Happy at work…

In August 2019 I nipped to the shops and purchased some ‘work’ clothes for this project. Five t-shirts (short sleeved), 5 t-shirts (long sleeved), 2 hoodies, 2 pr jeans and a pair of steel capped work boots. Very inexpensive, (eventually) throw-away clobber, and not at all (a) fashionable, (b) colour co-ordinated or (c) flattering. Very much like my normal wardrobe…some would say!!

I knew I would be wearing these items week in, week out for 6 to 9 months (26 to 39 weeks) in some unsavoury conditions and I did not want to worry about rips, spillages and stains. They had to be easy to wear and easier still to wash on a weekly basis without falling apart.

In what is week 64 of this project I wanted to throw the clothes off and set fire to them! But alas I was in the OneStop Shop buying a pint of milk and my nudity would have caused a tremulous moment with the youth who was serving me so I remained attired!

I am not a clothes horse by any imagination but neither am I a degenerate, rum-soaked, addled. bag lady. But I look like one and this week, I feel like one – and without the benefit of alcohol. No offence to any bag ladies out there. Or bag men for that matter!

That is testament to my state of mind. I am so pleased to be at the stage we have reached but utterly fed up with the fact that we are neither finished, nor able to finish whilst I await for South Somerset planning department to pull its finger out of …..well, you know the saying.

But I still have work to do…so have to stop feeling sorry for myself and get on with it.

I have been caulking again – window boards mainly, along with the occasional architrave. Painting again – architrave and skirting, but I have also finished the final coat for the Snug and the main hallway. Hurrah!

The painting (inside) will definitely be finished next week – even the snagging painting. We started painting 19 weeks ago. Honestly! My brother was here for the first couple of weeks but since then the painting has been just me – in between the tiling and other jobs. It’s a big frigging property to paint – and it takes time to do it properly.

19 weeks! If any visitor says I missed a bit, they will be wearing the paint!

So, mostly odd jobs now. Fitting some skirting in the main bathroom; some corner trim in the cloakroom, pva on the brick wall in the lounge, then oiling the staircase, etc.

Then I will have a massive clean up job.

If that takes me 19 weeks I am going to give myself the sack!

Psssst….a sound much loved.

I am writing this sitting upstairs in one of the bedrooms as the electrician and plumber forge ahead to get the second fix complete.

I can already hear the slow hiss of radiators being bled… if it’s not them, then Courtney the plumber has some serious wind issues.

Then the underfloor heating system downstairs will be filled and balanced in readiness for a fully operational whizz bang wallop of an oil boiler.

By the way, I do know if the boiler does whizz bang wallop then we will be in the deepest of trouble.

Steve the electrician is working on outdoor lights, bathroom sockets, thermostats, dishwasher, wine fridge (yes!), cooker hood and wiring up the underfloor heating system and boiler.

Apparently electricians don’t find it at all funny if you sneak up behind him and make a loud bang.

Just saying…but still giggling!

My jobs have stopped for a while as I seem to constantly be in the way. Also, there is still dust and detritus flying around and any wet paint would simply suck it up, requiring me to start that patch of painting all over again.

So I thought I would give myself a manicure and facial and take a well earned rest lounging in my bedroom listening to the mellow sounds of my playlist whilst I am being served cups of coffee and sweet treats by…..

Sorry…drifted off then.

So I am in my bedroom, on the computer trying to make columns and columns and columns of numbers add up to what I want – and not what they actually add up to. I am also piling through the bank statements and invoices for the owner-managed flats in which I normally live in Bristol as it is time to submit our annual return. A job I do because I have loads of spare time!!

My hope is at the end of this day, I will have full blown proper job heating upstairs, downstairs; in the bedrooms, bathrooms, lounge, kitchen and so on. Warm, cuddly heat, run off an abundance of thermostats giving control room by room. Heat which has been much missed this last month in particular.

Tonight, after a hot soak in a candlit, music soaked bathroom I shall wander barefoot, wine in hand and….

Sorry, drifted again…

When tomorrow arrives, I will be back on the sanding and painting tools and Neil will return on Friday with his toolbox of tricks and we will continue with the long snagging list.

But until then, my warmed up heart will be happy.

Sweet dreams…

Let there be…

Light!

Yes…and power sockets.

Steve the electrician arrived mid-week, with a workmate, to sort out the main consumer board sited in the Utility Room, and to fit the light and power sockets.

This electric stuff is a wondrous thing! The timing is perfect as the dark mornings and dark afternoons are now lit up by the flick of a switch.

I know! I know! I can sense your excitement for me.

Every time I needed light in the project during the last year I had to follow a trail of extension cables, unplug and then physically pick up and move a site light. Upstairs, downstairs. Into and out of different rooms. Sometimes it wasn’t worth the effort – so I have spent most of my time undertaking my ablutions in the dark or by torchlight. Now all I have to do is flick a switch.

Oh, glory, glory. Crazy times for this modern girl.

There wasn’t time this week to sort out the remaining electrics. Boiler electrics, underfloor heating, thermostats and numerous items in the kitchen will get done next week.

And that will mean heating. I am super excited at the prospect as it is now getting particularly wintry and the house has had no heating at all since August 2019. It’s not really a problem during the day. I am so busy that I am still working in a double layer of t-shirts but it does get chilly at night and although I have lots of blankets and duvets and unbelievably sexy pyjamas and socks, it would be a nice thing not to have to climb into bed at 6pm just because it’s so cold.

It’s also very cold when I get up around 630am. I can now get up and dressed in record time. In my head I look a dream, but there are no mirrors in the house so I cannot see what I look like. I did open the door to an early delivery on Tuesday morning and the driver looked startled. I am not sure whether it was because I still had paint in my hair and face and hands and clothes and boots or because the early morning sun was reflecting my luminescent skin and startling blue eyes!

Earlier in the week, Neil returned to finish off some of the carpentry work and more caulking. I spent the week tiling and painting, but I am pleased to say that all of the tiling is now complete. Well, I say that but I have yet to decide whether the backsplash in Kitchen and Utility is going to be tiles. But the complex tiling is all done.

I am so relieved and pleased.

I still have a fair bit of painting to do. Neil will be returning to finalise fitting the kitchen cabinets to the walls once the electrics are done, and then we need to try and sort out the courtyard garden which has been used as a dump during this project. Then the parking, which also means pulling down a stone shed. There are also a few things to fix and some decisions to be made about steps into the house but it’s all coming together now.

I think I have said that before.

I do mean it this time…

I mean it this time…

All good and well…

My renovation life is full of ups and downs. Now a lot more ups than downs as we near to the conclusion of this project.

Neil was back for another day at the beginning of the week as both he and I raced to get things in place for Courtney the plumber to return for second fix. Neil finished all his target jobs. You may be surprised to hear that I did not.

Tiling the downstairs loo – the cloakroom / dog cleaning / child washing / sort of ‘wet room’ has been a challenge. Had I known how long it was going to take me tile and grout floor to ceiling across three walls I may have just invested in a bucket and made the room into a bog standard loo. Pun intended.

Even Neil quipped about the amount of time it is taking me. Most tilers get paid £ / m² so need to get a move on to get a decent days wages. I calculated I would be living on £4.55 a day at the rate I do the tiling!! Room for improvement me thinks.

I thought it would be easy. White metro tiles with black grouting. Lovely design idea.

What a….ugh…plonker. Black grout is so difficult to deal with. It stains too. My monkey hands now have black grout deep-rooted in the nails.

I did manage to finish two walls completely and Courtney has fitted the shower, basin, etc, but we can’t test the shower as the third wall and floor are as yet without grout.

Guess what I am doing next week?

But we are moving forward. The kitchen and utility are plumbed. The bathrooms are all fitted, plumbed and working (cold water only) and the boiler is ready to be fired up.

BUT not yet. I was hoping that Steve the electrician would be here too, but not this week. Maybe next. Downstairs needs a full second fix. Lights, sockets, thermostats, consumer board and fitting of the range cooker, hood, dishwasher, wine fridge (yes!!) and whatever else requires a power supply – but especially the boiler.

Only when he has done his work can we finish fitting the kitchen.

I had the delight of a visit from family members. Four little cherubs who came to help me with the renovation. They didn’t seem fazed by my paint splattered, ripped attire nor the fact my hands, arms and face were covered in black grout and white paint. I still received dozens of cuddles. Ahhh😍

Neil returned again at the end of the week to finish the skirting (requires painting), the architrave (requires painting), caulking these and the window boards (require painting) and a load of other odd jobs whilst I took a day off in Bristol to deposit my much-needed blood for the NHS. The least I can do.

I am hopeful that most of this (internal) work will be done within a month or so. But that doesn’t mean I get sign off. South Somerset planning authorities have been failing in their duties and we are currently more than 10 weeks past decision day on moving our parking spaces from the right side of a carpark to the left side of a carpark. No contact from them…at all. None.

I have had to resort to write to my local councillor. The council have already started charging me council tax for a residential property but I am not allowed to live in it because building regs cannot sign off the work until the parking is sorted. I cannot sort the parking because planning have gone AWOL up until yesterday. I am not going to go on about it – believe me I could – but I will say they are absolutely, totally, incredibly (swear, swear, swear) incompetent.

So…got that off my chest.

Next week?

We shall have light.

Unless of course Boris tells me I am not allowed to go to work.