Well, the writing has been on the wall. Or rather its not writing that’s bothering next door but rather its the position of a thick white line marking out the boundary which is in dispute.
I was in O’s room, putting the finishing touches to those crates, when I caught sight of a man next door taking pictures of the building work. He looked up as I picked up my phone to call S. I couldn’t get through, but what I wanted to say was trouble was brewing…
I decided the best way to tackle this one would be head on, so I grabbed my keys and headed out the door to see if we could talk face to face. He was thinking the same and so we met halfway.
“Hi” I said breezily. “Are you Mr A?”
The man was pleasant enough back.
“No I’m his cousin” he replied
“Is there a problem?” I asked.
“My cousin has asked me to take some pictures” he answered. “It seems you are building on our land. The builders are going at an angle”
I explained about the permission being granted to build astride the boundary but he said he believed we were over even that and offered to show me. I took him up on it, if only to take a nose inside the house…Im always fascinated by what people have done. Funnily enough I wasn’t invited to look around.
It seems the very technical way they are measuring the boundary line is by their garden slabs. Some had to be taken up in order to get the wall built and he can see they will not all go back – the ones nearest the main part of the house will slot back exactly but out by the right angle of the new build they will need to be cut to fit. It is only 4 inches, but he has a point. I suggested we get him, Mr A and our site foreman together to talk it through as I’m hoping the builders have an answer for this so I gave him my number and we arranged to meet tomorrow. Fingers crossed we can get this one smoothed out. His parting shot of “I’m sure it will be fine, my cousin isn’t unreasonable” sounded more ominous than I think he meant.
The building work has progressed though, and fairly quickly after yesterday’s lack of action. Probably down to some good casting of multi taskers….the bricklayer could line up bricks (we sincerely hope) with a cigarette puffing away between his lips.
Meanwhile I cracked on upstairs and have now shaped the kitchen up into a pretty good temporary workspace. In fact, I’d go so far as to say its almost better than the old one.
“Perhaps we should live up here and rent out downstairs” was S’s suggestion.
The one problem with our temporary kitchen though (no, thats wishful thinking, there isn’t only one – we’ll be cursing those darned sticking cupboard doors by tomorrow let alone in three months time) is that we had the floors sanded and oiled recently but I think, beneath O’s highchair, they may get a slightly different kind of staining with the tomato from his pasta sauce. We opted to sand the bedroom floors as a cheap, and possibly temporary, way of getting rid of the filthy carpets quickly and didn’t expect too much from our tired old boards. It was not without weeks of sawdust and disruption as we plastered two rooms at the same time, but they have come up a treat. Now we are considering doing the same to the floors downstairs (the reclaimed stuff is just for the kitchen area) if we can possibly live through another bout of the sander. It’s the only part of this bedroom-cum-kitchen which has been decorated though so it doesn’t matter if the rest takes some knocks. In fact it will get a big one soon as we are planning to move one of its walls to enlarge the bathroom, but as one of the only rooms without garish or textured wallpaper it’s fairly liveable.
Talking of garish wallpaper, we found some incredible stuff today…orange with a white cell shaped pattern which I swear I saw recently in a magazine. I amused myself with a very quick search of Heals’s wallpaper collection and sure enough there’s similar for sale at over £50 a roll. Proof if ever we needed it of the cycle of fashion.
S, certainly not willing to give the previous owners credit for their choice of orange or Orla Kiely paper, curses them on practically a daily basis. What with the dripping taps, botched tiling, fishy electrics (literally….the bedrooms stank so badly we thought something had died under the floorboards…after an exasperated Google search we discovered it was the light fixings burning as the bulbs were too powerful) and penchant for sticking tiles onto windows and stickers onto tiles, it drove him to say the other night “I hate this house. I hate everything about this house”. I almost agree. I hate everything but the bones of it, which I hope we will someday reveal are the bones of a very beautiful house. That really does take some vision though which, with too many neighbourly disputes, may be in short supply.