Monday, July 02, 2007


Did you miss me?

I have been finding myself spending time usually reserved for blogging and reading the interweb doing things. Worse, cleaning things. I have lived here in our shack in the woods for just over a year now. 10th June 2006 we moved in. Suddenly, last week, I was overcome with an urge to clean and mend - really deep clean and mend - to line the nest with new feathers and no, no, I am definitely not pregnant!

This weekend I cajoled Badger and Dr But Why? into major action, and trotted along to HSS hire shops to procure a carpet cleaner. My bedroom carpet was installed in the sixties, and the office one in the late 70s. I doubt that they have seen much more than a cursory vacuum since then.

So. Every single Thing in my bedroom was brought out into the lounge. Actually, there weren't too many Things - a bed, a chest of drawers, 3 washing baskets (I have washing sorting OCD apparently), a bedside wheely thing and Ruby's crate. I filled up the dyson with the dust from under the bed while the cat made herself comfortable in the drawers full of clothes that I had left on the sofa.

I shampooed the carpet. I emptied bucket after bucket of brown sludgy water down the toilet. I rinsed the carpet. I emptied more buckets of brown sludgy water down the toilet. It is incredibly satisfying, pouring dirt away like that ... dirt you didn't even realise was there.

Badger helped me replace my furniture, and I fell into peaceful deep sleep in a spotless room with clean sheets on the bed.

Sunday ... sunday ... we tackled The Octagon. I love that we call our office / spare room 'the octagon'. I feel like a superhero every time I say it. 3 desks, one filing cabinet, a bookshelf, 2 sofas, one window seat, assorted musical instruments, speakers, tv, tv cabinet, 3 office chairs and lots of smaller heavy electrical items were duly shuffled and shoved, dusted and polished and wiped and tidied, and the carpet was hoovered shampooed and rinsed, and brown sludgy water disposed of, while Badger cleaned all the windows and mopped the floors and the cat made herself comfortable on the sofa.

And it feels good. It feels amazing. I realised yet again that I love this house. I truly love it - in the way that one can only love a living, breathing thing. Because it is a living, breathing thing. Our house nestles in the trees, soaks in the sunshine and showers in the rain. It is gripped and woven by vines and ivy. In the autumn it hangs heavy with grapes and in the summer the plums are only a quick stretch out of the window. And in the octagon there is the window seat, and this is why I am nesting - because I have remembered, once again, how lucky I am to live in a tree.

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Blogger Misssy M said...

I am having serious Siamese envy...want one! (but have 3 mogs already and 4 would turn me into "crazy cat lady" for sure.

02 July, 2007 16:48  
Blogger trousers said...

Nice post, nice home and gorgeous cat! I'm normally less fond of Siamese but this one looks so comfortable and snug as to be adorable.

These real life things have to be done from time to time. But yes I did miss you.

02 July, 2007 17:10  
Blogger Jon M said...

Stray...that is not a shack and that is one cool cat! Tidying is definately a good thing!

02 July, 2007 17:43  
Blogger Caroline said...

Dear Stray,

Please can you and Badger come and tidy my house too?


02 July, 2007 19:05  
Blogger Stray said...

Oh Missy! have mine! She's horrible!

lol ... interesting personality but she does boss us all about, I think I'm being bullied at home by my cat. *sigh*

Yes, 4 would officially be into Crazy Cat Lady territory - unless you have a big farm. Our friends have over a dozen and they get away with it!

Hello Trousers - you were right the first time. Don't revise your opinion based on looks! She is pure evil.

I'm glad you missed me :)

Jon M I have to say that it's definitely a shack. A fancy shack but a shack none the less. We burn twigs to keep warm.

Caroline - don't worry. When you and badger and Ms M and I have our lovely tree-house commune, badger and I will keep it so clean and tidy you'll be astounded :)


02 July, 2007 20:38  
Anonymous Natalie said...

Stray, I absolutely agree and identify with that sudden Cleaning Mission which takes over once in a while. Once in a great while in my case, but it will happen sooner or later. It is indeed a wonderfully liberating feeling once it's all done but while it's taking place, I can get pretty obsessive: an old toothbrush to clean around the bathroom taps and the cracks in the wall? Yesss.

Glad you are here. And that cat on the bright shirts is stunning.

02 July, 2007 22:57  
Blogger Matthew said...

Can I come and write things in The Octagon please? You've a super house there, really. I'm quite jealous, weirdly, because houses are usually just houses to me.


03 July, 2007 10:19  
Blogger sheepish said...

A tree house is probably a wise option with the weather as it is at the moment. Or maybe an ark. Glad you're back.

03 July, 2007 11:15  
Blogger Jean said...

It's a fab house. Is there really no way you could buy it and save it? (I seem to remember you writing a while ago that the land was to be developed for more new housing eventually?). I really, really have to get into the obsessive cleaning and tidying frame of mind soon - office and home.

03 July, 2007 13:57  
Blogger Pixie said...

There is something sooo satisfying about cleaning. that feel good factor afterwards can last for days.

Love the view out of your window, very peaceful.

Decided it was time to call on you, especially after you're proposal!!! good to have you back.

03 July, 2007 19:25  
Blogger Jude said...

Enjoy your lovely house. It all sounds so wonderful. Settling into the perfect home is just amazing.


03 July, 2007 20:04  
Blogger Stray said...

Natalie - I have to admit, toothbrush tap cleaning is part of my regular routine ... but cracks in the walls? I think I'd be tempted to fill them rather than clean them :)

Matthew - certainly sir! The Octagon is a fine place to write. Or plan special superhero missions.

Sheepish - Good point! yes, we are grateful that the water runs down the hill ... phew!

Jean - Unfortunately I don't have the multiple millions that this house is worth. Literally. It's on the most expensive road in Guildford, with incredible views and soooo much land ... so, yes, I'm afraid the developers who rent it to us (at a snip) will have their wicked way in the end - though there is a low key campaign to have it listed, which would be fab!

Pixie - yes, rather rude of me to offer to marry you and then vanish for weeks on end! Thanks for stopping by :)

Jude - it's a lovely home, truly bloody amazing ... but the location is all wrong. I wish I could lift it onto a truck and transport it somewhere with even bigger hills and fewer people from Surrey. No offense to Surrey people ... but I just don't quite fit in :)

03 July, 2007 20:44  
Blogger Jean said...

Perhaps you should recruit your blog-readers to the campaign to get it listed.

And perhaps having lived in this house will prove to be your inspiration for a future wonderful house that you will be able to keep.


04 July, 2007 14:22  
Blogger Miss Tickle said...

It sounds and looks a beautiful home. I am jealous. I think we should all live in trees. Like ewoks (which I am roughly the size of.)

04 July, 2007 17:17  
Blogger Ms Melancholy said...

Caroline and I are still planning on moving in to the Octagon by the way, as agreed some months ago. We were just waiting for you to get your finger out and clean it. Looks fab now. Just packing my suitcase....

04 July, 2007 21:56  
Blogger Böbø said...

Don't even talk to me about nesting. Been nesting for the last five years and that's no exaggeration. Oh no.

I now have the cleanest cellar in Yorkshire. Though that's probably not a tough competition to win.

You haven't considered starting a contract nesting company? I'd pay good money to see you and badger lift heavy things, and if they got cleaned in the process, top dog!


05 July, 2007 08:53  
Blogger Jon M said...

How does the siamese get on with the doglet? Our cat thing rules the roost and she keeps the gorehounds in their place!

05 July, 2007 22:11  
Blogger hesitant scribe said...

Lovely house, lovely cat, and very lovely guitar!

In a tree? How wonderful!

I have spent entire day cleaning today, and it does feel very good... although had to draw the line at sorting out the littleun's room. When she's 8 we can throw all her baby things out and make some space! I remember when I had cats. Cats were much easier!

08 July, 2007 19:31  
Blogger That's so pants said...

Hi Stray

I am writing on behalf of my hybrid pet owly-cat Barney.

He says your house in the trees looks nice and, although his visa to Australia has finally been granted (long story), he was just wondering...

I know it's a lot to ask, but would you consider taking him?

I'll understand if you don't want to - to be honest, hypoallergenic hybrid pets are quite demanding.

Yours in desperation,


08 July, 2007 22:24  
Blogger Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Stray, where have you disappeared to again? I hope you didn't overdo the cleaning and exhausted yourself? Am waiting for you to contribute a thought in my new Outside-The-Box-Thinking blog (current topic: identity). I know you have OOB thoughts on this and many other subjects.

11 July, 2007 23:06  
Blogger Stray said...

Jean - you know, that's not a bad idea! I will let you all know when the planning application finally goes in and you can start writing letters to the council about it all :)

And yes - it has massively altered my already fairly flexible ideas about what makes a good living space. I have learned that the view is more important than central heating ... that I never want to live without a garden again (even if it's on a roof or balcony) ... that I sleep better without artifical light ... all of which will influence any future home a great deal.

Miss Tickle - I am also the size of an Ewok, and Badger is almost certainly 50% Ewok at the DNA level. Come and join us :)

Ms M - I managed to drag myself to the launderette today and wash the duvets, so anytime you and Cas would like to turn up just give me 5 minutes to make up the sofa bed. You'll love living here, Badger and I can't wait!

Bobo - I am impressed! cleanest cellar in Yorkshire? Can we have photos on your blog please? :)

Jon M - the relationship is very straightforward. The cat bullies the dog, has first dibs on the dog bed, dog bowls, water, food and laps. The dog looks fed up briefly before forgetting what it was that she wanted and going off to chase a plastic bag or two.

Hesitant Scribe - yes. Cats are soooo much easier than kids, and dogs ... but in the end we all know that our cats are just using us. Badger believes they are the highest level of evolution and we're all just puppets in their little pointy-clawed paws.

Oh Pants! - I am so flattered that Owly-cat might want to come here ... and if I owned the place I would say yes please! But ... but ... I have 2 cats and a dog already (though Frank is Badger's cat) ... and in my experience it takes a cat about six months to a year to settle with the other animals ... and I am most likely moving at least twice in the next 2 years (once to rent further north and then hopefully to buy something) and that's a lot of disruption. Too much.


I will put the word out though!

Natalie! - I've been off to the peak district and the launderette ... as you do ... but I will check out your lovely new blog tomorrow and it sounds most intriguing!


12 July, 2007 00:45  
Blogger Reading the Signs said...

Your shack (penthouse?) in the woods looks wonderful. The only other person I know who lived in the woods is a character from one of my stories but she didn't live high up as you seem to. Looking through your drawers, it looks as though you have nicked some of my son's clothes - that turquoise and brown jumper is very familiar.

12 July, 2007 18:25  
Blogger Kahless said...

Hello Stray,
Your house seems wonderful indeed, especially after the clean-up.

14 July, 2007 16:48  
Blogger That's so pants said...

Dear Stray

Thanks so much but very good news - Barney has decided to accompany me to Australia - another long story which I am saving for my own blog. It was lovely of you to offer to ask around for a home for him. Synthetic pets are incredibly hard to find second homes for. I blame the organic movement.



15 July, 2007 19:35  

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