Thursday, April 27, 2006


It’s been a few days since the last update, and there’s been some more progress on quite a few fronts. The carpet’s all gone in the hallway, staircase and landing (img1-2).

IMG1-2: Who needs carpet anyway?...

The kitchen floor was finished on Tuesday (img3). The section in the dining room is protected with boards to avoid any damage (img4). Since, the guys have started putting the kitchen units together (img5-7) and the new fridge and freezer and double oven are in place (img8-9).

IMG3: The north wing of the dance floor.

IMG4: The dining room floor protected with board.

IMG5-7: The first kitchen units

IMG8: The new fridge and freezer.

IMG9: I have it in good authority that two ovens are necessary.

In the bathroom, the new taps have been fitted (img10-11), and the guys have started to tile (img12-14), and it is all looking really sexy.

IMG10-11: The new taps

IMG12-14: Now, this is starting to look more like it...

Monday, April 24, 2006


Dust gets everywhere, and it finally got on my nerves. Look at the state of our poor turntable (img1)! I know vinyls are supposed to be a thing of the past, but there’s a limit to how much dust one can leave untouched. I know I am fighting a loosing battle, so I only did dust the Hi-Fi (some would say I’ve got my priorities all wrong, but wishing to play the beautiful new Vetiver album while writing tonight’s update, I couldn’t play it on a dusty Hi-Fi system, could I?).

IMG1: This is not a 'before/after' picture, this is a 'during' picture...

Mess is a state of affair when building work is going on, and the front garden is a proof of it. (img2). I won’t even bother with the back garden. First thing I noticed when I got home is a strong smell in the hallway. Looking closer, the rest of the wallpaper has come off and the walls have had bonding of some description applied to them (img3-6).

IMG2: We may have a storage issue.

IMG3-6: The hallway, staircase and landing stripped bear

I spent part of Saturday working in the office while the guys were just above me laying boarding in the loft (img7-8). At times, they were banging so hard it felt as if the whole house was about to collapse on my head.

IMG7-8: The loft boarding

Not much progress in the bathroom, apart for the channeling for the bath pipes, tapes and spout (img9), and, to go onto my favourite topic, we have played musical throne this weekend, with the old one from upstairs interestingly being replaced with the old green one from downstairs (img10). Not really sure why… Perhaps to keep us on our toes!

IMG9: Nice brick effect in the bathroom.

IMG10: The chameleloo... even David Cameron finds it hard to keep up.

The biggest change has been in the dining room. Seeing as everything’s been shifted to the kitchen (img11), the new wood flooring has been partly laid down (img12-14), and it looks really nice.

IMG11: The kitchen is rather cosy at the moment.

IMG12-14: The newly-laid floor in the dining room.

Friday, April 21, 2006


The floor in the kitchen extension at the back was not quite level with the rest of the house, so the guys had to lower it a bit by knocking the concrete that was there and redoing it (img1-2). The manhole has also been changed, all ready for the guys to start laying the floor next week. From there, that part of the house is going to start looking more habitable. I can’t wait. The dining room ceiling has received its second coat of white paint (img3).

IMG1-2: The concrete floor in the extension

IMG3: The dining room ceiling looking positively whiter than the walls

In the bathroom, things are progressing. No major change but the plumbing for the towel rail and the new sink seem to be sorted (img4-5), but the bath fixtures haven’t been changed yet. Think should start to improve there too from next week.

IMG4-5: More progress in the bathroom
Continuing on my now recurring toilet topic, I am dying to finally get something that can be used without requiring full decontamination first and manual treatment after use (img6).

IMG6: Luxury muck...

Thursday, April 20, 2006


The dining room and part of the kitchen received their first coat of white paint yesterday (img1-3), and the hole for the new back window is taking shape (img4-5), and the door frame for the bathroom door is in place too (img6).

IMG1-3: The dining room and kitchen have had their first coat of paint

IMG4-5: The new window at the back.

IMG6: The door frame to the bathroom

The garage had been emptying nicely over the last week, but the kitchen was delivered yesterday, and it is full to the brim again (img7).

IMG7: The garage had been emptying a bit in the last week... until it filled up again yesterday.

As I said the other day, the downstairs loo has now gone and is now outside on the patio (img8). Not quite as private as I usually like that kind of conveniences to be...

IMG8: Al-fresco loo anyone?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


There was always going to be one thing more difficult to deal with than the absence of shower or bath facility, that is the lack of working toilet. Great then! We have officially no mechanically-flushed toilet anymore. The upstairs loo has been flush-less ever since the bathroom was pulled apart (was it only last week?), and today, the loo downstairs has lost its flush too.

It may appear as if I have been developing some kind of unhealthy toilet obsession in recent days, and I am actually wondering whether I’ll ever spend another day without mentioning any kind of throne or flush… none of them of the royal sort. When I got home tonight, I found a nice half-filled bright yellow bucket by the downstairs loo, and I began to suspect that something was going ever-so-slightly wrong (img1). On closer inspection, I noticed that the cistern top was lying against the wall, and that the cistern was empty… to my despair (img2). Obviously, although I was absolutely fine a moment before, I suddenly felt the need to use this new kind of facility, and believe me faithful readers, it is not the most glamourous thing I’ve even done.

IMG1: Bucket: 1 Spade: 0

IMG2: One of the Surrey reservoirs HAS ran dry

Meanwhile, the old back window has now gone (img3-4) and has been replaced with some nice boards, until the new window is put in place, which should hopefully be soon. The kitchen walls are now pretty much plastered, and I would suspect that the flooring is going to be laid imminentely. The kitchen is being delivered tomorrow.

IMG3-4: The old back window has gone.

Plastering in the bathroom is going well to. The guys were finishing the ceiling as I got home, and the new stud wall is also up (img6), which surely indicates that we’re close to get a working shower again. On the other side of the wall will be some shelves that we are planning to use to keep towels.

IMG5: We went for a drapé-style floor in the bathroom.

IMG6: The new wall where the shower will be.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


This is Easter weekend, so I am sure the neighbours will have thoroughly enjoyed the piece and quiet of the last couple of days. Sean being away in Jersey all weekend, I have been able to enjoy dust-heaven on my own.

Things are still moving pretty quickly, and I believe that major changes will be happening in the next couple of weeks, with the kitchen being delivered on Wednesday, the back door and new back window fitted soon and the bathroom fully kitted, including underfloor heating. As it stands, the bathroom is relatively rudimentary (img1-4), but thanks to Tony and his very efficient team, I have a fully working bath. And it is fucking huge too! The first time I stepped in it and lied down, I nearly drowned as my feet couldn’t actually touch the end! Since, I’ve had a bath everyday (it’s that or stinking), so I can imagine that the Kent and Surrey reservoirs are getting a real hammering. I must admit that, although having showers at work has been an “interesting” experience, I am glad to know that I will be able to leave the house fresh on Tuesday morning.

IMG1: All mod-cons and all that...

IMG2: Unashamed opulence.

IMG:3-4: These aren't just copper taps, these are the finest, most delicately hand-crafted taps made with the most luxurious Brazilian copper this side of B&Q.

The living area is quite precarious too. We still have an outside hot water tape, a luxury that has made us the envy of our street, and the sink is still standing (img5), although it is not connected to any waste pipe. We are using a bowl to wash up (img6), and, force of habit, on the first night, I nearly emptied it in the sink. Now, I can imagine how funny that would have been! The cooker is standing on its own now, looking more desolate by the minute (img7), and the only part of the dining room used is still that one corner where the fridge, freezer, microwave oven, kettle and bread bin are (img8).

IMG5: Everything but the kitchen sing

IMG6: The bowl in the sink

IMG7: Even for a seriously cooking-impaired person like me, this is not ideal.

IMG8: This is hardly The Ivy...

Now, those of you who have been following this blog since the early days will remember me mentioning our hot-water-flushed open-plan back-kitchen toilet, which used to be, funnily enough, a back toilet. Well, I thought it was time to reveal the conditions in which we have been living and give this fine piece of enamelware its fifteen minute of fame, so enjoy these couple of pictures (img9-10). Soon, this “facility” will be gone forever… (may turn up on eBay at some point though…)

IMG9-10: Our now world-famous downstairs throne, as part of our open-plan toilet.