Now for the hard part


I took this photo one weekend before Christmas when climbing “Heather Hill” with Isaac and Bea. Heather Hill (as named by the children) is a little mound behind a neighbour’s house that gives you stunning views of Burg, Ben More and Loch Scridain in one direction and, in the other, a view of our house. It looks for all the world as if you could almost live in it – what with the glow of light from inside and the fact it has a roof, walls and windows. If you have lived on Mull for long enough, or watched your share of Grand Designs, you will know that, unfortunately, this is not the case.

Welcome to the inside.



The kitchen




The living space wp_20170101_13_14_24_pro






Downstairs bedroom and bathroom




You get the idea. There’s a long list: internal walls, insulation, wiring, plumbing, plasterboard, plastering, floor surfaces, and so on.

There is also so much to do outside. Aside from finishing the cladding on the external walls, we have to dig trenches for electric cables, water pipes, drainage and sewage. There is a septic tank and Puraflo system to dig in; a rainwater collection system (including 3 x 10,000 litre tanks) and a grey water collection system to set up; an air-source heat pump and mechanical heat recovery system to install; there is landscaping to do.

It feels a daunting prospect, especially as there is another deadline, from the Croft House Grants people, of completion (including signing off by building regulations) by the end of June. There is also our impatience. Since November 1st we have had the luxury of living in the holiday cottage next door – proper showers, full-size bath, central heating, no mould and plenty of space. We have expanded to fill that space and it is hard to imagine how we are going to fold and squeeze ourselves back into the caravan at the beginning of April when the holiday letting season begins again. The children, now 11 and 13, keep on growing and I am not even sure that they will still fit.