Monday, 8 October 2007


And here we are, ten weeks in. Enough earth to re-pot most of Kew Gardens seems to have come out of the front door, and still they seem to keep digging. Drainage has been laid for the new downstairs loo and utility room, a manhole has been relocated in the garden and a big metal frame has gone up for the extension. We have no floorboards at all downstairs and no central heating, although by some miracle we still have hot water. The kids have got used to sharing a tiny room stuffed to the gills with all their possessions and nowhere to play ( they run up and down the landing). My husband and I have got rather less used to receiving guests in our bedroom, which has a tiny 2 seater sofa and portable TV in the corner on which we can get a selection of Freeview channels but none of the good ones. The kitchen in the back bedroom is great actually, with a birds eye view of the concrete mixer in the back garden but so snug that you can make a cup of tea and microwave yourself a snack without rising from your chair.

I can see the outside world through the cracks in the floorboards in our bedroom, and the whole of the downstairs is more or less open to the elements. Last night a fox or a cat got in, rampaged round for a bit, chewed one of my leather sandals to pieces and then crept up the stairs to poo on our bathroom floor. I sent my husband downstairs with a torch to scare it away but it was long gone, no doubt making plans to come back with ten of its mates for a real poo-fest. If this blog goes unwritten for a few days it'll be because some creature has chewed through the wires hanging out of the wall downstairs - I'm amazed our broadbamd connection is still up as the phone line is literally hanging by a thread.

I don't want this to sound too grim. I have long moments of panic and regret, when I wish we were back in our nice safe comfortable old house. On the other hand it's a bit of an adventure and our neighbours have been incredibly kind. One has given me her keys in case I need to escape for a cup of tea and a bit of peace and quiet - this was particularly welcome during the week when they were digging up the garage floor with those drills they normally use to dig up roads. Another has offered us the use of her house over Christmas, as she's planning to be away. So far the (Polish) builders have been unfailingly polite and charming, and ( fingers crossed!) have turned up every day, even working some Saturdays. It's quite exciting to come back every day and see what they've done, even though for most of the last ten weeks this excitement seems to have been of the 'Hmm, so you've done some more digging...' variety.

Today is a very special day (October 8th) because today they actually started to demolish the garage. It's a standing joke amongst the builders that I don't care about anything else much except the removal of the grey monstrosity, and even the one who doesn't speak English was beaming from ear to ear when he saw me today. Photos to come - I didn't get a chance earlier today as I had to keep the kids away from home until the brick dust had died down a bit!

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I'm 39 and married with two children aged seven and four. I'm fatally attracted to house renovation projects, and this is our third in the last seven years, my personal fifth since I bought my first flat in 1996. I think we might have bitten off more than we can chew with the Worst House.

Fame at last!

Fame at last!