April A-Z: H is for Home

Ideally, H would have been for hospital, the location where not only my children but also my grandchildren were born, but of course the coronavirus has put the kibosh on that idea, so thankfully our house has come to the rescue, and instead H is for home 🙂

Home for us is a lovely old 1930s bungalow in Inverness with garden front and back, pleasantly situated between the river and the canal within easy walking distance of the town centre. We moved in six months ago and have lots of long-term plans for doing it up but to date haven’t quite got as far as we would have liked – but we’re planning for this to be our forever home, so hopefully we have plenty of time.

And thanks to perfect timing my own front door can also be my Thursday Door for this week! 🙂

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip!

The Little Things That Count

My Weekly Smile this week is made up of a selection of some of the little everyday things to be grateful for in life during this difficult time of coronavirus crisis and lockdown limbo – so for me, that includes tasty comfort food in the form of chicken stew and creamy garlic mash, beautiful bright flowers cheering up my conservatory on a spring-showery day, a multitude of yellow daffodils waving in abundance in my front garden, and the beautiful blue skies of the Scottish Highlands while out for a walk close to home ❤

Living Room Window

This is my living room window, all 2.5 metres width of glass pane, and I just love the way the light streams through it from morning till night. My sofa is sitting right in front of it, and sitting on my sofa is where much of my blogging takes place, with my laptop on a bean-bag lap tray on my lap. When we were house-hunting last year, two of my main non-physical must-have criteria were light and flow, and we’re absolutely delighted to have achieved both where we are now 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Glass

Considerations for my Conservatory

The conservatory in our house sits just off the dining room through glazed double doors with further doors leading out onto the North facing back garden, so with that particular orientation it’s never going to be a hot-house steamy jungle kind of space. But even in the cold winter months, the level of natural light it gets is absolutely amazing and I imagine the ambient temperature will be just perfect during the long warm summer days.

It’s a properly constructed conservatory, not just an external lean-to add-on afterthought, just over 3m by just under 3m in size, with cut-off corners at the garden end. It has a solid concrete floor, brick-built lower walls with patio doors at the far end, and the upper portion consists of a metal framework, double-glazed windows with lovely deep windowsills and an insulated plastic roof, which is why the natural light is so good.

It has lighting, electrical sockets and even a small radiator linked in to the central heating system, and oddly has been carpeted with the same traditionally patterned heavy wool carpet as the adjoining dining room, and had previously been furnished accordingly. So overall it feels to me like to date the poor conservatory has neither really been one thing nor the other, can’t really decide does it want to be an indoor room mainly for people, or more of a glorified greenhouse-style garden room mainly for plants?

To me, if it were intended to be more of an indoor room, it would ideally have been much better built with a proper tiled roof to keep the heat in and make it a properly usable space all year round, even in the depths of a Scottish Highland winter – Brrr…! In that way its snug carpeted floor and fully-upholstered furniture would have made more sense – but then you’d have lost all that lovely natural light, which to me would be a travesty.

If, on the other hand, I replace the current ugly carpet and thick underlay with a far more practical washable cushioned vinyl and keep the lightweight clear roof, I could perhaps fill my little mainly unheated conservatory with a selection of approriate-for-the-particular-environment potted flowers and foliage and lightweight garden-style furniture to make the most of a summer-house style garden room in the warmer months only… Hmmm…

Decisions, decisions…

History of a House

This morning we received a bulky pack of legal papers from our solicitor – our house purchase last October has now been recorded by the Land Registry and all the formal documentation held with the original Title Deeds now belongs to us.

And it seems that with these information-rich papers, all clearly dated, I can piece together the history of our house from the initial land purchase in 1925 through the first property sale in 1933 all the way through several changes of ownership to us in 2019!

I really love looking through old papers, and however convenient digital documents may be, you can’t beat the smell and feel of handling old paper and ink – it’s a real, genuine hands-on experience to be able to touch the past, an immersion in history that for me, simply can’t be replicated online 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Paper


One of the huge differences in living in a three bedroom house rather than a one bedroom first floor flat is having the space to accommodate multiple people at one time! Not necessarily for sleeping over just yet but definitely for socialising. We sleep in the master bedroom, the second bedroom is used as a computer room/study, and what will eventually be the guest room is currently a storage room (until we replace the old minimal loft insulation with thicker, better quality stuff, put down a section of safe flooring and store our excess boxes and bits and pieces up in the roof space).

We have a lovely square living room at the front of the house, and an open plan kitchen/ dining room across the full width of the back of the house, with a small conservatory leading off from the dining room. The conservatory is currently closed off for the winter months (and is still full of packing materials from our move that we haven’t quite got rid of completely yet) but in the summer it will hopefully be an extra social space to spend time in – and we can even overflow into the back garden!

But even without using the conservatory or garden for now it’s lovely that when people come round – especially our growing family – we have ample space to accommodate everyone without feeling claustrophobic and overcrowded. And we don’t have to worry about being too noisy and disturbing any next door party wall or above or below neighbours in the building either, because there’s only us living in a whole detached house all on our own – woo-hoo! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Accommodate

Keys and Cup Hooks

When we first moved in to our house, we were astonished to find locks and keys in pretty much every door, internal as well as external. OK, so you expect front door and back door keys, and one for the door going out into the garden from the conservatory – but to find keys dangling in the doors from the hall to the living room, to all three bedrooms, and to the kitchen?

And in the double doors from the kitchen to the dining room, and then again from the dining room to the conservatory? I understand our house once used to be used for a Bed and Breakfast business, so that explains why locks on the bedroom doors may have been a sensible option there, but who locks up their living room, or their kitchen, or their dining room and conservatory? And why, for what possible purpose? Welcome to my home, but at the same time keep out?

Anyway, the superfluous door keys are now safely stored in an old tin in an old alcove cupboard (unlocked, but also with a key!) while our internal doors are all enjoying a new-found freedom in a rather more relaxed household security regime. But our next surprise was the sheer volume of cup hooks screwed in around the house. Cup hooks of all dimensions were everywhere, with the greatest density appearing in the kitchen – even lining along the insides of all the cupboard doors, as well as under the wall cabinets.

I have been known to employ the odd cup hook myself when needs must, but not to that extent! So after we’d removed and stored all the excess keys, our next job was unscrewing all the cup hooks from everywhere – we even found some very small ones spaced at regular intervals around some of the door frames! Curiouser and curiouser… For holding fairy lights in place, we wondered? Doesn’t really gel with the idea of requiring mulitple locks and keys though, does it? I guess we’ll never know 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Key

When Dreams Come True

My husband and I used to dream about buying our perfect home – or rather, buying a house that had the potential to be turned eventually (however creatively) into a home that is perfect for us. And here we are today, living in the dream house we fell in love with the moment we walked through the door… ❤

The funny thing is, looking through our pot of potential viewings, on paper this house wasn’t in any way near the top of the list. We’d spent a lot of time making practical decisions on the age and style and size of house we’d buy based on very sensible, rational criteria, having a favoured wish-list but understanding the likelihood of achieving everything wished for would be far-fetched in the extreme. So we worked out on paper which things we thought we would be most prepared to compromise on, and started viewing those houses that most closely matched our criteria.

Indeed, every house we viewed we could easily have lived in had we chosen to, there was nothing specific in any of them that completely ruled them out of the running. But somehow there was an over-riding bland ‘sameness’ to them and one after the other they just didn’t feel right – we just didn’t feel ‘at home’ in them. And yet with this one – the oldest and most needy by far – we booked the viewing not quite as an afterthought but certainly more as a determination not to rule anything out that met our basic criteria, however unlikely it may be to suit our specific needs as we’d calculated them to be…

But the minute we crossed the threshold, we felt the warmth of welcome. The house itself invited us in, enveloping us in its embrace and encouraging us to explore further, offering spacious well-proportioned rooms and loads of natural light, with a lovely sense of flow throughout. Even with someone else’s decidedly-not-to-our-taste decor and furniture in situ, it felt immediately like this could potentially become the perfect home we had dreamed of, list or no list.

Later that night we found we spoke animatedly of nothing else but what we would like to do to the house if it was ours, what changes we would make to it, where we would put our current furniture and what we would buy new. We were already considering possible colour schemes and flooring and window coverings and felt inspired to action in a way none of the other perfect-on-paper houses had done for us.

So after a second viewing we put in an offer that was accepted, and we bought our dream house! It certainly needs a lot of TLC but we’re more than happy to give our time and energy to fixing it up. We’re the kind of people who like to do things ourselves as far as possible, so we’ve got a long-term plan of action in place covering the next few months to slowly transform the house from the previous occupant’s home to our home, and so far are thoroughly enjoying the process!

We’re just absolutely delighted that for us, our dream of a perfect-for-us home is definitely coming true 🙂

Stream of Consciouness Saturday: Dream