Monday, 26 November 2007

The final furlong?

I have found it very hard to add anything to this blog recently, not because I am short of things to say, but because they're all so overwhelmingly negative. The weather's been awful and progress on the house has been very disappointing.

Two weekends ago we went to stay with some lovely friends of ours in Suffolk. About the same time that we bought the Worst House, they bought a similarly dilapidated 16th century house in a small village. It was, if possible, even scarier than ours, partly because it's listed and they can barely open a tin of paint without the conservation officer approving the brand. We stayed with them last winter, and had a great ( wine, food and company) if somewhat English and stiff upper lip style weekend ( smallish Aga heating the whole house, heads constantly thumping on Lilliputian sixteenth century doorways, charming but very uninsulated wattle and daub walls.) They have spent the entire year working on the place themselves, and we were comfortably expecting to spend last weekend revelling in the last word in Tudor meets 21st century chic. Not so. My first few minutes after arrival were spent incredulously checking that there was in fact no discernible difference in temperature between outside and in. All the work they have done is the dull, structural sort that involves replacing acres of broken tiles or authentic cow dung based render. The inside is pretty much as it was and they've got a timescale of three to five years to finish it. All of which put ours in perspective ( but at least they've got flushing toilets!) Once they'd cranked up the open fires I managed to take my coat off and we had a great time.

At the other end of the scale we spent last weekend staying with my husband's parents in their detached new build in the Midlands. Normally the kind of thing I'd run a mile from, but this time I could sort of see the point of the cavity wall insulation, three bathrooms and acres of very clean, warm, pale carpet. I spent the whole weekend cooking - it's so long since I've used a proper oven and hob that I was shocked when pasta water came to the boil in a few minutes rather than the 20 or so my electric ring takes. And don't get me started on the bliss of a dishwasher...

There is a theme here - we're spending as little time at home as possible.

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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!