It’s been a ker-razy couple of weeks, I can tell you. I haven’t had an awful lot of time of late, owing to the fact that for the last two and a half years, I’ve been studying voodoo. Well, equine shiatsu actually, but it’s a little bit akin to voodoo. My course finally ended at the weekend and I had to hand in the case studies I was supposed to have started back in the summer. Obviously, being a deadline Dora, I left writing ten thousand until the last minute. Panic stations all round and, although I made the deadline, I couldn’t finish the final day Sunday because of the atrocious weather. I mean, what is going on? Snow, blizzards, frozen Turdis and no showering for days, I’m sure we’ll have an absolute belter of a summer to make up for it. But I won’t be holding my breath…
Anyway, on the house front, the staircase is in, woo hoo. Rich and I have finally got used to it without getting altitude sickness, or having to take a rest break half way up. It was a tight fit, what with the door opening downstairs and, basically, Lazy God has been demoted to Lazy Boy unless building control are happy to sign it off (I did get in touch, and they said ‘yes’ but you never know until you’ve got the paper). Still, it proves he’s not infallible after all.
Brett, our very tame glory job bob, has come back and plastered the hallway, I’m sure the Health & Safety executive would have been very impressed by his and Paul’s consciousness to safety concerns. Alternatively, Cirque du Soleil might be interested in giving them both an interview. Still, it’s done now. And looks totally glorious…
Rich and I will have to mask everything up and get Wagner out again. We’ve finished the two old bedrooms which is a bit weird – it seems like only yesterday when we had hammers and chisels as our main tools of (de)construction and now, here we are, adding the finishing touches to the fabric of the building.
What else has been happening? Oh yes. Basically, a fucking disaster, that’s what. I almost wasn’t going to mention it because it makes me sick to my stomach. To say that I went a bit mental last week, would be an understatement. It seems that Gary (that’s Gary Reeves if anyone has found this on google), our electrician, turned out to be a bit of an amateur, who was well out of his depth on this (not very complicated) job.
In various parts of the house, we’ve got wiring for LED downlights. Not everywhere, because we didn’t want it to look like a car showroom, but in certain places, there’s wiring for them. Instead of pulling the wires through the plasterboard and skimming round them, we had a discussion (on numerous occasions) about mapping the wires and then cutting holes and fishing for them. With something like a downlight, which is recessed into the ceiling, this is quite a normal practice as the hole you cut out for the light, is plenty big enough to fish for the wires and connect them.
Last week, I suggested to Gary that he should start looking for the wires and pull them through, just to save there being a monumental task at the end when we were ready for second fix. He turned up and, having found the lights in the kitchen (er, because he got a map out the van which I had given him) fucked about for a while said he needed a word. Basically, he told me there was a problem, and that he couldn’t find any of the wires. Like, any of them.
Obviously, the first thing I said was, ‘But you mapped them’ (I had asked this about a hundred times during the process and the reply was ‘Yep, don’t worry, I know exactly where they are’) and he then said ‘No, I haven’t mapped any of them.’
Which is just as well. Having had another contractor in, looking for the wires in the ceilings are the least of our concerns. The whole kitchen – two ovens, warming drawer, induction hob and extractor are basically running off one isolator. ‘Amateurish at best, incompetent at worst,’ was the prognosis. There isn’t the required feed to the ground source heat pump – even though Gary had all this information, so we’ve got to chase out the walls, make loft hatches to run wiring where there wasn’t previously, put in junction boxes so we can use the light fittings we’d chosen previously and change our LED stuff – because they all need drivers that aren’t actually there.
Then, obviously, we’ll have to make good, wait for it to dry and redecorate.
The kitchen worktops were supposed to be installed last week, basically finishing off the kitchen, but in light of the electrical debacle, we had to put them off until god knows when so that we can rectify the problem. I suspect it’s going to put us back by a month. Honestly, I’ve been gutted. You spend so much time and energy planning something like this, all the difficult stuff runs smoothly and just when you start enjoying it and the big concerns are behind you, you get some dickhead screw you over because he hasn’t got the balls to say ‘Actually, this job is too much for me and, even though I’m a qualified electrician, you wouldn’t want me wiring a plug.’ We still have to decide whether we’ve got the energy to take further action. I’m sure I’ll find it though.
Elsewhere, better news, the guttering has been installed, the ridge still hasn’t gone on (darn weather) but Oh.My.God, Nigel has fitted all the ground source heat pump stuff and man, it looks brilliant. Not that we can use it, because obviously it doesn’t have the right electrical feed ;( Considering it’s effectively a boiler, it’s actually quite sexy. In fact, I’m not going to say anymore than that for the moment, I think it deserves an update all of its own.