Wednesday, September 16th 2020 – The Great House Extension Project (Days 8 – 44)
I would have liked to keep on blogging the process of the dreaded extension build we’re in the middle of but things went badly wrong in mid-September when Lynne went out for a walk to avoid the cleaners (as part of social distancing we’d been asked to stay out of the way while the cleaners did their work). While she was out someone on the path showed no sign of getting out of the way, so she stepped aside and promptly tripped and fell. The result was fractures to both wrists, plaster casts from elbow to fingertips on both arms, and a lot of caring that I needed to do. That would have been fine, but it was on top of project managing the builders, and trying to work full time. Things got a bit wobbly from a mental health perspective, especially as work was in one of its intense phases because the company was at the release it into the wild phase of the quaterly development stages we go through so there was extra pressure.
Anyway, we’ve not suffered from anymore disappearing workmen, just a seriously unreliable, and seriously rude, scaffolder. On his first appearance he parked his lorry across the neighbours driveway. I shot out to tell him he couldn’t park there and would he please block our drive instead as we weren’t going anywhere. His answer to “sorry but you can’t park there” was a very aggressive “yes, I can.” I won that one, and ended up having to complain to our building contractor about him. It’s going to get fed back to him, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend him as a businessman to anyone. To cap it all, last Friday he simply didn’t turn up, leaving the bricklayers just sitting around for half the morning, utterly furious with him for costing them a day’s work, and Dave the foreman saying he won’t have the guy on site ever again after this job is done.
Despite his best efforts, the brickayers have simply buckled down and got on with whatever they’ve needed to do and as a result, we have a lot more house now, even if it’s still a shell and it doesn’t yet have a roof on the extra bit. They have got above the top of the upper storey windows, which is a major plus.
It hasn’t been entirely trouble free though, even if you ignore the scaffolder. Towards the end of August I was getting increasingly frustrated by the contractor’s seeming inability to provide any sort of time schedule. Because while he’s providing a lot of stuff, we have some very specific requirements with regard to things like the heating system we want, and the bifold doors we plan on installing to the garden. Finally, after threatening not to make the next payment in the payment schedule unless we had a works schedule to go with it, we got some dates. This helps because bi-fold doors of any quality take around 8 weeks to manufacture and fit, not the 2 weeks that Mal reckoned his “usual” people could do – that being the usual people who can’t even supply a brochure of their product right now, despite me asking repeatedly to see one.
Also, we want to organise our own choice of light fittings, along with a new electric fire that we want to fit in the lounge area. Then there’s the pocket door for the new dressing room, and the flooring throughout, all of which I want to get from specific places/people, all of whom want some warning of when they will need to deliver. It was almost as if they were galloping along but Mal was making me the point of failure in terms of timing… All very aggravating, and stressful and it’s cost me more sleep than I would have liked. Add to that Lynne flailing about at night because of the casts, and occasionally managing to clip me with one of them, and I’m so tired now that if only I didn’t have to be up and about by 8am at the latest to make sure the shed and the back door are open to provide the crew with access to water, electricity and a loo, I could probably sleep for a week.
Yesterday we went out to look at some lights and have managed to select a number of items we really want. For the outside, by the front and kitchen doors, we’re going for these (which ironically are called “Helsinki”):
Over the dining table we decided against the model we’d initially really, really liked, because I couldn’t find it anywhere at less that £1100 (and yes, you did read that right) and we couldn’t justify it. We’ve gone instead for this, which has a touch of drama and will look splendid over the old dining table that we will finally get to bring back into use after it had to go into storage when Lynne inherited it from her parents because it’s too damn big without the room extension!). The table is a dark wood, very shiny and should look superb under all the crystals.
We also ran the bifold doors to earth and we’re just waiting to accept the quote for those. Progress is happening, just very, very slowly! My main concern now is that we won’t be done by Christmas, but then we’re likely to be in a Covid-lockdown here in the UK again at this rate, so maybe it won’t matter…