Tales from the Crypt

There’s dirt and filth everywhere, all our stuff still layered in dust despite being hidden under dust sheets. Thank God Jean and the kids are in Ireland as this is really tough.

However Jean is not doing very well – she’s picked up every post-partum infection known to Woman and is really tired and stressed looking after Sophie and Lauren. I’m going back there on Wednesday night to help out and drive her back home. Lauren is aparently doing well – should be a huge difference when I see her over a week on!

The Basement guys are making progress – they’ve stripped the basement and dug out most of the area under the dining room. They’re just getting started with underpinning which involves digging one metre square pits alternately around the perimeter and building up to the foundation level. They are on site having a cup of tea at 7:00 when I am only getting up and by the time I leave at around 9 the place is thronged with workmen all bumping into each other in the hallways. I’ve got two guys with jackhammers in the basement. I’ve got two or three plumbers installing a boiler on the second floor, decomissioning gas and all the other old lead pipework and crap that is strung through the house and rehanging the radiators. Then I’ve got another two electricians completly rewiring the house top to bottom, sorting out cat5 cabling and tv/aerial connections. Hopefully they will be done by the weekend.

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Did I mention the cold showers? No heating and no hot water for a week! This is an unusually long wait but purely of my own making. I have specified the most complicated route for the ducting from the boiler which is centre of house and against a party wall. It has to come out the top, wind around the ceiling of the walk-in wardrobe/hot press to the opposite side, then go up through the bathroom above and out through the roof. Cost of ducting alone is £800 but hopefully worth it for a clean installation.

The electrics I am much happier with. The house had about three generations of electrics and a crazy bakelite and barbed wire fuseboard on each floor. Now we will have a bang up-to-date system with the consumer unit in the basement area. The walk-in wardrobe space on the first floor (which I am going to have to settle on a consistent name for) will house the wireless router, network storage and telephone point. Cat5 goes from here to the livingroom, kitchen, basement, bedroom 1 and the new study room on the 2nd floor. Of course I have to terminate the network cabling myself as the electrician can only lay the cable, so it could be a protracted period of trial and error to get it right.

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