I haven’t got much time available for regular blogging at the moment because there’s a lot to do, but I thought I’d just do an update on progress to date on our forthcoming house move.
We are still in the pre-contract stage and have lots of forms to fill in for the solicitor. We have most of the information now. Unfortunately my dad’s condition has deteriorated quite a lot recently and he is now quite unable to sign anything. The doctor came out to see him at the care home at the beginning of this week, and wants him to have a full psychiatric and neurological assessment, to see exactly what’s going on. This is something we had been hoping for quite a while back, but he probably wouldn’t have agreed to it at the time. We visited him this afternoon and he was in a world of his own, talking nonsense and not really making eye contact, and in the end we just had to walk away, because he wasn’t taking on board our “goodbyes” and “we’ve got to go now.” He seems much more shrunken into himself, and in physical size, too, even since I last saw him early last week. It’s very sad to see. My poor, wonderful, lovely Dad.
Mum’s leg, which she injured tripping on the stairs a few weeks ago, is making good progress. The district nurse is now coming out three times a week to change the dressing, which is a huge burden taken off my hubby, who on top of everything else, was having to drive her into the surgery to have it done. They say it will take the full estimated 12 weeks for it to heal completely.
I spent last Tuesday at her place with my sister and cousin, helping her sort out what she wants to keep, what to sell, and what each of us wanted. She is being very sensible about it all, but feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the whole thing – who wouldn’t, especially at her advanced age – we are trying to make it as easy as possible for her and encouraging her all the time not to worry, as we are here to look after her. Since she hurt her leg, she has felt much more vulnerable living alone. As soon as most of the house has been cleared, she is going to stay with my sister until the new house is ready to move into, which will make our job easier, sorting out the remainder of the stuff and getting the house ready for completion of the sale, and also relieving my hubby of the burden he has carried over the past six months, and giving him a chance to concentrate on his own part of the house move, sorting out his garage stuff and his books, etc. He deserves a break from it all!
We have contacted a builder, who is a close friend of Wonderwoman, my home help. I have seen some of his work first-hand, in her house – his attention to detail and pride in his work is second-to-none, and everyone says he doesn’t charge enough! He is also very nice, and enthusiastic about what he does. Today I went over to the house and met him there, and we were able to have a good look round and he could see exactly what was required, having previously only seen floor plans. With a few amendments to our original ideas, he will be going ahead as soon as his current job is complete, probably at the beginning of May.
We are at present looking at a completion date for our move in mid-April, although I think that may be a bit over-optimistic – the solicitors are chasing up the powers of attorney for my parents, and once they are through, life will be a lot easier because we will be able to sign things and deal with things more swiftly than otherwise.
Because we don’t have to vacate our house (tied accommodation) until May 2014 when my hubby retires, there is no pressure on us at this end, although we will be moving in as soon as the work is finished on the new house, and my hubby will commute back here for work. We have therefore got a bit longer to get our stuff sorted out than Mum, and after completion, while the work is being done, every time we go over we will load up the car.
I have been spending quite a lot of time online, choosing what we want the builder to put in the new kitchen and bathroom. The existing kitchen units will go in Mum’s kitchen in the annexe, and the utility room. The builder is happy with the kitchen company I have chosen – they are trade only, and he has dealt with them before. We have chosen a nice light oak contemporary style, and I am also having a rise-and-fall unit incorporating a shallow sink and electric hob, which will be wheelchair accessible. I am super-excited about this, because over the past couple of years I have found it increasingly difficult to manage in a conventional kitchen because I can’t stand for more than a few minutes, and working from the perching stool is extremely uncomfortable. We are having a built-in oven at a good height, as well as a fridge freezer with the fridge at the top, and I shall soon be cooking again! (Mum is having my old cooker and fridge, both of which are in excellent condition.) I used to enjoy being a creative cook, and I have missed it. My hubby has done his absolute best, and has done incredibly well, but we have lived off a lot of ready meals and takeaways and we’ve both piled the weight on a bit, so it will be nice to be a bit more in control of what we eat!
I found a wonderful Ebay shop for the bathroom stuff – beautifully modern and stylish, and much cheaper than many other places. There are two bathrooms upstairs – one is a relatively recent addition and needs no work doing on it – this will be my hubby’s bathroom and he’s well pleased with it. We are knocking the wall through between the other bathroom and loo (both fairly antiquated), and creating a door from the bedroom to create a lovely modern en-suite for me with wet-room shower and fully accessible – the room will also be big enough for me to have a bath, which is great because I enjoy a nice long soak in the tub!
As for my new ARTHaven – I cannot express how excited I am about this! When the builder had seen it, and what I proposed should be done, he said that was the easiest job in the house, and the room was positively crying out for it to be done! It is one of the smaller bedrooms, partially divided off for a “dressing room” which will be my office. The basin will be changed for a sink (the one from the existing kitchen) and the rest of the room will be fitted out with cheap white kitchen units minus their plinths and doors, spaced around the room and joined with a continuous work surface all around, divided into separate work zones for different activities. This means that I can have all my stuff out (e.g. sewing machine, melting pot, cutting machine, main work area etc.) with storage for the respective materials underneath, and in the open-fronted kitchen wall units above, with shelves between. There is a small blocked-off fireplace which will be the focal point for displaying various pieces of work – my own, and the beautiful pieces I’ve been so blessed to receive from my various creative friends online – thank you all! – your work will be displayed as it should be, at last!
One of the best things about my new ARThaven is the north light. Today, looking round the house, it was a beautiful bright sunny day, and if I had been working (particularly this afternoon) in my present ARTHaven, I would have had the curtains drawn because the sun from the south-facing window is far too bright. Most of the time I’m working in artificial light, which isn’t too bad as I have Pure-Lite bulbs, but in the new one, the light was diffused and clear, and I shall be working in natural light most of the time! Outside the window is a balcony, accessed from a door in the dressing-room part, and I intend filling it with flowers, grow-bags with tomatoes, and strawberries! I told my sister this, and she said, “Oh good! Now I know what to get you for a house-warming present – a strawberry pot!” What a star!! I have asked my hubby to put a shelf onto the balcony balustrade so I can put troughs on it, and have flowers hanging over the balcony. I did this with the fences at the back of the little cottage that was my first home, and it was lovely.
There is storage room a-plenty throughout the house. It was built in about 1925 and with the addition of maintenance-free replacement windows throughout, many of the original features remain, including built-in cupboards in many of the rooms. There are picture rails and dados, and the hall and landing are spacious, and all the rooms are beautifully proportioned. The garden is manageable for my hubby (a lot less work than here) and is on 2 levels. The lower level consists of two small patio areas, one outside the annexe, which will be Mum’s own little garden, with room for her garden furniture and ornaments, and a right-angle of house wall sticking out, where we will hang her bird feeders so she can watch them from her sitting room. There’s a little raised rockery to one side if she feels like pottering a bit, and a low wall running around where she can have her tubs. Behind this is a small bank rising to the main lawn, and it is planted with masses of primroses and snowdrops against a carpet of moss and ferns. I know she will love this! The other little patio area is outside the main kitchen and will be our own little area to sit out. There are 2 sheds (as well as some brick-built outhouse storage for the mower etc.) and quite a nice sized garage which will suit my hubby down to the ground with his tools and things.
When my cousin was down, she said that I would be able to have my uncle’s mobility scooter. By the time he died just over a year ago, he was bedridden and hadn’t been out of the house for many months, and it has been sitting in their garage ever since. We are delighted to be able to have it. It will live in the garage where we can keep it charged up, and all I have to do is go up through the garden with my crutches, and launch forth from the garage onto the back road, and trundle along to the shops – there’s a corner shop 30 yards from the house, and a little row of shops with a small Tesco, Co-op, pharmacy etc. about 100 yards from the house. There’s a surgery and even a vet not far from the house, and a choice of 2 churches!
I still can’t believe all this is happening. I keep thinking I’ll wake up in a minute and find that Mum’s house is still on the market and nothing has changed! When we viewed the first house about a year ago I fell in love with it, and told myself not to get too disappointed if we lost it (which we did) because God knows what He is doing and would have something better lined up, and we just had to trust Him! This has proved to be so much the case. Where we are moving is infinitely more suitable in so many ways; also, when we were first looking, Dad was still in the equation and it was my hubby and I who would have been living in the smaller accommodation and having to put loads of stuff into storage etc. What we have now got is perfect for us all, and for our situation, and in the future, we will have a place we can stay on as long as we need, with a ready-made annexe to offer as holiday accommodation if any of our friends want to come and visit. They could be self-catering and free to come and go, which would be ideal for me as I am not well enough to have guests and do entertaining! (We had friends in Cornwall who did this – she had MS and they converted the house into 2 self-contained flats, living downstairs and letting out the top flat for friends like us to have a nice holiday by the sea.)
Lots more boxes to pack! Stuff to sort for recycling, etc. etc. Plenty of time to work through it at my own pace, though. I feel so right about it all. A year ago I was dreading leaving here, with an uncertain future and not knowing where we might end up, but this solution is ideal for us all.
I’ll keep updating my blog with news as it happens, and as soon as the house is ours, there will be photos of the progress of the work – before, during and after!