Yes, I know, it’s been more than a while. But as the days started getting longer, the days just started getting longer. In the two months since my last blog, I have filled, calked and sanded approximately 400 miles of skirting board, had the rendering done, had the guttering downpipes put on, had the flooring and aforementioned skirting put on, cleaned the flooring on numerous occasions, visited Ikea and constructed some units for the utility room, cleaned all the shite (including glue) off the windows, had the stables built, sourced roof trusses for stables and had them put on, rock picked the garden, painted all the rooms again, finished the living room, helped Matty landscape the garden, had it seeded, prayed for rain, got rain, cut and weeded the new lawn, done some more rockpicking, done a bit more painting, cleared all the stuff out the house and dumped it in the barn, barrowed tonnes of hardcore, mastered dumper driving, finally sourced some lights for the bedrooms (Belgium), sourced all the outside lights (Sweden) and had them fitted, watched Richard kick some world champion butt and drunk quite a lot of beer. I’m quite tired, it has to be said.
But there is light at the end of this tunnel – it’s an overpriced and cheap looking light, but it’s a light nonetheless. We are almost done. Seriously, the minute Anglian Water comes and turns on the supply, me and Rich are moving in. Jesus, never thought I’d see the day.
The caravan, much as I’ve loved it, is wearing a little thin. Whenever we’ve watched Grand Designs (in the good old days when we actually had a television) it used to amuse me that by the end of the build, Jacinta and Piers would be living in a total shithole. There’d be mud up the walls, the sink would be full to bursting and piles of papers would be strewn all over the place. I’ve never been particularly tidy and the state of their places would make even me wonder in disgust. But now I can fully appreciate the whole ‘Let’s not bother hoovering up the flies and dog hair because we won’t be in it for much longer.’ Sadly, we’ve been living by that mantra for a few months now. The washing machine can’t go on a spin cycle because it causes a shitalanche somewhere in the ‘van and visitors get to sit on a towel because the dogs appear to have started a textiles factory on the chintz. The highlight this morning, was finding a moth on my Weetabix while I was eating it. Now, having become accustomed to living like a total pig, instead of jettisoning the whole lot I simply opened the ‘van door, spooned offending moth and bit of ‘Bix, and slung it into the gar-den. Poured a bit more sugar on and then carried on troughing. Honestly, my mother would be ashamed.
I just had a quick squint at the last blog to see where you guys are at. Double bonus time, the incentive for installing the ground source has just gone up to £2300. Kerching! Good news really as it’ll pay for the roof of the stables.
So what have we done? Inside, Multitasking Matt came and put the floors down. He’d never done it before but is a bit anal when it comes to lines and that so I knew he’d do a great job – Julian set him on his way and hey presto, the old bedrooms, bathroom, living room and hallway are done. We’d also been debating about putting some more of that lovely blingstone from the kitchen on our ensuite floor – but with a box of extra flooring, it seemed churlish not to use it so we’ve stuck that down in the shower-room too. Still undecided about the tiles in there, but I think we’re getting closer to a decision. Probably.
Sadly, I had to kick Stu up the arse and I did shout at him after a few weeks of no-one turning up to finish off the skirting and architraves. It was holding up the decorating and something akin to looking at a toy with no batteries. ‘It’s no good you effing and blinding at me Em,’ he said, ‘It won’t get you anywhere.’ I did point out that being fucking nice hadn’t got me anywhere either. The boys turned up three days later, en masse, and largely finished the job off on the inside, Brett came back to plaster the discobox in the kitchen (a triumph, I’d say) and it meant Rich and I could carry on with the old painting.
Snagging, I have to say, is the satan of the building world, it goes on, and on and on… Our determination not to move in until it’s all finished is, frankly, admirable, and probably a little foolhardy, especially as the Turdis absolutely honks in the hot weather. Still, once that water is turned on…
I have to say, the house looks utterly fantastic from both the inside, and the outside. Richard the Spark Knight has been back and put the lights on. Wowsers, considering the retard electrician Gary’s un-useful contribution, I think we’ve done a pretty spectacular job of the lighting placement.
I found a lovely, if slightly eccentric man, Michael of M & J Plastering, to come and do the outside rendering and the boys have done an absolutely superb job. After some debate about the colour of the silicone based stuff, he sent a crack team back and forth to do the exterior render.
On day one, they came and put on the first coat and some UV mesh, second day they primed it and third day they finished. Team of anywhere between four and six, they worked, well, like a team, which was nice to see. Have to say, although they came with a recommendation, you never really know if someone is going to balls up the finish of your house. Fortunately, they did an utterly brilliant job – if you need plasterers/renderers, I wouldn’t have a moments’ hesitation in recommending them.
After the rendering boys had been and gone, Didier the French dude came back to do the downpipes. Kevin the Leadman (as he appears on my phone) is one of the finest craftsmen you’ll find in the country, and Didier is one of his copper contacts.
Kevin came out to do our lead valleys, although he usually works on grander affairs, and Didier had a proliferation of jobs on his i-Pad that I insisted he show Richard. Impressed? We certainly were, and I’d give you a link to some of the work he’s done but he’s too cool for that sort of stuff. Sometimes, less is more. But bugger me, ever seen an arched copper roof? Happily, Didier was super impressed with our copper bath and thought we’d got an absolute bargain. Don’t buy the same bath from Fired Earth because there’s a four grand mark up. Robbing bastards.
So what else? Oh yes, garden is starting to look good. We’ve spent an age rock picking – a whole 8yd skip-full and not finished yet but Monty the mower will be happy about not having his bits chewed to pieces every time we cut the lawn. It does look great. Matty is most definitely a god.
Oh, and I found some miniature silver appleyard ducks. We went to buy five and came back with fourteen. It happens, you know. In the week that they’ve been here, they’ve caused massive entertainment factor and eaten us out of chick crumbs. Twice.
Mr T has been quibbling and wibbling with excitement at the caravan window. Badger ate one of the neighbours chickens, which was embarrassing.
So there you have it. Diary of a house build, almost done. Sorry it’s been so long. (Thanks for the daily death messages Jack but I’ve been a little busy, you asshole). Next time, it’ll be the finished article. Don’t be holding your breath now 😉
Wowsers, over 100,000 views on the blog. A quid would have been nice but right now I’d take fifty p 😉