...and I had a baby in the middle of it
At the beginning of July 2018, the builders moved in to start, and I quote, 6 weeks of building work.
If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen me mention them a few times since because they are… Still. Freaking. Here.
These chaps are lovely. If you had to (which I do), these are the ones you want around.
Brian, the joiner and our main chap, is wonderful (although started sweating before he even walked through the door from about September onwards as he was terrified I’d give birth in front of him).
There’s also a team of local tradesmen – tilers, plasters, plumbers, electricians, decorators, carpet fitters, scaffolders, sanitation experts (for our septic tank), timber merchants and every delivery man in Northumberland – who are all very pleasant. And, for much of December (merely weeks after I had Nancy) lived at our house so that it would be ‘ready’ for Christmas.
But much like a child who is still hanging about at 30, it’s time for them to leave!
We have one last big job to finish at the back of the house (TV room and utility/boot area) and then we’re left with the niggly bits. Doors closing properly, touching up paintwork that has cracked, putting up shelves, soft furnishings (*shudders*) the bits that could last a life time to finish…
8 Months of Building work
If you’d said to me when we started, “You’ll still have builders in your house in March next year.” I’d be pretty distraught at the prospect, but somehow you just muddle on! Day to day it’s not so bad. And much like with breastfeeding you have to keep thinking, nearly there. Tomorrow will be better. And when you get the odd finished room or area, you are spurred on to keep going.
It’s been hard on Mike as he had to take over the project management for me, which on top of his day job, is a full time job. And, it’s certainly taken its tole when evenings and weekends are dedicated to sorting out yet more household jobs (whether it’s moving our stuff about the place, chasing tradesmen, or sorting out the order of events because at one point we had about 15 different things that HAD to happen by 15th December so the floors could go down – that was fun. Not.)
So, while Mike was running the show and I didn’t need to worry about that (other than his mental state), the absolute worst time for me was when I came home with Nancy (did I mention I’ve had a baby during this building work – she was nearly named Brian!). Everything seemed a lot noisier and busier. Work men in every room (all playing different radio stations and singing at the top of their voices), using different power tools. And while Nancy was able to sleep through it, I was not. I was hormonal, in permanent pain in the nipple area, and fecking knackered. Tears were shed!!
Then the big win came. Just before Christmas.
We had had a few days at Centre Parcs and left the house a building site. When we came back they had all but finished the front of the house. We had gone from living in the kitchen and sleeping in the attic to having 2 front rooms (living room and study), our bedroom, spare rooms, bathrooms AND a downstairs loo.
It’s a big house but compared to what we were living in, it felt like Versailles.
Mike has a video of us walking around the evening we got back and one day I really must edit it into a short video to share on here.
After the building work
So, we’re getting there. But, then the real ‘fun’ starts. Finishing it off. Curtains, rugs, furniture, decluttering random things that have gathered because they no longer have a home… that’s the really tricky stuff.
I know how to get a radiator moved or a new wall light put up because we ask Kevin or Alan. But neither Kevin nor Alan can tell me which rug to buy or if we should put up curtains in the Living Room or not – my dad says yes but I’m not convinced!
Either way I’m looking forward to saying goodbye to this…!