Sunday, 21st February 2021 – The Great House Extension Project (Days 125 – 129)
Monday was quiet enough until midway through the afternoon when the men from Harrison and Rowley turned up with three containers of our possessions. We persuaded them to move the old cabinet that they had brought back just before Christmas along with the bed and various upstairs furniture. Because we didn’t have floors downstairs at that point, it ended up sitting upstairs again. Neither of us fancied trying to drag it back down the stairs, although the two burly removal men made short work of it. My excuse is that the RSI in my wrists has been playing up since I finished building the dressing room wardrobes, to the point of waking me in pain at 3 in the morning as the pins and needles take hold.
We stood back and directed, and they emptied one large wooden crate at a time, putting the furniture where we wanted it, and neatly stacking the boxes up in the middle of the room, so we could get round all sides. That means the cleaners should be able to get in and clean all the furniture thoroughly, so that we can then unload the boxes and get everything into some sort of sensible order.
With the cleaners scheduled to come on Friday morning, we could only stare longingly at the boxes and bide our time. I couldn’t wait to get started, but I wasn’t allowed to! On Tuesday we had a brief moment of drama when the infrared heater in the conservatory went out with a tremendous bang and tripped one of the fuses. That meant we had to get the electrician back to check that all was well. It was, but I may need to make a precautionary call to the suppliers just to ask whether there are any known issues.
On Thursday we heard from the fitter from Hillary’s Blinds to say that our final set of curtains was ready to fit. And to ask whether we were expecting him. He offered to come over straight away, but as it was 4:30, and he was going to need at least 2 hours to steam all the curtains as well I declined and asked him to do Friday instead. He was concerned about the amount of dirt he might create, but I reassured him that as long as he worked as tidily as he had on previous visits, we’d only know he’d been there because there would be more curtains!
Friday morning saw the cleaners arrive at 09:30 and spend 5 hours absolutely blitzing the place. During lockdown when they weren’t allowed to clean, and during the build when there was very little point in them cleaning, we kept on paying them, so we have a large credit sum built up, and we burned some of that off getting the house civilised once again. After they’d finished, I took the rest of the afternoon off work and started opening and emptying the first of the boxes that came back on Monday. I got through about a third, and was left largely to my own devices because the curtain guy realised he already had too much to do that day to be able to get to us. We agreed on Saturday and I cracked on getting books onto shelves, including my cookbook corner, which is right by the door to the kitchen and thus the perfect place for cookbooks. There is even a little room for more…
Saturday saw Lynne and I both going at the boxes, emptying all of the books, all of the DVDs and all of the CDs out. There then followed an attempt to impose order. Lynne sorted out the DVDs and got them back into a sensible sequence, while I sorted the cookbooks into what I think of as a logical order, with a little bit of shuffling caused by the variations in shelf and height and book height. It offends my sense of order but so would chopping off the top of the books to make them fit, so needs must! The man from Hillary’s Blinds also turned up with the last of the curtains, which he spent an hour fitting, and then a further couple of hours steaming all the new curtains, then containing them while all the creases went away and proper pleats settled in. He left no mess, but did leave instructions that we were to leave the curtains trussed up in their ribbons for 48 hours. We have done as we were told. By the end of Saturday we were both so exhausted that despite all the cookbooks, I wasn’t about to start cooking dinner. Chinese takeaway it would be.
On Sunday morning we dragged the vinyl records over to one side, measure them, and worked out how much shelving we need for them (an order will be going in to Cubit later next week) and tried to work out if we could get more DVD/CD shelving units in. We can. It’s now a question of how we get hold of them. We need 4. Ikea are offering click and collect but not any closer than Reading (despite being able to collect stuff from Milton Keynes the week before), or will deliver them for £40 – which increases the price by a ludicrous 50%! We may have to wait. I also started emptying the Northampton unit and gave them 7 days notice to be out by 28th February. Next week I shall get the rest of the boxes out of the final unit, and then sit back and let one of the man and van combinations I’ve found bring the wall unit, the massive ex-civil service desk and the old refectory dining table to us.
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Impressive progress! I feel an urge to tidy my place coming on, just on the off-chance I find a way of getting the hall done this year. Or if we get to a point where I can have actual visitors anytime soon.
We were saying much the same last night as we sat at the dinner table. It’s now the ideal space to entertain, and we’re not allowed to!