The International Steam Pages

The 33 Steps, Mitcheldean 2010

For convenience I have now grouped illustrated features by topic:

For our first look at the countryside around us, you can read about the Monmouth Kings Wood Circle.

Our small bungalow in Mitcheldean is number 33 and whoever erected it got the number of steps up to it right.

Living in such a place in my former UK existence could never have happened but until my knees give out, it'll keep both of us fit. I don't think we'll get too many doorstep salesmen and the local postman will think twice before coming up to deliver only junk mail. Certainly, the three guys who delivered our sea freight lost a lot of weight, especially when you consider that I have a significant collection of locomotive brassware from Asia and Africa. Actually, it's no worse than going upstairs two or three times in the average semi-detached and the consequence is that we have a wonderful view out over the top of the rest of the village from our front room. The excitement of moving into a new place must have been too much as we woke up around 05.00, but this is the sight we were greeted with - I suspect they don't get too many dawns as good as this in the Forest of Dean.

The 'grass' doesn't bear close inspection after a summer of near neglect, it's a mixture of hay, moss and weeds, it will be years (if ever) before we get it under control. All I can predict is that Yuehong will fill much of the more level parts with roses. The back garden, as the estate agents would say, is full of potential, as these early morning pictures show:

Looking in the opposite direction, while the view is quite nice, it cannot disguise the fact that there is a lot of work to be done. They were taken on a cloudy day - as explained below, we have a 'Leylandii situation' on our south side which means the whole garden only gets full afternoon sun in high summer.

It's a bit late in the season to begin guessing what the shrubs are but the one behind Yuehong's Jiaojiehe lanterns is unmistakable.

Our northerly neighbours have a neat and tidy garden which is almost invisible from ours, thanks to some ghastly Leylandiai, alas to the south the conditions are a disaster. If there is a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow, then it's the fact that our lady neighbour is trying to sell it although who would want to take on this jungle is anyone's guess! I would happily sort it for free if the Leylandii were to come down as part of the deal.

The inside of the bungalow is a bit of a curate's egg at the moment, while Yuehong is relaxing surrounded by familiar souvenirs, the curtains are yet to go up and next door there is a huge pile of boxes in what is destined to become my study.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson