Neighbourly

Our next door neighbours left a plant and a welcome card on our mat. What a lovely surprise.

And what a contrast from Mr. Chips who threw chips all over the floor and came in drunk every night slamming the door and stomping loudly upstairs usually falling over on the way

I must say I’m not missing the old inconsiderate neighbours and elephants upstairs.

I’m still relishing the silence.

Three days later

Three days later and we’re starting to get used to things. I’ve showered in the handicapped bathroom in the dark a couple of times and it’s not that bad.

I’ve replaced light bulbs which perhaps wasn’t a good idea as now I can see things I couldn’t see before.

Agnes and I are adjusting to not being able to use the garden.

We’re cooking on the single hot plate and have been eating quite well.

And the smell, well that’s still a challenge but hopefully once we get the carpets out, things will improve. I’m trying to resist the temptation as I’m not sure what’s lurking underneath!

Local People

In two days I have met and spoken to more people in Maida Vale than four years in the dodgy end of Queen’s Park. Perhaps I’ve finally found my neighbourhood and my kind of people!

From the neighbour to the park, everyone has been extremely friendly including a new Welsh Terrier owner. We always like other Welsh Terriers!

That’s a very positive thing so after a couple of days of hard graft, Agnes and I went to the Prince Alfred for a very well deserved lunch.

We are locals after all!

Coping Mechanisms

It was a rough old start with a sleepless night, possible fleas and generally all a bit shit.

We gave up at 6am and went out into the dark, cold morning to walk around the park. Agnes has lost her private garden and dogs are,strictly forbidden in the communal garden so all housetraining seems to have gone out of the window, or on the carpet.

By 9am we’d had a coffee and we were off to the hardware shop to buy five litres of bleach, rubber gloves, drain unblocker, flea bombs and some moth hangers just in case.

I started by vacuuming the Carpet of Cremation and while it will not rise from the ashes, it looked a little less horrific, maybe. That took several hours and almost broke the vacuum.

I met a local builder who was working on a house near our last place. How lucky (or contrived) was that? Still, we’ll be needing a local builder so that’s a good place to start.

The internet chaps arrived to connect us to the future and we’re now fibre optic. That was worth moving for (hopefully).

I met the next door neighbour who welcomed us to the Mansions and said they were excited for us to breathe new life into this poor relic. Probably sick of the smell but much nicer than our last lot.

I had a late lunch, food is proving challenging round here and I’m really missing our local shops in Queens Park.

And then having cleaned everything else, I donned the extra long Marigolds and my cycling mask and braved the handicapped bathroom.

It turned out the drain was full of kitty litter, a first for me and it took me a moment to understand while there was s drain full of gravel. It was actually better than pulling out hair which does make me gag.

I bleached and scrubbed on my knees in the dark as the bloody LED lights kept overheating and going out and then I discovered, oh horror, we have an electric shower, the power shower complete with switch in the middle of the wall outside. That’s not staying!

The bathroom is set up as a large wet room so the whole thing needed scrubbing and mopping. The strange Japanese toilet was cleaned and the accessories of golden fish including taps, all cleaned.

Things are certainly smelling better but I think there’s another clean due before I’m willing to take my clothes off. I wish I could remember where I packed my flip flops as I could pretend I was at the swimming baths.

So that’s the day so far.

Exhausting? Definitely!

Overwhelming? Perhaps a little better than yesterday.

Loving renovating? No comment.

Unloading and unravelling

By 4pm I finally had the key and by 6pm everything was unloaded into two rooms.

It was quite a shock to see the state of the place as descriptions and even photographs don’t really do it justice. Even the movers were shocked and seemed concerned that I was planning to stay. So was I!

There was one room with a laminate floor so once the door was closed, I started attempting to clean and my number one priority, assemble a bed. There was no way I was sleeping on a mattress on those floors!

By 7:30pm I had a reasonably functioning room and by 8pm I managed to get some food.

It had been a long day and I was aching and exhausted both physically and mentally. I kept thinking that things would look better in the morning except that I couldn’t sleep and morning was 3:30am!

A couple of positive things, I haven’t heard a single footstep, door slam or siren, so far this place is incredibly quiet. And it’s warm. The heating was too hot and even without it on, in December and with single glazing, it’s surprisingly ok.

Negatives, oh where to start?! It is absolutely minging, it stinks of things I can’t even describe and my lungs are already overwhelmed. I may have to wear my bike mask to filter the air.

I suspect this will be a bigger project than we first thought and a kitchen seems a very long way off. There’s a stopcock in the bathroom ceiling which seems like a strange place for it and cables and pipes everywhere.

My first step will be to clean as much as I can and perhaps start ripping out the carpet which I suspect is a large part of the stench. Agnes has done a poo on it and frankly I’m tempted to do the same, it wouldn’t make it any worse!

Buyer’s remorse? At the moment, definitely but perhaps in a couple of days, when I’m not scared to go in the bathroom, I’ll feel more optimistic!

And to try to explain but it’s hard to really capture…

Oh crikey, this is the living room

The red room. Not sure what it is.

A rather nice entry hall, think parquet floors!

Hurrah for laminate flooring, never thought I’d say that!

Bedroom? Not for a while

Not sure if this was a bonfire or a cremation

Too scared to look in the drain

Homeless

So now I’m waiting to hear if everything has gone through as I have no keys and am camped in a Starbucks with a bag of my stuff and a large roll of bubble wrap.

For future reference I wouldn’t sell to people who don’t know how this system works, in this case very naive Russians and I wouldn’t try to complete two properties on the same day. Too much stress involved that’s for sure.

It goes without saying that we’ll be using a different moving company next time. Should have paid for Pickford’s!

Wonder where the van is…

And the sofa is out

After a lot of blood, sweat, tears and damage to walls, the sofa is finally out.

Despite protesting the front door hadn’t changed and explaining how it came in in the first place, it was a challenge for all involved.

Still, it’s out and if we can stick the skirting board back on and replace the front door, the end is in sight.

No sign of payment though so we’re still waiting to complete…