Documenting the refurbishment of a London property
This week I have been grappling with my conscience and trying to decide if O and I should take up the kind offer of another weeks sanctuary or whether we should get back into the thick of it. If S could spend the week away with us the decision would be, as they say, a no brainer but knowing he will have to bear the load alone on his admittedly broad shoulders makes it all the more difficult. A journey up the A19 (and impressively this was the route I actually took .. it was on the journey home that I went on a few unplanned detours) to see a friend allowed me time to consider the pros (of which there are many though some are selfish) and cons (of which there are far fewer though much more weighted). By the time I’d reached Durham I had decided that avoidance was doing nothing to help us get a finished house so I summoned the mental and physical strength needed to once again embrace that dust. I would get back home and roll up my sleeves starting with the lounge to keep out of C’s way, I rationalised. I’d pick a colour to go on those walls, get some carpet down (inspired by some we’ve seen at http://www.nakedflooring.co.uk which offers the added benefit of covering that awful hearth – See The Hideous Hearth) and get some pictures up. Then we would have one more finished room into which we can all escape whilst we finish the rest. I breathed a fortifying breath of the Yorkshire air – well Teeside probably by that point in the journey – and enjoyed the views en route whilst I still could.
Over a coffee I recounted the story of our recent loss, the house project we have thrown ourselves into and my decision to go home and crack on.
“Are you enjoying yourself up here?” my friend asked.
“God, yes” I replied and explained how O was thriving in the company of his cousins, fresh air and doting grandparents – the ice lollies, biscuits and doughnuts he is being given while my back is turned seeming not to be doing him any harm. I described how I was climbing down, step by step, from the precipice on which I had unknowingly been standing despite the clues that Non Appearing Gas Men might have offered.
“What have you got to go back for?” he asked.
Aside from S of course, who was due to make his way up here the very next day, there was nothing that couldn’t be rescheduled or postponed.
“This is your chance then.” he pointed out before adding “When you go back to work you won’t ever be able to take an extra week holiday if you fancy it.”
I nodded thoughtfully.
Walking back to the car park I admired a church in the square.
“Is that the cathedral?” I asked innocently.
“Um…well…if that was the cathedral I think we could all be accused of over-egging it a bit. Follow me, I’ll show you”.
We walked on and eventually we stopped.
I turned and my decision was made. If I can’t tell the difference between the architecture of a church and Durham cathedral its unlikely I’ll be able to add much value to a site which appears to have been doing quite well, brick steps aside, without me.
Meanwhile S had been coming to the same conclusion and assured me he wanted O here in the warmth and comfort of his Mum’s house and me and my dreaded ‘lookbook’ out of his hair (though he didn’t articulate that last bit). So its settled, O and I are going to have a third weeks break, punctuated this weekend with a few lovely days with S. We have nothing much planned but car boot sales, charity shop trawls and vintiquing are absolutely out of the question.
Aware that these are activities best enjoyed with willing compatriots I am already planning how I might fit a few more in this week. Passing through Thirsk this morning I spied an antiques shop or two and some charity shops ripe for trawling and I’m very excited about the thought of my very first auction experience at Saltburn Saleroom. S has very little cause for worry however as funds have been quite dramatically restricted.. .
This morning my mother and father in law took O and I on a jam packed day of adventures which included a visit to the Mousemans workshop. Robert Thompson (now late…its his grandson who heads up the army of men he has crafting his beautiful oak furniture) is renowned for making pieces which each have a small mouse carved onto them. The prices are prohibitive but it is lovely to dream . . . .so we wandered around the showroom and peeked into the workshop via the viewing platform before I decided to buy S a keepsake in the form of a biographical book. The idea was aborted however on discovery that my bankcard expired yesterday. With my father in law now standing me lunch I called S to tell him the news. He was relieved.
“You can only know your card has expired if you were trying to buy something…..What. Were. You. Trying. To. Buy?”
“A book! A book!” I promised. He breathed again before offering to call the bank and order me a card (the one they sent in January having somehow disappeared…..) I have though, stolen a tip from a successful Ebaying friend and added Mousey Thomson as a saved search to my EBay account so will receive emails when anything interesting comes up for sale. . .
££££’s are, after all, offset by eco points aren’t they? At least thats how some companies try to make you believe it works…
The Mouseman’s wood carving