I’ve been a fan of www.houzz.com for a while – a website with ideas and recommendations (and lots of photos) for people building, renovating and decorating their house. It’s US-based but has always had some UK-oriented content.

Now there’s a dedicated UK site at www.houzz.co.uk which has much of the same content but which lists products from UK suppliers and UK design professionals.

A lot of the content is rather “high end” but it’s good for deciding what you like, and what you don’t.

Arnold Brooke, 1924 – 2014

My Dad died in the early hours of Sunday 2nd March, aged 89. He had been suffering from heart failure for several years and we knew he wasn’t going to last much longer, but it’s always difficult when someone you love is taken from you, no matter how much you think you might have prepared yourself for it.

Dad lived a long and productive life, growing up in the Upper Calder Valley in West Yorkshire before moving to Birmingham in 1958. He was 14 when World War II started and had a tough time gaining his mechanical engineering qualifications at night school after working in a machine shop during the day. He stuck with it and as a result gave me, my brother and my sister a much better and easier start in life than he had himself.

I take after him in lots of ways. In so many of the practical things I do I can look back and think: Dad taught me how to do that. He always wanted me to have his extensive collection of engineering tools when he died – we’d be working on a project together and he’d say “one day, son, all of this will be yours”. Now that day has arrived, and the workshop I’m building will provide a fitting home for them.

The funeral is on Monday 24th March. His memory lives on in our hearts.