Monday, 5 August 2013

Our New House–More in the Annexe

Work is forging ahead on the annexe at our new house. The team are anticipating being finished in time for our original date for moving Mum’s stuff in – 23rd August. Once this is done I can spend time sorting it and getting things put away and organised for her ahead of our main move, while the team continue to work on the rest of the house.

This being the case, they are concentrating on the annexe for now. Paul has now moved the radiator from its original position under the window in the sitting room – it obviously couldn’t stay there with the new door, so it’s now on the end wall between the two fitted cupboards.

01 Annexe Sitting Room Radiator Moved

You’d never guess it had ever been where it was, except for a couple of small round holes where the pipes came through the floor, but as I said to Andy, you could always put those down to mice.

Here is Paul using a very noisy power tool to cut through some of the floorboards in the annexe sitting room.

02 Paul Cutting Annexe Sitting Room Floorboards

He needed to do this to run new drainage pipes underneath from the bathroom. More evidence of cowboy work, I’m afraid – he discovered that the waste from the bath had a dip in it, and it was full of stagnant water! The annexe conversion was definitely an El Cheapo job, and Andy said he’d definitely seen better, although he’s also seen a lot worse.

Paul continuing to work on the annexe plumbing. There are now quite a lot of holes in the floorboards so one had to pick one’s way carefully to avoid falling through!

03 Paul Working on Annexe Plumbing

We all had lunch in there, and Andy had more food than usual because he visited his mum in London over the weekend, and she always sends him home with food parcels of home cooked Greek food! She lives alone but always has a fridge that is absolutely stuffed, and nobody who visits is ever allowed to leave hungry! He shared it around, and we had a taste of delicious little cakes like miniature Swiss rolls flavoured with spices and rose water and nuts, and some extraordinary pretzel-like dried bread absolutely covered with sesame seeds and flavoured with something delicious I couldn’t identify. Afterwards he shared watermelon with us which I adore – but you need a hose down after eating it! Andy tipped all his seeds down into a hole in the floor, and I asked him what Mum would think a few years hence, when a watermelon tree forces its way up through her floorboards!!

Andy went out to get the tiles for the annexe bathroom from B&Q. He’s pretty fed up with B&Q, because he called for them on Friday, and they said he couldn’t have them because they were high up, and they couldn’t work the fork lift while there were customers in the shop, but they’d get them down after hours, and could he collect them the next day. Next day was, of course, Saturday, so he went today, and they hadn’t got them down. They said the same thing, and he got annoyed and said this had happened with the previous lot of tiles, and he couldn’t keep leaving the job only to be messed around by them, and he wasn’t leaving without them today. Suddenly they were able to use the fork lift after all! Amazing what a bit of persuasion can do! All they need to do is cordon off the aisle while they use the fork lift – it only takes a few minutes and we are sure that most customers wouldn’t object. It’s a stupid system. I asked Andy why he didn’t phone before he went, but he said that was no good – when he’s phoned before and they’ve said “Oh yes, we’ve got plenty of those,” he’s gone over, only to find that they haven’t got any after all… Grrrr! Not exactly helpful, are they.

Here are the tiles in the annexe bedroom, waiting for Paul to install them.

04 Annexe Bathroom Tiles Arrived

They are exactly the same as the ones we chose for the en-suite bathroom upstairs.

Also in the annexe bedroom was this collection of pipe bits – I love the squiggliness of them and said they should be exhibited in the Tate Modern.

05 Squiggly Pipe Bits

When he got back from B&Q, Andy began work installing the units in the annexe kitchen. These are recycled from the main kitchen. I am quite glad that Andy says there isn’t enough undamaged worktop and he’ll have to get new worktops – I don’t like the worktop that was in the original kitchen, and in a small kitchen it would be much too dark anyway, so he’s going to choose something lighter. The splashback tiles will be the same as in the main kitchen.

In this photo, Andy, has fitted the original skirting board back behind the pipework – it’s a bit tatty but it will all be concealed behind the units.

06 Annexe Kitchen Skirting Board Back In

Here is Andy, trimming off the backs of the units so they will fit against the wall.

07 Andy Trimming Annexe Kitchen Units

While he was doing this, it was very noisy, because Paul was also cutting the floorboards in the annexe sitting room! They both had ear protectors on.

Here Andy is checking the fit of the unit against the wall.

08 Andy Fitting Annexe Kitchen Units

More units going in.

09 Annexe Kitchen Units Going In

I think this is all the base units in now. My fridge and cooker will go in over on the right hand side. There will also be some wall units.

Even though Mum isn’t having a washing machine – she left hers at their old house, and I have agreed to do all our laundry – I thought it would be a good idea to have plumbing for a washing machine for the future. All that will be required is for one unit to be removed and a machine slotted in under the worktop.

10 Annexe Kitchen Units In

Going out the back, I found Chris sorting through all the rubbish that had been dumped in the outhouse. This outhouse will eventually house the new chest freezer that we’ll be sharing with Mum. Some of the rubbish will be taken away, and some of the larger pieces stacked against the wall on the right my hubby will have for garage shelving. In the black bin are a lot of broken tiles from the bathroom and kitchen, which Chris will use…

11 Rubbish for Clearance

…for hardcore!

12 Beginning Work on Back Door Ramp

I was really thrilled to see that Chris had started work on my ramp! I wasn’t expecting this to happen till much later. The hardcore is made up of the old tiles, and also the bricks from the redundant chimney that was taken down from the lean-to roof. You can see that the hardcore stops short of the wooden shuttering – this is so that the concrete will completely enclose it in a shell, providing nice strong sides for the ramp.

Here is Chris mixing the concrete for the ramp. He is using a coarse aggregate with stones of mixed size, to create a nice chunky concrete to lay over the hardcore.

13 Chris Mixing Concrete for Ramp

Chris continuing to concrete the ramp.

14 Concreting the Ramp

It will go straight from the back step to the bottom step of the garden steps, and on either side there will be a ramp going down. This will mean that I can easily get my wheelchair from the front of the house, down the path on the right, and straight in, and also across the main ramp along to Mum’s patio on the left, and there will be nothing for anyone to trip over. The ramp on the right side will pass under the big step into the freezer outhouse, making access into there quite easy.

Andy on the ramp-age! Here he is starting to level the concrete on the ramp.

15 Andy Levelling the Concrete on the Ramp

Finally, Andy smoothing the concrete. I was amazed at how smooth he got it, considering how many rough stones were in it!

16 Andy Smoothing the Concrete on the Ramp

Unfortunately Andy poured cold water on Chris’s idea for my ramp. He suggested getting rid of all the steps up to the upper garden and extending the ramp to the top, and creating a dip at the bottom. I would launch myself from the top and come careering down, the front of the wheelchair hitting the threshold of the back door and catapulting me headlong into the back passageway. He suggested putting some protection on the boiler to prevent it getting broken (after all, it’s a really posh new one, and Jamie spent a lot of time and effort installing it) and finally putting a piece of foam on the airing cupboard door where I would come to a halt. Andy did suggest velcro might be better, and my hubby would have to prise me off it each day when he got back from work. Ultimately, though, he wouldn’t do it because he said it would cost too much. Ah well.


  1. Oh Shoshi! I now have a vision of you wearing one of these velcro suits & bouncing into the house!!!!

  2. Oh dear I can see you going so fast down there and kind of just getting stuck at the end now with all the velcro maybe a bungie cord and you could maybe spring back.. Just kidding I am sure they will make it all wonderful for you..
    Sandy :)


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