|Harlow Carr, July 2015|
Ilf the Handyman continues to be a godsend and a good chap - he brought me more wood offcuts for the fire, and I gave him the deep fat fryer that nobody wanted on Streetlife (a site a bit like a local Freegle but better). I begged him to prioritise the shower ceiling because going without showers at home for two weeks to dry the room out properly was dreadful - I used sports centres after badminton, and had baths, but it's not the same. Not only was the shower ceiling done when I got back but he'd also put up my new living room light as well as starting on the door handles. I've now got a new wall light in the living room and a new lock on the front door too.
We had a conversation about the loft ladder and he took on board my suggestions and seems to have fixed it (I must go and have a look), but there is a bit of difficulty with the upstairs lighting and I'm going to have to empty the loft sooner than anticipated. He has expressed proper horror at some of the things he found behind the light switches in the kitchen, in his words: "This switch will be replaced the next time I come round, even if I have to pay for the switch!"
I'm still enjoying opening and closing the door that now closes properly, and my additional activity now includes switching the lovely new living room lights on and off. And having showers.
Olf and his team have worked wonders on the garage too. It is pointed, and has new UPVC windows and a side door that locks properly, and the big front door has been tweaked so it closes properly and has a new hardwood frame. The gutter has been replaced, the lights have a proper fuse box and switch and there are four properly wired sockets too. All those involved continue to be puzzled at my idea of putting the car inside - one chap's opinion was that with a bit of insulation and a lick of paint I could rent it out for a student to live in. All that is left to do is to sort out one corner of the roof (a bit complicated because of asbestos) and fit a new lock to the main door.
The other benefit of Olf and the gang working on the garage was that I felt obliged to hang around on my Tuesday off, making them tea and answering questions about where electrical supplies were routed and where I wanted sockets etc. I decided to use the time to address the ivy situation in the garden, and took two carloads to the tip. This has stiffened my resolve to get rid of the bloody ivy once and for all - a half-hearted attempt with weedkiller was not enough, and the wall is crumbling beneath its onslaught.
I am happy with my project management so far, the costs have not been excessive and I am immensely pleased with the results. I am now in two minds about how ambitious to be as I go forwards with the LTRP. Should I limit myself to replacing and possibly extending the kitchen, or should I consult some sort of architect to address the ground floor layout on a rather grander scale, including doing something about the staircase? There's lots more to do in the spare room and in the garden, and the whole house (with the possible exception of the bedroom) badly needs redecorating. What next, readers?