Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What a Week Part Deux

Actually, after Monday, it started to get a bit better. Let's face it, it would be difficult for it to get worse. Though, (thinks off stage right) maybe that is no quite accurate.

Clint has been fabulous, and I really think that without him we might have fallen to bits. Clint, by dint of living no more than 75 metres away from us, has a tendency to arrive at about 7.30 in the morning, with an enormous cup of tea in his hand. He arrived on Tuesday Morning and I was still sitting around in my jimjams. Clint isn't perplexed by anything it seems. "Right", he said, " I think we'll get that door down and then they can take the Skip away. You are throwing this carpet away aren't you. It'll only get destroyed with all the plaster dust when I start plastering, and it will fit on the skip just perfect!"

You can see the logic, though I must admit that I had not actually given thought at that moment to the concept of replacing the lounge carpet. Oh, to hell with the carpet, you only stop working once, I hope, so there will be some lump sum money to pay for a new carpet ....... I hope.

Ever since we moved into the house we have been plagued by the door between the lounge and the dining room. These two huge pieces of wood and glass, one fixed and one which slides, depending on the phase of the moon and, whenever the patio door is open wafts in the slightest breeze making a booming noise reminiscent of Big Bertha in World War I.

We ripped it out. It took about three quarters of an hour, it nearly brought the wall down. There was plaster everywhere, but, Oh how good it felt to have the verdammtetur gone on the skip.

You don't know how liberating it is having a plastered in the house helping you to demolish walls and things. There were holes in the wall, plaster everywhere and both Clint and I looking like we had been in a snowstorm, and Clint just looked at it and said, "Right, have you ordered the new doors yet. We need to see how they are going in. Don't worry about the holes, they are easily fixed!"

The doors were actually being delivered that morning. When they arrived Clint went out to help carry them in, and I'm so glad he did as each door weighed a ton, or seemed to. Clint was so impressed that he decided that, contrary to the original plan, he would not install the new doors. He said that while he didn't mind fitting ordinary doors he was worried about spoiling these.

The doors had to be installed in the next three days, because Clint had to be able to plaster up to them. Have you ever tried to get hold of a carpenter at three days notice, without him wanting you to take out an extra mortgage to pay for his services. Well you don't know Clint. "Oh, leave it with me, I'll give Phil a ring, he'll call round this evening"

And he did!

Yes, he could install the doors, build a case to fit them in, create a new stud wall to fill in the gap that would be left behind, provide all the fixtures and fittings needed to install the doors. Would the day after tomorrow do? How much, amazingly little for a whole days very hard work! Let's put it this way, the mechanics at the Ford Garage down the road charge more to service my car than Phil the Carpenter charged.

And, by the end of the day, we had two whole walls skimmed and starting the slow process of drying out. Two lovely walls. All smooth and pink.

Maybe Hell isn't so bad after all!

But then, that was only Tuesday. More to follow on this story. I'll have to try and find you a picture!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quelle Semaine (Part I)

Whoeeeee. What a week that was.

First, the backstory. Couple of weeks or a bit more ago, one rainy, rainy evening in June, your hero, Kev the Magnificent, was alone in the house with only a small Springer Spaniel puppy to keep him company. It was a wild and stormy night when he discovered that water was drip, drip, drippety drip, drip, dripping through the kitchen ceiling. With great aplomb our hero put a bucket under the drip. Next day, a phone call to the mighty Alf got a visit and some mastic tipped into the hole that had appeared in the roof.

The next day there was a new leak in the dining room. Two different leaks in two different parts of the flat roofed extension. Alf came out again and put some blue tarpaulin over the whole roof.

Over the following two weeks it quickly became apparent that, despite the blue tarpaulin, whenever it rained the rain came on an extended visit to the Dining Room. We begaan to get used to a life that featured buckets littered around the floor. Two weeks ago today, Paul the Stripper came to remove the wallpaper in the Living Room. Redecorating the Living Room has been in planning since before our Superhero fell down the stairs with such winning style and rupturing speed. All the paper was stripped off by the end of Tuesday th July. That gets us up to the start of the week from ............

drum roll at this point from the looney drummer who lives across the back lane and who gives us a virtuoso performance on the drums on every occasion when the sun shines.

from ....................................................... HELL

or at least Stevenage! (Don't ask, Danielle, I've gone INSANE. I cannot explain it either.)

So twas on the Monday Morning that the Plasterer came round,
with his trowel and his Float and his Merry Plasterer's Song.

Well, Clint arrived!

No, not Clint Eastwood, Clint the Plasterer and, YES, before you ask that really is his name.

Clint lives just across the Close from us and, when we decided that we wanted to replaster the Lounge, he was recommended to us by the quality of his work in other houses in the Close.

The week began by Clint inspecting the ceiling in the Dining Room and Kitchen and deciding that the best thing to do was to begin by pulling down what remained of the ceiling. So Pat, Me and the Doggie went off to live in the Summer House (It's really a big shed in the garden but Summer House sounds better.

We'd been sitting there about an hour when Clint popped out and said, "We have a bit of a problem. You have a couple of Wasps Nests in the Kitchen Ceiling and they were not best pleased when I pulled the ceiling down." The kitchen and Dining Room were now filled with very energetic wasps out to kill, or at least sting mightily.

I pointed out that there was no problem because we were covered by a special vermin insurance policy taken out with a local Utility Company.

So I rang them. I'll cut a very long, involved and aggravating period of time down to size. After a couple of hours of aggravation the Insurance Company told me that the Vermin Extermination Company could deal with my Wasp infestation on ..... Wednesday. So there we were, three of us and a Spaniel sitting in the rain, in the garden, while the House was occupied by a couple of swarms of mad wasps, and the extermination company were suggesting that they solve the problem by killing the little BEEs (sorry, Wasps) a couple of days later.

I think I will leave it to you to work out what I told them to do with their Insurance contract, but it involved folding it into a multi-pointed tesseract and sticking it somewhere interesting!

Clint, bless his soul, went off to the local builder's merchants and bought a paper suit and a can of wasp destroyer spray mousse (also sold as hair gel in a similar but subtly different can) and, after a merry chase obliterating the wasp nest. I feel sorry for the wasps, but not very sorry.

So Monday ended in a house with no ceiling in the kitchen or Dining Room and a leaky roof above the no ceiling, together with a faint smell of wasp destroying chemicals.

But at least it wasn't raining.


Sound of Thunder and Lightning right over head. Oh Bu****.

Pitter, patter, pitterpatterpitterpatter splosh! Drip



Tell you about the rest of the week tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Maps of Manchester - I quite fancy going to see this!

Saved from www.library.manchester.ac.uk quote link screenshot

Mapping Manchester: Cartographic Stories of the City

Historic Reading Room of John Rylands Library in Manchester
25 June 2009 to 17 January 2010

Maps can tell us many different stories about the places where we live and work. This exhibition shows how mapping is particularly ingrained into urban life; it demonstrates how maps work and how they have evolved over time - reflecting changes in technology, society and economic conditions.

Mapping Manchester explores the growth of the city, road networks and public transport, Manchester as the industrial powerhouse of the nineteenth century, the social geography of housing, changing moralities illustrated by statistical maps, and leisure mapping such as plans of Belle Vue - arguably the world's first theme park.

On display are maps, plans and photographs of Manchester published over the last two hundred and fifty years. These range from the first large-scale survey of the city, published in 1794, to a 2008 statistical map of binge-drinking hotspots.

This celebration of cartography and the city presents a unique opportunity to see highlights from the collections held by the University of Manchester alongside material generously loaned by Chetham's Library and Manchester City Library and Archives.

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