This is how the granny flat at the back of the house looked on the day R left it.
With the exception of the plastering (which I bartered for my old, decrepit Land Rover) and the electrics, most of the work was done by my BIL, who spent short blocks of time here working on it over a period of months. This was good in a lot of ways as it meant that I had an occasional house guest during a very dark time, and also that I did not get too overwhelmed with decision-making. On the down side progress was very slow and patchy, and he has now 'disappeared' on another job in the way that builders are wont to do, which means that downstairs still looks like a building site and the kitchen is still located in boxes in my spare bedroom.
And he won't be able to come back for at least a couple more months as my sister is threatening to pack up herself and the kids and come and live with me if he doesn't do some outstanding work on their house!
But upstairs is entirely finished, and I can come and admire his handiwork and the peaceful, uncluttered space and ignore the chaos below.What a transformation.
R and I both always loved this room. It is light and airy in a way that the old part of the house isn't, and it has one of the few windows that actually look out over the garden. So five and a half years after he started pulling it apart, it is nice to be able to use it again.
I still need to make the blinds and lampshades, otherwise it is finished. But what it did need was a couple of pictures for the walls, and there was nothing suitable in the collection we had built up over the years.
So I had a little splurge.
I have admired Ann Lewis's work for a couple of years now, particularly her North Wales landscapes, and finally had the cash to treat myself to two of her linocuts.
The first is for R.
Daffodils and narcissi were his flowers. When they are in season, the house and garden are full of them, and I have planted a lot on his grave. This simple study makes me smile and think of him.
The second one epitomises much of what I love about Wales - the dramatic, harsh landscape, the rugged colours, the seemingly ever-present threat of snow (or certainly rain), low skies and challenging climbs. R's Mum used to come to Snowdonia to climb in her younger days and, although R did not take up the sport to the same extent, he had exactly the same attitude towards anything with a bit of gradient. He would be up it like a mountain goat, leaving me to puff along in his wake. It did wonders for the thigh muscles.