Storage, snails and a slice of history

Bank Holiday Weekend. Everyone is doing DIY. Or the shiny ads on TV and radio would have you believe that.

It’s been a weekend of stops and starts. Starting early on Saturday to tick off the first few items on our “Preparation” tick list.

First up was checking out the storage company. I did some research in the local area and found one within cycling distance. The owner, Gary, showed us around this bizarre windowless hotel for furniture and boxes of stuff. We had planned on getting a 35sq ft locker (according to one website, big enough for content from a studio flat). We quickly realised we’d need WAY more than that just to fit our sofa inside. So we poked our heads into the 45, 50, 55 and 75 sq ft rooms. We need the 75er. I sent an email to reserve the metal box of 75sq ft and book our removal van to come and move us in in two weeks’ time (nothing like a deadline to get the mind focused).

Whilst in the general DIY retail park area we popped in to see some beautiful sheds. We need to move the contents of our current extension into a shed – basically all of our garden equipment and power tools – and of course Chris wants this to be his workshop/future man cave, so it has to be big enough for a work bench and to hang up all his tools… I want a greenhouse and maybe somewhere that can double as a summer house. What I really want (after falling in love with one at the Grand Designs Live show) is a Tiki Hut, with table and bar area. But that’s a little off-plan – maybe in our retirement pad! The beautiful sheds were very pricey, so we may need to downgrade in the short time and swap out with one of those plastic storage box things…

Close by was a Granite shop for a spot of research on our future kitchen work surfaces. It’s important to have the vision and understand the aesthetic we want for our kitchen. Sometimes that part of the process feels like a million miles away, and Chris is always telling me the importance of thinking about all these details. So we spent some time being shown some very beautiful slabs of granite. Slices of the Earth, one going back 650 million years. WOW. They were stunning. And it got me a little step closer to seeing my kitchen, in place, at some spot in my future.

I then had to hot foot it to London for the day. When I got home in the evening, the pipe had disappeared… I heard an angle-grinder up a ladder at 20ft was involved…

Sunday took us to B&Q to buy storage boxes. Big ones with wheels on. I’m planning to move all our big furniture and a significant percentage of our day to day belongings into storage for the next 3 months to make space for all the chaos and protect as much of our stuff as possible from the *dust*.

We’ve had a very large pile of garden waste in our garden for a month or so now – tree trunks and branches, great swaths of ivy. Last night as dusk fell we chopped up the branches into smaller pieces and stamped them into a big builder’s bag, ready to take to the tip. Frogs and snails had made their mulchy homes in the pile and they jumped and wriggled free as we packed the branches into the bag.

We took the remains to the tip today (Monday) and now at last our garden seems clear. Still a few things to do – find that shed, move the tools, but it’s looking a lot more manageable than it did 12 months ago (see Google Satellite pictures for evidence).

I spent a lot of today carefully packing up the kitchen. As part of my preparation for “operation hibernation” (more soon on that), I am minimizing the amount of kitchenware we’ll be using over the next three months, so bubble-wrapping it and getting it ready for removal day.

With the relentless driving rain, the dark stormy skies and the slight chill that is infecting the air on this last day of August, a certain amount of lethargy is creeping in. We’re both tired. And the looming work that needs to be complete, the strain of builders who, in voice are ready to go, but on paper are still pretty absent. The project seems like a big mountain, towering ahead, intimidating, unknown, difficult to see the summit… This stage is testing our resilience, the need to remain focused and motivated, to believe that it will be be worth while. The days are shortening. It’s 8.30 and pitch black outside. The memories of last winter without heating are pressing in on us. This whole project is incredibly exciting, even 10 months in and with all the planning and prep, it still feels like one of the biggest and best things I’ve ever been part of. But sometimes it’s hard to feel useful and efficient all of the time. Especially on these 3 day Bank Holiday weekends. I feel like I should be spending every second ploughing through my tick-list, but the reality is that the activity happens in stops and starts. And then we feel the pressure again and it all slows down. Some times we just want to get out of the house and go on a day trip, we should be enjoying the weekend, but then we have to gather ourselves and pack another box. It’s a challenge. Staying motivated is tough. But writing about it is good. And remembering, just like that beautiful dark piece of granite, one day this house will be a slice of our history, with all these months of struggle, it WILL be worth it!!

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