Goodbye to all that...

Goodbye to all  that...

Sunday 2 September 2018

So we moved...

I haven't blogged for nearly a decade, and the landscape's changed so much in that time. My children are teenagers, I've been back to university to do my MSc, and blogging is now something people do as a career. Not to mention the world being in economic and political meltdown. It was actually the morning after the 2015 election that we decided to move house. We had a day off work for our wedding anniversary and were morosely working through the papers after breakfast when I spotted what I didn't know I'd been looking for. We rang up and went to see it that same afternoon, put an offer in there and then and had sold The Worst House by lunchtime the next day. I honestly thought that I'd only be carried out of The Worst House in a box, but it turns out that what you really want when you're 47 is a detached Edwardian villa with off-street parking in a cosy outer SW London suburb where Cote, Marks and Spencer and Jigsaw are your local shops and the Zone 6 (aggh) station whisks you into Waterloo in, ooh, about 36 minutes on a good day. And the worst thing was, it was 'done up', complete with you know, heating and stuff. I feel ashamed just writing that. We had nine very happy years in The Worst House, and it's where my children spent most of their childhood. We replaced pretty much every wall, floor and fixture in that place and much as it pains me to walk past now and see what the new owners have done to it, I'm glad we made the move. We've done some things to the new place over the last three years that make me happy so I'll post a few of them here.

Saturday 26 June 2010

oh dear!

Amy very kindly sent me her copy of RH by first class post so the suspense was broken on Thursday evening after an extremely long day at work, and, luckily, a glass of wine. Thanks Amy - I am really very grateful! And thanks to both Amy and Lesley for your reassuring words about the pics.

I have been trying to keep it in perspective but I'm really not very pleased with two in particular of the photos they used - the ghastly (and enormous) one of the pre-renovation bedroom, complete with hideous brass light fitting, plug-in radiator, ratty old cushions I bought in India when I was 23 and horrid old blinds we put up when we moved in just to have something to shield us from the astonished gaze of the neighbours. ('No, really Frank, there's somebody living there. Yes - someone's moved into the Worst House in London! Pass my smelling salts, I'm feeling faint'.)

Also not very keen on the similarly huge one of the rear extension in January looking not very charming, with wires trailing down the back of the furniture and the neighbours' upstairs windows in shot, together with the back end of one of our garden chairs. Don't they edit/crop/airbrush such things out? Been considering buying up and destroying all copies in all the shops within a mile radius of anyone I know, but my husband assures me that would be a) very expensive and b) mad.

Hey ho. Be careful what you wish for I suppose. I am going to take up Amy's suggestion and post up some new pics on here of the bedroom looking infinitely more pleasant post-renovation, together with some other bits and bobs we have had done, if only to make myself feel better!

Actually - here's one of the bedroom I took relatively recently - at least (unlike in RH) it looks clean!

I did like the story though - I thought Janet did a grand job. And my parents in law will be pleased to see their old car (parked in front of the garage in the 'before' ) shot made it into a national publication!

Monday 21 June 2010

the suspense is killing me...

Firstly, if anyone is still reading, apologies for the radio silence for the last 4 months. The evil world of work has sucked me right back in after four years at home, and I just haven't been able to find enough hours in the day.

I've just been alerted to the appearance of the Worst House in August's Real Homes. I'm not an RH subscriber, so I can't get my mitts on a copy yet ( Amy of South London Semi must be though, as she was the one to break the news!) If you see a copy, you'll be one up on me until it hits the shops...!

On the one hand, it will be a lovely souvenir and my mum and mother in law will be very proud...Also my daughter, who starts school in September, was only 2 then so it will be really sweet to have some of her if they made it in.

On the other hand...

- it was 18 months ago and I was still a bit shell-shocked from the build, so at the stage where I thought having a flushing loo and windows at the front of the house were pretty swanky. We hadn't really done much on the adornment front (not that we have now, but you know what I mean!)

- I didn't realise they might be photographing me, so neither outfit nor hair and makeup were exactly photo ready - doh!

-and worst of all, THEY TOOK PICTURES OF THE MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE IT WAS RENOVATED ( avocado bathroom suite, quite a lot of junk and cracked and sagging anaglypta ceiling anybody.) If those are in I will be very red faced ( in fact I am already just thinking about it!)

Amy - I think I shall have to take you up on your offer to post it to me if I can't find one tomorrow!

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Hard work

The week I went back to work after four years probably wasn't the best one to choose for reviving a blog. Good points - the tube starts from Richmond, so I always get a seat, and as any mother of small children will know, 30 minutes with a coffee and the paper is pretty much worth going to work for all by itself. Bad points - er, the actual work. But leaving that aside...

The new sofa bed arrived today, delivered with admirable efficiency and politeness. If you've not tried IKEA's online delivery service yet I'd give it ago - I've been really pleasantly surprised with how well it all works. You can choose your delivery day and they give you a 4 hour slot, then ring you an hour before they arrive (so you can get on with your day rather than mooching around looking wistfully out of the window.) Quite pricey though - you need to have a good big order to make it worth it.

Anyway, my husband is away at the moment, and to be honest he's not much use with an Allen key anyway, so my lovely friend and neighbour rolled up her sleeves on his behalf. We put it together in just over an hour, much of which was spent telling our four children between us to stop picking up all the nuts and bolts and making off with vital pieces of chipboard. But it is looking pretty good - although no-one has slept on it yet! My parents in law will have the joy of testing it out next week, as they're coming to look after the children at half term while I go out and earn a crust.

Friday 29 January 2010

Whither style?

Some funny things have been happening in the Worst House recently. We are actually buying more sofas and chairs. Husband approved and everything. And not the expensive ultra stylish ones from Designers Guild that he wanted either. They're from IKEA!

Having said that I didn't realise that even upholstery would be self-assembly. Imagine my dismay when our new armchair was delivered (the Karlstad large one in dark grey) and I realised I had to build the flipping thing from scratch. Our cleaner was here at the time and kept popping her head round the sitting room door with feigned concern and ill-concealed mirth as I wrestled with its various body parts. No point in waiting for my husband to come home - he doesn't know one end of an Allen key from another. I snagged a very good pair of 80 denier tights in the process - the velcro which holds the whole thing together is industrial strength.

I am very pleased with it though. It goes very nicely with the successfully re-covered Freecycle reject sofa in the big sitting room ( hereafter known as 'the one they wouldn't take') and means I can sit and read quietly in the corner while my husband watches Match of the Day. (Have you noticed how that seems to be on more or less constantly these days, or is that just my imagination?)

I have just ordered the rather less stylish but much more compact Hagalund sofa bed. It's really not a thing of beauty, but we have reluctantly decided converting the loft is going to have to wait a couple of years. In the meantime my in-laws are not the sprightly sixty year olds they used to be, so they need something better than foam fold out 'sleepover' beds to sleep on when they visit. In fact they usually have our bed, which I am also keen to put a stop to - I am rather fond of my nice white bedroom these days; I didn't mind so much when it was putrid green and semi-open to the elements!

Putting the Hagalund together is going to be fun. Might wait for a day when I'm absolutely alone...!

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Normal service now resumed...I hope!

Wow, that was a long pause! We had so many problems with the underfloor heating and electrics generally in the run up to Christmas and in all that snow that I sort of lost the will to blog, which is fairly unlike me.

The heating broke down two more times, including a week before Christmas, costing a further £250 to fix, before a friend of a friend who happens to be an electrician took a look at it all for me. Unlike all the other electricians I had been paying £75 an hour for he instantly spotted that the problem was nothing to do with the heating itself, but with the electrical supply coming in from EDF. Something to do with a neutral fault from the head. (No, me either!) But he had EDF in within the hour to replace the faulty part at no cost and (fingers firmly crossed!) no more problems have ensued. Apparently our electrical cables etc coming into the house date from the 1920s and will all need to be replaced, but that isn't urgent, unlike the neutral problem, which causes house fires if left untended. So we were officially living in a death trap. The moral of the story is that I should have called EDF straight away, but like most mortals I had no idea what to do, and neither did my lovely but entirely impractical husband.

We have a huge trench outside our house at the moment, dug by EDF but due to an entirely unconnected problem. We were plunged into darkness on Sunday evening ( just as I was about to place a particularly enormous and foolhardy online clothes order!) We didn't get power back until Monday at 11 pm, because only five houses were affected and we were therefore 'non-priority'. It was just like the old days of the build, putting the kids to bed with five layers on over their pyjamas and cooking by torchlight. Whenever we have a period of domestic discomfort we just have to remind ourselves of the months we slept in our bedroom on stilts for it all to seem ok. And EDF are going to give us £50 in compensation, which I might just have to redirect towards that clothes order!

And just to remind me, as we come up to 2 years in the finished (ish) house, of how far we've come: a picture of my daughter as as a 3 month old baby in the lean-to kitchen the week we moved in, and then as a toddler in the new extension!

Tuesday 20 October 2009

domestic woe

I'm so fed up with minor domestic hassles at the moment. It's exactly like one of those mole and hammer games - you bang one down and another pops up. After three visits from the electrician, hours spent on the phone to Nu heat and three separate thermostatic receivers being sent and rejected, the underfloor heating is working again - fingers crossed. The £550 we have spent wipes out any notional savings we might be making on gas bills, but by the end of it I'd have paid three times that just to get it working.

Then yesterday morning I put the tumble dryer on and the electricity meter started crackling again, with all the lights flickering away, just as it did a few months ago. I could have screamed! Instead I very calmly went to put the kettle on, only to discover that one of the swanky and thus difficult to replace under cabinet lights had gone. ( Having said that I pulled it out, poked about with the wires for a bit and then shoved it back in - it worked!)

My husband thinks we should get the electrician back to check out the meter issue but I just can't face it at the moment. The electrician is on first name terms with the whole family and our cleaner, but I think he could do with a break from us for a while. I have unplugged our OWL monitor just in case that was contributing to the problem (it had gone wrong anyway...!) I'm starting to wonder whether I should get EDF to look at the meter actually, seeing as it's 25 years old and I think 'belongs' to them as our electricity provider.

Oh and the automatic lights in the understairs cupboard have gone - the kids love looking for their shoes with a torch but I am less keen. They were £200 to put in, so I think I might wait and see what else goes wrong then get the electrician back to do a job lot...