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Thursday, 8 November 2018

Plastering and Windows

Three bedrooms, one bathroom, one en-suite  and  hallway ceilings have been skimmed. The walls in the en-suite have also been skimmed. Lots of prep took place first,  screwing, scraping and a PVA wash  applied before any plaster was put on.  


 Hubby bought a new loft hatch to finish off the hall as the old one was so yukky.  We also need a new mains electric smoke alarm. The ceilings should be ready to seal with a watered down emulsion  by Wednesday,  Thursday. Once that's all dry we can crack on with the painting.  We need to fit in a trip to Ikea to order the wardrobes for 2 of the bedrooms. We have always fitted Schrieber wardrobes to our properties but they don't seem to be trading anymore. 

Once our heating engineer has been in hubby can kit out the en-suite and tile it, then we should be ready to move furniture that is cluttering up the lounge into the rightful place.  

We have decided to fit new windows despite the price. There are lots of faults with the ones here.  The seals and trims are warped.  The trickle vents are draughty and full of nicotine.  And if I'm honest to change the leaded light units to plain would cost nearly as much.  There is a 4-5 week wait, but at least they'll be done this side of Christmas. 

The front garden was quite overgrown, its only shrubs planted in pea shingle but it was scruffy so I spent yesterday hacking everything back. Then I weeded all the block paving before spraying with a tough weedkiller to inhibit further growth. As I walked into the kitchen to make a cuppa I saw this chap in the garden......a European woodpecker. He was a beautiful pale green with a red stripe on his head.  I took some video but I cant work out  how to upload it. I will once i work it out.  

Garden photos to follow. Bye for now. Tx

PS, at 7:40 this morning my BT hub finally turned blue which means I have broadband. Guess what, notbone BT engineer had to enter ny property. I gave been spun a load of lies. They said id have to   gave an engineer viditas no one at thus property has ever had broadband. Furthermore  they fidnt know fibre was zvailable at this location. I told tbem it was, I'd googled it! Now the fight is on to get compensation for hubby.






Saturday, 3 November 2018

Elbow Grease Can Save You Money


Our plasterer Kyle has been in over the last 3 days. The first day he was here was spent on preparation so he was flitting from room to room. He scraped back all the high artex work, screwed down any plasterboard that was out of line, tightened and filled any screws that had popped. So we looked for jobs that wouldn't get in his way but move us forward at the same time.  I asked hubby to take the grill covers off the radiators so that I could start cleaning them. You would not believe what 18 years of dirt and smoking does to a radiator. 



The en-suite radiator was easy as that had been removed from the wall as its being repositioned and the walls plastered. I hoovered as much as I could, then I used a bottle brush to clean the fins behind before taking a soapy bleach mixture to the stains itself.  I was chuffed with the result as it means not having to replace them as they are already a modern design.  I have cleaned 4 out of the 9 in the bungalow so far.  The rest will be done on another rainy day.



We have had a number of window companies call to give us quotes for windows and each of them has mentioned the guttering and down pipes.  We told them we were going to try to clean them first before making any decisions regarding replacement. So hubby made a strong washing-up liquid solution in a pump spray an doused the pipe work leaving it to loosen the dirt for 15 minutes before sponging and rinsing it down with clean water.  I think you'll agree its come up like new.  


Kyle worked till 7 yesterday, so we couldn't pop to the shops till late as his van was blocking the drive.  We could have asked him to move it but he's been doing such a grand job we waited. It was to our advantage too as I picked up some bargain yellow sticker meat as well as fruit and veg. Hubby had thrown the packaging from the cooked chickens before I had a chance to photograph them. The chicken was originally £5 reduced to £2.43. They were stripped and the bones boiled for stock.  One of the 4 portions was made into chicken casserole that will provide 4 meals and the rest was frozen.  

I've been ploughing on with the garden too, a little bit at a time. The borders are being weeded and thinned out.  Hubby will dig out various old woody shrubs over the next month ready to go to the tip.  Thank heavens for our trailer and a great local amenity dump, its made getting rid of all the tiles and sanitary wear from the en-suite easy and cheap.  Its also taken all the garden waste so far which would have filled a small skip costing around £89. Plastering up date next. Have a good weekend. Tx



Tuesday, 30 October 2018

At Last BT Have Listened

After getting up and reading the warning on the screen of my mobile yet again, saying my bill was currently standing at £100 because I was 0.84GB over my allowance, I was WILD!

I took the bull by the horns and contacted BT, a 20 minute phone call and 3 people later my data allowance was changed on my mobile to a whopping 35GB. Better still its not costing me a penny.  After reading the notes on my case Jessica agreed with me when I said 'surely increasing my data allowance for the next 28 days is more sensible than me having to claim back the money of what I using. Plus the anxiety of seeing the message on my phone first thing every morning and last thing every night will disappear'.  I double checked that I am down for the broadband to be connected on the 8th November and I also said I will be writing to the MD of BT and raising the issue of badly trained staff with him. I have the names dates and times. 

So I have tethered my mobile to my laptop to go online.  I can do most of the blog off line then reconnect to publish.  I managed to back up my phone in Wetherspoons yesterday when I met 'the girls' for a belated birthday celebration, by plugging my phone in to their power socket and logging on to their Wi-Fi. 


After moving in last Wednesday (24th) the first job was to tackle the garden which was completely overgrown. It was a priority as the weather forecast looked good for the next 48 hours. It took just under a day and a half to get the  very thick wet lawn down to a reasonable length and some of the borders cut down. There was buddleia growing everywhere. It was all over the drive way, in the front lavender bed and down the side alleyway. Once we get another run of dry weather the block paving at the front will be given a good clean and treated with a strong weed killer.  

While I dealt with the garden hubby boarded a section of the loft so that a lot of the boxes stored in the lounge could be stored out of the way. 

That looks so much better. We will continue our work out there getting some plants in and maybe a tree ready for the spring.  The tree is to obscure the top of an orangery attached to the bungalow at the rear of our property.

We are dealing with the bungalow in 2 halves. By getting the bedrooms and en-suite completed, we will have somewhere to wash and sleep. Again it gets rid of lots of furniture that is currently in the lounge.  The bungalow has 3 bedrooms, we will use one as a formal dining room. The front bedrooms have a bay each and are a lovely size.  at 12'11'' x 13', and 12'6 x 13'. Bedroom 3/Dining room is 11' 10'' x 8'7''. The smell is still horrid and every time I see the nicotine stains on things around the property It makes me gag!




The loft hatch insulation seal is orange and every light fitting is yellow.  The mastic around the windows is also stained. The son had the ceilings and gloss work painted and I have to say its a real professional job but the smell is in the carpets and walls.  Once the rest of the carpets are out and the place is decorated we believe the smell will go.   More updates soon.  Bye for now. Tx

Saturday, 27 October 2018

We Are In

Well, the move went ok. It's was quite fraught at one point as the transfer of funds took so long considering there was only 2 homes and 3 people in the chain.

The bad news is BT has let us down big time. The moving dept put the order in for our phone but forgot the broadband, so we have to wait till the 8th. They have given me data on my mobile to compensate but blogging it's hard work on a mobile. Sorting our bills and other stuff has been dreadful without the internet!

I've taken lots of photos and I'm keeping a sort of diary of events so that when I can post properly you can see the progress.

So far the garden has been cut down. 12 bags of grass, there's lots of stuff in the borders that need removing which will get done gradually. 

The ensuite has been removed and the loft partially boarded.  Phew!! Oh and I've made 20 meals for the freezer, so we can eat healthily!

Back soon. Tx

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Times They Are A-changin

Earlier this year hubby was taken into hospital with severe Pneumonia, he had additional complications because he is an insulin dependant diabetic of 38 years. Being told that 'we hope he responds to the antibiotics' certainly  makes you revaluate your life and what you can  do if anything to change it. Well it took 4 different antibiotics given intravenously and orally, as well as steroid nebulisers before he started to respond. It was a very long 7 days  that my fellow bloggers made bearable with their kind messages.   Just these last few days two of the husbands of the blogs I follow have found themselves in hospital, quite poorly. Hard up Hester Afloat and Marlene at Poppy Patchwork, I wish your loved ones a speedy recovery.  Please look after yourselves too, its easy to forget about yourself  when you are dashing around, living on stress, sleeping badly and forgetting to eat. Thank you for the regular updates, we are all rooting for you. 

Hubby and I had a candid conversation shortly after he came out of hospital which prompted the decision to move.  The outcome:

  • We would buy a bungalow.
  • It will be our last renovation.
  • This would be hubbies last winter at work.  He currently works 2 days a week plus holiday cover in the summer months. But the temperatures over the winter in his workshop are freezing and this effects his circulation. He will be 63 next March so 3 years until state pension. But with our private pensions and rental income we can manage. 
  • We would have 'within reason' everything we want in the bungalow. There are no pockets in shrouds as my dad used to say.  So its time to loosen the purse strings a little, some of my pension lump sum will be spent on the bungalow and the rest will get us through the next 3 years until we reach state pension age. I also have an interest free 'on purchases' credit card that can  be used and paid monthly while hubby us still working.   There will still be no waste, things will only be bought on offer. And if we can DIY it we will DIY it. 
  • Although the garden is much smaller I will still grow what I can where I can.
  • We will holiday as much as our income allows, the time will come when we can't, so we aim to do it while we can. 
  • We will join a gym and make a conscious effort to attend at least 3 times a week.  Staying physically active is a very important element of controlling diabetes  and depression. 
  • We've made a conscious effort to take everything with us that can be utilised. Picture frames, plant pots that can be reused or upcycled etc. 
Today is my 62nd birthday and  tomorrow we start a new chapter in our lives. The first job after collecting the keys from the estate agent to our new home,  is take up all the carpets and dispose of them.  The bungalow was built by a private builder  in 2000. Its only ever had one previous owner...…..who was a chain smoker! The place has been decorated to remove the yellow stained walls and ceilings but the carpets which were obviously a very expensive Axminster are yellow around the edges and disgusting. (photos to follow) I'm hoping the underlay can stay down temporarily,  to provide underfoot comfort but we will have to see as the smell is horrid. Even the mastic around the double glazed windows is bright yellow! YUK, YUK YUK  The place has been shut up for over 6 months so I'm hoping getting some fresh air in there will help too.  So, onward and upward.........WE CAN DO THIS! Bye for now. Tx




Monday, 22 October 2018

Planning and preparation.

Preparation  is often the key to success, for me it means less stress.  I am a planner, I am a list maker, this way I stay on top of things.  Writing stuff down helps me commit it to memory.  Its the way I used to revise at school and university. Moving house is stressful anyway and there is so much to remember.  I have had so may companies to contact that I had to draw up a table of date, time,  who I spoke to and the outcome.  

One thing that shocked me more then anything is the number of companies that actually do not want you to call them.  They hide their contact details in a labyrinth of menus. Even when you do contact them the first 3 minutes of the intro message is taken up telling you to complete x, y, or z online.   I phoned my local council to inform them I was moving, after a couple of minutes it said press 2 if you are moving.  Then it said we can no longer take moving details over the telephone.  You must go online and complete the form, we will only take change of address details in exceptional circumstances. Is not having a computer or mobile phone exceptional circumstances? The world has gone on line and if you can't comply your screwed!

I did manage to speak to an actual human being at Sky, Katelin was a lovely young Scottish lady who was extremely helpful.  I told her the new house didn't have a Sky dish so it was a good opportunity to give it up and revert back to normal TV.  I complained the cost had steadily rose over the years and was now ridiculous for people on a fixed income. Not only are the fitting a new free dish, I will have extra channels and they reduced the price from £26 to £15. RESULT. 

Our new home energy supplier is EDF, so not the one we are currently with.  I have to ring them on the day with the readings. I also have to ring our supplier and ask them to switch us over.  I hope it goes smoothly.  BT are sending an engineer to the property to check the phoneline and test for Fibre broadband.  I'm hoping they will install a new phone point in the lounge, it will save us a lot of work if they do.  You only need to be connected physically to the Wi-Fi hub for 'on demand', so no rush. 

We are on the last leg of packing and I've got to the point were I just want the van outside so that I can start putting everything on board.  Our bed will be dismantled and brought downstairs tonight, then I'll clean all the bedrooms upstairs and hoover through. The stairs can be brushed and the hall moped. All I'll have to concentrate on, on Wednesday, is the lounge, kitchen and conservatory.  The water meter can be read tomorrow night and I can complete that on line.  Best dash still got a hospice shop run to do.  Bye for now. Tx




Monday, 15 October 2018

Bargains & Telephone Scams

I know, I know, you don't hear from me for weeks and then I post 3 times in quick succession!  As most of you know I have been trying for months to empty my big freezer, well I'm probably 3 days away from switching it off. Thank heavens, I know its mainly my fault, but  I hate walking away from a bargain. Living out of the freezers and garden has definitely helped keep the budget down.  So far this month I have spent £62.13 and I've picked up some great bargains along the way from Asda. Some WW  cheese reduced from £1.70 to 90p and spreadable butter reduced from £1.20 to 73p. 

I also got some clothes ready to put away for Christmas and birthdays next year. I have an excel spreadsheet birthday list that I renew every November ready for the following year. Its very useful for referring to regarding the ages of people I am buying for.  Then  when I'm out and about I can buy bargains with confidence.  The incredible sunshine and warm temperatures we've experienced of late is keeping the gas/electric bills low too.  
Rain jacket was £14 paid £7, Grey heart dress, was £5 paid £3, 3 boys T shirts £8 paid £5, Pink embroided blouse was £9 paid £4, white logo T shirt £6 paid £4. So a total saving of £19. 

Today I got a lamb hotpot out of the freezer.  This will be served with mash potato and peas. I did more mash then I needed and this was made into a corned beef hash ready for tomorrow.  The garden is offering up its last few bits and pieces. We are still getting some lovely size figs and a least two bowls of small autumn raspberries a week.  I bit the bullet and pulled up the courgette plant as everything was rotting on the plant. In the greenhouse, the last cucumber plant gave its last 2, well 1.5 cucumbers. 
Earlier this morning I answered the house phone which doesn't ring very often.  An eastern sounding lady told me she was authorised to drop my line rental from £19.99  to £14.99. It was all part of a package she was putting together as 'Switch and Save'. I asked her how she knew who my line rental was with? She said she had the authorisation from Openreach (BT). I asked her for her telephone number and I would ring her back after I'd spoken with BT as they had no right giving her my personal information.  The phone immediately went dead. I have been plagued with telephone scams that all point back to BT in some way or another. Last month I had 3 calls from BT who said there was a problem with my router. Every time I have asked them for their phone number they ring off.  I know BT have no control over this but I am of the opinion that having their call centre abroad has contributed to personal data being hacked. I dare say had I agreed to the reduction I would have been asked to confirm my bank details and they would have helped themselves to my hard earned money. Has anyone else had these problems? Bye for now. Tx