Friday, 11 June 2010

Wasps, ball valves and dust

That's been my life for the past week, in case anyone had missed me! I'm back in the UK overseeing the renovations to our little house after good tenants, not-so-good tenants and an agent whose laziness and lack of communication has not helped the state of our property.

So this trip I'm having double-glazing done, repairs to leaking roof, two new ceilings and most of the others reskimmed, the bathroom and our tiny en-suite repaired and refurbished, the garden reclaimed and advice on damp-proofing. I'm on day 5 now and things have been... interesting.

The windows are going in OK so far with only a small amount of blue air from the men. But I didn’t have any hot water until Wednesday (arrived here on Sunday afternoon – no water at all till Monday lunch-time – it was all a bit smelly!) because the ball valves had jammed causing the overflows to pour out, and when the poor guy tried to go up in the loft to change the ball cocks, he got chased out by wasps from about 10 nests up there. All work halted till I got pest control in. Then the loft hatch came off in Mr Pest Control’s hands. And he asked did I know I had mice up there too? Nice.

That was Monday. Tuesday night I showered at MIL/FIL’s, and drove back through the rain to find a puddle on the hall carpet from the hole in the roof. This should have been patched by the roofer and checked regularly by our agent. So, the washing-up bowl has had to live in the middle of the hallway to catch the drips until the lead arrives (hopefully today) so the roofer can fix it.

And only then can the ceiling man take the ceiling down and replace it. But that’s OK because he’s been kept a bit busy taking down our bedroom ceiling today. I’m not sure he meant to, but it cracked and bits started falling off. And off the lintel. Poor (silly) chap hadn’t brought a dust mask and I was coughing 2 rooms away. I started searching our cellar in case we had some masks, until I realised he was taking fresh air breaks to breathe in plenty of good old nicotine. Then I decided he could take responsibility for his own lungs.

I’ve had 3 different opinions on the damp problem in the downstairs room, and until I can find an expert, I’m going with the easiest solution (a vent in the wall) before I authorise any hacking up of floors/plaster/injection of chemicals. But at least the guy managed to lift the hatch on the inspection pit in the garage floor for the first time since we bought the place, and there aren’t any corpses down there. That’s good.

I had a few chats with the neighbours too. I'm not even going to start on what I learned about our tenants, but let's just say that I'm going to be checking our property's credit listing and crime records just in case. Tenants, aaargh.

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