Thursday, 11 February 2010

Have you heard the one about the builders...

As I shiver in the kitchen, trying to defrost my fingers enough to make them tap at the right characters on the keyboard, I wonder how it is that we decided to have our house done up during one of the coldest periods this country has experienced.

We must have been mad.

On top of that I had the crazy idea that I could move my office to the conservatory. Now this seems more than foolish, damn well stupid. The kitchen with its wood burning stove, where I've decamped to, is cold enough.

We've now been without heating for over two weeks, after the plumbers did what in the industry is professionally called 'The 1st Fix'. This means everything is ripped out, all radiators, taps and loos are disconnected, and some new pipework is installed. It does not, however, mean that anything at all is working. It just means that the builders can get on and do their bit of filling, plastering, tiling and general dust creation. Then the plumbers return for 2nd Fix when all is shiny and finished. They'll reconnect all pipework and the heating, hot water and wastes will all be working again. Seems like an impossible dream at the moment.

None of this should come as a surprise to me. With my professional history I should be more then well informed about the procedures involved in house refurbishments. Unfortunately though, as is the case with most people in the construction industry, I'm an optimist. I forget how much dust there is, how not having heating for several weeks renders the very fabric of the house damp and cold, how having just the one loo means you have to share it with people you don't know at all, how the dust, grit and plaster gets everywhere (I mean everywhere), how slowly the work sometimes seems to progress, how people often let you down and forget to turn up on the day and at the time they said they would....

But since here in Britain, in my adopted country, one is not supposed to complain, I shall grin and bear it. Besides, the work is almost on schedule. As long as when Daughter is back next week, there is a modicum of conveniences at hand, including the heating back on, I'm happy. At which point, I am absolutely sure, spring will be sprung and the unseasonally warm weather will be the talk of the town.

You heard it here first.

8 comments:

Dash said...

Oh my God, no heating, I do sympathise, maybe a bit of crazy idea, but how were you to know it was going to be the coldest winter for decades, roll on next week. In the meantime put your thermals on and stay warm.

Wildernesschic said...

Helena as you know I have been there and you have my every sympathy xxx

Helena Halme said...

I know I'm like a stuck record, but you always forget what impact a refurb has on your life. I'm trying to keep up the faith and believe it'll soon be over.

Thank you for your kind words, I'm sitting in front of a roaring fire as we speak.
xx

Anonymous said...

ALMOST on schedule is the key expression in all renovation...
4 months later than promised we are still not quite there. At least we have +17c in our bedroom.
Hot water bottle? Hot vodka bottle?

Helena Halme said...

Anon., I'm just warming a bottle of red wine on the fire. How did you know???? xx

Make Do Style said...

Gosh poor you, it will be ok soon and thank you for your comment. I feel bereft and I hardly knew the man, but of course he's been massively influential, in fact truly influential.

North West London Girl said...

How completely awful, your body must be rigid with cold. You know it really is quite alright to complain if you have very good reason, and it sounds that you do. xx

Margit said...

You're showing real British grit, Helena! Weedy old European me, I think I would have moved into a hotel by now ...