Friday, October 30th 2020 – The Great House Extension Project (Days 45 – 76)
And lo, we have a roof! And one or two new walls. And a floor.
The start of October saw the removal men appear and empty out the lounge and dining room, the bigger of the spare bedrooms, and our bedroom, packing, labelling and stowing everything in four separate storage crates to be returned to us once we have our house back. The latest news is that we may be able to do that in mid-December, at least upstairs.
We’ve moved into the one remaining spare bedroom as of a month ago and are now trying to cope in the single IKEA bed that’s up against one wall, and a folding single bed against the other wall, and these take up pretty much all of the room and consequently make getting on and out rather tricky.
Mrs. R, our elderly (17 years at least) and bad-tempered cat is not impressed at all, because the IKEA bed is her bed usually when we don’t have visitors. And no one consulted with her in advance. That’s probably why she’s been stomping across my head in the wee small hours of the morning and has started her plaintive yowling at nothing in particular at 3 in the morning routine again!
We’re also camping out in our own living room now, with a folding table, folding chairs and all the tealights we can muster. Lynne reckons she doesn’t much care for the restaurant decor, but we are maintaining standards in terms of food and wine.
The scaffolding was taken away after the roof was followed by the soffits, and the various bits and pieces of drain pipe and that meant that finally the scaffolding could be removed. The next – and hideously noisy – stage came in the middle of the month when they knocked the old external walls out. This was one of those things that’s lovely when it’s over, especially as it meant I was no longer surprised every so often by flying bricks and breezeblocks landing on the pile in front of the house, ready to be taken away by the grab lorry. It was a massive relief to see the whole pile taken away and replaced with a skip, which meant the bits of wood and cardboard and other detritus could be rounded up tidily.
The last two weeks have been a bit odd and a bit stop-start, with the electrician booked in for three days but arriving and realising that he didn’t have any walls to work with. That meant he spent a day replacing our fuse box and putting in somewhere sensible. It used to be at the top if the wall in what used to be our garage but these days is my office. By its very nature it needed a ladder to reach it, which is a monumental pain when a fuse trips. It was even more of a pain because it was behind the built in bookshelves, and so I also had to remove everything on three of the shelves, the remove the shelves and open the hatch to get at the fuse box. Now it’s down at waist height and built into the shelving so you just have to remove a dozen or so books to get to it. I call that a result whatever else we do or don’t do to the house. That was Tuesday.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we were left alone because Dave the foreman had moved the plasterboard delivery back to the following Monday because he thought the electrician would be working up to the end of the week (!).
Monday this week and it was all systems go, with the plasterboard being delivered, and the floorboarding for the upstairs floors. We will be having them sanded and varnished so the need to be in place for at least 30 days before that can happen, and that’s scheduled for December 3rd. We still need to get the carpets up on the old pine floorboarded floors so they can dry out ahead of sanding. Oh what fun! By Tuesday, after what had felt like a great deal of buggering about, the floors were done and complete, and they started work on the studding for the new walls. It’s good to see that because I’m starting to understand the shape of the new spaces and it’s reassuring and also makes visualising what we will have at the end far easier for me.
Thursday the electrician came back and started putting in sockets and spurs for lights and heaters, and while he’s doing a good job, I’ve never seen such a chaotic workman. He’s forever running up and down the stairs to get things from his van, he merrily started making marks on the new floorboards (which made me twitch more than a little) and his idea of cleaning up afterwards was to use a small dustpan. I got the vacuum cleaner out after he’d gone! He also never seems to check the plan that we have had drawn up by our interior designer… given what that cost us, I’d really like him to be guided by it. Mind you, his one attempt to read the plan today led to Mrs. R appearing, sitting on the paper, and then sneezing all over it and him. So we know how she feels about it all…
He’s been gone around half an hour and I’m sitting in a heap gibbering right now. He’s back on Monday, gods help us! Hopefully he won’t be the only one back. The contractor dropped off the loft insulation this morning, and I got an email from the Bifold door people to say that if all goes to plan on Wednesday, November 4th, they would like to come and fit the doors then. That’s a whole week ahead of when we were expecting, and it’s dependent on them being the first drop on the lorry route for the delivery, but fingers crossed. We may alo have the other windows by Thursday, and the plasterer is also due to start then. Fingers crossed everyone.
Also, once the ceilings are up we can get the infra-red heating in place up there and thus not have to dance round 8 massive cardboard boxes that contain the panels. In addition we have 20 boxes of vinyl flooring from Amtico, a massive box containing the dining table light, and a load of boxes of books. It’s not fun in our house right now and I cannot wait for it to be finished.