Riding High: Wk 2 – Day Three

I’m not sure this is often said but I think I can take a lesson in assertiveness from my builder. It occurred to me today that every time he asks me to do something he does so firmly and nicely but rarely takes no for an answer. Take for example, the request to move my car. I was on the phone and his face appeared between the spindles of the stairs. “M, can you move your car?” He asked. “Yes, I’ll be one second” was my reply, phone pressed to my ear. He stayed put. “The skip removal guy is on his way, he will be here any moment” he explained, his tone taking on an authoritative edge. I hung up and did as he asked immediately.

He wasn’t being unreasonable in any way, I’m not suggesting that for a moment but “just a minute” isn’t an answer he appears to accept. These little occurrences are adding up and I am marvelling at how getting what you need can be done so effectively and with no hard feelings. Watch out world, I may try this out for size myself….

Today I decided not to think too much about boundaries and bricks, measurements and builders. Instead I focused on what the house will look like when finished and how we will all live harmoniously in it together and I felt a wave of contentment. Tragedy has touched our lives recently and that along with the stress of the build has meant that the word ‘contentment’ has not readily applied to us. So I held on to the thought as long as I could … in fact I chose to wallow in the feeling for half and hour and treat myself to a cup of coffee in a warm and comfortable cafe before returning to the reality of this stage of the build and the cold, dust and dirt that brings. I even increased the good feeling by exercising some willpower and opting for an accompaniment of egg on toast rather than chocolate cupcake. It would seem that brownie points taste almost as good as the brownie itself.

My mood was probably helped by a visit to the kitchen company where we discussed the plans I’ve been labouring over for weeks. The friendly owner promised to work up some solutions to a few of the problem areas and send them over to me ASAP but all in all I feel we are there with it now and its a good feeling. My worry is still that we have enough storage space … S and I both love to cook and we have accumulated huge amounts of kitchen paraphernalia. I was reminded of this today when I took a trip, for the first time ever, up into the loft. The first and very unsexy thing we did when we moved in was put a loft hatch in, resulting in a blanket of black dust on everything. Apparently it was so bad our builder had to take a shower immediately, leaving a blanket of wet black dust, I think its technically called mud, all over the bathroom too. Despite the dirt it was a good move as we have been able to shift lots of our boxed up possessions such as books and surplus kitchen items which don’t yet have a home straight up there. Seeing all the boxes piled up like a tower of O’s bricks (and just as precariously constructed) made me realise just how many possessions we are seeming not to miss. Well, maybe thats not quite true. . . we miss them but we appear to be able to live without them. In terms of the kitchen we have done this editing exercise a number of times. When I moved in with S I arrived with a kitchen worth of equipment to add to his already functioning kitchen of equipment, so we boxed some up and put it in the loft. When we got married we were given lots of lovely baking equipment, crockery and glassware so, as we always planned to move (we’ve just taken our time about it…) we left some unopened for safe keeping (remember the clumsiness?) and put it in the loft in preparation for our elusive new kitchen. Moving here, we unpacked only what we absolutely needed as the kitchen was so dysfunctional and we have edited once again, moving into our temporary kitchen in the spare room. So I think rather than me worrying about kitchen storage what we really need to do is have a bloody good clear out and a car boot sale. On the other hand, it will feel like Christmas as we bring it all down and unpack old friends (like my scales with pebble-like weights… so gorgeous to hold!) which we haven’t seen for more than 6 years….

As is customary for a woman, to prolong the good mood I engaged in a little retail therapy and bought the tiles for the splash back. S and I bought a job lot of old, green factory pendants from Ebay a while ago and we thought a recycled glass tile in a complimentary bottle green would work well. A couple of companies do them but the cost is astronomically prohibitive – galling when you think the raw materials are practically free, so I’ve resorted to buying ceramic from Walls and Floors which have no green credentials, aside from the colour itself of course, at all.

The next item on my list is the sanitary ware for the downstairs WC. After my fruitless excursions to B&Q and Homebase I’m tempted to scan Ebay and see if theres anything suitable, but buying sanitary ware second hand is tricky. I bought a sink from Ebay a while ago for £8 (plus a 2 hour round trip to Colchester and back which escalated the price somewhat…) thinking it would work in the bathroom but I’m not sure it will. The plans have since changed (unlike me I hear you say) plus it needs a good scrub and I’m sure it will be a nightmare getting all the fittings which are required. So it might be making a reappearance on the site….

Finally, to end the day on a high, I took a look at some of the ‘before’ photos of the house and thought about how far we have come already. It barely feels like we have done anything at all but in actual fact we have acheived a fair amount in the 6 months we have been here so today I’m going to cut us a bit of slack and relish in the good rather than dwell too long on the bad.





O’s room before




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