Thursday, March 02, 2006


God, I hate Ikea.

All it took to get a lovely fitted utility room was an hour's drive down the M11, 4 hours wandering around endless twisting paths in a bloody great warehouse, 30 minutes waiting for some imbeciles to locate some goods we'd specified 2 hours earlier and paid for already, 20 minutes heaving very heavy flatpacks onto the car roof, an hour's drive up the A10, 2o minutes heaving the heavy flatpacks off the car roof and onto my toes and probably 2 days worth of labour getting the bloody boxes opened and fishing the screws out from gaps in the floorboards.

You should try it - its so much better than the old way. Whatever that was...


That glazed look..

In spite of the fact you can't really see through them, the kitchen doors now actually contain glass, rather than the chipboard we were used too.



There are no longer any cold draughts blowing from the outside into our living room.

A simple solution, for a problem that has bothered us for some time.



Isn't it annoying?

You always run out of tiles just before the end.

Still, most of the roof is covered, and it'll be getting warmer soon, when spring comes.

Friday, February 24, 2006


What are the scores, George Doors?

They not only look like doors, they actually open and close, just like real doors.

Gosh, this is getting good.


A "fitted" kitchen

So called because, when people ask how Helen felt when she was first given acccess to the new kitchen, I usually respond "Well, she fitted. For about 10 minutes. Then she was sick. Then she curled into the foetal position and sobbed for 2 hours".


How do you plead?

I don't remember seeing it on the original plans, but we now appear to have some sort of dock, built on our upstairs landing.

Presumably, when all the work has been completed, we will be putting the builder on trial for Crimes Against Conservation.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I'm confused

Everyone's always agreed that Helen would be able to cook even more fantastically when we got a new kitchen.

But this bacon tasted pretty much the same to me.



Now that's nice

The roof is complete.

Funny how clay, which is only really posh mud, could cost so much money. But probably worth it, eh?


No, we're fine, really.

See, there's still one room in the house we can use. It might be our bedroom, but we've got internet access and hot food.

Helen is even relaxing with a nice large glass of wine. Gosh, she's drinking it quickly. Really, really quickly.

Helen? Helen?


We love our friends

And they must have some kind of feelings for us (pity, probably) because they kindly let us leave behind our squalid, dusty building site and stay at their luxurious home once more.

How did we repay their kindness? By breaking their towel holder.

Ivor and Annie, we love you lots (and we owe you a plastic ring thingy).

Monday, February 13, 2006


Is this right?

They've knocked a great big hole in our bedroom wall.

So now we have two bedroom doors.

This will be useful for re-enacting various theatrical farces; the French maid can leave via one door, while a Vicar bursts through the other with his trousers around his ankles.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Real and present danger

While this might look like the sort of nightclub you end up in after moving drinking venues for the fifth time on a long and boozy night out, it is fact part of our "work in progress"

The newspaper is hanging there purely so that - just before you plunge to your death on the floor below - you hear a faint rustling noise to remind you of the lack of any restraining rail.

It certainly makes night-time wee-wee a little more exciting...


Toilet's last stand.

At last, the time has come. This oddly coloured toilet has been un-installed, re-installed, raised, lowered and generally buggered about for many, many weeks. Through it all, it has remained steadfastly in service (albeit occasionally rather leaky, see below).

It has, quite literally, swallowed all the crap we've given it.

But now, the walls grow ever nearer, the floor is removed and we all know the end is near.

Goodbye faithful toilet. And thank you...


The very real difference..

..between that which the builders consider "nearly finished" and our own view of same.

I mean, yes, there's no grass visible, and the chickens can't get in anymore, but equally I can't see us sitting down for 'us tea' in this room any time soon.

Monday, February 06, 2006


1000 words = 1 picture

Trust me, you don't want pictures for this.

We have had some problems with the new plumbing (the fact that all of the builders refer to the plumber as "Captain Flood" should have warned us, really). On several occasions, water has been seen dripping through the ceiling. We put pots and pans out to catch the drips, we curse the plumber and we step around the puddles.

So, when the ceiling began to drip again, we were not overly concerned. Newspapers were distributed, a tray was put on top of the cupboard where the worst of the dripping was, and Captain Flood's ears began to burn as we cursed him, his forebears and his descendants.

Then one of the children used the toilet. Suddenly the dripping accelerated. And it was no longer completely clear. Is it my imagination, or do those drips look, well, slightly yellowish?

Yes, the pipe had fallen off the back of the toilet, meaning that it flushed directly onto the ceiling behind the lavatory wall.

And all of this into a kitchen where Helen was busily making sandwiches for school lunches. So busily, that when she needed something from the cupboard beneath the catching tray, she wrenched open the cupboard without a thought. The door caught the bottom of the - now brimming - tray, which tilted suddenly and dispensed its contents. Over the sandwich lady, and indeed the entire kitchen. The little that didn't spill was catapulted into the air when the tray struck the worktop on its way down. The walls were running.

Gentle reader, I must draw a veil over both the painful recriminations and the vile smells....

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Look what we did

Our massive investment in this ramshackle house began in September 2005.

After months of decline, UK house prices began to rise again in September 2005.

Coincidence? I don't think so.

Future graphs will include:
  • 'Personal Bankruptcies in the South-East, 2006';
  • 'Incidence of women found clubbed to death with Aga brochures';
  • 'Frost-bite in the pre-teen years'

Monday, January 30, 2006


At last!

Now that she has a proper floor, Beatrice can get on with every childs' dream - a little light cleaning.

Notice too the very thick and highly insulating silver stuff. The temperature inside is begining to diverge from the temperature outside, at long last.


Looking a little better..

Wearing the house equivalent of a face-pack and curlers, but at least not looking like randomly stacked steel and bricks any more.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006



"Hello? .... Granny Sue? ... I'm fine ... Yeah, I'm in my new room right now ... no, it's crap ..."


A veteran recalls

"I remember the cold, always cold; I remember the sense of futility: that we'd lost our way, and didn't know what we were doing or why we were there; but most of all, I remember the mud: mud everywhere, slippery and stinking."

Many had thought the extension would be over by Christmas. They were wrong.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006



Hurrah! The new bit is finally joined to the old.

Now Beatrice can just walk into her new bedroom.

However, if she does, she will fall through the floor, and break her neck.

The stupid child.



This is the last remaining piece of the 'old' house, now entirely inside.

It is now possible to suddenly appear outside what was an upstairs window whilst someone is on the toilet, with hilarious consequences.

Friday, January 13, 2006


There's something very British...

...about the fact that - no matter how much of the house is removed, and no matter how cold it gets - we still keep our toilet facilities going in the same way.

The only thing missing is the end of the toilet roll being folded to a point. I always think that's a nice touch.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Say goodbye to unpleasant toilet smells.

And say goodbye to the walls, the ceiling and large parts of the roof. Yes, the bright bit at the top is the sky. If you squint, you can even see the roof of the house next door.

Fresh air is so much more economical than all of those nasty deodorizors, and of course it discourages those who were previously liable to settle in with a good book for hours. Now we just dump-and-go.


Where'd it go?

Standing in the kitchen, looking upstairs to where the landing - and indeed the roof - used to be.

Five minutes after this, it began to rain.

Still, it could be worse. We could owe the blurred bloke on the roof a whole load of money for doing this. Er...

Monday, January 09, 2006


Beatrice's new room

After being shown her new room, Beatrice has put in a formal request to move into it immediately.

Apparently, it feels much warmer than the room she's currently in, and is a lot cleaner as well.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Oh Air Miles..

.. how you tease us.

And how right you are.


Elephant man/house

The work progresses towards completion, and dons an elephant-man mask.

"I am not a monster. I am an extension. I am entering into a dialogue with the existing building. I am respecting the local vernacular"

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Reduced facilities

I fear that the days of gourmet meals are probably over, or at least temporarily suspended.

And the oven door is open since this is currently the only form of heating we have.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


The kindness of friends..

It's hard to care much about the mud and the lack of central heating when your friends invite you to "look after" their house - and all the lovely facilities therein - while they're away.

The only time we leave this hot-tub is to pop back to what we now consider to be our old house to feed the old chickens.

Ivor & Annie, we love you.


What do you plan for the garden?

The builder recently asked us what we plan to do with the garden.

Hmmmm.... Bit less mud? More live plants? Fewer steel girders? Not so many toilets?

After careful consideration, we have concluded the following: we have absolutely no idea.

(Although the chickens will, of course, be retained)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Mummy, it's snowing!!

It's snowing in Beatrice's new room.

Less amusingly, it's also below zero in Mummy and Daddy's current room.

Friday, December 23, 2005


Happy Christmas!

It may be a building site, but we can forget all that, with a selection of sophisticated decorations.

Half-close your eyes and you could be at any of the stately homes of England.


It seems so quiet (sniff)

The builders have packed up neatly, and gone away for Christmas.

And gosh, the house seems so big now they're gone.

We miss them already.


No worries

I'm not entirely postive, but it does seem that this steel bar is all that is currently supporting the entire house.

Still, not too windy right now.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Hurray for Sunday!

The builders aren't here, which means I can play on the scaffolding without being told off.

Look at me. Look how high I am!

By the way, the land you can see at the back is where John Prescott plans to build an enormous "affordable" housing estate, with a chip shop, just as soon as we've finished our extension. Probably.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Perhaps now..

.. Beatrice can understand why we needed her to move out of her bedroom and into the spare room "just for a short while".


But am I bovvered?

Walls, ceilings and large areas of roof have been removed. It's 2 degrees outside, and a chill wind is blowing through holes large enough to put your head through.

But Helen is wearing at least 5 layers of clothing, so she ain't bovvered.

The children are refusing to leave their beds.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Oh dear

Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy
High 1
Low -1
High 2
Low -1
High 6
Low 1
High 5
Low 2
Is this what you want to see when some nice men have taken away a large part of a perfectly good roof, and replaced it with a single sheet of felt?
I don't think so.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Going up

First floor (second if you're non-British types) is begun.

The white wooden bit lurking sheepishly at the back knows its days are numbered. It will be in bits in a skip 'ere long.

And look, at the bottom of the picture: say farewell to grass-cutting misery with new, improved "sea-o'-mud". Kids (and hens and escaped rabbits) just love it.


You'll always find me in the kitchen..

Pretty much finished really, bar the floor, windows, ceiling and lots of expensive fittings.


Just for a laugh

We take the toilet off the wall and crucify it on an old pallet.

I'm sure there's a good reason for this, but it don't 'alf feel odd being "at stool" in the middle of the room.

And the radiator burns ones thighs at wipe-time too.


Just like the real world.

And you can even see where the doors and windows might go.

Gosh, its all going rather well.


Hang on a minute...

In which the builders start the new, without first removing the old.

This is deliberate, as it prevents us having to live in our garden for the duration of the coldest winter since 1963


Where'd the path go?

Dug up and put into a very-expensive-to-remove skip, that's where.


Real photo's: 'ere we go...

Arthur the Rooster of Very Little Brain realises something is amiss when the garden begins to disappear from beneath him.

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