Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Our New House–Gradually Getting Straight

My second posting today – it has been so manic here and even though we’ve been online for a week now, I simply haven’t had time to do anything much on the computer.

I cannot believe that we have been in for over a fortnight! The time has simply flown by, and lots has happened since my previous post.

First of all, I was beginning to get really stressed about the imminent arrival of Mum, because I knew I wouldn’t be ready for her, and my hubby phoned my sister and arranged a postponement. She is now due to come down on Wed. 9th Oct. (a week today) which has certainly taken the pressure off. The annexe is still not ready, but at least I’ve got most of my boxes out of there now and it will be a lot easier to get Mum’s stuff straight.

I have ceased camping out in there, too, which is absolutely great. I wasn’t enjoying sleeping in Mum’s bed much and couldn’t wait to get back into my own bed again, and eventually Paul said he could clear most of the bedroom and confine his tools and equipment to one corner, and my hubby and I assembled the bed. What bliss to sleep in it again! The rest of the furniture isn’t yet where it should be, and I can’t really get at the wardrobes, so there’s still an element of camping out, but at least the end is in sight.

Huge progress has been made on the bathroom, and it is all but finished. Last week Paul arrived coughing and spluttering with a cold, and announced, “I’ve got the grout!” Very painful. Andy said it was more likely too many late nights and too much to drink… As of today, Paul still has a small task to finish on the loo (there is a tiny leak in the pipe leading down from the high-level cistern to the bowl) and the silicone has to be applied around the shower tray, so I can’t use the area beyond the arch yet, but today he completed the drainage from the bath and basin, and on Monday Tim fitted the cabinet, and all the tiling and grouting is now complete, so great celebrations this afternoon after they’d all gone – at last I managed to get my hair washed and have a real soak in my fabulous new bath! We have arranged it so that I can reach the tap with my foot, so I can add more hot water without having to sit up! How decadent is that? It is utter luxury and I am more thrilled with the whole bathroom than I can say.

02 Bath - First Use

In the bath is Boris (my bath lift) lying on his side drying after my first bath! I am delighted with the non-slip floor tiles, and when the winter comes, I shall really enjoy the underfloor heating. On the bottom right of the above photo, you can see that Paul has constructed a small platform on which the tap is mounted. This was created from an offcut from the utility room worktop (a brilliant idea of his – it blends so well with the tiles, being a very similar colour and texture), and it is extremely strong. It covers the access to the plumbing and drainage for the bath.

03 Basin and Cabinet

The tiled counter with the basin and cabinet above. We had some fun with the cabinet. It has lights down the sides, and these are turned on by passing your hand over a sensor on the right hand side of the cabinet. It was a bit annoying, because when I bought it, I knew the exact size of the space, and chose one which would fit perfectly, and only when we opened it up and read the instructions did we discover that there was supposed to be a 150 mm gap between the sensor and the wall in order for it to function properly. There simply isn’t enough space to allow for such a gap, and there is just room to pass your hand between. Both Tim and Paul were able to get it to work (albeit intermittently) but I couldn’t get it to work at all. I did a bit of lateral thinking, and decided it was my rings that were causing the problem. We tried with a piece of card, which worked after a fashion, and when we tried a piece of black card, it was perfect every time. I have now discovered that my black hairbrush handle works just as well!

Under the counter, on the shelf, I have put my rectangular basket – this is only temporary, and I may eventually try and get some more of these, preferably a better fit, for storage of bathroom supplies.

04 Shower

The shower is now installed in the section beyond the arch, but not useable until the tray is sealed all around.

Both this shower, and the bath tap, have a secondary, smaller shower (I never thought I would end up with 3 showers in my bathroom!) – I tried the one on the bath tap today and it is very powerful. I was able to sit on Boris and wash my hair with ease. You can see it sticking up to the right of the tap in the next photo.

05 Towel Rail Radiator in Use

Looking back towards the doorway into the bedroom from the arch, you can see the towel rail radiator now in use. It is a dual function one; when the heating is on, it will come on with the other radiators, but when the heating is off, it can be operated electrically. Tim has installed a timer so that I can set it to come on and off automatically.

You can see that Paul has installed a grab rail for me over the bath. He is not happy that the supplied screws are long enough so he will finish the job tomorrow. Lying in the bath, I suddenly remembered that we haven’t installed the large circular mirror over the bath, and I have an awful feeling the grab rail is too high… If Paul moves it down, the upper holes will be covered by the bottom of the mirror, but the lower ones may have to be filled, but hopefully they won’t show too much. I have three more of these grab rails; one will go beside the loo and the other two in the shower.

Final house picture taken today – the Three Wise Monkeys in the man cave on their tea break!!

01 The Three Wise Monkeys

It was so nice having the three of them back on site together again. Both Andy and Chris have been off doing other work, and Andy was on holiday too.

I have not posted all the photos I’ve taken since the move. If you want to see them all, you can follow any of the photo links which will take you to my Photobucket site, where you can access the full set. I am afraid that the photos in each daily sub-album are out of order – I have been communicating with Photobucket about the problem of custom organising of albums since they revamped the whole site, to no avail; naming the photos is also a problem, so I am afraid they are just “as is” – all muddled, but at least the sub-albums are arranged in date order so you can follow the progress.

My hubby’s man cave is almost complete, and you can see that he’s installed some shelves. The garage doors were delivered yesterday after a fortnight’s delay, and today my hubby started bringing garage boxes over. Our old house is going to be let, and the new tenants are arriving on Tuesday, so the race is on to get all the stuff over before then. He has enlisted some help, and tomorrow when we go to Totnes we will be picking up a few more boxes.

Although progress is being made on all fronts (building work, unpacking, getting organised), everything is taking me three times as long to do as expected, because with every job I attempt, I can’t find half the stuff! Things have a habit of appearing and then disappearing again, too, which can be very frustrating!

My joint and muscle pain became so bad shortly after the move that for a few days I could scarcely put my left foot on the ground – it felt as if I had sprained it. Both ankles and knees have been very swollen and painful and I haven’t been able to get down on the floor at all until today, which has been a real nuisance with everything that needs doing. My ankles and feet feel extremely tender. This is what they look like tonight.

Swollen Ankles 2-10-13

My hubby has made an appointment for me to see the doctor tomorrow morning, but I don’t expect him to be able to help much – I am sure this is all the result of being on my feet far too much, and with sufficient rest, as the pressure diminishes over the next weeks, I shall return to normal. My once shapely legs are looking like tree stumps at the moment! We’ve got to go back to our old doctors’ surgery in Totnes because we won’t be registered at the surgery here for another week or so.

My stairlift was eventually installed – five days late. All that time the understairs cupboard stuff was all over the hall and sitting room cluttering the place up, and I couldn’t progress with box unpacking during that time. I could have done with the stairlift earlier, given the state of my legs, but it has been extremely helpful since its installation. My one complaint about it is the incessant beeping it makes, which is driving me nuts! I spoke to the company (and mentioned my gripe about Andy having to drill the hole) and told them how I hated the noise it makes, but of course they were not prepared to do anything about either complaint. I am sure there must be a simple connection which could be disconnected to prevent the beeping, but it’s the usual nanny state stuff, covering their backs and dumbing down the equipment – I do realise there are people who are not able to understand the working of it and need the beeping to warn them when the lift is away from its charging point etc. but I wish there was the option of having a choice. Anyway, I shall just have to live with it, and hope the racket doesn’t wake my hubby when I come up to bed in the small hours – it certainly makes enough noise to wake the dead!!

My wonderful kitchen is now fully operational, and I have had 2 big Tesco deliveries since being back online, as I attempt to restock my food cupboards after firstly running everything down for the move, and secondly having reduced stocks anyway because I haven’t been able to cook for so long. The reduced height, easy-access worktops, sink and hob are nothing short of brilliant, and I can prepare food, cook, and wash up in comfort, and am enjoying beginning to cook again.

My first attempt at “real food” after so long surviving on takeaways and ready meals (my dear hubby has done his best and I am so grateful to him keeping us going all this time, but my time has come again and it is lovely to take the pressure off him, especially as he now has to do so much more driving) was a firm favourite with both of us – liver and bacon. I was a bit worried that I might have forgotten how to cook, but I stepped back into it after all this time, as if it had just been yesterday! The extractor hood over the hob is so powerful that I was able to chop onions over the sink, using my wonderful sliding chopping board which fits over the sink, without shedding a tear or even smelling the onions! Cooking them was the same. It is absolutely amazing.

Tonight I cooked a rice pudding (complete with lurvely brown skin!) and I am looking forward to doing some baking again, too. In today’s Tesco delivery was some stewing beef, and I am looking forward to doing a casserole. We have also had cottage pie, and I’ve got some salmon and chicken in the freezer waiting to be cooked. And pasta… sooo many lovely things to look forward to!

The kitchen is a dream, and I’ve got it organised how I want, with everything to hand. Once the utility room is finished (tiling still to be done around the sink, and finishing off around the airing cupboard), I will be able to get that area cleaned up and we can be civilised again! My airer in the back passage, and the airing cupboard, are now fully functional, although the bottom of the airing cupboard still has builders’ supplies being stored in it, and they will keep leaving the door open and wasting all my heat, despite a post-it note on the door asking them to keep it closed!

The kitties are settling in well, although they greatly resent being confined to my hubby’s bathroom during the day while the builders are around. Up until today, the garage has been open at the front, and the builders are in and out, leaving the side door open, so the kitties could easily escape onto the road. Phoebe is pretty freaked out anyway, having them around. As soon as the builders have left each day, we let the kitties out and they have the run of the house and seem quite settled now. They’ve been in the garden a few times at the weekend and in the evenings, and Phoebe manages to get herself lost each time – but always in the same place, so I said to my hubby he should look there first, instead of panicking and asking the neighbours if they’ve seen her!

Just a few odd jobs remaining to be done now – Tim the electrician will be back tomorrow to finish the power supply to the garage and outhouse (for the main freezer) – he couldn’t install the consumer box until the doors were fitted, because it was vulnerable to being stolen. He has also fixed a few more bits of cowboy wiring that we’ve discovered since we moved in, and all now seems to be well. He is going to fit a double extractor fan in my bathroom, probably on Friday – with a vent over the bath and one in the shower, being served by a single powerful fan in the loft and venting out through a soffit. I can then be as steamy as I like in my girlie bathroom!!

I shall try and get back into the swing of things online over the coming days, but there’s a lot to do and lots of catching up to do. I will be following up on all your lovely comments as soon as I can – I know there were some pending from before the move. You are not forgotten, and your comments are very much appreciated.

As for my poor ARTHaven, it is a massive dumping ground at the moment and I can hardly get in there. At least the office is workable, although there is a lot of sorting and putting away to be done. I’ve got most of the bedroom boxes out of the ARTHaven proper now, but I really can’t tackle the rest until we’ve done a lot more in the rest of the house, and got Mum installed. It will all come straight eventually – I’ve just got to be patient and keep plugging on with the unpacking, and try not to do too much at once but factor in lots of rest times. Hopefully this will eventually restore my shapely ankles and the tree stump legs will be a thing of the past!!


  1. I've just managed to catch up with your house move! Let me know when you are appearing in Homes and Gardens!

  2. Oh my gosh, Shoshi - how long did it take you to WRITE these posts??? I won't comment much, but trust me - I read it all! :) The finished spaces are beautiful. Good luck with all that still needs to be done. I'm glad your mom won't be coming for another week. I hope her space is all ready when she gets there. Take care of yourself!


Thank you for your comments! They are much appreciated. Spammers, please be aware that I read and moderate ALL comments, and yours will be deleted before publication, so please don't bother!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...