Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Progress at Lola Towers

View with garden chess set and urn
Groombridge Place, June 2013
At last, I have taken just a few small steps forward with the lifetime's work that is the making of Lola Towers into a habitable residence that does not cause me embarrassment with every visitor. There have only been a few very small steps, but it feels as though I have created just a little bit of momentum.

We have had two callers - Bill the electrician, and Mark, who deals with household electrical appliances. Mark's job was the easier one, diagnosing and replacing a burnt out element that was preventing the fan oven from heating up while allowing us to use the oven in conventional mode. It was not such a difficult task to complete, and I would certainly be able to do the whole job myself in future. And I now have a working fan oven, and we had a lovely chat about diabetes as Mark has been diagnosed with Type 2 for about 30 years, has recently seen a Dietitian (not in the hospital where I work) and made many positive changes as a result.

Bill the electrician had a more difficult job, but successfully reconnected the doorbell, rewired a couple of light switches, replaced a fuse plate and failed to repair the dimmer switch but diagnosed the problem. He also recoiled (figuratively) in horror at the sight of our ancient fuse box with its ancient fuses made of actual wire, asking if we ran a power shower and shuddering (figuratively again) when I said we did. It's a wonder we are still alive, really. As the replacement of the fuse box is something I wanted him to quote for, his interest in the job, and his opinion that we are not safe in our beds until it is done is half encouraging, half disturbing.

We then spent a happy half hour trying to discover the hidden secrets of this Victorian house. Is the water system earthed to the main fuse? What about the gas supply? If not, the situation must be remedied, but all evidence is buried in walls, trunking or behind kitchen cabinets. Bill and I climbed down into the cellar where there are cables and pipes a-plenty, but which is which? I'm not even convinced of where the mains water enters the property. I have a feeling that the resulting quotation may be fairly expensive, but the job will include another task that I wish to be carried out: a survey of the exterior lighting and wiring, which I have long suspected of being installed by very amateur hands.

There is a third job which I had hoped to address during my week off. The airing cupboard was extended and new doors constructed by the admirable Alf, who excels at building, roofing, plastering, constructing a sturdy garden gate and painting the exterior of the house. His attempt at the finer touches of this indoor job resulted in a robust door that would keep wildlife out of a shed, but does not have the refinement required in a piece of indoor furniture. My attempt to find a carpenter, joiner or cabinet maker willing to quote for the job has so far resulted in very little, despite three possible leads - although one has just come back to me this evening pleading illness as the reason for failing to respond to earlier messages.

I hesitate to list the further jobs that I hope to achieve this week, because I invariably fail to get half as much done as I would like. Let me choose one: I would very much like to visit the wonderful Leamington charity shops for some more work tops and trousers. Let's see how I get on.

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