The one thing I said about this blog, was that it’d be the real story of what it’s like to start from scratch and build a house, whilst living in a caravan. Thus far, it has been. On Thursday last week, I told our ever so lovely kitchen guy that there hadn’t ever been a cross word on site, and I was being honest.
I also spoke a little too soon. Stu and I had a little lovers tiff on Friday. Nothing major, just a bit of swearing, grumping and stomping. I spent the weekend feeling bad (not least because it was the first Friday without any kind of foodie treat, and I’d fallen out with Stu) he spent the weekend feeling bad. On Monday, we kissed and made up. No tongues, mind you. There’s been a standing joke about who would make the other cry first. It came a little close, I tell you. On the face of it, I don’t think we’ve done too badly to have got this far without a disagreement, especially when we walk round the house and see just how close we are to finishing, and how beautiful it really is. Stu-y, I really love you 😉 You’re a King in our eyes, don’t ever forget that…
Poor DependaPaul has had a really dodgy finger. A splinter/small cut has got infected and turned into the nastiest thing you’ve ever seen. The boys were trying to show me photos of the infected joint ‘pre-burst’. Frankly, I’d sooner look at recent pictures of my Mum and Dad shagging (and they got divorced 30 years ago) than something puss-like, almost gangrenous and attached to the hand of someone I’m very fond of. Not least because he works like a Trojan and we can’t do without him. (That’s not true, obviously Paulie’s welfare comes first). I’m happy to report that after a number of trips to the docs, a bursting (yuck – apparently you could see bone) Paul’s finger is hopefully on the mend. God, that’s disgusting.
So what’s happened since my last confession. Ah yes, the bi-fold doors. What a pant-ripper that was. Uncle Barry came over to install the Klargester. The giant onion-shaped shit receptacle has left what will be our lawn and been sunk into a massive hole in the ground. As a little aside, Stu had asked him to lift the bi-folds from the giant shed and bring them to the house, on one of his many pieces of heavy machinery. Barry had agreed, before seeing the doors. Uncle Barry (not really my uncle) is the kindest bloke you’ll ever meet. Considerate, conscientious, all those things you often struggle to find on a building site, or, in fact, anywhere. Stu mixed the boys some cement for the drains and in return, Uncle Barry was going to move the bi-folds.
Then Uncle Barry saw the bi-folds, and wasn’t quite so keen. ‘Stu,’ Barry said, ‘How much are these bi-fold doors?’
“About three and a half grand,’ says Stu (I’d like to add, without spoiling the story, that the windows, and door was £8.5K – the windows were very good value, thanks Howarths!)
‘Stu?’ says Barry.
‘Yes, Barry’, says Stu.
‘If I drop it, whose liability does it come under?’ says Barry.
At this point, I had to look away.
In the end, we decided to drag the door (it was on a kind of a sled) behind the digger, up the rutted driveway, and into position behind the scaffold. Hell, what was the worst that could happen?
We like to look on the bright side here and, thank God, it was all bright side when it came to moving the doors. They’re now in, looking perky and no animals, or doors, were hurt in the making. That, in my book, is a result.
God, but don’t they look brilliant? But that was the funniest thing (you probably had to be here). I missed the Actual Putting In Of The Doors. So I’d driven up the pot-holed driveway, and knew the doors were in. I was very excited about them because thus far, we’d had felt covering the opening. I’d made all the boys a cup of tea in the ‘van, wandered over, and they were all sat in the kitchen. I walked in the kitchen, and they were all looking at me kind of expectantly, like I was going to say something. There they were, Julian, Paul, Brett and Stu, all waiting for me to say how exciting the bi-fold doors were. They looked at me, I looked at them. Then Stu couldn’t help himself as I handed the tea out. ‘Well’, he said, ‘What do you think?’
‘Oh right, the doors. Yeah, didn’t notice, they look good’, I replied, very cool. God, I played a blinder, I’d been practising it all the way from the ‘van.
‘Is that it?’ said Stu.
I think I’d got them, until I starting screeching like a fish-wife and saying how utterly brilliant they all were. For a moment, you really thought I didn’t care. Here’s a tip for you boys, don’t kid a kidder 😉
The one regret, thus far, about building this place is that the kitchen has never looked quite big enough. Not sure why, but I think it’s because our original planning submission had given us three extra metres in the extension. So the kitchen was always two meters longer than what it is now. I know this sounds greedy, but if you’ve had a bit of extra length, it’s always hard to go back to something shorter. Ha ha, can’t believe I wrote that… Ignore it, my husband’s away 😉
Now the bi-folds are in, the whole kitchen seems bigger again, and more appropriate for the rest of the house. (Just as an aside, I looked at our blog stats: someone googled ‘cock swinging’ and got back to The Meaden Project. I’m telling you, this stuff is all ‘As it happens…’)
So, back to the kitchen. Our kitchen man, Bill, is brilliant. Or Billiant, as I’ve now named him (there you go, Bill, a nickname!) I started looking at kitchens a way back. Like, ages ago. Purely on a strictly need to know the budgeting issues, kind of scenario. We’d seen a very nice kitchen in some studio in Kettering having looked in some mags/online for ideas. The lady there was very helpful but was sadly diagnosed with some awful terminal illness and, understandably, left work. Her replacement was utter shit. There we were, with money to spend, on a lovely kitchen and he couldn’t have been less interested. So I started looking around. Sadly, I found another next to useless place – the guy hadn’t even remembered our ‘consultancy’ appointment and made no apology for it. The kitchens were nice, but if he couldn’t turn up on time for the appointment, what would happen if we had a problem?
Then in stepped Bill. Well, to be honest, I stepped in to Bill. I was driving though St Neots (edited to add whoops, I was actually driving through St Ives), stopped at a traffic light and dun dun der, there, in a half-finished showroom, was the kitchen I was lusting after. Handleless, white gloss, yum yum aren’t we all? So I pulled up on the double yellow, fought past the builders (actually, I think one of them held the door open) and told them it was their lucky day.
Instead of saying politely ‘I’m sorry crazy lady wearing wellies, we’re not yet open,’ Bill said, ‘Come on in, let’s see what we can do for you.’
Bill has the most terrible sense of humour you can imagine. Like, his jokes are rubbish. Bill, your jokes are about as funny as a brain tumour. But, and it’s a big but, he and the lovely Paula totally listen to what you actually want, rather than what they think you want, with a kitchen.
So to that end, we came up with a plan. God, I like people who actually listen. Kitchens are probably a very personal thing. I wanted someone to take on board everything I wanted about a kitchen (I loooove cooking) and actually make it work. I tell you what, Bill is the man.
He’s also very accommodating. Phone Bill and say, ‘Look Bill, we need that extractor.’ And the extractor arrives. I like Bill, he’s my kind of person. The upshot is, the kitchen, in our house that had no doors or windows six months ago, is due to be fitted in a couple of weeks’ time.
Having been ensconced happily in the ‘van since last June, I’m getting quite excited about having a proper indoor flushing toilet, a massive, state of the art kitchen in which to cook the finest cuisine and a cosy cuddly sofa on which to squeeze my lovely hubsters love handles on and tell him I love him, while having the dogs snuggle up to my feet. It seems like an idea too good to be true, especially if I’ve just had a bubbly bath in a copper tub with a chandelier shining down on me for light. God. Is this a dream?
PS Yes, it’s a dream, I have to do all the painting first 😉