House repairs 2

We are settling into our house well. There’s lots of little maintenance jobs and plenty to do in the garden. X has spent quite a bit of time making a workshop in the basement so he could unpack his tools and dozens of jars of assorted workshoppy things! There are now lots of shelves made with wood we scavenged from offcuts bins at local timber places! The next thing is the bench, then he’ll put in 2 windows. I’m pleased he’s a handyman!

I know exactly how you feel about these light bulbs that won’t come out and when they do they leave the metal bit behind in the holder and what is inside the metal bit at the top of the bulb is what falls out into ones eyes and wherever else.

Today I am forced to sit down not having any electricity to even cook my lunch or to indulge in a cup of hot water. Yes, you might have guessed, the workers are still at it. The cold and hot water tanks are not outside but the mechanics for the drilling is not working, must be replaced after the interference of the plumber and the electrician!! Now all the wires and channels are in place, but nothing is connected, so let’s wait: what will happen next?!!

Whilst at the shop we saw some so-called foolproof security locks, so we’ve put 4 of them on the windows we’re most likely to forget to shut, or need some air from.

I started using that old push machine for washing carpets with on the dining room at 1 p.m. – one I had specially well cleaned in the morning. It was amazing, after 2 days I hoovered again, and on top of usual bits and dirt, at the bottom of the bag there was about 2-3 tablespoonsful of grit, and it looks a much better colour.

At last the man found out what was wrong with the TV – virtually new guts – so $250 later it’s working beautifully – but seldom anything worth watching! If anything else goes I fear it means a new one.

We had high winds and rain for a couple of days and were dismayed to see water running down the outside of the sitting room stove pipe (recently swept). The next day the reason became clear – the cowl over the top had blown off – I think the sweep must have given it a good biff with his brush and broken part of the holding-down straps. Anyway, I had to replace them, which was not easy, as the cowl itself and the top of the chimney were both pretty rusty and thin. I riveted the straps onto the cowl, and then drilled holes in the chimney for self-tapping screws, which was a sensible suggestion from the man when I went to buy more rivets.

Biffed by the sweep


In the process of being redecorated by previous owners it had lost the knobs off both sides of 2 bedroom doors (plus latches and locks) and there were 4 built-in cupboards all knobless and catchless so that was 4 doorknobs, 5 cupboard knobs and 4 magnetic catches to fix for a start. And there was an awkward ancient tap in the garden which created a fountain every time it was turned on to provide cold water for the laundry [?sounds a bit primitive even for 35 years ago!]. I had to borrow wrenches from a new neighbour at the back to mend that one +++.   I enjoyed it all very much with a nice sense of achievement.

House repairs & housekeeping

I was delighted to hear that your dry rot (caused by wetness) was really only wet rot (caused by intermittent dryness as well as wetness) – because the former really is bad news whereas wet rot, as I understand it, is not ‘malignant’, and can be cured reasonably easily provided they can find the source of the wet.

I have now engaged with X to come and build us a new fence along the bottom boundary, which will involve removal of the present compost enclosure. … So I must pull down the remains of the aviary, and remove most of the plants from that border for safekeeping until he has finished. Not, of course, that he is likely to start when he says – he never manages that – but just in case he’s nearly on time, we must be ready.

I’m glad the wood worm treatment is over, though perhaps even now not seeming quite a thing of the past. I was surprised they demanded as long as six weeks before you could cover it – but let’s hope that by then you will have been able to get the other jobs done which are essential… I am enclosing a bank draft as our contribution to getting your flat as you would like it. All these little men must be costing you a lot of money.

all these little men

Our building is all go now. The frame is up and the roof and weatherboards go on next week. The concrete block wall would probably withstand an explosion – it’s SOLID. We’re managing to afford a new kitchen while we’re about it… We’ll have a new wall oven and gas hob (our stove’s being decidedly temperamental – I think the thermostat’s broken!) We also have to have a new water heater… All this fits into the amount we’ve borrowed – on paper at least!

We’ve also bought an extractor fan for the stove hood. It’s not as strong as previous ones we’ve had and makes a bit of noise, but it does seem to get rid of the smells and steam, and we don’t need to have it on when we’re in there.

We have been having much attention given to our telephone. It went out of action a few weeks ago and we complained – and had a van here all day with a pleasant young man who seemed thoroughly confused at our wiring system (between our three phones and one outside bell) and eventually rigged a temporary wire over the top of the house as part of trying to reduce the buzzing in our ears. It didn’t do much for us. Then last week two men in a van turned up, and again stayed most of the day, plus a supervisor in a car for half an hour, and another van. They traced the whole thing, and went round muttering things like ‘the yellow is crossed with the blue’ and ‘there’s a groundswell on the red’ – and gave us another new line under the house instead of the one over the roof. They worked very hard even though it was raining most of the day – and eventually went away triumphant.

The friendly plumber came and estimated for a new basin. I inherited a cracked one where the old girl’s husband had had a seizure or something and dropped a heavy bottle from a short height into the basin. The nice plumber said cheerfully ‘Claim on insurance – they aren’t to know you didn’t do it’ which seems sensible but immoral! The roof man suggested the same so I see I have been missing out all these years on something everybody else does – no wonder the rates per year are so high now.

X has replaced the supply of drinking water we keep, last done 3 years ago, and I found my dried milk to be the same 3 years out of date.

He helped do a massive clear-up in the front garden and we packed the green bin to overflowing. I also collected oddments I wanted to get rid of to put outside the gate and almost all were taken – it’s a good idea: you’re invited to help yourself to anything you’d like and a van collects the rest. ‘They’ call it trash.

Our TV which we’d been saying was so good suddenly packed up and our nice repairman said a new ??? [part] would cost over $100. So we decided to do it now before the old one cost any more. That took all the morning – I’d phoned round getting prices so was able to knock them down $60 – X just can’t do it – I have no qualms – they obviously won’t lose on the deal.

I have been lucky through the coldest nights (so far) and haven’t frozen up – apart from one outlet from the bath which was my own fault as I knew the taps dripped and I forgot to jam the plug in securely after my bath. Fortunately I was able to face the damned snow and unstoppered it with a boiling kettle and a little wangling of the icicle that had formed (despite the protective bag of bracken put over the drain which was supposed to prevent the frost getting through!)

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