Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Getting above ground





Our poor little cottage is sulking. We are living in chaos, rubble and dust. All of our possessions have been boxed up and stacked in every available square inch of space. Making tea demands the skills of a contortionist as we lean over boxes and crates and we are permanently breathless from running up the stairs to fill kettles and wash mugs in a bowl in the bath.

The dogs have been remarkable. Three pairs of brown reproachful eyes follow us around as their bed has been moved and food/water bowls are carefully placed away from dust and bits of brick and mortar. They have soon adapted to the comings and goings of tradesmen and apart from a cursory sniff now, they largely ignore proceedings. Tilly, the cat, is far nosier and inspects everything with her tail high in the air and left her foot prints in the concrete outside the kitchen door.

We got up on Monday morning to 6 inches of water on the kitchen floor as our make-shift tarpaulin roof was no match for the heavy wind and rain. The water had seeped under the door into the dining room and we squelched as we stepped from the stairs.

I am writing this, huddled on the sofa. There are inches of dust everywhere, the carpets are ruined and now I am ready to cry. I gaze around, completely unable to see beyond the here and now. I gave up vacuuming and dusting every two days, at the weekend. It was a pointless waste of energy and I was becoming more and more disillusioned as the dust settled before I had turned my back.

The initial excitement and flurry of activity now seems a lifetime ago as the cold, stark reality of the can of worms we have unearthed stares at us full in the face.
“Never again!” and “Are you moving out?”
Oh how we laughed as our friends shared their past experiences – confident that we were made of sterner stuff and that it would be a breeze. Our laugh faltered slightly, only once, when our plumber asked where the caravan was going.

But things are looking brighter. We now have said caravan: a tiny, old touring caravan from a neighbour who has taken pity on us. This is why we are doing it. Apart from being totally and utterly in love with our home, this wonderful community that we live in is pulling ranks to support us in our hour of need. We have offers of cooking on M’s Aga (we go to mum’s, though, but lovely offer anyway), doing our washing at next door’s house (ditto mum), parking our cars on another’s drive, storing all our building materials on the farm yard opposite – the list goes on. We couldn’t think of living anywhere else and so we battle on with the disruption, trying to focus on the end result.

Yesterday afternoon, the rain returned and halted our joist work. We swept rain water out through the kitchen door into our longed-for “new hall”. The blue tarpaulin flapped above our heads and our wonderful chimney man was up a ladder trying to work out where to re-route the Rayburn flue pipe. After several cups of tea (no sugar, Milla and Jane!) the final verdict was we CAN’T move it. It joins the upstairs chimney and enters the wall at the lowest possible place. The flue can be boxed in and will just fit under our iron bed, but the joists will have to be spaced around it to meet fire regulations and insulated to protect the new floor boards. Technical facts and figures whiz back and forth between him and the builders, as I slink off to do some internet research to find out how hot the flue pipe gets.

And so, here I am, nursing my laptop. Another crisis sorted. But as sure as God made little apples, there’ll be another one on the way until the day finally arrives when Mr Building Inspector signs the build off and we open a bottle of champagne. I hope we don’t lose the box of glasses in the meantime……..

16 comments:

Casdok said...

How wonderful to have such a lovely home and support from the neighbours!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I would support you if we lived near. I hate all the upheaval, dust and muck everywhere but it's necessary if we want those alterations I suppose. I'm not looking forward to having my kitchen done but I know it'll be worth it in the end.

Crystal xx

UN PEU LOUFOQUE said...

Oh just drink from the bottle you sound as if you neede it!!

Hannah Velten said...

I think you should just open the bubbly now, and buy another one for the official home-coming! You are made from sterner stuff than me - moved into Mum and Dad's house when the damp-proofing was done, the kitchen and the bathroom...but sounds as though you have loverrlyyy neighbours; a definite plus point! Good luck and I hope you, your family, and the animals, have peace and quiet very soon...Mootia x

Suffolkmum said...

Glug that bottle - down in one! Brings back hideous memories of when we renovated and extended - poor you - it will be so worth it though ... eventually ...

LittleBrownDog said...

It really looks as though it's taking shape, Woozle, despite your feelings of chaos. And I'm quite sure it will all be worth it - sounds like you've found a great little community who are pulling out all the stops to come to your aid in your hour of need. When's your planned completion date? Looking forward to the extension-warming - t'other side of Gloucestershire, but not THAT far from me...

Pondside said...

I highly recommend drinking that bottle dry as soon as possible! Buy more for the celebration! It sounds as though you are living in the Balkans, but you haven't lost your sense of humor...and you have your laptop - what more do you need??

elizabethm said...

sounds a nightmare and pictures show what a grandscale you are operating on! I bet it will be fantastic when you are done and your village sounds marvellous. fingers crossed for not too much rain!

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Woozle - I have been there eaten the dust and worn the gritty clothes. But you WILL get through it and you will look back and say 'remember the day?' And you may well laugh in your snug gorgeous house.

We took the front off our house and then the whole of the back plus we had two children to deal with and of course the builders everywhere. I gave up on the housework and actually got a perverse pleasure out of letting things get filthy - cleaning up at the very end was great . . .but you will get plaster dust for quite a few months afterwards.

You love your house . . . so keep on keeping on . .in the end it will be worth it.

Posie Rosie said...

Oh good luck with it all, we will be with you every step of the way...our renovations, part two are just beginning, came home today to find the patio doors had gone, thankfully new doors in now, did look a bit touch and go for a minute.Lovely that you have such support, when I got the kitchen done it felt like my whole house was upside sown, so thinking of you, you'll get there soon.

ChrisH said...

Well done - you're all bearing up well and your neighbours are clearly very keen to help you and keep you there which says a lot about you. Best wishes, Chris

annakarenin said...

Mmm think UPL is right.

Just doing a bathroom at the mo and that is bad enough because of all the mess that seems to accumulate. Poor you but two porches made from oak. Sounds wonderful can't wait to see the finish piccies. Pretty cottage you have anyway and sound like great neighborhood which is extremelly important.

Loved the descriptions of the seasons in your name blog. Need to have a positive outlook now we have left summer behind, okay didn't really get one to leave this year but you know what I mean, I am def a summer girl or possibly spring.

p's I need your email address to get you into my blog have sent a p.m to you but just in case here is my email rachel.pitman@dsl.pipex.com. Know you are busy so no hurry and haven't written much recently as bit tied up myself.

bodran... said...

I know it's a nightmare at this stage, and this weathers not helping, but last night col and i where reminising about when we were trying to fit windows to keep the draft out, while the hail was blowing under the taupalin on the roof, that was 10yrs ago.....you'll get there girl and boy will it be worth it xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Cait O'Connor said...

Gorgeous cottage.

Repeat the mantra I use at times like this:
It will be nice when it's finished!

CAMILLA said...

Hello Woozle,

Apologies, just catching up on your wonderful blogs. You seemed to have been pretty busy with renovation of your House,how lovely when the time comes for you when all finished. Our House needs renovating, but Husband wants to move rather than renovate, so we are seeking property at the moment,. We have sold subject to contract. Hope we get nice new neighbours like you Woozle, sooo important.

Best Wishes,
Camilla.xx

CAMILLA said...

P.S. Thank you so much Woozle on your kind comments and concern re my Dog Robbie, most kind.

Camilla.xx