helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

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the house update du mois

Once again I have failed to do anything with my lj this week. My excuse is that most evenings I have been gardening. For some reason possibly connected to the previous inhabitants being art students (who paid £300 to have a tv aerial installed), nothing has been done to the garden in years. The little patch of land at the front of our house (approx 6 foot x 4 foot) is (deliberately) covered in stones, which would look really nice with a few large pots of flowers to brighten it up. The problem is, it was laid as stones straight on top of earth, so weeds can grow through the stones - which looks absolutely awful. I don't want to use weedkiller, so for the next few months (until I've got rid of all the underground seeds), I'll have to weed the garden every couple of weeks. You remember I gave the size of the plot? Well, weeding it thoroughly takes about 8 hours. Fun, huh? Actually, I don't mind on a nice day if I have my stereo blaring to keep me amused... it's quite rewarding.

We have also been wrecking the decking in the back garden. We started off trying to break it apart carefully so I could just clear out the weeds, rubble and junk underneath it, but it was so badly weatherproofed that all the nails had rusted through and most of the wood is rotten. However, we can't just remove the decking and then lay a lawn (for instance) on the ground underneath - because several parts of the back garden have no ground! Literally - if I removed all the rubble there would just be a several-foot-deep hole. As we can't afford to spend any money on landscaping it properly, it looks like the best thing for us to do is to simply clear the land underneath, salvage as much as is possible, and then remake it, properly weatherproofing it in the process. But that takes large amounts of time and effort (and Richard is hardly ever home before it's dark).

It's quite funny: having budgeted to buy the house, we're having to budget several years into the future to pay for all the improvements. This year's big job was damp proofing the downstairs and painting all the rooms, next year's is removing the horrible lumpy render from all over the back of the house, finding out why our kitchen ceiling is sagging and doing whatever structural stuff needs doing to fix that, & replastering Richard's small room. The year after that we can finally replace the horrible cheap kitchen that is falling apart (although this may need to be moved earlier if it gives up entirely), and the year after that (2007) we can finally landscape the back garden: assuming that no major disasters occur before then, requiring us to rejig our plan. Planning 4 years into the future? That's scary.

I am still amused by the person who should know better who suggested we'd want to move house again "about the time we have children". Richard was distressed by the implication (that one of our friends didn't know us that well), but I pointed out it was literally true as the time we want to have children is never, and the time we want to move house again is... never.

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