Est. 12 October 2017
In October 2017 we had a Medium Garden Lodge installed by Garden Exteriors.
Garden Exteriors is the UK's original supplier of Authentic Arctic Structures. They make incredibly high quality products and provide excellent customer service, throughout the entire process
This monthly blog will show what life is like with a Garden Lodge, throughout the seasons
Each of the seats in the hut are covered with reindeer skins - to get the back story on their lives, click below to check out The Reindeer Diaries
The Reindeer Diaries
The story of a Reindeer and his Friends
After a few sociable drinks sat around the fire we started to make up stories for the history
of each reindeer…….
Bruce liked to party. Bruce was the clown of the herd and was always pulling
pranks on the stags and frightening the does. Bruce was big, macho and loved to run in
the forest and hills. He was incredibly good at sports and his parents were extremely proud
of his many medals and trophies. Yes he liked the girls, what stag in his right mind
doesn't? He liked to organise stag nights out in the valley and drink birch sap whenever he
had the chance. It was the drink that stopped him getting the sports scholarship he wanted
to get into college. But he didn't let it get to him and was always the life and soul of the
herd. He got into sledge racing and plans to breed sled huskies in the future. He's coached
the local team for the last five years, but is yet to see a win. He attends the monthly races
and more often than not places whatever money he hasn't drunk on his favourite team.
This has meant he's received one or two visits from the Bears collecting what they're
Born in 1872, Leopold can trace his lineage back to the Tzar of Russia. He was
commander of the Royal Reindeer troops for 30 years until an old battle injury caused him
to hang up his battle harness. Now he lives in a quiet estate in the countryside and
manages the stables for a noble family. None of the young reindeer show the respect he
has always been used to and his war stories are just stories to them; he doesn’t think they
realise the importance of loyalty and dedication to create a sense of self-worth. The battles
he has seen, the men he has trampled down, the French, the Ottomans, good lord the
Ottomans. Leopold is proud, Leopold is fearless and has done his duty for his country. His
royal bloodline and ancestors would be proud of what he has done and how he has served
with dignity. His only regret is that the bloodline stops with him, a choice he had to make
for Tzar and country.
Dwayne a.k.a Rudolph
Dwayne was brought up in a small forest on the outskirts of a
really rough neighbourhood. When he was young his mother warned him not to get
involved with the young stags that played on the shady side of the valley. But Dwayne was
curious, and like many young stags of his age, he went against his mother’s wishes. It
wasn’t long before he was running with the wrong crowd. At his initiation he was given the
street name Rudolph. Soon he was heavily involved in drug smuggling for the gang (they
had the best quality high strength lichen around, see picture below). After a deal turned
bad he turned to catnip to hide from his problems, it was snorting catnip that gave him his
distinctive red nose. As Rudolph he was somebody else, his mother couldn't tell him what
to do, neither could his older brother. As Rudolph he could eventually take revenge on the
stag that had taken his father away from him. In a dominance fight that turned bad,
Dwayne's father was mortally wounded. He had never forgiven his brother or mother for
not taking action as he would have done had he been older and bigger. Rudolph wanted
justice through whatever means necessary, and this was the world that would enable him
to get what he wished for most.
From a young age, Clive realised he wasn’t the same as the other young stags. All
of the others would act all macho fighting each other, showing off and turn into drooling
snorting idiots when the does were in heat. All Clive wanted to do was hang around with
his best friend Sebastian. Sebastian wasn't like the others, he too wasn't that interested in
how Brittany or Shantel were chewing the grass and twitching their tails. Clive and
Sebastian would wander off and play tricks on each other and sometimes play dare. It was
during one of these dares that Clive began to realise something, Sebastian really was
more than a best friend, this was more than friendship. It was whilst Sebastian was
attempting to climb an apple tree when Clive noticed how particularly long and muscular
his hind legs were. Clive told Sebastian how he felt, Sebastian was initially shocked to
hear that Clive wanted to be more than just friends. After a long talk they decided to run off
together and join the amateur dramatics herd and spent the rest of their lives happily
performing Christmas pantos and Hans Christian Anderson plays.
There is always that one stag in the herd that every girl wants to be with.
Horacio was one of these stags. The shy, silent and brooding type, Horacio spent most of
his young adult life on the edge of the herd watching over the rest of them. As his father
was the alpha male he felt it was his responsibility to help out and keep everyone in line.
But this meant he was completely misunderstood by all the others in the herd. The guys
didn’t respect him, they thought he was a goody two shoes, a real daddies boy. The girls
would gather in groups and giggle and swoon, but none of them were brave enough to
approach him. Horacio just wanted to be loved. He wasn’t as aloof as he appeared; in fact
it was the fear of rejection by the herd that kept him distant. There was nothing he wanted
more than for Christina to see the real Horacio and set up a happy family together.
Month 1 - October 2017
The day of the build and the guys turned up bang on time, I was surprised when they told me it was all in the van. I couldn’t believe that they could fit the medium cabin and extension in the back; they must be great at origami.
Within minutes the base frame was set out and I was asked to confirm if I wanted to adjust the position on the foundation. In no time after agreeing the frame position the first walls went up; I think I spent the next few hours just smiling at the thought that a year of planning and building was finally coming to an end. It’s hard to put into words how great the guys were and how quickly it took shape through the day.
The finished cabin, what a beauty it is. After only having the slab to look at for the last few months it was a real pleasure to see the completed build, when the wife came home from work she was speechless (an unexpected bargain!).
It sits so well in its spot and can’t wait until the garden matures around it. We saw this one year ago at the Malvern show and it was fantastic, but now seeing it my garden it far exceeds my expectations.
Great to have the neighbours round for the first drinks, they were so impressed with the quality of the cabin and build. Needless to say we had a quick fire and too many bottles of Prosecco.
26 years together, what could be better than sitting in the cabin with a nice fire listening to storm Ophelia raging outside. Add to that a couple of cheeky Penderyn whiskeys and bottle of Gluhwein warming in the kettle over the fire and it makes it perfect. What a great way to celebrate 26 years.
Think we have got the hang of this fire thing!, good job we have the extension to sit in and cool down a bit. On the plus side it didn’t take long for the kettle to boil
Well that is almost a month with the cabin and I can honestly say I could not be more pleased, I now have so many friends at work who are after an invite so the pressure is on to get the patio in.
Month 2 - November 2017
Worst day ever! Took my favourite shoes to be re-soled (only had them for 10 years and worn every
day for work). The cobbler said these are beyond repair and performed the last rites and deposited
them in the bin.
So how do you console someone in this situation? The simple answer, go off grid and spend the
whole day in the cabin having a picnic with the cats (note to self the cats will mug you for sausage
rolls and tapas).
Tried out many different types of fuels for the fire and found they each have their benefits….
Smokeless coals perfect for toasting when glowing red and providing a constant heatSeasoned hardwood great for the crackle, flame, smell and heat that varies as it burnsSmokeless ‘crackle logs’ perfect for easy lighting and getting immediate heat in the cabinHeat logs great for flame and heating things up if needed immediately
Yet another great Friday night, freezing outside and toasty inside. Largest gathering so far with 9 of
us having a few beers and just chatting and laughing; created a nice, cosy atmosphere. Some of us
kept going until 0230!. This bodes well for the planned new years celebrations.
However don’t let kids play with keys, especially if they are 24!
We now have power, not only does this make the cabin look great at night but they are remote
controlled so we can adapt lighting to the type of party we are having. Can’t wait to get final bits of
building completed so we can start on the landscaping and planting.
Finally tried cooking on the fire, wow it makes the best jacket spuds ever. They are crisp on the
outside and soft and fluffy inside, perfect with a pan of slow cooked goulash.
A talented friend made this based on a rough sketch I made, absolutely superb, when the food or
gluhwein is ready give it a good ring and the people come running (Pavlovs dogs!). Also made a brilliant pokey stick
Finally got around to getting a set of bellows, best thing ever…no more smokey eyes and sparks in
the face from puffing too hard.
Roll on December - lets hope we get some snow!
Month 3 - December 2017
Now this is what we have been waiting for…..hoorah for bad weather and snow, the cabin looks
fantastic in its natural environment.
Nice little watercolour, we intend to do quite a few pictures like this and create and album for guests
to look at when they visit.
Really great start to the month when I took delivery of an accessory pack from Garden Exteriors, as
you can see from the pictures it is high quality, some of it is a bit quirky but perfectly complements
the cabin; can’t wait to use it at Xmas with friends and family.
Lovely little book with a wooden cover, Janet reused a Xmas card to create a brilliant front cover.
And fantastic wooden plates and knives (very sharp) & forks, these will be brilliant for steaks.
These are great little mugs and are perfect for a wee tipple to warm the blood on a cold night.
No excuses for a late night anymore, it’s great to sit with the fire roaring and listen to the gentle tick
of the clock. So relaxing!.
This has created its own challenge…how quickly can we get it up to 20 degrees. During early December snow it was -1 outside 9 inside and 20 within about 45 mins.
How brilliant is this? an old retro mobile but really useful.
Can’t believe how well these are carved, almost don’t want to use them as they are so nice to look at. They have a great feel and are beautifully crafted.
Was blown away with this, at first couldn’t work out if it was just an ornament but a little investigation found a perfect container for the cabin. Think these binoculars will definitely not help our vision, they have now been renamed Jack and Gin.
Apparently powdered reindeer horn is the Scandinavian Viagra, who knew. Best keep this under wraps for New Year’s Eve!.
As soon as we decided to buy the cabin we had one goal in mind….Xmas breakfast in the cabin toasting crumpets. GOAL ACHIEVED NUM NUM. Me and the boy living the dream, hot toasted crumpets with lashings of butter and Gluhwein.
That is a happy face 6 crumpets down
The first ever crumpet for Thailand, welcome to our great sister in law Surat and hubby Matt.
As it is Xmas roasted chestnuts are a must, probably 50 years since I last roasted any and forgot just how hot they got! Glad for the Stovax log burner gloves that we needed to handle them.
Kids opening presents on Xmas morning this is the second goal achieved.
Now let's get the party started
After many happy days and nights of use we are over the ‘its still new’ and don’t worry about the odd spark that jumps out or footprints on the floor. Now we are in the let's get the fire going, it's great to get a good size fire to ward off the new year chill and gale force winds.
Happy new year from da fam, too much Prosecco!
Month 4 - January 2018
Well after all of the excesses of Xmas January was a fairly quiet month due to a bad case of flu (thank you Australia, Japan or Spain for the mutated strain!).
January started well with a very cold visit to the Brecon waterfalls, it was a brilliant cold and sunny day perfect for a family walk and picnic. It was -2C in the car park and dropped to -5C in the valley floor.
Saw this weird fungus that grow on rotten wood and looks like snow or feathers
Some great wild life around saw loads of dippers, finches, robins and tree creepers.
In the summer kids jump of this waterfall, no one brave enough to do it today.
Great place for a picnic, however we were surprised when a guy turned up wearing a dressing gown!
Turned out to be a great guy who is a model, wouldn’t fancy applying baby oil in -5C though.
After a full day out there was nothing better than getting into the hut to warm up and have a Glühwein, that little kettle has earned its keep many times over and is the perfect size for a full bottle.
Late on in January the ladies from school popped over for post Xmas drinks, needless to say I kept well out of the way. I think it is safe to day the girls had a great night, not sure if the next morning was so good!.
One funny thing we have noticed is that once the fire is going most people start talking about their childhood and when grandparents had real fires or they were camping, its fantastic how the feel of natural heat and the smell of burning wood can stir up old memories.
One of the ladies loves writing poems and wrote this one on the spot in our guest book which is filling up nicely!
Month 5 - February 2018
Well its official Garden Exteriors cabins can survive earth quakes. Although a relatively small quake it made the house shake the cabin and contents were perfectly intact.
Got some more big boys toys. Been looking for longer and bigger tongs to be able to move big logs, these are perfect and have that brilliant hand crafted look and feel. The amazing thing is that even though it is big it had the ability to pick and move small briquettes; bit like using chopsticks once you have got the hang of it it becomes easy.
Happy valentines, time for a cheeky drink on a school night!
Been a great month for new people popping in to check out the hut and to be able to relive childhood memories of toasting crumpets.
Some more great additions to the hut from friends in Guatemala, a hand painted clock, key rack and a bird painted on a feather of that bird.
Found two of these footrests that are perfect as back rests so you can really chill out, £4 each compared to the £30 for foam back rests absolute bargain.
Perfect end to the month….snow day so got to work from home in the hut, best office ever.
Not saying it was chilly but thermometer said 4.6 degrees and I only realised it was -4.6 when I checked after the fire was going and it said 1.4 degrees. Didn’t take long to get up to 17 and get the kettle boiling.
Month 6 - March 2018
Well looks like March is carrying on where February left off. Those icicles are getting longer, but I’m sure a fire tonight will sort them out. Its great watching them get longer as the heat on the roof melts the snow.
Its been colder than this -0.7, worst case so far was -4.7 but I forgot to record it!.
Snow is the perfect back drop for the hut
Now the weather is picking up its time to get the landscaping back on track.
Pond is in and planted up , seating areas in, plants in and now onto the facing bricks to make it all look good and tie in with the hut base.
Perfect Sunday, the girls are indoors doing girlie things (which involves DVD, chocolate and wine) which means I get the hut to myself for the whole day. Loads of tea, good music and a jar of peanut butter num num.
Family all back together for weekend so time for pizza
Month 7 - April 2018
Well what a change one month can make; March was rain and snow and April gave us some glorious sunshine and some inclement weather. After coming home from a rather blustery weekend in Snowdonia, it was back to building in the garden.
Lovely sea view in Aberaeron
Well the area is called snowed on.
Having only used the hut to be inside outside and keeping warm, it was nice to have a sunny day moving to a chilly evening and having a small fire…….yeah that lasted about 2 beers and 10 minutes.
As the hut temperature reached 26 deg C someone (Alex) had a bright idea ‘lets see how hot we can get it’… what could possibly go wrong?
Needless to say this is now known as a stupid hot test!
Thinking this was a bad idea
Thinking my beer is evaporating
Thinking I’ve had enough, even Wallace thought it was toasty.
Time for fresh air
Even cat thought it was too hot and needed a drink although Charlie bailed at 32 deg C
His brother Archie isn’t that stupid and spent time in the flowering cherry bonsai secretly having a chuckle at us.
Needless to say we all hope that was a one off event never to be repeated.
On the more sensible side it is great enjoying the late evening sun as it sets and shines in through the door and warms the hut, can’t wait to get to BBQ season and summer visitors.
Month 8 - May 2018
Now the weather is picking up its time to get the build started again. Some before and after photos which show the progress over a year. The new patio is fantastic soaks up the heat during the day and releases at night, perfect for a late evening beer and watching the sunset over the hills.
Even the cats like the residual heat (black cat black slates very toasty), although fluffy likes it a bit cooler in the hut.
Flower bed walls going in and the outdoor kitchen at the back is taking shape.
Some good friends visiting for a weekend of chatting, eating and the odd tipple or two.
This is how you look when you feel fabulous after your first coffee on the west patio.
Month 9 - June 2018
Well not much happening hut wise this month as it has been way too hot, some days even the cats refused to go into the shade when it reached 35C with doors and windows open.
We finally got my folks down for a visit, they had seen some huts in the usual DIY outlets and expected ours to be little more than a shed. They could not believe how well built it is and the fact that it does not creak or flex when you walk on it. I think they may be looking to buy one soon!
Had this on my FB memories, seems so long ago when we were marking out for the footings and concrete base, what a difference a year makes.
We now have a hammock in the garden which is the perfect place to chill on a warm summers day.
As it is a short month I thought why not add a picture of our fluffy cat looking majestic on the wall.
Month 10 - July 2018
Yet another month with not much hut action! We must have been the only people looking forward to the wet and windy weather at the end of the month.
Even though we only managed to use it for the very wet Sunday we had two new exiting additions.
Firstly some shelves provided by the good people at Garden Exteriors, such a simple idea and design but will be perfect for drinks when the fire is going so it will stop the glass from getting too warm. These are really easy to install, just a couple of screws and a spirit level. Think over time these will prove to be very handy when we have visitors.
And the second addition….
I have never played any instrument and only managed the triangle at school, thought I’d give this a try. Its seems to be the perfect thing to play in a hut, although I think the neighbours may be a little concerned when they hear it on a dark night (remember the film Deliverance)
Month 11 - August 2018
Well after a few quiet months in the hut we had a real humdinger thanks to the visit of some real party animals and some appalling weather.
So who are the new cast? It’s a big welcome to the Freemans from Brum; mum Laura and twins Emma and Katherine and our truly international half Hungarian, half Canadian half English party animal Ben.
Quiet night on Friday nice and sensible with a few cheeky beers and pizza, great to catch up with everyone. The last time they were here the garden was just mud and holes for footings so they saw a big difference.
Even though it was a quiet night it proved too much for some.
Cue mum Laura and the twins, not much of a family resemblance!.
Although the twins haven’t been used to real fire they turned out to be real pyromaniacs with a penchant for wooden puzzles. Bellows and fire Jenga.
And then Emily joined the party with a bag of stuff for making cocktails…what could possibly go wrong?.
Not sure who decided we should play drinking games but it took around 30 mins just to work out the rules.
Even though they now had rules there was a load of confusion and strange faces on display.
And then the boys started winning even though its 6 Vs 2
After far too many ciders and cocktails had been consumed it appears it time for photos, oh dear
Then it seemed a good idea to see how much the welders gloves protected you (not recommended for everyone)
The surprising thing was just how much we got through especially as most of the cans we recycled on the fire. The other surprise was that everyone as ok in the morning!.