Which means the builders have finished. No more getting wet to go round to the main house.
Of course, the other side of the hole is still somewhat less finished. The new kitchen is still a work in progress, and meals still have a slight added textural crunch.
The hole revealed yet more interesting house building techniques.
Damp Courses, and foundations didn't feature highly 200 years ago. The kitchen floor rests on the earth, and appears to have been laid directly on top of the bracken that would have been used as animal bedding. A modern building inspector would be very unimpressed, but it works surprisingly well.
Now that I have my house and workspace back things are heading towards normality, I just need to finish off cleaning up the dust... the decorating will have to wait, 1 month and counting until my next show.
It's been a bit quiet from me over the past few days, though I think I have a valid excuse.
The builders have been due to come and start work any time after Easter. This being "builder speak" we knew that it could be July before they actually turned up. However Tuesday evening we got a phone call announcing they were arriving tomorrow morning.
This happened shortly after. The doorway between my annexe, and the main house. It was meant to happen when the barn was renovated, but the kitchen next door was brand new, and my future was still up in the air so it didn't happen. Five years alter and we've all got sick of walking round the outside of the house in the pouring rain, so a hole needs to be made.
The 1842 RV stone is safe by the way. It's been carefully removed, and will be set back in to place somewhere.
The walls of the cottage are 2 foot thick, and made of very hard stone. As a result making a hole is not a quick job. It's taken 3 days to get to this point.
A Broody chicken is a grumpy chicken. She likes to be left, on her own, in a gloomy spot, where her little brain will switch off for 3 weeks.
This is the chicken who is sat on the clutch of eggs. She's got roughly a week to go, we candled the eggs a few days ago, and it looks as if the boys have done their jobs, as all 6 seem to be fertile. There are no guarantees, but I'm hopeful that at least some of them will hatch out.
My particular breed of chickens are know for being good mothers. This also means they will go broody at the drop of the hat. Going broody is the state a chicken needs to be in if it is to sit on eggs for 3 weeks. They pull out the feathers on their under-belly, raise their body temperature, and will sit in a nest box without getting up for hours at a time. Broody is great when I want to hatch out eggs, but if I don't then it's a bit of a pain. Chickens who are broody are also grumpy, and will sometimes bully the laying chickens out of the nest box. They're also not laying any eggs themselves, and in their head they've already laid a clutch of eggs, and are sitting on them.
Wiggo, in the photo above has gone broody, and is being very grumpy about it. I lifted her out of the nest box, partly so she ate something, but also because if I do it enough times they do sometimes snap out of it. Whilst doing so, she made her feelings known and I did get a few well aimed pecks on my hand. She is looking a bit of a state though, with Cav gone she's now bottom of the pecking order, so does get pecked by the others, and her frizzle feathers are weaker and prone to breaking. She's not in pain, but she does look a little ridiculous.
Speaking of Cav, my friend Katharine made me a very lovely Easter/sorry Cav died present.
Much better for me than chocolate, a cupcake box filled with batts inspired by my flock of crazy chickens. Most of the fibre is fleece from her flock of sheep, and I'll have some of the fleeces on my stall at Wonderwool Wales.
Call me weird, but I like doing my accounts.
I enjoy making spreadsheets do my bidding, and going through the paperwork. March however ended up in something of a surprise...
For a while now I have been aware that Hilltop Cloud was growing, it's one of the reasons I left Etsy this winter. I also knew that I was heading towards the point where registering for VAT was no longer an optional choice, but instead something I was legally obliged to do.
VAT is a sales tax calculated as a percentage on the price a customer pays for an item. The seller collects the VAT, and then passes it on to the UK government via HMRC. All customers in the UK, and the EU have to be charged VAT once a seller registers to collect the tax.
As a result, from 9th April 2015 Hilltop Cloud is now VAT registered.
Writing that sentence is somewhat scary, VAT registration is a sign that your business is something serious, and many small businesses don't survive the period after the registration, as their prices are now higher.
Understandably I'm rather keen to avoid that fate!
I have spent today eyeball deep in coding, spreadsheets and help pages.
I think the basics are now sorted, hence me making this announcement.
From now on all purchases made by customers in the UK, and the EU will be charged VAT.
If you live in a non-EU country (USA, Canada, Norway, Australia etc.) you will pay the VAT free price.
The online shop now display the different prices, so I hope that everyone will be able to clearly see what price they will pay.
The extra price that you pay in the EU is not a case of me bring greedy, and making more money. Every penny of that 20% will go to the government, it's used to pay for important things like hospitals, schools, libraries and all the things that are important in our daily lives.
I have to collect this tax. Not charging VAT would lead to me paying large fines, and general nasty stuff!
My basic pre-tax prices have all now been lowered, this is partly because I can claim back VAT that I have been charged on my supplies, but also because I’m taking a slight pay cut.
That mostly means that the prices you pay in the UK and EU haven’t risen by a huge amount in comparison to the price you paid yesterday.
For example, a braid from the Hiraeth collection was £8, it’s now £8.50
A braid of Superwash BFL/Ramie was £13, it’s now £14
The Camel/Seacell,/Faux Cashmere was £16, it’s now £16.50
If you’re not from the UK, or an EU country you will now pay less!
Some things have increased by more; Dad’s tools are particularly affected. I always passed on the majority of the price you paid, to him, I kept a small amount to cover the payment processing fees, and the packaging supplies, and paid myself a very small amount for the work photographing, listing, and packing the tool. As he’s not VAT registered I can’t reduce the price I pay him, so I have to pass on all of the VAT to the purchaser.
One other thing about prices, all my stock for Wonderwool has already been labelled and priced. I am not going to take off all the labels, print out fresh ones, and re-label the whole lot. For once my ultra-organisation has come back and bitten me in the bum! All prices charged at Wonderwool will include VAT, and be at the old price.
What about clubs I hear you say! Clubs are going to be the most affected by these changes. I have always tried to keep them affordable, and good value for money as a reward for trusting me with a surprise each month! As a result I can't eat up as much of the 20% as I have with the online shop.
This is the inclusive price for everyone, European prices end up being the same as all the other countries, the extra VAT in the EU is cancelled out by your cheaper postage compared to other international countries.
I know I only just set this up… to say altering prices after just one month is irritating to say the least. However, I have got to do it.
All members will now pay £15
I know it’s quite a price hike in the UK, but given postage is £3 you’re still getting a braid of hand dyed, gradient fibre for £12, which I think still offers good value.
You might have noticed that the Luxe club is missing off that list. For now I’m going to wind up that club, I’ve got a lot on over the next few months, and doing all the extra paperwork that goes with VAT registration will take me a while to sort out. I’m going to take the pressure off myself, and shorten the monthly to-do list slightly.
A few payments for the next round have already gone through, I’ll be refunding those shortly.
Club members, please watch your inboxes, I will be sending you emails letting you know what you need to do if you're happy to continue in clubs.
I weave... occasionally, and it's more a dabbling hobby than something I make any claims to expertise. I can direct warp a rigid heddle pretty speedily, and can make nice plain cloth with neat selvedges, but that's my limit.
Others however, can make things like this.
The warp (the long vertical lengths) is a commercial yarn, and the weft (the shorter horizontal lengths) is some of my hand dyed BFL/Camel that the weaver bought at last years Wonderwool. The colour, unless I'm very much mistaken is one of my rainbows, the ones where I place the colours at random in short sections so you get shifting shades like this, rather than blocks of colour that repeat on a regular pattern. Seeing this makes me want to head to the caravan and dye some more rainbows!
The weaver is the lovely Tracy Miles, together with her Dad she makes Great Wheels. Which is another thing I would love to own, along with a loom that lets me make scarves like this.
I'm back at Wonderwool again this year (in the same stand location), preparations are in their final stages, I've got a few more dyeing days left, but the piles of stock are looking very lovely all parcelled up safely waiting for their big day out!