Hmmm…the week started very well indeed. I packed the car on Monday morning to depart at 6am and sometime between unlocking the car and getting ready to leave I lost the car keys. Never mind I thought…get on the road. I have a ‘never-previously-used’ spare set and will resolve the lost key issue when I return to Bristol.

The car started without a problem, but the battery in the key fob was clearly dead. Not a problem I thought. Aha…little did I know!

Did you know that if you unlock a car just using a key and not the fob it doesn’t disable the alarm, even if it starts the car? No? Nor me.

Did you know that a car alarm goes on and on and on…and on and on and includes constant flashing indicators and when you think it has died and it all goes quiet and you breathe a sigh of relief, it starts up again? And goes on and on and…..

Did you know that lorry drivers flash their lights and gesticulate in dozens of different ways to let you know they think you are an idiot for driving with flashing indicators? (Presumably they couldn’t hear the alarm). I reverted to just one return gesticulation after the 30th kind reference.

A thumbs up! Yes.

The alarm was so loud I had to drive with the windows open to save my hearing. 70 miles and it was f….ff….fff…..freezing.

To say my journey here was disruptive is an understatement. I drove to the nearest dealership shortly after I arrived and they sorted it for me, but I arrived with a stonking headache and shattered nerves.

But back to work. I have had the drill out again this time to reposition some of the shelves in the kitchen and utility cupboards. My measuring skills are getting better and I am confident that the shelves will stay where they have been positioned.

The original stone wall in the living room has been treated with a little PVA – it helps with the dust and gives it a nice sheen – and I have had the caulking gun out again along with the eggshell paint for touching up skirting, architrave and around the windows.

The filthy dirty windows and frames have been lovingly scrubbed – jeez they were dirty. They were cleaned, then cleaned again and, yes, cleaned again. I suspect it will take one more clean to make them look normal.

I have been traipsing around the property with various tools and liquids to assist me with removing paint, plaster and spider poo and the whole house has had a jolly good scrubbing. Top to tail, so to speak, and it does look bright and shiny unlike its owner who has definitely seen better days!

Now I just have the 5 pages of my “To Do” list to get through – and have barely started on it.

However, I came up with a solution to get through it quickly.

Tear it up and put it in the bin and enjoy a glass of wine!

That There Builder Girl is a genius!

Outside in…

Things are now moving at pace. We are still snagging but I suspect that will be going on for a few months yet as we work our way around the property. The big clean up is underway – ish – and the odd dab of paint is still being applied. Now the house is warmed up we have to assess all the wood again to see where it may have moved and deal with it accordingly.

My to-do list is 5 pages of A4! It just never stops…and I have been at it for nearly 15 months with just 6 weeks down time due to Covid.

Neil and Andy returned to work on the garden. Is there no end to their talents!

It is a small courtyard garden and there is a limit to what we can do but I think the job so far is terrific. Looks clean and tidy. I can imagine a long cool drink being consumed soaking up the afternoon sun! Still needs finishing… still some painting to be done by me and the addition of plant pots, some fancy lighting, a few ornaments and furniture and all should be good.

With Christmas looming I hope to take some time out from renovations and get to thinking about pressies for the family and my besties, otherwise they will get …well, nothing! Not even a Xmas card this year as I have instead donated to Changes Bristol – a mental health charity, for which I used to be a Trustee. I miss working with them.

The previous tenants paid a visit this week. Also known as my sister and mother, who lived here for 10 years when it was a pub. First time they have seen it finished – ish. Neil and I stood to attention in the hallway whilst my mother looked around and – phew – we passed inspection.

Thanks be….

Still at it…

It’s been a week of go, stop, go, stop. Energy levels are low. Back hurts and my to-do list is ridiculously long.

I am a bit overwhelmed by how much cleaning there is to do. All the window frames are caked in….well, to be honest I am not sure what it is. The original frames seem to be encased with a mix of old plaster, glue, paint and…I don’t know what. Possibly spider poo?

The new windows have a lick of paint here and there on the frames from my inaccurate painting efforts. The glass too. Some of the many wooden beams have splashes of paint and new plaster! The newly installed LVT floors have spots of glue, paint, grit and dirt as do the tiled floors.

The bathrooms all need their first full clean following installation weeks ago.

Everywhere has a fine film of dust from the past few months effort with various saws, sanders and other destructive tools.

The fact that I have started the cleaning-up process means this project is almost done – inside at least. The snagging list needs attention – mainly painting and caulking again! Then undoubtedly I shall have to clean again.

Outside is another tale.

There is still painting to be done, but I have turned soft as a result of the house having heating. Every time I go outside with the intent of starting the job, I rush back in muttering to myself “not warm enough, not warm enough”. What happened to that girl that spent last December living in a caravan and working in a house full of holes and without a roof?

Neil and Andy are back for a few days whilst we aim to turn the courtyard garden into something worth looking at. I purchased sleepers, and paving quite some time ago. The recent acquisition of another bag of sharp sand and numerous bags of decorative aggregate and a little ‘turf’ means we should be able to get a fair bit done this week. It is a relatively small area considering the size of the house, but I am sure we can make it look lovely. It will be a pot garden and entertainment space rather than lawns and flowering borders!

The good news is….drum roll please….we have planning permission for the parking bays. No news at all on the new house planning application, but we are happy to at least get the parking finalised for the King William.

So we will may start work on that in January. Yay! I love working a building site in the winter!!

At least things are moving again. Almost 6 months from when the application was submitted ! Hmm.

It’s been a week of shopping too. A new fridge freezer and washing machine arrived.

I forgot my sleepwear so had to purchase a set of pyjamas. An absolute necessity as the house has no window coverings and it’s imperative that the neighbours aren’t further upset by my naked night time disco dancing!

Somehow I managed to puncture my inflatable mattress so a visit to The Range to purchase another one. Thank goodness they are only £9.99!! Honestly, the box states that it takes up to 300kg in weight. I know I am a little heavier than I should be but I think I would have noticed if I had reached 300kg. I can absolutely reassure you that I have not been using it as a trampoline, spring board or dance floor!

It does come with a puncture kit of sorts, but I have been wholly unsuccessful at finding the holes in this one or the previous two, for that matter! A job for my nieces and nephews when they come to visit or they too will be sleeping on the floor!

Am going to sneak home early today (Friday) and leave Neil and Andy in charge. I shall re-boot my enthusiasm in readiness for next week when I will be doing…

…the same again!