Category Archives: House

Variations on the Rethink Theme

Life is like a fugue with at least three different themes at the moment. I’m never quite sure which them is going to be the one I hear next.

However, after more consultations, more plotting, it looks like work will begin week after next on the stuff that needs doing that I can’t do! I still disagree with the two builders about the stairwell, but, at the moment, will try not to say “I told you so” if I am proved correct.

Annoyingly, it’s really not worth doing any of the odd jobs I could do, until the builders have done theirs. I am trying to be philosophical, trying not to mind that I’ve probably got to redo the whole of one room, and keep telling myself it could’ve been worse. But, I had so wanted it to be done before the start of term, because once term starts big practical tasks just don’t happen, and today was the day I’d been hoping it would all be done by. What I’ve done looks great, though, and this room will be good too. Just not yet.

On the really positive side, I somehow seem to have worked it so that I’m off for the next 9 days. Then, I’m back to full time work again. So, since I can’t do any more decorating work, maybe I’ll have a bit of a break, and do some other things instead!!

Rethink of the Rethink…

Bother, bother and more bother.

After some consultation with all involved parties, and including the builder (Yep, that was necessary) I’m holding fire on doing any more to the decorating, other than tidying up the bits I’ve been doing.

For –

(a) Damp patches need dealing with. There is a plan. But it won’t happen in these next three weeks.

(b) New locks are needed – no point in dealing with that door frame until the new locks are fitted.

(c) The back door and window frame definitely need attention before the real cold sets in.

(d) I disagree with the builder about the stairwell, but will need to prove it!! I need a ladder….

And, (e) before I have a load of friends turning up on the doorstep and forcing me into it, I do need some kind of relaxing time before term starts again!!

So, I’ve done less than I wanted to get done, “created” more work as well which I’m not pleased about, but overall I do feel so, so, so much better about it all. The two rooms that have been completed look splendid, the two rooms that have gone on hold look considerably better, and, OK, the less said about the stairwell, the better, but it’s still a vast improvement and I can do the rest of the work on that later in the week, as there’s only about three hours work there. Oh, and possibly the glossing in the bathroom… that’s a little job.

The keyboard’s been reassembled, and I’ve spent the past two days dodging from sofa to keyboard, just enjoying reading, and music-making, and generally being lazy.




The Ongoing Adventures of the Painting and Decorating have had to have a bit of a rethink. Not much of a one, but the doors definitely need two coats of paint. I also need to watch out for a clear day so I can re-varnish the back door. And, my landlady definitely wants to do some gardening this week, so I do not want to be glossing the downstairs rooms woodwork whilst she is traipsing in and out between the tiny patch of garden at the front, and the back garden. Especially if garden waste is going to be coming through the house. (Anything going anywhere from the back garden has to come through!)

So, once I’ve attended to the remains of the upstairs painting and the woodwork down the stairs tomorrow, a halt will be called. For, believe it or not, I am on holiday, as various of my friends have been reminding me!!

I still have three weeks of part time work, though, so I am not too perturbed at this, though I’d been hoping to get all the glossing finished this week, leaving only bits and pieces to do next. (Odd bits that I’ve missed, bits of wall paper that could do with a re-glue, a massive cleaning session as I reassemble each room… things like that!) The kitchen cupboards, utility room and pantry can all wait for another time, as I do want to have a bit of a lazy few days before the full time work starts up again.

Back where I belong

.. on the sofa, in the sitting room! Which is such a treat after a week or so camped out in the kitchen! I am, however, grateful I could move most of the furniture from the sitting room in to the kitchen, it made dealing with the sitting room so much easier – furniture that’s too large for the room it occupies is a pain.

I’ve even gardened today. Grass cutting and general tidying rather than real gardening, but I was still working in the garden. Not bad going, considering I was wanting to leave it until Tuesday (one of my two non-paid working days next week) and was doing my very best to talk myself out of it.

All this energy is very splendid, especially as  it’s been a long, long time in hiding. It also has me querying a few things about work. It may have been with so much going on in my own life that all I’ve had energy for has been work, which I’ve not liked one little bit. Or it may be that in term time work is so full-on I’ve no energy for anything other than work, anyway, regardless of what is going on in my own life. And, is that what I want my life to be? I think not.

It could just be that doing this painting and decorating has made here feel that little bit more like home, and as several friends have remarked recently, I’ve really needed this bit of time to settle down and feel somewhere is home, rather than knowing I’m going to be on the move again within months.

But, for now, I’m enjoying a delightul work/life balance, even if it’s going to be financially tight for a month or so, and really appreciating the fruits of my labours.

I’d forgotten…

  • how much I enjoy working with bright, articulate mature teenagers. I do love my awkward, difficult, inarticulate, immature ones as well, I get a real kick out of seeing them become less awkward, difficult, inarticulate and immature. They are the ones I do work with best, but, oh, it’s been so restful this week to have some decent conversation as I’ve worked.
  • how much I can get done when I’m motivated.
  • how much more easily I can get on with those tasks I dislike when there’s more of the of the tasks I like on the go.

Mind you, I said I was doing the morning’s worth of odd bits of painting five days ago, Life, and a nasty 24 hour bug got in the way of that plan, (I’ve stopped feeling weak and feeble now, thank you) and and I’ve just finished it now. So, I am pondering, once I’ve had my lunch, taking myself off to get some library books, and a trip to the cinema in – or would I enjoy those more tomorrow, when I’ve done the clean up properly in those two rooms, and got the next room ready for painting.

Decisions, decisions. I’d not forgotten how bad I can be at those, though!!

Still on target!

The plan has been a room a week and, so far this I have achieved!!

The kitchen has had some interesting challenges – mostly it’s painted brick work. It’s got a rustic feel, but boy, it is a pain and a half to paint. Add in the bright supposedly natural wood masking the stairway, and over when a fireplace or boiler was once upon a time, and some painted wood halfway up one wall. But, it’s all one colour where it’s painted, so I’ve not had to be precise with the cutting in and when painting the ceiling.

It’s almost all completed, and a morning’s work tomorrow will see it done. It’s certainly looking much cleaner, which was the original aim.

So, next week will be the sitting room.

Didn’t that year go by quickly?

It occurred to me, as I was perched on a chair, reaching to paint the ceiling in the tricky little corner of the room (do not, I beg of you, inquire why I’m standing on chairs to do this task when step ladders would be safer.) that it was a Significant Date. This time last year, I was awaiting the arrival of the official paperwork indicating that life really had changed. But, I was so not convinced it was going to get to me with any rapidity, that I nearly threw the blessed envelope which contained the official document in the paper recycling bag, along with the advertising mail it had come wrapped in!

So, today, not only have I acknowledged this significant date, which also happened to be a significant date anyway, (it’s kind of neat and tidy that it’s all on the same date) I have completed another academic year, I have registered the first of my three bestest friends have gone over the numeric border into the next decade. (I have another four years to go….) and plans for the summer are looking good. Work hours are flexible, as long as I complete them before the end of the financial year. Which means I could cut down on travel costs, and bunch days together to make it work getting a travel card, rather than single tickets.

Loads of things have shifted mentally  – for which I am truly grateful.

Church continues to be a hard place to be, but I’m making far more sense of what it is about.

And, now the only thing I need to decide on is in which order the room decorating is going to proceed.

After a lazy evening, and the remains of the team meeting buffet lunch food!



The Decorating Adventures begin…

quite unexpectedly, really.

I had intended just to get the paint and needful items today, but not to get started! Plan A had been to shop at local DIY store, then have the rest of the day off, but I had to come up with Plan B, which was to do the shopping at the DIY store near to work, then go on to a work meeting. However, the meeting was cancelled, so I was back to Plan A, and thus at home  all day instead.  Somehow, I think the lack of energetic activity at work over the last few weeks (it’s been lots of admin, or sitting with students helping them through the last labour pains of getting final assignments in) plus the fact I’ve been walking less, added up to a need to do something more energetic.

So, I cleared my bedroom, got everything together and got started! So far, it’s looking good, first coat of paint on all walls, and ready to go on the ceiling tomorrow. In fact, this may be  the only coat of paint on the walls, it was looking remarkably OK when I left it a couple of hours ago. Judgement will be reserved until the morning, and daylight!

What I am utterly delighted about is how much fitter I am. Last time I did a considerable amount of painting and decorating, I was seriously unfit, and it nearly finished me off! Now, I’m not claiming great things in the fitness department, but climbing up and down step ladders is no longer something I dread. I’m just pleasantly achy, rather than completely wiped out after a day of physical activity. Obviously my normal commute of train and walking, combined with quite a bit of activity at work over the last two years is proving more beneficial than I’d realised.

So, tomorrow will be ceiling day… oh heck.

A cunning plan!

That which is unbloggable continues, but the end is in sight.

In the meantime, I have a cunning plan.

  1. The work load is in it’s seasonal slowdown. (Well, in my case it’s been over loaded whilst everyone else’s slowed down, but after Monday it will be seasonally normal!) So, I’ll only be going to work three days a week until mid-August now. Maybe mid-September.
  2. Since the purchasing of the new spectacles, the world has come into focus, and I am acutely aware my surroundings are somewhat dingy, and could do with freshening up. Actually, I’ve known this since I moved in, it’s just I can see it now.
  3. It would seem I am staying put in this little house that’s become home for the next few years. Point 2 was liveable with when this was a short term option, and not likely to be more than six months or so. Now it’s becoming longer term, and I’m into my 19th month here, it’s annoying me.

So, after negotiating with my landlady, I shall keep myself occupied this summer with a bit of painting and decorating. Nothing fancy, but it will be fun to do.

Just to choose a colour now. I’ve agreed to keep it a pale colour, as it’s a small, potentially dark house, and the two rooms I use most are north facing. Myself, I’ve nothing against magnolia, but I’m willing to consider other options.


Project Front Door

Having spent yesterday sanding the front door, today is varnishing day. And, so far, so good… One minor incident with a small splodge on the carpet, which has been removed successfully.

So, as  I am currently waiting out the requisite 4 hours between coats, and not wishing to move out of the front room whilst the front door is open, (no hallway in this house, just straight into the front room!) a little quiet catch up on writing tasks seems in order. I had been hoping to get away with not doing the inside of the door, but having inspected it closely, that’s not a goer. Most of the inside is OK, but some parts are definitely in need of re-varnishing. However, I refuse to spend the whole of my break on DIY, and will save that for the next one, or a sunny Saturday. It’s certainly less important than doing the outside, which has been on the To-Do list ever since I moved in.

The whole house does feel most thoroughly aired now!!

In other thoughts – it was a good Holy Week and Easter. Much more joyful on Easter Day this year, and a definite feeling of having moved on from the almost permanent doldrums of the last 18 months or so. Still not wanting to be “involved” in anything, other than to be there… but, this is how it needs to be for now, and with that I am content. When the time to do anything comes, it’ll be fine.

I’m slowly getting to grips with other stuff of life as well, and that’s good too. I was invited out for lunch on Easter Day, accepted, and went. That may not sound a big deal, but at the moment , to me, socialising is not at all easy, and extremely hard work. This has been the case  for quite some time now and, I am hoping, something that will begin to ease more as time goes on. For most of my life, I’ve enjoyed time with friends, and this very solitary period has not been in character, at all.

And… the four hours are up!