Friday 31 October 2014

Adapting to an apartment

It is certainly very different living here on the third floor, using a lift to get about and looking out from some rooms onto our communal landing, but we feel fortunate to have our little balcony to give us some private outside access and though it does seem a bit like a holiday home, we are adapting.
A few of you asked questions about our new life, yes we have bought this apartment, it is our permanent home.   The property is leasehold with hundreds of years to run and each of the 26 apartment has one share in the management company that owns the building.  Five of the residents run a committee to manage life for us, maintenance work, cleaning, insurance etc, all in a very efficient way.  
The practicalities of everyday life have certainly changed.  At present I have three different rubbish and recycling bags in the kitchen.  I ordered a smart set of bins from Amazon that will fit perfectly into a space under the worktops, arranging for them to be delivered to my brothers but when we went over last week they hadn't arrived.  Almost two weeks since they were supposed to have been despatched, they were delivered the day after we came back, typical. I must admit I miss being able to put teabags, peelings etc into the garden compost and without our stove we seem to accumulate a lot of paper, which I suppose is a wake up call as to how much rubbish we actually produce.  
We aren't allowed to put washing outside the property but the apartment did come with a tumble dryer.  This is the first time I've ever owned one of these and though I know they are environmentally bad things it is wonderful to be able to wash and dry within a couple of hours.  I am thinking I could probably manage with just one set of towels and bed linen, that would be a great space saver. 
We are still struggling with storage and have stalled on the final unpacking.  We really need to sort out the second bedroom so that we can think about having people to stay.   We delivered various items to my brother last week so now that the car no longer contains a large sun umbrella wedged between us we might get out and look at furniture sometime.
The plumber got the gas fire working for us, it is very pretty even if it doesn't give out much heat.   We seem to benefit greatly from being on the top floor so we haven't had the central heating on yet apart from to check that it works and it feels very comfortable and cosy, in fact most days we have the french doors open.
We have already enjoyed the communal gardens, we took our sandwiches and a flask of coffee down there one lunch time to sit the sunshine.  It was delightful, like going off for a picnic without having to use the car or the indecision of where to stop.  There is some good quality wooden furniture in the garden and we had the place to ourselves.  OK I did get a bit agitated about a few weeds at the back of the border but really that is none of my business.  Mr FF was down again this week and was joined on one of the loungers by a pretty tortoise shell cat who we think lives on the ground floor, she climbed onto his knee for a sleep which made them both very happy.
I heard this week about elderly relatives who are having to move out of their large and isolated farmhouse into a bungalow because of ill health.  They are finding it really difficult and it makes me so glad that we have started this process now, it certainly hasn't been easy and it isn't over but I dread to think how we would have coped if the move had been forced upon us.  With hindsight I imagine that in another life I would not accumulate so much stuff but even in this small space it's hard to let go of so many things.   Its also easy to make do and get on with life, I am still typing with the computer on a garden table knowing we need a proper desk and I may have bought more knitting wool, but that's a story for another day.  Meantime the sun is out and Mr FF is already enjoying the garden, I might just join him with a couple of mugs of coffee. Happy weekend.

Friday 24 October 2014

Mr FF cleans balconies

Mr FF kindly took it upon himself at the weekend to doris our two balconies. Firstly the little Juliet balcony at the dining end of our kitchen that looks onto the atrium.  The glass panel behind the French doors was a bit grubby, he did suggest putting a cloth onto a long stick to clean the outside but I was worried he would drop it or water down three floors so instead he managed by carefully leaning over and reaching up.

Then he decided to clean the sit out balcony off our lounge.  He brushed all the moss off the old stones and treated them with some anti fungal solution.  He took down my little string of solar lights which he said were out of keeping and complained about the black railings that are not original and probably not in the right place, he's becoming so conservation since we moved into a listed building.

We agreed that the balcony deserved some better furniture than the two folding plastic chairs we have at present but that can wait until next year.  I'm thinking black rattan armchairs but I'm not sure whether the guardian of our heritage will approve.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

It is Ilkley

I had hoped to show you the delights of our little spa town but the weather has been a bit grey since the weekend and though I have been down to the centre several times, its just a 10 minute walk after all, I haven't taken any photographs yet.   So instead I'll show you some of our immediate environs. 
Across the road from our building we have a private gated garden for the residents complete with two little lakes, some might call then ponds but we are in Ilkley. 
Every apartment has a key and residents are free to stroll round or sit a while on the benches.  I'm hoping if I get gardening withdrawal I might do a bit of weeding in there and depending on what comes up in spring I could be tempted to plant a few interesting bulbs. We have a lovely collection of rather over fed ducks who I'm sure are very respectful of the plants.
Across the road from the garden is access to the moor with a small car park for walkers.  A good path leads up to White Wells, a pretty cottage that is an occasional cafe and houses the baths for taking the healing spa waters. 
Apparently it's a local custom to take a dip in the baths on New Years Day, I'm also told that the water temperature is usually about 4 degrees so I may give that a miss.
As I said the cafe doesn't have regular opening hours, the owners fly a flag that can be viewed from some distance to indicate they are serving which saves a wasted up hill walk, we were there on Sunday afternoon as they closed and the flag came down.
Its a lovely view from White Wells back down to our building, we really appreciated how grand it looks.  You can see the detail of the internal glazed atrium quite well. We had to resist the temptation to tell anyone who would listen that we live there and felt quite smug walking back home. 
So hopefully you will get to see the town soon and I also need to tell you about how we've adapted to apartment living over the past couple of weeks.  Its all very exciting and very different but so far its all very good.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

A bit more information

I thought I'd show you a few photos of the interior of our apartment, its still a work in progress, we have far too much clutter despite the attempted downsize before we moved but the main rooms are acceptable for now.  The kitchen seems to work well but needs a good sort after my initial unpack.
Our bedroom is calm though with much less wardrobe space we need to par down in the clothing department.
The lounge is coming on, I do like the curved ceiling, the alcoves
and of course the doors onto the balcony.
The gas fire is fine but we have no idea how it works, the wires on the hearth will be concealed and I assume pretty flames will lick up between the pebbles - one day.

Of course there is still a lot to unpack and find homes for, the second bedroom is currently nothing more that a depository.
I'll keep you guessing a bit longer where we are, its a little spa town in the West Riding of Yorkshire that has a lovely moor where you should definitely not venture without a hat or you will catch your death of cold.
Our bedroom window has a lovely view of ..............?

Sunday 5 October 2014

Where we live now

This is our new home, not all of it of course, our apartment has the curved balcony and the double windows either side on the top floor.

The girl who loves glass and chrome houses has turned and so far is very happy living in a grade 2 listed building that was built around 1850 as a spa hotel, has been a college and is now a collection of apartments round a central atrium.  We are the windows at the top with the Juliet balcony in the middle.

We are on the edge of the town,  10 minutes walk to the shops and railway station, yet we step out of the front door and cross the road to the moors.  It couldn't be better, we have communal gardens with furniture and BBQ, underground parking behind electric gates and best of all our very own balcony off the lounge.  The views are stunning and we have taken our coffee outside most days.

Lots to do inside, which is why I'm not showing you yet but our bedroom is a haven of calm and many boxes have been unpacked.  Mr FF has set up my computer on a garden table for now, we are getting there, life seems to be returning to normal albeit in a very different way.