The final countdown

Summer. It seems to have passed by in a blink of an eye. And what progress on the house? It’s been slow and steady, under the surface kind of stuff. Unless you look really closely you may not see that anything has changed. But now we’re teetering very close to the edge of things really starting to happen, and suddenly everything seems pretty real!

Over the last few months there has been a lot of paperwork, negotiating, explaining, head-scratching, money-counting, decision-making, mental arm-wrestling as we inch closer to d- day. Or perhaps I should say b-day. The day the builders turn up on our door step.

So, a run down of progress over the last few months…

1. We were granted planning permission. This was a big win. The yellow plastic sign proudly tacked to the post outside our house. It faded in the sunshine. We patiently waited. We met with our neighbours to go over plans. And… we were awarded our piece of paper! Yay.

2. Skips have been our friend. Several weekends of transporting wheel-barrows of soil from our back garden into the yellow skip sitting out the front of our house. We’ve gradually been moving layers of old gardens, digging up roots, broken glass and the mysterious plastic bags that seem to have been buried in large numbers under our garden.

3. The patio has been demolished. My sanctuary, my temporary garden had to finally go. We’re prepping for the foundations for the new extension, so we moved the pots of plants to the end of the garden, Chris bought a concrete-breaker and went to work.

4. Chris bought some bi-fold doors which we’ll put between our two rooms when the wall is smashed through. A bargain off ebay with beautiful ornate glass windows.

5. We’ve replaced the soil pipe in our drain. It was completely cracked and the no. 1 entry point for our rat friends from last winter. Now a shiny new pipe pokes proudly out of the ground.

6. We found some interesting wildlife in our garden, dead and alive, including a dog’s jaw and a False Widow (most venomous spider in the UK) in our recycling bin.

7. We’ve had several meetings and cups of tea with Brad and Glenn, our builders-to-be. Lots of revisions of spreadsheets, email chasers, frustration, excitement, anticipation and every other emotion under the sun. Now we’re very close to agreeing a price and a start date (6 weeks!!!!) – we are now truly on our final countdown!!!

I like a deadline, and one reasonably close, to put enough pressure on me to motivate me. I have to organise storage for our furniture as we’re having to completely clear the downstairs ready for the renovations. That includes moving our kitchen and living room activities upstairs. We’re basically going to be living in our upstairs for the winter. And I have 6 weeks to do that.

Chris, on the other hand, has a slightly busier schedule. To minimise costs he has agreed to demolish our existing extension and dig the foundations for the new extension, bring up all the floors on the ground floor, paint the fascias, and dig the soak-away. We also need to get the water and gas pipe into the house.

Tick tick tick, it’s going to be a busy 6 weeks.

Patiently waiting for planning permisson
Patiently waiting for planning permisson

skip
Filling skips with old versions of our back garden

patio demolition
Breaking up the patio

Rubble patio
Rubble patio

Breaking concrete
Breaking concrete

Replacing the soil pipe
Replacing the soil pipe

Slowly our garden becomes clearer
Slowly our garden becomes clearer

Digging up bones - jaws
Digging up bones – jaws

Interesting wildlife uncovered in our garden
Interesting wildlife uncovered in our garden

False Widow in the Recycling Bin
False Widow in the Recycling Bin

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