Monday, 11 July 2016

Another visit to Gannets, July 2016

Judith and I have just returned from another great stay in Gannets and wanted to share a few things with you.

When we arrived we were amazed at the amount that things have grown! I think it's been quite wet in East Anglia this Summer and that has clearly had an effect on the apple trees, the rosemary, and the plants in the front garden. I trimmed the rosemary and Judith made the front garden nice again, but we won't tackle the trees until Autumn. Hopefully there will be lots of apples for our guests to enjoy later in the year! Judith also replanted the circular tub outside the back door and I think that's looking fantastic with red and white flowers.

We have seen in the visitors' book that the builders opposite have been noisy on occasion. We're sorry about this, but we weren't told at the time or we could have done something about it. The last time we were in Gannets, and during our stay last week, they were remarkably quiet! And they were meant to have finished work in May too. But if you're bothered by noise and you don't want to approach them yourself then give us a call and we'll get in touch with them.

You may have noticed that the house adjoining ours is the subject of a planning application. The lovely old chap who used to live there moved into a nursing home and sold the house to a developer. The developer wishes to knock it down! As you can imagine, nobody in the village wants this and there were dozens of protests submitted for the last application. A new application has just been raised so we're hoping the same will happen, but we'll just have to see.

I was able to improve the situation with the back door last week. I raised its hinges in the frame to stop the door catching on the cill and it not locking easily. The door itself is dropping a little over time, and eventually we'll have to replace it, but for now it's fine again. I certainly wouldn't want a door with less glass in it when the view through it is so beautiful!

I also put some new sealing strip on the shower screen and added some mastic around the hinge to try to stop leaks during showering. I'm not sure it's worked completely but I hope it's better.

Judith arranged to have a new towel rail fitted in the bathroom and a new radiator installed next to the dining table. We think both are improvements and hope you agree :).

And finally, we have a new Satellite dish and receiver. The controls for the receiver are slightly different but it has a good quality picture so I hope it's not a problem. Obviously we've updated the instructions.

That's all for now. As always, any comments, criticisms and suggestions are welcome so please get in touch :).

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Latest updates at Gannets

Over the last few month we’ve visited Gannets on several occasions to perform maintenance and make improvements. If you’ve been before you may notice them!

Judith has been busy levelling and grassing some of the area at the bottom of the garden. When we bought Gannets the bottom half of the garden was a vegetable patch, and we kept it like that for several years. Unfortunately as time has passed we’ve found that we’ve not had the time to cultivate it in the way we were initially. We’ve just not been there often enough! And although originally it was nice to have vegetables there and available for our guests to pick and eat, in reality it didn’t happen as often as we’d thought it would. Therefore, we’re in the process of grassing half of that area. Judith has already grassed a part of it and a couple of weeks ago we levelled the next part of the area. Hopefully during the year we’ll get all that side grassed. At present we plan to keep the lefthand side of the patch available for growing things, but we’ll see how it goes.

One of the interesting challenges of a 70s house is the plumbing! All pipes inside the house are buried in the concrete floor, so we have to hope that they will continue to function for as long as we need them J. But the gutters outside drain into soakaways several feet underground, and these are pretty inaccessible too. The problem with them is that over time the porous pipes degrade and plant roots get in. Eventually the water coming down the gutter downspouts will not drain away. Although the downspouts at the front of the house still work acceptably well, we found that the one at the rear of the house wasn’t draining at all. In heavy rain the water would back up and overflow the gutter. I’ve therefore rerouted the downspout into the main drain. So you will now see that the pipe has a kink in it to reach to the drain, and I’ve also plumbed the waste from the utility room into it too. This should resolve the problem at the back. We’ll see how the other downspouts fare over time.

You may notice that we’ve also done some painting, given the carpets a deep clean, and steam-cleaned the laminate floor. We think everything looks a lot brighter as a result! And we’ve bought a new tumble drier to replace the old one that broke. Don’t forget there’s a spare fridge in the garage if the main fridge ever breaks down.

Finally, you will hopefully notice the new tiling in the bathroom. When we refurbished the house we originally expected that the oil-fired boiler would soon need replacing. When that happened, we would put a new boiler in the garage (the pipes were positioned so that would be easy), use the freed-up space in the utility room for storage and therefore empty the cupboard that faces the kitchen. The idea then was that this would become a shower cubicle in the bathroom. However, the boiler refuses to die – we had it serviced last month and it’s doing fine! – and so we needed to put a proper shower over the bath. To allow this, I removed the wood panelling around the bath and tiled the walls. This left the remaining panelling along the bathside and below the mirror looking a little out of place, and it was also starting to rot in the corner as a result of the occasional leakage of water around the shower screen. I’ve therefore removed all the wood and tiled everything. This will remove the issue of rotting wood, and we think it looks better too! Hopefully you will agree, or at least understand why we felt it necessary.

A question to our 2016 guests: is there anything else you think we need to do? What needs to be improved to make Gannets even more welcoming, peaceful and enjoyable for a great holiday? Do we need a larger TV? A new sofa? A new bed? Improved lighting? Whatever you think, please make your suggestions as comments below, email us or leave comments in the visitors’ book. We’ll listen seriously to whatever you say because we want all our guests to have a great time at Gannets.

It just remains for me to say “happy holiday!” to all our 2016 guests, new ones and returning ones. When we arrive at Gannets, we breathe a collective sigh of relief and relax. We’re delighted you’ve chosen to stay at Gannets and hope that you relax and enjoy being there just as much as we do!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Easter 2015 activities

I can't believe it's so long since I posted here! What happened to 2014?

We've had another year of happy guests, the odd urgent request -- often about the broadband dropping, which we couldn't do anything about -- and a couple of visits of our own. Sadly the sea defences continue to be eroded and the car park at the end of the road to the beach is just a memory, but the birds are still on the marsh and it's just as peaceful down Purdy's Drift as it ever was -- one of my favourite places.

Maintenance is an ongoing activity. I always get stuck into some work when I'm at Gannets. Last year I put a light with PIR detector over the back of the garage so that when you want to get into the garage at night you're not in pitch blackness any more. There is so little light pollution on the North Norfolk coast that it really is pitch black! I also refurbished the guttering as promised in an earlier post. We've continued to work on the patch at the bottom of the garden, slowly turning what had become a very overgrown vegetable patch into more lawn. We've had some great bonfires :). And I pruned the 3 apple trees again.

The house below ours, Greenacres, changed hands a year or so ago and we were concerned that the new owner might decide to knock it down to build several houses in its substantial garden. This would have blocked our precious view of the sea. Fortunately he decided instead to renovate the house and tidy the garden. This week we were delighted to see that he's removed further bushes and also at least 2 of the overgrown fir trees. We now have a better view of the sea from the kitchen window than before, which is wonderful.

This week we've done a few more things. The PIR floodlight in the garage had stopped working so I replaced it with an LED one. It's just as bright but only 50W instead of 250W so I'm pleased with that.

In the bathroom the work to replace the wood panelling has continued. This week I've tiled the side of the bath. The wood had gone rotten in places as a result of some leaks around the shower screen. The new tiles look much neater. I plan to replace the remainder of the wood, behind the basin and WC, later this year once we've decided whether to keep the existing WC or take the opportunity to get a back-to-wall pan and concealed cistern. What do you think?

Judith has repainted the main bedroom this week. It's now a wonderful eau-de-Nil shade called Ocean Ripple by Dulux. I think it looks great and hope you do too. She's also made the front garden look lovely again and amongst many things in the back garden she has potted out some flowers in the planter on the patio. Jonathan Wright continues to cut the grass regularly so the garden is in great condition for holiday relaxation or games. Don't forget to put up the hammock between the 2 trees for a really peaceful siesta!

I should also mention a very exciting development. We now have Infinity broadband! I found out by accident that it has become available in Salthouse and immediately ordered it. Now, instead of 1.2Mbps if we're lucky we have over 30Mbps! I hope this will make a big difference to your holiday browsing experiences -- and make it easier to pick up your work emails while you're away :).

As always, if you have any comments on Gannets, thoughts for what you'd like to see more or less of, or anything else, please do get in touch. We're always pleased to hear from our past, present and future guests. We love sharing our house and seeing the contented comments in the visitors' book, and hope to continue making Gannets available for many years to come.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

New Year updates

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2013 is successful for you... and that it might include a holiday at Gannets :).

Just a quick update on some changes we've made.

Firstly, I've replaced the Grundig Freesat box for a Humax Freesat one. It's the same type as the one we have at home so we know it works well and I think it's easier to use as well. Certainly the programme guide is better. And it has an HDMI socket too so the picture is better than the Grundig.

We also have a new kettle and toaster. They're both stainless steel rather than plastic so they look nicer as well as working better.

I have replaced 2 single sockets with double sockets in the bedrooms. I hope this will make it easier for you to plug in more of your appliances.

Judith has done some work in the garden, too. It's looking pretty good for Winter. Hopefully when Spring comes we'll have a bonfire and tidy up the bottom of the garden. Our thinking is to extend the lawn since the vegetable area isn't working too well (we're not there often enough to grow things), but if you have ideas please let us know.

Finally, we had cavity wall insulation installed before Christmas. We felt the difference while we were there at New Year. I hope you'll also notice the house being warmer when it needs to be.

Later in 2013 I plan to refurbish the guttering and repaint the fascias. It will probably be time to repaint some of the internal walls too. And I'd like to put a new light fitting in the main bedroom to replace the paper one.

We hope you enjoy Gannets in 2013! Do let us know of anything you'd like to see that's missing, or things that aren't quite right. We want Gannets to be as good as it can be for you, our guests. Thank you.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

wifi broadband at Gannets!

Hello everyone!

I wanted to let everyone know that we now have Broadband installed at Gannets.

Yes, it's in and working. The speed is around 1.5mbps, so not brilliant but ok for a village several miles from an exchange. Sometimes it goes down but again this is normal for a country location so if you're hit with that please just be patient and it will return.

It's a wireless BT Hub 3 system. The code for accessing the wifi network is with the router.

I hope you find this additional facility to be useful while you're on holiday at Gannets.


Saturday, 31 December 2011

Set of historic photos loaded

I can't believe it's nearly a year since I posted here. I thought I was quite frequent!

In the last year we've continued to add to Gannets. The main bed now has a lovely comfy mattress, for example. The new shower with screen has proven to be a real asset. And the new DVD player is much better than the old one. In our last visit I pruned the apple trees. The neighbour at the bottom of the garden has installed a nice new fence to replace the old broken down one. So lots of activity.

For 2012 I'm planning to get a phone line and broadband installed. I think this will be very useful.

And now to the original subject of this post. Having collected a range of historic photos of Salthouse over the last few years, I've decided to put them into the welcome folder but also to upload them to Facebook. You'll find the link from the Gannets website, but here's a direct link.

Happy New Year to guests old and new. We look forward to talking to you in 2012!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

New for 2011! Shower screen

Earlier this year we decided to install a shower screen so that our guests can finally have a proper shower! We've had a few requests for a proper shower and I too have missed having one. But it wasn't an easy decision because we didn't want to lose the wood panelling or make the bathroom look smaller. Nevertheless, we decided it was the right thing to do and went ahead.

So 2 weeks ago I spent a weekend at Gannets:
  • Removing part of the shelf along the wall under the mirrors
  • Building a new frame at the end of the bath to support the riser rail and the shower screen
  • Removing the wood panelling along the side and end of the bath
  • Tiling the side wall and new frame.
In the last few days we have completed the work:
  • Erecting the shower riser rail and shower screen
  • Installing a replacement mirror.
You can see the results in the updated "Gannets" Facebook album. The relevant pictures are:
So now we can offer a proper shower at Gannets! It's been a pleasure doing the work and we hope you enjoy using it.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Short visit to Gannets this weekend

Hello! This weekend Judith and I made a flying visit to Gannets. Thanks for your kind comments in the visitors' book. It's always nice to read of your happy holidays.

There's one or two things to tell you and also to ask you as you spend your time in the house.

1. Shelves under the TV

If you take a look at this photo, you'll see that things are neatly laid out across the shelves. Reading from left to right:

a. Basket of games and puzzles for older children and adults
b. Books
c. AV stuff: satellite receiver, DVD/CD player, amplifier, plus a selection of CDs
d. Holiday information
e. Books
f. Basket of games for younger children

If you play any games, read any books or use any of the holiday information, please put things back as you found them. Please leave things neatly for the next guests to make use of. This makes it much more pleasant for everyone.

2. Books and magazines

There's a selection of books and magazines on the shelves. There are books ranging from non-fiction such as the Bible and a history of Salthouse through to paperback fiction. Please do not remove any books from the house. If you wish to leave a book for others to read then you are welcome to do so if there's space on the shelves.

Similarly with magazines, if you have a recent magazine that you wish to leave then please place it in one of the shelves for books. Please do not leave piles of old magazines in the house as they are rarely of interest to others.

3. Lightswitch in the bathroom

Some of you had problems with this earlier in the year. Sorry about this. I had dismantled the old switch and cleaned it out, but it transpired that this was just a temporary fix. It has now been replaced and the new switch seems fine. Thank you for your patience.

4. Shower

One of your guestbook comments was about a lack of shower curtain in the bathroom. To be honest, the shower head in the bathroom was never intended for people to stand under, and is more for rinsing hair, etc, while having a bath. Our original intention was to convert the cupboard next to the bathroom into a shower cubicle (accessed from the bathroom), once the boiler in the utility room stopped working. Installing a new boiler in the garage would make space in the utility room for new cupboards that would free up the other cupboard to become the shower cubicle.

However, the boiler is showing no signs of dying! It just seems to go on and on. Rather than waste resources -- natural and financial -- replacing something that works, we prefer to keep it while it's ok. This means the cupboard is not going to become a shower cubicle any time soon.

Therefore, our plan is to remodel the bathroom so that we can install a shower screen for the bath. This will mean changes to the back of the bath and the mirrors, and will probably mean replacing a lot of the wood panelling with tiles. I hope to be able to do all that later this year so there will be a shower for the 2011 holiday season. That's the expectation, but I'm not committing to it yet, just in case I can't make the time. If you have any thoughts please let us know.

I think that's all for now! Do continue to give us your feedback about anything to do with Gannets. We're always trying to make it nicer for our guests. And if you can do the same by thinking about keeping things a bit tidier, it will be better for everyone. Thank you.


Friday, 7 May 2010

Another maintenance trip: Gannets looking lovely!

I forgot to update this blog after Judith and I spent a weekend at Gannets in April. I'm therefore putting that right now with a quick update on what we did.

Perhaps the most visible thing we did was actually to have a bonfire! We'd been gathering material for it for nearly a year, but despite several attempts I could never get it to light. This time, it went up really quickly and burnt up the wood very effectively. Because it burnt so hot, there was almost nothing left and little smoke while it was burning. And I managed to prevent it burning down the hedge at the bottom of the garden or damaging Anna's plum tree :).

We also repainted the bathroom and touched up other walls. Judith repainted the front windows and some of the fascias. I cleaned out one of the downspouts. And we washed walls, floors, paintwork, windowcills, etc, etc.

We also noticed that the oil tank had begun to weep, and have arranged for it to be replaced. We've also made plans to replace some of the lead on the roof where it's stretched and torn following the hard winter.

Overall, I think Gannets is looking sparking for a new year's holidays and we hope you'll all enjoy your time there this year.

Don't forget to let us know if you think there's anything missing at Gannets, or if there's something that would make your stay better. In the past we've thought about a shower, an extra bedroom, a conservatory, a rooflight over the kitchen -- all sorts of ideas. But if you have a view on anything please let us know so we can prioritise our changes.

all the best

Friday, 19 February 2010

February visit to Gannets

Hello again!

Judith and I have just returned from a few days at Gannets. The weather has ranged from sunny to misty to snowy, but always chilly! Fortunately, thanks to the insulation I've installed and the good central heating, Gannets is always warm to return to after a quick walk over the marsh to the beach. We always wanted Gannets to be a year-round holiday home, not just for the summer. With double glazing and lots of loft insulation it works beautifully.

The purpose of our visit was to prepare Gannets for the year. Things we did included:
  1. Meeting our new cleaner. She's really nice and understands the job. Our previous cleaner tended to be a bit slap-dash at times and we became unhappy with things. I think the house will be consistently cleaner now
  2. Tidying the garden a little. I tried to get the bonfire started but it was too damp. One day this year, perhaps! Judith did a good job of pruning the shrubs in the front garden
  3. Learning of what's happened to Greanacres. That's the house at the bottom of our garden. It was occupied by a nice old lady who has sadly died. It's now been sold and we're awaiting news on the plans of the new owners. We've put a letter through the door asking the new owners to contact us. We'd like to preserve the sea views and also the quiet of the area -- we don't want our guests being woken at 8am by builders all through the Summer :). When we get more information I'll post something here
  4. Replacing the mastic round the bath and along the worktops in the kitchen and utility. I felt the mastic was looking a little tired. It's now all nice and clean for the year
  5. Cleaning all the carpets with our Vax
  6. Repainting the 2nd bedroom. It's a much brighter shade of yellow now, matching the downstairs wall
  7. Easing the front door. It used to stick a little, and of course it swells in the winters. I've eased it in several places and now doesn't stick at all! Much more welcoming, I think
  8. Checking the state of the leadwork. The snow has attacked it some more at the back of the house and I think it will need some remedial work before next winter. We'll get some experts to take a look and let us know. I don't think we'll see any leaks but I'd like to make sure it's as good as possible.
I plan to return in late March to do some more painting: bathroom, stairs, and all the white doors. Plus some polyfilling as well.

We also noticed that the large barn conversions in Bard's Hill haven't sold yet, nor the barns with planning permission in Cross Street. We will be very sad to see those barns converted as it's so great to have a working farm in the village. The cows were looking good this week, steaming in the cold conditions.

On the subject of houses, the house opposite the duck pond sold last year and has now been extended at the rear. The builders were there this week building a low wall across the front garden. This appears to be to separate off the parking area from the lawn, but it seems rather unnecessary. Still, we'll see what it's like when it's done. The house is certainly improved.

As always, do let us know of anything you'd like to see new, or different, or better, at Gannets. We aim to make our guests happy and comfortable at all times so we're keen to hear your views.


Friday, 22 January 2010

Christmas holidays in Norfolk

Hello everyone,

Judith, Anna and I spent a few days at Gannets before Christmas. We really enjoyed the break -- the peace, quiet and beauty of North Norfolk -- but we did experience some unusual weather!

Unusual? Snow! I've never seen snow on the beach at Salthouse, nor the salt marshes frozen over. It was that cold. For several days we didn't really drive out. The coast road wasn't too bad so we went to Cley for food (Picnic Fayre and the smokehouse -- wonderful!) but didn't go further. When we thought it had got a little better, we ventured into Holt via Cley (we didn't try to climb Bard Hill straight out of Salthouse), which we found to be totally white and ungritted. Interesting driving, but gorgeous :). I've added some photographs to the "surrounding areas" album on Facebook (linked from the Gannets homepage) so do take a few minutes to marvel at the snow.

While we were there we did manage to take delivery of a new mattress for the double bed in bedroom 1. It's a new pocket-sprung mattress with lots of lovely padding. We had one night on it before having to leave. I hope our guests will really enjoy this added luxury!

That's all for now

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Start of the Gannets blog!


This is the first post in our blog about Gannets. We're very excited to be using this means of communication with our many existing clients. We hope we can reach out to new ones this way as well.

We want to use this as a 2-way communication mechanism. We're grateful for the very many people who have taken the time to add comments to our visitors' book -- kind and complimentary comments. But that mechanism perhaps doesn't let you say all you want to say.

So here I hope we can communicate on other matters. It would be good to discuss things like:
  • Tell us the things you like about Gannets?
  • What don't you like?
  • What do you wish we would do to the house to make it better for you?
  • Which are the good restaurants in the area?
  • Which are the bad ones?
  • What about shops generally? Good and bad, cheap and expensive?
  • How about things to do when it's wet or cold? Or when it's sunny and warm?
We hope we can therefore have useful dialogues about Gannets, Salthouse and North Norfolk generally!

Peter and Judith Ward