Monday, 11 October 2010

Concrete Heart

The previous owners left a concrete heart shaped planter on the doorstep. It was planted with pink flowers which are not really me - but perfect for "Hens and Chickens" and stones collected from the beach in Aldeburgh late this summer.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Decorating the Kitchen

In my day job, I'm a software project manager. We follow a fairly new kind of software development which is a bit like prototyping, so that we design a bit, code a bit, show it to the customer, see if they like it, then design a wee bit more, etc etc. That's a bit like how I decorate. I've never been one of these people who get someone in, and design a complete room at once. My rooms evolve gradually with gradual decorating.

So, in the kitchen, I've taken off the wallpaper - thick foamy brown wipe clean fake tile effect - "windmill wallpaper", Mr Primrose and I call it, after the same design but augmented with windmills in our old 2 up 2 down in Lancashire. I always hope to find secret messages under the wallpaper, but only got "W/M", "20-->" etc in this kitchen. My mum found pre-war newspapers under carpets in her house, and amazingly she said that when she once helped her auntie strip 12 layers of wallpaper in her flat, the final layer was newspaper. But nothing like that here.

So, the first stage is that the wallpaper is off, the walls are painted pure brilliant white. The clock is up on the wall, and the bunting is up. My dad plumbed in the dishwasher for me and apart from a massive flood covering the kitchen with 3 inches of water, literally 2 seconds after he had said "That's it, ready! Not a drip!", things are going well. After trying to justify to my dad why I needed to have a stainless steel Smeg dishwasher, and failing miserably to justify it, we went to B&Q and bought a bargain £150 dishwasher off the shelf.

Next stage is to plumb is to plumb in the belfast sink I've owned since 1996 and brought with me on 6 house moves - these things weigh a ton, and the Pickfords guys just look at me with a swear in their eyes and a "you're joking!" when they have to move it. Mr Prim won't let me spend £36 on a unit for the belfast sink, so I have to wait till he carpenters the old one (i.e. saws it in half). Yes, everything we do is on the cheap!

More later with pictures when I get broadband on Tuesday (hopefully - fingers crossed). It is BT though and they seem terminally confused - instead of 5A Out Street Name, we have been getting bills for "5A Bournemouth Telephone Exchange" for the last 5 years - I kid you not!

After 5 Years of Procrastination, I've Moved

Yes, 5 years of procrastination, reading property papers and scouring online, I have at last managed to not only choose a house but get a mortgage for it and move in. This is my 23rd house move since I left home at 17, and most definately the worst move ever. Mortgages are a complete nighmare to get at the moment, even if you have a 100% perfect credit rating like we do - doesn't mean we have money - just that we are well-behaved financially. We secured our mortgage funding with literally days to go.

So, we moved in 2 weeks ago, and the house still looks like a scene from the "before" in "How Clean is Your House?", where some poor unfortunates live with hundreds of un-opened boxes. There is not a room in this house which is organised. In my mind, it's a lovely house, all grey and cream loveliness, but in reality it is a disorganised mess. And don't even think about the wallpaper and carpets. The lovely couple we bought the house off were 87. They have maintained it very well but you know what the carpets and wallpaper are like without me having to tell you - its "granny house" flowers and stripes.

The old couple lived here for 40 years, bringing up 5 children in this house, and they must have liked it because they didn't want to leave. They only moved because they couldn't manage the stairs, and have moved literally yards away into a retirement flat along the road. Problem is that the front door and garage door are painted the most disgusting pinky-red and I am itching to paint it, but they are only just along the road, so I don't want to start visibily ripping the place up yet.