Friday, 20 March 2009


I feel like I really ought to be doing a better job in keeping this blog up to date, but it's everything happens at a rate of knots and I find myself falling asleep before I know it. It must be the age (or something of the like) ... So, we're nearly at the end of the building run. It's taken a lot longer than we expected.

The bathroom floors were an interesting experience all in all. They were in a bit of a state from a previous woodworm infestation and took a prehistoric age to sand properly. Then we oiled them with a number of coats of Danish oil to touchen them up and make them waterproof before waxing them for a nice natural finish. Normally, the wood starts to take in less oil by the time they've had a couple of coats but my floorboards were thirsty and drank up the oil like it was lemonade on a Summer's day. I've a sneaky suspicion that is has something to do with the fact that there are hundreds of little holes in the beams. Whilst it was a major pain for M&S, my wonderful builders, I think they look lovely now and certainly unique!

The kitchen has also caused a bit of a palava. When the designer came over, sounding as mad as a badger with TB but very knowledgeable nonetheless, I never considered asking whether each of the units came with assembly instructions as I rather assumed that they would and that any instructions that were given would be correct. Well, you know what they say about assumptions ... and by 'eck did they make an ass out of me!

Given an approximate date of when we would be ready to start installing the kitchen, I spoke to the kitchen company and asked them to arrange delivery on that specific date and giving them a week's notice. Being ever-cautious, I rang up the day before to make sure that everything was still okay for delivery the next day only to be greeted by a woman who knew nothing of this and thought delivery was three weeks into the future.

Now, there is no way on God's green earth that I could be described as a patient woman, and I am even less so when I find that people can't even write a note on a PC, and phone a warehouse to ensure an order is ready for a delivery date. I was blisteringly angry, and suspect it may possibly have come across on the phone. In my quietest (which roughly equates to my angriest) voice, I asked whether she really thought this was good enough. The lady agreed that it really wasn't but could arrange delivery in three days time if that was okay by me.

Well, thankfully, there was enough for the builders to be getting on with in the meantime so there was no time wasted so we got on with doing a few odd jobs and getting some of the floor tiles down in the kitchen. The kitchen then finally arrived - extremely late and the delivery guy was hassling me to sign for them. Normally I check each box individually to make sure there is no damage before I sign but as we painfully discovered, the boxes weren't labelled in a way that we could tick them off against a packing list so there was no option but to sign them with a note saying 'recieved but not checked'. The next day, finding no instructions or hints as to which boxes corresponded to which units, we give their helpline a call. Helpline is clearly a divinely ironic term. Apparently they've only just gone from supply and fit to supply only and don't really have any documentation. Apparently the standard thing is that one of their guys assembles the units and then someone else can fit them but for some reason, that doesn't form part of my order. Cracking. So poor old M&S just decide to crack on and work it all out as they go along and by gum, do they make a sterling job of it. Units start to appear out of nowhere and you can almost begin to get an idea of the scale of the new kitchen. More tiles start to go down and then we were really starting to make headway.

So, even though we're not quite finished yet, you can really start to get an idea of what it's going to be like when it's all done, and I start to get an idea of doing some painting and decorating. There is an internal window in the bathroom that needed stripping down and repainting so I thought I'd give it a crack. There's far more paint than you would credit - paint on top of paint on top of more paint on top of varnish. I've been through two cans of paint stripper already and I'm still only half of the way through. A note to anyone doing any paintripping - make sure you open the windows and the doors! The stuff reeks to high heaven and it wouldn't have surprised me to find myself as high as a kite after half a day in the same room as it.

I'm now thinking of paint for the rest of the house. I've never been much of a fan of wallpaper, as much as I see people do very exciting things with it. Most of the house, I think I am going to stick with a nice dark cream colour, perhaps bordering close onto butterscotch but that sort of lovely warm texture that will work well with the rough hewn walls. The kitchen and bathroom though, I think call for something a bit different. I'm in the mind for a nice light blue colour - getting towards the duck egg blue shade. In both rooms, the furniture is white or cream and I think it will be a lovely contrast between the two colours. I'll post up samples as soon as they're dry and you can all tell me your thoughts.

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