Tag Archives: House

A Work In Progress

A Work In Progress.

Does anyone have a phone number or contact details for one of those house renovation type programmes?  Preferably that one with that Sarah Beany woman because I like her?  She also has kids so would understand the stresses and strains of trying to hammer lumps out of stonework, whilst your youngest stands there shouting ‘Mummy, I’ve pooed myself!’

It was all such a good idea 18 months ago.  Horace and I decided we’d renovate the house over the road, because it has a generous sized garden and ‘potential.’  The plan is that we do that house up, move in and then rent the one that we’re currently in.  The reality is that we’re rubbish at DIY and it’s all a bit much, although we remain hopeful, approximately.

We really wanted the garden so that the ‘grown ups’ could play in it.

In order to buy the other house we took out a small mortgages and used vast amounts of our savings.   Since then we’ve spent money on two beautiful velux windows in the attic, and have invested time and effort turning the house into a skeleton version of its former self.  We’ve had to do this because the previous owners bastardised (I think I can use this word here?) the house because they were annoying and wanted to make life difficult for us.  It certainly seems like that sometimes.  Why oh why did they decide to put ‘orrible stonework on absolutely every available surface and put plaster fake beams everywhere.  I think they were trying to turn a typical 1940’s terrace into a castle on the inside maybe?

So much of the living room was covered in this awful stonework, we’ve painstakingly removed all of it and its been piled it all in the garden.  I think the previous occupants wanted a cottage effect, but I think it just made it look like a crap castle.

I never thought it would be easy, I never fooled myself into believing I’d suddenly become a DIY expert either, but I certainly never thought I’d be quite so wary of the bank.  We’re not in debt or anything, Horace’s job is secure, it’s all fine, but you know when you just get a shiver of panic every now and then?

The bare bones of the house!

My gran died recently and someone enquired about renting her property.  The woman has two young children, recently suffered a nervous breakdown and both herself and her husband were  recently made redundant.  Their house is now being reposessed and it’s all looking a bit grim for them to be frank.  Have you ever heard the phrase ‘There by the grace of god, go I’.  I really felt for them.

So where are my thoughts taking me?  We’ve recently decided we need to extend the mortgage a little further so we can extend the kitchen.  If you look at this picture it doesn’t look so bad does it?  When you consider that that photo probably shows half of the kitchen, you get an idea of the size.  It’s teeny weeny, shoe box sized and if I want to cook Christmas dinner in there I’ll have to buy a small turkey, put it that way.

Big fridge freezer, teeny kitchen!

But, both Horace and I have decided that this is the only way to go, regardless.  We’re decided  to ‘bite the bullet’ or ‘grab the hammer’ or whatever phrase you like, and we’re going for it.  We’ve been sensible and haven’t overreached ourselves so far, we can cope with the budget, Horace has a good reliable job, I’m not worried that we’ll end up on the street.  Really I’m not.

Sensible financial decisions are the only way to go in these current times, we’re not going to end up in the situation that family ended up in.  I have confidence in our future plans, however far-reaching and difficult they sometimes seem.  We may be learning as we go as regards renovation, but in my mind’s eye I can see a beautifully decorated house, comfy sofas, an ample kitchen and a garden festooned with flowers.  Maybe the flowers will actually be weeds, but what the hell, the weeds will be pretty.  I like Himalayan Balsam, Daisys and Dandelions.  It’s still a great idea and we’re not going to be beaten by the recession or our lack of DIY skills.

Dreams can still become reality, they just need working at, carefully, with consideration and with an optimistic spirit.  Here’s to posting a blog about our gorgeous new home some time next year!




I quite often sit and spend ages thinking of an appropriate title for my blogs.  Today I thought I’d save time.  ‘Ello!’  it is.  Short and sweet!  Rather like today’s update, well in regards to the short bit at least.

My life has not been particularly exciting, I have nothing groundbreaking to report.  Sausage has taken to dragging huge sticks to and from nursery / school, this has slowed the school run down considerably and is escalating at a rather worrying rate.  Today he carried something that resembled a small bush for about a quarter of a mile.  All of his sticks accumulate around the front door because I refuse to let him bring them inside.  I think the neibours think we are either building a nest or taunting pyromaniacs.

Darlek is being a little love at the moment.  She knows I’ve been stressed to the eyeballs recently and has taken to carrying bags of shopping whenever she can, dressing her brother in the mornings to the best of her ability and holding my hand lots on the school run – all of which is really, really appreciated.  At the end of the day when I tuck her up in bed, I always tell her I love her loads and that she’s my gorgeous girl.  Because she is.  She’s so thoughtful in so many ways.  She’s also incredibly thoughtless every now and then, but you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth.  The other day I wore a pair of jeans that I suspect are a little too tight and she resorted to sniggering, telling me that she wanted to tell me something but that she wouldn’t do, for fear of offending me.  I told her I didn’t really want to know, but I’m presuming it was that my bum looked big.  That old chestnut.  Nice.

Horace, my lovely mother-in-law Sweara, and I, spent all weekend attempting to sort out the new house a little.  Sweara has done wonders with the polytunnel, and it looks like I might actually be able to grow something in there now.  It is, amusingly enough, carpeted now! I never realised quite how useful outdoor carpets are until recently.  They’re fabulous weed suppressants and I’m all for deterring nettles and dock leaves whenever possible.  If they’re going to live in our polytunnel, they’ll have to work a little harder to get through the flooring.  I hope that annoys them, blasted horrid stingy things!

The house is at that terrifying point where it looks like a building site.  Rubble everywhere!  I keep telling myself it has to get worse before it gets better – in fact I think that has become my mantra recently.  Having said that, I have really enjoyed hammering lumps out of the awful fake beams and helping Horace remove the horrendous patchwork of stones plastered to the fireplace, the bar (yes we have a bar!), and the side of the stairs.  Just call me Mrs Bob The Builder.  It’s daft really, I have no skills whatsoever, but I still feel really proud wielding a hammer and ‘doing stuff.’  I think it’s a Women’s Lib thing.

That is about it so far! In other exciting news…….my iPhone has grown legs and has hidden itself somewhere in the house.  So no photos until I can tempt it back onto my ‘puter desk.  Maybe I should set an iPhone trap.  What on earth would you bait an iPhone trap with?  Curled up cables? A post-it note with a phone number written on it? Suggestions welcome.

I shall have to find it because I have a number of toy reviews lined up for your perusal.  Photos are essential, as is finding the time to upload them, and to upload the blogs.  Oh for an extra day in the week!  It’s coming up to Xmas so there’s quite a few interesting toys on the market, and my kids are happy to test them to destruction.  If they’re destroying their toys, they’re leaving my stuff alone, so I have ulterior motives.  (I’m not bitter about my favourite vase being chipped….honest)

7 Bells!

7 Bells!

Yep, we’ve been knocking seven bells out of our new house across the road, it’s looking a wreck, but at least we’ve started.  Horace spent all afternoon hacking at the horrendous fake beams with a hammer, covering himself in dust and I’ve been his dutiful tea making wife.  Go me!  (I’m well good at DIY…)

The kids ran around the house with their cousins, playing hide and seek or something – eventually deigning to join us downstairs where they got in the way something chronic.  It wasn’t raining so they went outside eventually and ran in circles around the outside of the house.  They banged on the windows and the front door and shouted ‘Mumeeee!’ really loudly, daring me to tell them to pack it in.  Then they just all ran off giggling out of sight of the windows.  This went on for quite some time and kept them nicely occupied – I’m hoping that this behaviour has got the old game ‘Knock-a-door-run’ out of their system so they won’t torment the nieghbours in coming years.

Sis put me to shame and joined in with pulling the front room to pieces, while I stood there like a spare part commenting on the old wallpaper layers.  ‘Ooh, look at that, it’s so garish and 70’s!’  (I’m such a style guru!)  I so need to get a bit of DIY confidence.  It’s just, knowing me, I’ll climb on a ladder, hit myself in the head with a hammer and fall off dramatically, Laurel and Hardy style.

More damsons anyone?

In an attempt to make myself completely useless I went outside and picked some more damsons from our tree.  Our neibours now have damsons too, our freezer is full of them and I think I’m going to start dreaming about damsons at some point very soon.  It’s the tree version of a damson mine in that garden, I’ve never seen so much fruit!  Everyone in the family will be getting damson gin or damson jam for Xmas, and probably for their birthdays, anniversaries, and for the hell of it too. I’ll be known as the Damson Gal if I’m not careful.

I just loved the sillhouettes of these against the sky.

Made sloe gin last night, not damson gin, although I do have plans for the stuff! My fingers are stained a nasty shade of brown and I look like I smoke 100 roll up fags a day.  I’ve scrubbed them loads and they still look grotty.  It’ll be worth it though! Love the stuff!

Autumn's bounty!

Went picking the sloes in the rain day before yesterday.  I had a proper case of cabin fever and absolutely had to get out of the house / cabin (whatever!).  In all truth, stood in the shade of the tree out of the rain, on a stool, picking sloes, in a stupid anorak – I think I looked deranged.  But it was so peaceful to have an hour to myself to just enjoy a bit of calm and fresh air.  Horace had taken the kids to the pictures, and I flatly refused to do an ounce of housework.  I’ve been tormented with the stuff recently.

Sheltering from the rain.

The day ended with Darlek gipping into a bright pink wash basket, while Sausage ran around the living room yelling nonsense.  Poor mite seems to have a bug of some sort, temperature, headache etc.  I hope it’s not catching and I hope she gets over it soon.  Hate to see either of my two poorly.  She didn’t even eat her tea and that’s not like her at all.  I on the other hand ate two portions and felt like a fattie.  It’s fairly decisive really, my colitis doesn’t seem to be aggravated by food particularly.  It seems to get worse when I’m stressed, so I suppose I should ‘chill out’ or something.  Like that’s gonna happen!

Apologies for the excess of damson photos.  I have no photos of our half derelict new house and only pics of my current fruit obsession.  They are a lot prettier than a house being pulled in pieces though, trust me on that.