Diary: 2015 February PART 11.

18th Feb

7pm Today has been very busy. This morning I fired up the old wood stove in the kitchen and made us the closest I could manage to a full english breakfast. After I wrote last night I decided to make some bread, I left the dough to prove overnight so we had fresh bread for breakfast for the first time in a couple of weeks. I made (powdered) scrambled egg, baked beans, tinned sausage, fried spam and tinned tomato. Everyone woke up to the smell of breakfast and a pot of coffee brewing on the stove. We were glad of a hot meal, it’s absolutely freezing!

After breakfast we all had a good explore of our new home. We boxed up the personal things of the couple who’d lived here before. We put all their photos, clothes, jewelery etc into the attic along with their paperwork, bills and things that we found. We discovered a cellar that we’d missed yesterday which was full of boxed up crap, we’ll go through the boxes properly another day but it seems to be just the junk we all seem to hoard, the remnants of their life. We also found a gun cabinet down there but we haven’t come across the keys yet. If we don’t find them tomorrow we’ll try to bust it open.

I made us rice, tinned veg and tinned chicken curry for dinner. I managed to make some passable chapattis to go with it and it was just what we needed. We spent the afternoon looking around the outhouses immediately around the farmhouse. We found lots of straw, a huge coal shed filled three quarters full and a big pile of logs, plenty to see us through the last of the winter. There is a well stocked tool shed which I think Rob has fallen in love with, I swear his eyes lit up. We’ve put most of the useful tools and things into 3 big plastic boxes and brought them into the house, down in the cellar. Don’t want them being stolen. We tried to make the doors a little more secure on the outbuildings which was hard as we still need to get in ourselves. We ended up nailing pieces of 2×2 we found in the shed onto the length of the door on the handle end so it’s attached to the door and the frame. It won’t stop someone who really wants to get in, but it will let us know someone is in there or at least has been.

We filled every container we have with water and have stored some in the cellar, the rest is in each room. Tomorrow we need to do some work on the guttering to give us a supply of rain water into the bathroom. If we can manage to keep a full bucket of water in there we should be able to use the toilet, until then we’re using buckets. Ashley volunteered to dig a toilet hole out back. I’m a bit worried about him. He’s so quiet today. I’ll try to talk to him later.

We had the leftover rice for tea and then jam baps for pudding. Bread is such a luxury now. I have a fair bit of flour and yeast and it’ll probably be enough for bread and cakes, every day for the 5 of us, for a good few months, but after that? Unless we grow some wheat this could be the last year of bread. Even if we do grow wheat it’ll take lots of work to mill it. I think I’ll ration us to one loaf and one batch of cakes a week. Pancakes and white sauces will have to be rationed too I suppose. Carys won’t like not having pancakes. Sugar is the other one… again I have enough to last us maybe 3 months if Rob and Ashley stop using it in coffee. Oh and coffee… I have a recipe for making a coffee substitute out of acorns in my file. I guess I should try it soon, we’ll run out in 2 weeks or maybe less. Anyway enough about food.

Carys and Seren are off to bed now. I haven’t dared light any fires for us today, we’re all cold but I don’t feel safe having a smoke signal from the chimney announcing our presence. I brought all our duvets and blankets and we’re all sleeping fully dressed. I might try a small fire in the living room tomorrow and see if the smoke attracts anything.

We’re all sleeping in the main bedroom again tonight. Warmth in numbers and definitely safety in numbers. We haven’t barricaded the windows yet so we’re hoping that being so secluded will be defense enough for now. I guess security should be our first job tomorrow.

19th Feb

3pm I wasn’t going to write until tonight because we had a lot of work to do today securing the house but we had a visit just now and I want to get it down while it’s fresh in my mind and while the coffee pot boils. We spent all morning putting boards across the windows, like slats so we still get some light but nobody can fit through the gaps. We’ve been using a hand drill we found and screwing the wood into the window frames so it should be pretty secure. It was going pretty well and we were almost done, just the kitchen windows left when we heard a car engine approaching. A Toyota 4×4 pulled up our long driveway, right up to the house. Inside was the farmer we met on the way here, along with his wife and the 3 boys I’d seen in the doorway of their home. He got out of the car and walked over to Ashley. He was unarmed and held out his hand to Ash. Ash shook his hand and asked if there was anything we could do. He said he’d come to apologise for his behaviour, that he was obviously wary of strangers. I walked over and was joined by Rob and the girls. He motioned to his wife and kids to come out of the car and they walked over to us. We all introduced ourselves. They are John and Mair Griffiths, their boys Bryn, Rhys and Dewi. The boys were close enough in age to Carys and Seren to want to play. I said they could go into the yard where we could see them and the five kids ran off. Mair looked very concerned. I told her that the outbuildings had been checked and secured, for anything to get to the kids it’d have to come past us. She relaxed a little and I asked them if they would like a cup of tea. John declined. He said he would give us no trouble as long as we stayed off his land. I said that I wouldn’t intentionally go on to his land but as all the fences look the same I couldn’t honestly promise. He said that was good enough for him. I suggested that they might like to bring the boys over to play at some point and said that I had brought schooling materials for the girls, their sons would be welcome to join lessons once we start. Mair said that sounded good but John didn’t look keen. He said there was lots of work on the farm and they wouldn’t have time for social visits. I asked if they had seen many zombies and he said there had been a few, more towards the bigger towns which makes sense.

He cut the visit short by saying they had to go. “Don’t bother us and we won’t bother you”.

This is fine with me, I’m not wasting our supplies on other people. I have no interest in building a community, we’re a family and we’re staying that way. Friends/allies nearby would be nice though.

Coffee is ready.

7.30pm I’ve lit a small fire in the big inglenook fireplace in the living room. We’ve hung heavy blankets over the windows to stop the light getting out. We’re all sleeping downstairs tonight to try to keep warm. The stove has the kitchen nice and toasty, it seems silly to try to heat upstairs aswell when downstairs is halfway warm already. You’d think the thick brick walls would keep the house warm, I guess the weeks it’s stood empty before we arrived got a good chill in the stones. It’s pretty heavy hail-stone tonight and really windy. Ash seems to have cheered up a bit. We had a little chat earlier. He’s missing his family and Paul. I’m missing mum and dad. I wish we knew where they were and if they’re ok.

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