Wednesday 30 September 2020

Cocktail cabinet update

 I have finished upcycling the cocktail cabinet and it isn't as bling as the one I saw on the Internet, although I have painted it with satin varnish rather than high gloss. That is good news though, as I am quite attached to it now.

Darren thinks that it would look better with dark grey door knobs, and I have sprayed the middle one to see, but I can't decide yet - although it's probably a no. 

The plan for it now is that the hat will be a white basin and the bottle behind it will be a tap, the blue bag will be a mini fridge,  and the bottles and glasses will be topped up. 

This is the current state of the driveway and I have made a little walkway of wobbly bits of wood to try to keep the mud out of the house. 

It's looking quite a state at the moment, but we have already had a small delivery of blocks and gravel, so I am hoping that it will improve soon. 

Monday 28 September 2020

Shut the door

 Darren has been very busy over the last few days and we now have a whole room with flooring, skirting, architraves and a door!

It all needs painting and finishing off, but it's great progress. 

I have been doing lots of little jobs - painting, filling, putting in the end pieces for the MVHR machine and gravelling the garden. Not sure if it is staying like this, but it is for the time being. 

We also took a big step forward today as we have sorted out the plan for the front driveway, and found a contractor to do the work for us. (We did have thoughts about doing it ourselves, but it's a very heavy job, with lots of scope for errors, so I think we have made the right decision.) 

Friday 25 September 2020

Water indoors

 Super exciting day today - the plumbers arrived. They worked really hard all day and plumbed in both bathrooms......

The underfloor heating.... 

Obviously, you can't see the heating, but this is where all of the pipes congregate. They also fitted a water softener and water filter under the kitchen sink. 

And the kitchen sink. The electrician also finished today, so the house is now fully functioning. 

A fantastic end to the week. 😀

Thursday 24 September 2020

We have lots of lights

 Today our electrician finished the lights on the first floor and we have an interesting selection of different styles.

This one, chosen by me, is in our bedroom. It came out of the box as a small spiky centre and lots of spirals, and Darren randomly screwed them in to place. His favourite is in the office, but unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it.

I spent the morning painting white walls, and then this afternoon I started renovating the bargain cocktail cabinet. The 88 year old dark varnish put up a good fight, but I have got the hang of removing it now, and it is showing a lot of promise.

Last job of the day was to get ready for the arrival of the plumber tomorrow. Unfortunately, I then cut my finger on a piece of tile and there was a bit of blood - some even dripping on to the floor.

I have stuck a plaster tightly over it have decided not to look at the damage until tomorrow. Darren very kindly told me to sit down with a big glass of cherry brandy, and I am feeling a lot better now. 

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Front garden

 Just before close of business yesterday the skip removal man expertly manoeuvred round the electrician's van and picked up our skip.

First thing this morning I collected the last of the gravel from a giant bag in the front garden and carried it round the back. 

For the first time in over a year the front drive and garden were completely clear and it looked really big. We spent a bit of time looking at it and discussing where the garden area should end, and I should have taken a photo at that very moment. 

Instead, I went shopping and had a fantastic time in Waitrose at Banbury buying loads of fancy food to put in our new fridge freezer. Darren is horrified, and he hasn't even seen the bill yet. I also visited the builders merchants and ordered three more tons of gravel for the back garden. 

They hoped to be able to bring them tomorrow, and I drove back to the plot, but I was only about 15 minutes ahead of the delivery lorry. So now my picture is a bit spoilt, but amazing service and I have already started moving it. 

There was also a huge delivery for Darren - 11 doors, 50 packs of wooden flooring, 100 metres of skirting, can't remember how much architrave and loads of underlay. 

It looks like we will both have a busy few days. 

Saturday 19 September 2020

Finished the little wall

 I have worked every day for about the last week on the little walls in the garden and I have finished it today.

I am very pleased with the shape, and it got more curvaceous as I grew in confidence with my bricklaying skills. It was nearly my undoing on the last sharp bend, as it is taller than the other sections and when I stood back and looked at it I could see that it was curving over vertically as well sideways. 

Darren said to just whack it really hard to straighten it up, but only the top two rows moved, although you can't tell now that the soil is behind it.

The size was determined by the number of bricks that I had left and we had to search the garden for any spares to finish it off. I have used every single white brick out of the 13,000 that were delivered, so my bricklaying career has now come to an end. I am quite disappointed as I was starting to enjoy it. 

I am a bit short of top soil too, so a couple of the plants are a bit precarious, but we will be ordering more when we start the front garden.

Friday 18 September 2020

Garage door

 At the beginning of June I ordered our garage door, and it had to come all the way from Germany. Three and a half months later it has arrived!

The reason we had to have this specific door is that it is an exact match (ral colour 7022) with the windows and cladding, and it is also has quite narrow slats that look similar to the wood.

Two very nice men fitted it this morning. We were a bit worried that they would end up locking themselves in it, but they knew what they were doing, and once all of the panels were in place they re emerged.

I think that we made a bit of a mistake as it needs edging and apparently we didn't order this, but Darren is going to sort it out and I will paint it. 

It looks really good, and the outside of the house is almost finished at long last. 

Wednesday 16 September 2020

'It doesn't even look like a bath any more '

High praise, I think anyway, from our friend Paul who called round today for coffee and cake on the roof terrace.

I am very pleased, and the fish even popped up to say 'hello', or was it to blag some extra food? 

We are starting to get used to the new facilites at the house, and I even plugged the kettle in to a wall socket today to make a cup of coffee. It is even starting to feel normal, just as if I have been doing it all my life.

This morning we nipped to B and Q and bought eight packs of slightly sad looking pansies for £1 each, and they are already planted and watered. They have a long way to go though to beat the size of my Cosmos, which I grew from a £1 packet of seeds and which are trying to take over the whole garden.

This group have completely covered the whole path and are full of bumble bees, so I now have to either walk all the way round and up the other path, or walk across the flower bed to get past them.

Not too long to go unfortunately, and the first frost will wipe them out. 

Tuesday 15 September 2020

We have electricity!

Huge milestone today - our electric sockets now work. 

Up until today we had an extension cable leading from the fuse board in the garage, through the open downstairs toilet window and into the house. We then had extension cables running around the house that were a trip hazard, and we plugged everything in to them.

I have not tried the new sockets yet, but Darren has informed me that the fridge freezer is already switched on, so we are gradually getting more civilised. 

As if that isn't big enough news, the plasterers have finished all of the rooms today and only need to return in a few weeks to plaster the underside of the stairs. 

I am still building walls in the garden, and it is still hard work. The end is in sight though, and I have finished the two steps up to the greenhouse. 

I am now about to tackle the other steps, and these are much more challenging. I hope to come up with a solution tomorrow morning, and at the moment they are a bit dangerous. . 

I have also filled in the foundations for another flat section, and that is also pencilled in for tomorrow.

Saturday 12 September 2020

More bricklaying

 I have just re read my first bricklaying post, and in the week since then, as well as moving house, I have done most of the tasks that I mentioned.

I have just filled 12 buckets with gravel to flatten out the future patio area and built up around the pond.

Darren nipped to the shops and bought me 75 crocuses that I have planted in front of the fish, and a metre of turf that I have used to fill in the gap. 

I thought that I was being really careful, and synchronised both sides of the walls up to the greenhouse, but it turns out that I measured the wrong row, so they are out by half a brick.

No worries though, I just need to work out how to style it out. 

The hardest job is mixing up the mortar, but I have got a good system going and I have made a little raised mixing area with a square of bricks under some thick plastic to stop the water falling off.

Carrying on with the next section tomorrow. 

Friday 11 September 2020

Window replaced at last

 Hurrah! After four months of waiting, our cracked window has been replaced. They have also put in the metal pressings to create the look of a giant window with six frames.

It is a bit annoying that we haven't put up the glass balustrade on the balcony yet because we thought that they would hoist the window up on the outside of the house, but instead they just took it up the stairs. At least we can get it ordered now. 

They have also fitted the window cills, so at last it is nearly all sorted out. 

The windows are fantastic and we absolutely love them, it's just a shame that we bought them through such a poor company. 

Thursday 10 September 2020

Furniture moving day

 I have spent the last few days in Nottingham packing up all of our stuff ready for the completion date. It is due to be sold tomorrow, so all of our worldly goods were loaded on a van yesterday by the excellent Move4U team.

We have used them many times over the years, and we went to the same school, but unfortunately they are all younger than me. 

They arrived on site this morning and before noon we were all unpacked and boxes are scattered about the whole house. 

They were happy to take two settees, a big telly and my new cocktail cabinet up to the top floor, and before they left they checked to make sure that there was nothing else heavy that needed moving. 

As usual, I have written strange labels on the boxes, such as 'misc', which are already annoying as I can't remember what is in them now, but it made perfect sense at the time. I have called one 'bread bin', but really what it means is that I put the fish sculptures in the bread bin to keep them safe in the move. 

I have separated the kettle from it's base, and packed the coffee machine very carefully, but I can't remember which box the metal milk frother went in,but it's all good, and will all get sorted soon. 

Sunday 6 September 2020

Shower screen fun

 Daz decided to put in the shower screen in the house main bathroom, which I like to think of as 'my' bathroom.

It is a lovely quarter circle screen that we bought as ex display from a local store. 

He fixed the two metal uprights in place on the tiling then called me to help put in the screens. This involved two pieces of glass and the top and bottom rails that were all screwed together to make one large, wobbly and fragile thing. 

We lifted it up between us and carefully tried to push one end in to place. There then followed at least twenty minutes of arguing how best to do it, pushing, shoving and balancing before it finally slipped into place. 

Phew, and I hadn't even finished thinking to myself 'that is never coming out ever again', before Darren announced that it was upside down.

After nearly screaming in frustration we pulled it back out, gingerly turned it the right way up and then started the process of getting it back into place. 

I don't know if our technique was better, or if it had bent into the right angle, but it went in much more easily second time around. 

It looks fantastic, and he has also put up a handy shampoo bottle holder too. 

Friday 4 September 2020

A little bit of bricklaying

 The plasterers are working on the staircase at the moment, so to keep out of their way I spent the day in the garden.

I needed to build little walls in the garden, and I started the first one today. 

I have built three rows of bricks and used two spirit levels, and I am happy to report that it is level. 

There is also a bit of mortar smeared on the bricks, and even Trevor who was our real bricklayer found that to be a problem. Apparently the white bricks show all of the marks on them, and all that I need to do is to get the brick acid out and clean them. 

Once it's all dried I am going to backfill behind the wall with stones to help with drainage and put a couple of inches of topsoil on to finish it off. 

I then crawled around for the whole afternoon digging out a trench for the foundations for the matching mini wall around the fishpond. 

I also desperately need to cut the grass, level up the bench and sort out the steps up to the greenhouse.

Thursday 3 September 2020

Tiling plan

 We have bought hexagon shaped tiles in four different colours for the en suite bathroom. The idea is to arrange them randomly, and Richard the tiler says that 'random' is more difficult than you would think.

He wants us to do it ourselves, take a photo and then he will tile to our design. 

I see what he means, and neither the white or black tiles go well next to each other as they are too dramatic, so I am settling for randomish. 

I have also bought 16 glassy, shiny silver tiles for the utility room and they just go in a straight row, so should be quite straightforward by comparison.

The plasterers are still here and working on the staircase which made it difficult for me to get around the house, so I made a trip to the garden centre instead and have bought quite a few more bargains.

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Exchange of contracts

 Great news today as we exchanged contracts on our house in Nottingham today!

Crack open the fizzy wine. 

We complete in just over a week, which is excellent timing as we are almost out of money, and there is still quite a lot to buy for the build. 

Goodbye lovely old house, and I hope that the new one will be even better. 

Ps, fantastic photos and great service from Holden Copley Estate Agents.