House hunting, property puzzlers, home design and anything else that fits vaguely under the description.
Last year we redid the bathroom. And throughout the process of doing it, I kept saying "kitchen" instead of "bathroom" in conversations.
Maybe it was some subconscious desire to redo the kitchen, I thought at the time.
The kitchen did need doing though. It was clearly rather cheap crap when it was installed in the 1980s, and now it was really falling apart.
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You never quite realise how you rely on something until it's gone.
That was the lesson I've been having recently at the loss of our dodgy, ancient cooker. Well I say loss - it's currently sat outside on the lawn awaiting disposal. The reason for that is that after nearly six years, we're finally getting the kitchen redone. The building work started on Thursday and it's currently an empty shell with no power, no units and no cooker. However it must be said, the new plastered walls look fantastic!
However the gain comes with some pain. The living room and spare bedroom currently contain pots, pans, a washing machine, a new oven, extractor fan and a reasonable amount of dust.
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As I mentioned the other day, we’ve just had our bathroom done. It was, I must confess, something we’d put off for some time. That and the kitchen too. Both really needed doing when we moved in back in 2004, however we didn’t have the money at the time and over the months and years we just got too used to the way everything was. Eventually I put my foot down and decided that we just had to get at least one - and preferably both - done. I decided on the bathroom as technically it should be a simpler project (well one where there was less for us to decide�)
We have a new bath. A new bathroom in fact.
there’s a draw in the spare bedroom just of computer cables and other bits - full to bursting. All tangled up, and with no idea what was what. As such, an obvious bank holiday task was to actually sort it out. And looking through, I was amazed at what there was in there.
I won’t truly believe it until this evening when it will have been running for 24 hours, but this morning I woke up and the house wasn’t ice cold. Could this mean that the heating saga (and posts) are now over? Here’s hoping!
So I’m looking at my stats in Google Analytics, and blow me, if it isn’t the case that the most popular pages on this here blog, are ones of me moaning about central heating.
I feel like I must have done something horribly bad to my central heating, because it clearly doesn’t like me this year.
It’s bad enough that thanks to Thames Water’s “infrastructure renewal” programme, that our driveway has been blocked off for nearly two hours - the only driveway on the street to be blocked off incidentally - but thanks to roadworks I’ve been sat working from home all day waiting for a British Gas engineer to come and fix the heating (again!), only for no one to turn up.
About a year ago we had our gas heating serviced. As we had the year before. And as we have since. It’s a twenty odd year old system and I was keen when we moved in to make absolutely sure that it was always in good working order, and that we weren’t suddenly about to die of carbon monoxide poisoning or anything.
So on Saturday night the pilot light started going out again. Sunday morning I re-lit it in order to warm up the house. But before that, I blew away some dust from the front of the heating unit. Since then, the heating pilot light has remained on and we’ve had a warm house. Go figure.
I know reading about problems with my central heating isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. Indeed it’s nowhere near exciting. So I’ll allow you to ignore this post if you like. I’m posting it mainly because it’s good therapy to get it off my chest.
It’s funny - when I was talking to people at work about the fact that I’d be working from home today waiting for the engineer to come and look at the hot water (he’s been now and hopefully all will be fine) everyone seemed very surprised that our heating system was merrily away chugging along after 23 years of service.
Ever get that feeling that a hint is being dropped? Now do you ever get it from an inanimate object?
I know you’ve all been on tenterhooks since Wednesday, so here goes. Yes, the lights now work. I popped in…
I’m sat here typing this in relative gloom. There’s a reason for this. This evening I came home, turned on the kitchen lights and ZAP! Darkness descended.
Got through a water bill the other day. This is not a particularly earth shattering event given people get bills all the time, but I was interested to see what difference our water saving measures had made to our bill. As we have a water meter, it was easy to find out.
We’re in a drought situation. The reservoirs are not exactly in a good state and Thames Water have already instigated a hosepipe ban. So I confess to being in a bit of a quandry about whether we should have hanging baskets this year. After all they take up a lot of water.
A BBC News website about dirty tricks and scamster estate agents makes depressing reading. Anyone who has bought or sold property knows that it’s an extremely stressful experience. It also reminded me that I’d never blogged about the estate agent hell we had when we were trying to complete the purchase of our lovely little house.
It was about six months ago that an epic journey was started. A journey that would see a complete redefinition of the way I lived my life. A journey that would shake the foundations of the world I lived in. It’s impact is larger than can be imagined. Yes. I started decorating.
Recently I began to think about doing something with the small flower bed that sits at the end of the drive. When we moved in, there was a narrow strip for plants and behind that was mostly piles of pebbles and stones - lots of them. It was time for a change. And fewer stones.
There’s something quite pleasing about eating something you’ve grown and you simply can’t beat the taste of freshly picked herbs in your food
To cut a long story short, I bought some frames today to put some photographs in. nd on one, I broke the little hook thing which is fixed to the frame, and is what you use to hang it onto a picture hook. I’ve borrowed one from another frame, but want a replacement.
The vacuum conked out the other day. It was an old one - indeed, my parents old one that had been shoved in a loft until we moved house last year when it was brought out of retirement for us to use. Not entirely sure what was wrong with it, but the cable was looking a little worn… Something to do with the centimetre of exposed copper wire gave that one away.
For the nine months of so we have lived in our house, it’s been a bit ramshackle. The living room for example, was an awful mix of random tables, styles, colours and cables.
Can there be anything more frustrating than struggling home from Ikea with a new, large picture frame, then breaking it almost as soon as you step into your own front door?
In the back bedroom where I am sat, there are 12 items which require a plug socket. Eight of them are PCs or PC equipment.
Some thoughts on owning your own home…
Is there something about owning a house? Something that makes you do things like spend ages in Homebase comparing the different types of tub that you could put it on the balcony.
It’s a rare person who has ever gone near an estate agent who has something good to say about them. Which didn’t exactly make me feel good when, just after christmas, we decided to get on the house hunting trail.
Following on from some conversations at work and just in case you’re wondering, no I did not watch England vs Croatia last night with the rest of the country (well a third of the country if we believe the ratings). Instead I did someone that was actually useful.
For some time I’ve been meaning to write something about the house buying process and now I’ve finally got round to hitting the keys. So here we go with part one - the first steps.
Earlier today was a trip to B &Q to buy some bits and bats, including a new bin and a towel rail. Exciting eh?
When you’ve moved in somewhere, the last thing you want to do is go back to your old rented pad and clean it all. Which is what we did today.
It’s roasting hot outside. Why am I talking about double glazing?
The tide of boxes got moved last Friday and this entry is coming from the computer in our spare bedroom, which is surrounded by boxes, boxes and more boxes. From scruffy rented one bedroom flat to own smart split level maisonette. Well almost smart - it does need a few bits of paint touching up, but it’s certainly nice to be rid of all that dodgy rented furniture if nothing else.
Friday is moving day and slowly but surely the flat is being filled into boxes. Big boxes, little boxes, medium sized boxes. Green boxes. White boxes. Etc etc.
Some of the walls need a bit of a paint, the bathroom really needs a new bath, and the fridge freezer arrived with a big dent in it.
Just a few days before we get hold of the keys… We’re not moving in straight away - but waiting until the following weekend but it’s getting… well exciting that finally we’ll have it, but sad as well.
One of the things about buying a house for the first time is that suddenly you have to go out and buy loads of things, which is why this evening, we ended up buying a bed.
There’s nothing like a trip round Ikea to make you think about the state of your flat.
So for those interested, here’s what’s going on in the house buying world.
Incidentally, try writing a cheque for over £28,000. It’s very scary.
Have I mentioned that the estate agents are a bunch of cowboys who I will never use again if I can help it?
Property crisis and a cold don’t mix.
Update into what’s going on in the house buying world.
There’s some phrases in the English language that just make you wonder. Today I will be mostly wondering about ‘peppercorn rent’.
After giving a heart-stopping moment on the phone the other day where they applied the wrong credit score and told us we could only borrow £20,000 less than they originally told us, the Halifax screwed up again.
I am looking forward to this weekend. For the first time in several weeks, I can rest and relax without feeling like I should be trapsing around estate agents, and wandering around street after street. On the other hand, I’ve now got a swamp full of paperwork and phonecalls to deal with.
The thing about being highly pesamistic is, when something actually goes your way, IT FEELS BLOOMIN’ BRILLIANT!
At least if you’re pessimistic, you won’t be disappointed if you don’t get what you seek.
It’s been a slog but, well…. we think we’ve found the right place to buy.
The games estate agents play on the phone.
Looking for somewhere to buy is hard work in London. You need a lot of cash for starters. And then you need to find somewhere you like. But at the minute, you’re lucky if you can find anything at all.
Next to the computer is the ‘no pile’ - a pile of paper giving details of a pile of properties. Each has the estate agents description of the place, photograph and dimensions. Stapled to that are some scrawled notes listing my views and opinions of the place. But have we been looking in the wrong place for a place to buy? Or have we been looking in the right place and we’re about to get distracted looking in the wrong one? And does this make any sense?
I’ve kind of resisted writing about buying a house, partially because it’s depressing, and partially because the cost of housing is all anyone talks about in London. If talking about the weather is the national obsession, talking about property prices is the London one.