Thursday 11 December 2014

Thursday 11th December - This house

So, about this house....

1. When we moved in, we soon discovered, the hard way, that the loo was not bolted to the floor. (The bathroom had been completely re-fitted a couple of months earlier by the previous occupants).

2. A day or so later we found that the overflow in pipe for the bath was not connected. Guess how we found that out?

3. The previous occupant took the lower part of the 2-part TV aerial booster with her (presumably it was attached to her television set). However half an aerial booster is definitely worse than no aerial booster at all.

4. We checked ALL the electrical sockets when we moved in with a tester gadget. That's when we discovered the additional sockets were all wired up wrongly. Live/Neutral reversed, or whatever.

5. Some years later, the bathroom basin blocked up. It was a simple matter to remove the pedestal to get at the U-bend; however, that's when we discovered that the basin was merely resting on the pedestal, and not screwed to the wall. Luckily I was within earshot of my husband's frantic cries for help, and rushed upstairs to catch the basin as the hot and cold water pipes slowly distorted under the weight...

6. We wanted to replace the ancient, noisy and uneconomical gas fire and back boiler in the sitting room. The plan was to put the boiler in the kitchen and have a nice new gas fire in the sitting room. We called in a builder to take out the old fireplace and reduce the size of the opening ("why not do it yourselves? It's a relatively simple task?" queried our friends - but we were getting wiser). The unfortunate builder discovered that the chimney support had been removed, but not replaced. The whole chimney was resting on two lengths of copper pipe, which had had the end flattened and wedged into the brickwork on either side of the opening. And were buckling under the weight of the chimney.

7. The gas engineers discovered that the old heating system had been installed incorrectly, with the water flowing the wrong way round the radiators and various safety extras missing entirely. A two day job took them two weeks and miles of extra copper piping.

8. The sitting-room door squeaked and wouldn't close properly. Oil was not the answer - oh no! It took several hours of work involving removing, reshaping, adjusting and rehanging the door to solve that one.

And so it goes on....

I expect getting the double glazing done, and replacing the garage, and sorting out the driveway will all reveal more opportunities for improvisation as we work through these projects. It is just so fortunate that my husband  has such an aptitude for fixing, mending, problem-solving and perseverance in the face of all obstacles.

You might be forgiven for thinking that we live in an ancient building, much altered and reshaped over hundreds of years. Not a bit - it's just a 1950s semi. Everything should be easy - no?

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