has been a long time since the blog was updated! I have been in a 6 month long fog of renovation, wintery weather, house hopping and website launching!

There are no photos this post – the camera has gone AWOL! But I can say that the plan is to be in for xmas! OK, it has taken a lot longer than anticipated – seems life just kept getting in the way so we have lived in 3 houses over the year – yikes! And each time we have shifted we have gotten rid of stuff – so we could now probably fit all our possesions in a campervan (hey that is not a bad idea).

The house is currently being painted Lolbolly, Midwinter Mist & Black White – No Resene ‘Whites & Neutrals’ for us this time! Bet you can’t wait to see the pictures?? Not long now….


Renovation? More Like Rebuild – Avert Your Eyes Character Lovers…

Hi All. It has been about 6 weeks since my last confession. And boy have I got a lot on the list… So lets recap… Last time we spoke, the IT guy had been getting a blaise with the cladding, the the pump house cottage was all bare bones. We’ll what came next was near heart attack material! The IT guy seriously needs to put a warning sign up on the road so that I can prepare myself on the journey down the 60 steps to the house. ANYWAY! It wasn’t good enough that the cladding came off, the next time I came down to the house this is what I found:

So it seems we are building a brand new house. Confused, so am I, and the neighbours, and everyone in general – except the IT guy! According to him it is perfectly logical that the old structure had to go! There was some mutterings about, standard gib fixings, and different thickness’s of timber and patching and ‘cheaper in the long run’ – which I have completely bought into of course – live by the sledge hammer, die by the sledge hammer!

Anyway, seeing the whole house is being rebuilt, I got into the spirit of things and suggested seeing there was nothing there that we might as well extend it too – this was happily agreed by all – managed to sneak that one in…. Below is my extension, the extent of the extension was limited by the Sunroom – I felt ‘OK’ about the total house demolishion because one ‘original’ part still stood – the little sunroom…

 Unfortunately, this extension, introduced a new factor into the process – roofing – or lack of it. Luckily for us, for the 4 weeks that we were missing a part of the roof the sun shone and shone and shone…. Check out the ‘skylight’:

Everything was ticking along so we went to Otaki beach to pick up some Trademe purchases (bath liner and attic stairs) and to meet Auntie Schell & Uncle T and the Cousins ‘half way’ – here we are in tropical Otaki:

So the demolishion phase had passed, everyone was happy, the IT guy played builder, the other builders swaggered around in singlets and swilled ‘v’ and I tried to visit the ‘broken house’ as little as possible.

The wrap went on – just like christmas – except bigger!

And then before we blew the budget ‘weirdly’ buying far too much stuff ‘spontaneously’ from Placemakers – the weatherboard went up!

So at this point the whole thing was getting a bit surreal. It was not the little rustic cottage anymore, the whole ‘newness’ of the place was sitting a bit uncomfortably. And then the last straw. It was our 5th wedding anniversary in May – and you are meant to give ‘wood’ apparently to celebrate the event. The IT guy organised a candle-lit picnic at the broken house – he said it was suitably ‘woody’. Luckily for him it was too dark for me to see the demolishion of the day…..

You guessed it! Bye bye sunroom! Hey but the sun is still shining, and another ‘lack of roof’ item has been added to the ‘to do’ list. This really was a little bit sad.

BUT! Look! The sunroom is back, better then ever! And the old windows are back, so some character has been restored. Notice the foggy hue to the photo, well 2 days before the roof made it back on the weather turned and just kept on turning and now it has set in all wintery like.

But it wasn’t the worst timing, we got wet for a couple of days and then roof and windows all went in. Now we are basically ‘closed in’ except for a few missing weatherboards. And we even have a front door – but it is locked with no key…. poetic

So nowm once a few more things are finished around the outside, we are onto the inside. This is great! Because we are homeless again in 5 weeks…

So while the IT guys is busy rewiring the inside me and the bubs are going to do more of this:

Till next time! Love from the pump house cottage team….

House Renovation – A Cautionary Tale

Things are progressing at a great rate of knots here at the Pump House Cottage – though I am not sure that we are going in a forward direction. Plus there is a bit of a mystery – Where has the cottage gone…..????? 

Hey! Someone has left this building shell where the pump house cottage used to be....

No matter how hard I look – nothing here even slightly resembles the little zoo cottage bought back in september – confusing… 

Anyone seen a little blue cottage? 

Hey Pax! Can you spot the pump house cottage?

 Even Pax and Laurie are confused. And the IT guy has gone into hiding…… suspicious….. 

I am positive there used to be a little workingmans cottage here! Help!

And just what is burning???? 

Suspicious Fire

Oh well, maybe I came to the wrong address – lets go for a ride on the cable car and forget about it! 

Cable Car Caper!

From Laurie’s smiling face you would never guess that the first five attempts at this photo on the cable car caught her with a finger wedged up her nose. My quiet suggestion that she remove it resulted in her shouting back, for all to hear, I’ve got a BOGEY mummy! The laugh that she got from the surrounding passengers only made it worse! But I finally got a nice picture – she is all class! Pax, is just his usual ‘photogenic’ self….

Little Lost Cats

This made me giggle until it got painful! I spotted these lost cat notices on the board outside Patels on Aro St.


Here is the text for the two posters if you can’t quite make it out:



This is Napoleon. She is five months old and she’s gone off on an adventure. But she slipped her collar before she took off and we’re afraid that she’d be mistaken for a stray.

(P.S. She’s very friendly and loves mushrooms so they make fantastic bait.)

If you see Napoleon, please ring or txt Katie or Eli



It is hanging around Fairlie Terrace and we think it is too small to be out on its own.

Please call for more information


Seems these clever people are running around in circles catering for the same poor unsuspecting, mushroom loving cat!

The photos of the little runaway loving it up with adoringly caressing hands just makes it!

Someone has scrawled on the bottom of one of the notices ‘Looks like the same cat! Will try and call to tell them this notice is up’  – what a good Samaritan – really didn’t look like the juvenile delinquent was suffering from his truant episode!

Someone else who was also completely oblivious to the twin missing kittens on the notice board had helpfully scrawled a suggestion to post the cats details on google – hey even google (all seeing, all knowing one) couldn’t have made finding this cat any easier.

So did I rush for my mobile and beep boop beep in the number and call sad Katie and Eli who were crying themselves to sleep every night distraught over their AWOL cat? Haunted by dreams of Napoleon shivering and miserable, cowering as car headlight bore down on him…

No! I giggled until tears rolled down my cheeks! I moved on when I noticed people were looking at me a bit funny, but I quickly snapped this pic for you all to enjoy!

Is this serious? Who knows! Whether it is or not doesn’t really matter – it’s funny! Isn’t that what counts?…

Just Another Demo Day at the Pump House Cottage

I have always said that the IT guy had a ‘scorched earth’ policy – he does not muck around either! And what has been going down at the pump house cottage proves my theory.   

Beautiful New Piles!

But first – it is not all sledge hammer welding here, we have new piles and a new retaining wall!   

Look at the beautiful new piles in the picture – awwwww – well, maybe you had to be there…

New House Height - up One Meter!

Funny thing about the new foundations for the house is you now need a ladder to get inside the house! The distance from the ground to the back door used to be about 30cm and is now a meter! So now the view from the cottage has improved! There is a lovely vista down the valley.

There is still a lot of floor missing – and some more got ripped out before the floor assault ended (the picture of the bubs room minus floor says it all!).   

The Floor in the Bubs Old Room is Gone!

New Floor in the Bubs Room! But Now GIB Free..

Floor seems to reappear as quickly as it is taken out thanks to big beautiful sheets of ply! Sacrilege! I hear floor board lovers shout… Don’t worry we are keeping the floor boards where it counts.

A lovely rustically wooden floored kitchen, lounge and hallway is planned. Though I am really liking the ply – maybe floorboards so yesterday!  

Slight Problem with the GIB Post Repiling

Notice the GIB stripping going on in the new floor photo? Well the repiling of the house caused a bit of havoc with the GIB. Some was coming off anyway, but after the repiling there was not much point in keeping the small amount that was salvageable or that’s what the IT guy says anyway – scorched earth and all that…  

We had quite a few ‘alien’ bulges in the walls – seriously disturbing – looked like something was about to erupt out of there – perhaps one of those infamous portals to another dimension everyone’s been talking about – perhaps the scary washing machine and the pump house cottage should do lunch.  

The Whole House is Bare of GIB...


So the whole cottage is stripped bare – ready for new GIB and insulation.  The place is a bit of a shocker! Grant has been hiring poor unsuspecting students to haul all the demo rubbish away – one poor boy slinked away before even starting after being told what he was supposed to do for the day – maybe the hill doesn’t help..  

Ceilings Hanging Out for Some GIB!


Check it out – even the ceilings are bare! It is actually a lovely sight – a nice clean slate.   

So just who is going to do all this work – well the builders have arrived – yay!  And the IT guy is working with them to get the house back to its former glory – prehaps…  


P.S. I am holding out on you – there have been major developments on site – the carnage continues! Stay tuned for the next episode of the ‘The Pump House Cottage Sympathetic Redevelopment’

Sunflower Living Playhouse – Demolition Free Zone

I thought I would forget for a moment about the demolition at the house and have a look around the garden – OK I will have to ignore the fact that the garden is currently being used as a dumping ground with excuses such as ‘burning pile’ and ‘dirt for fill’ and ‘yeah – about that’ being bandied around – but I am trying not to note the rising of blood pressure and focus on the pretty things – like my Sunflower, Sweet Pea, and Borage living playhouse that I made/grew for the bubs.

The living playhouse - in the beginning...

The living playhouse is about the burst into life!

Sunflowers, Sweet Peas and Borage - living playhouse a la Pump house cottage

Sunflowers and Sweet Peas in the living playhouse

Stars of the living playhouse

OK, so the fact that the bubs are completely disinterested in playing in it is not going to put me off doing it again. Next time I will plant my Sunflowers out earlier and plan a reinforcing system so the wind doesn’t win.  Have to say that the Sweet Peas using the Sunflowers for a climbing frame is awesome, and fragrant and inspired! And the Borage was free-range but seemed to fit the bill. The overall affect was quite ‘dense’ so if the kids had been into it there would have been some awesome playhouse-o-rama action!

Before you ask – if you are dying for some graphic renovation pics – watch out for my next post – it is going to be full on carnage….. promise!

The Pump House Vege Garden Grows!

Ok, it was a bit of a slow start – and the wind does still wreck havoc on the odd occasion and totally flattens my tomatoes – but it turns out that the garden is quite resilient and bounces back every time! I attempted to take some photos of the vege garden and all you can see is green, green, green….. I hope you like green….

I am going to start with a before picture – back when seeds were being planted and the weather was bitter and all hope of summer and sun and veges growing was fast disappearing…..

But, summer did turn up in the end and seeing we have a ‘micro climate’ here at the pump house cottage the results were very lush…

It is hard to tell what is there from the pictures – but we have been eating:

Yellow, green and purples beans (purple are best!)

Courgettes (and some marrows..)

Baby carrots – pulled, washed, steamed, eaten!

BBQ corn

Three type of potato par boiled and fried in butter on the BBQ – is the best way to eat new potatoes!

Towering Tomatoes

 Yellow and red cherry tomatoes – the bubs eat them like lollies straight from these gigantic tomato plants!

Spring onion (bbq’ed with sausages in blankets)

Apple cucumber & Lebonese cucumbers (the best cucumbers I’ve ever grown!)

Gherkins – not sure what to do with these – suggestions anyone?

Stawberries & blueberries – these are fought over and I even think the repilers have been pilfering them….

Eating stuff from the garden makes our friday night camping trips to the pump house cottage feel like we are living off the land – I harvest and the produce gets thrown straight on the BBQ or in a steaming pot of hot water on a gas ring. We are like some ‘back to basics’ reality show!

Now all we are waiting for in the garden are the pumpkins, onions, and parsnips…..