When you have a house, there’s always something that needs to be done. Sometimes doing one thing by chance highlights something else that needs to be done more urgently, at greater cost.
We started the kitchen extension building work on our house over five months ago. Our elderly neighbour’s house caused some initial problems. His steadfast refusal to do anything radical to the vast willow tree that’s grotesquely in the wrong place meant that our foundations had to be dug deeper than anticipated, and our house underpinned.
The builders had to remove vegetation from our neighbours’ fence. When all the vines and the ivy growing there came down, it highlighted that the fence was in poor repair, and it subsequently collapsed. Our builders have patched the hole with unsightly plywood but our neighbour, whose responsibility that fence is, shows no sign of repairing it so that it looks like the rest of the boundary. Our builders have offered to do it for him, but he apparently refuses.
The concrete lorry that stood on our drive a week or two later sank in the drive, and we discovered that our DIY drive had been botched by the previous owner of this house. There was no hardcore layer under the ugly crazy paving, and our drive simply disintegrated. Our builders will patch it up for but that’s another costly project for another day.
We have known that our previous builders who hamfistedly remodelled our first floor ten years ago have made a dog’s dinner of the central heating systems. With any luck the heating engineer who installed the underfloor heating in the new build will come back and spend some time unravelling the illogical, wrongly installed upper storeys in a few weeks’ time so that the thermostats actually control the heating in the rooms in which they will be situated. That will be nice.
We had an ugly bronze painted radiator in the hall, that had been badly installed. One of our current plumbers came and installed a radiator to replace it but we weren’t really happy with the way it looked as it was a different size from the previous one. Today he came back and replaced it with a better looking radiator. He drained the system to do this but as he refilled the system it became apparent that we had a leak in our airing cupboard. The plumber found water in a pressure valve where there should not have been water as the pipes were badly corroded, possibly because the heating system had been wrongly connected up to our water softener whose salt had been disastrous for our copper pipes.
Having effected a temporary solution, everyone heard a drip, drip, dripping elsewhere. They came downstairs to find water gushing from the spotlights on the new steel beam. Somewhere, apparently, there’s a hidden overflow that’s flowing out onto the new steel beam that holds up the rear of our new kitchen. Apparently it’s possible to mend this but in the meantime we have no central heating tonight. I am cold.
It never rains but it pours.