Week Three ~ Lara and the Ants
We had an invasion at the beginning of week three. Ants everywhere. The brickwork on the front of the house needs repointing, but not so desperately that it can’t wait until the rest of the work is being done. However the ants have taken advantage of the holes, and the fact that there are gaps around the windows and front door in places.
Now, I hate ants. I mean 'really, really hate them, want to rip my skin off hate them’. (Please don’t tell me how harmless they are or we shall examine your ‘harmless’ phobias too.) When we looked at the front of the house it was absolutely crawling with them, so it currently looks like we’ve been ‘trick or treated’ with flour, there is so much ant powder everywhere. On Saturday night, while all our Christmas guests were sitting unawares in the garden, Ian and I discovered them pouring in the side of the front door, so there we were, trying to block up all the holes around the front door with Pollyfilla to stop them coming in.
I do not recommend trying to fill holes in walls whilst under the influence
We actually called a pest control person on the Monday, who said he’d be round the next day to have a look, but he never turned up. This is turning into a bit of a theme with us recently. We had a man come round to inspect the damp problem, said he could do it, gave us a verbal quote and said he send through a formal one for us to accept. That was three weeks ago and we finally got the quote today. We are still without Broadband (four weeks as I write this), with Sky and Openreach passing the buck merrily between them, whilst still charging us the full £70 per month, for tv and non-existent broadband. We are still without a house name plate, which should have been dispatched a week ago; we chased up the two replacement windows we ordered and the lady on the phone said “oh yes, we have a query on those” at which point Ian asked whether anyone would have bothered to phone us to ask the query if we hadn’t rung them first? Don’t even mention my new car which we ordered in December…
At least the carpet guy turned up on time, so finally the 80’s pink and blue carpet in the back bedroom is going. Everything is a domino effect in renovation. I’ve painted the back bedroom, our smallest bedroom, this week. More white emulsion was deployed, but I only needed 3 coats instead of 5 and I wasn’t so daft as to try and paint the woodwork this time. The carpet is being fitted next week (the only sign of any grey in this house). Please, let's take a moment to appreciate the current carpet in all it's hideous glory, before it is destroyed for ever.
The room was so full of crap when we viewed the house that we had no idea there was fitted furniture in there, let alone see the carpet.
This room will be fitted out as a walk in wardrobe/dressing room (Ikea delivery pending!). Which in turn means we can then remove the current, horrible built-in wardrobes in our bedroom. Although that means finding another tradesperson…
The other big task of the week has been sorting more of the garden, it seemed daft not to, with the nice weather we’ve finally been having. The back garden is mainly laid to lawn, but the things that aren’t grass are a complete mess. The first week we were in Ian strimmed back all the nettles and weeds that he could, which was just as well because when the gas company came to fill the tank, the delivery driver said they’re not allowed to fill it if it’s surrounded by plants etc. The fence round the LPG tank badly needs replacing, and the beds either side of that badly needed weeding!
The previous owner had put down anti weed matting, but it hadn’t been done properly so the grass had just grown on top of it, which made it even harder to rip up. It took us four days to do, we pulled up the matting and just dug it over, with the plan that as the weeds return we will stay on top of them. I don’t want to do any new planting until the extension has been completed, when I will know what will be visible, and how, through the new bifold doors, so I’m sticking to my pots for now. There are two large patio areas so I definitely have room for them.
The garden was one of the main selling points of the house for us, so it’s good for us to get out there and remind ourselves of that. Since we’ve had the lovely weather I’ve sat out there every morning with my first cup of tea. This morning there was a family of pheasants on the patio, I'm not sure who was more surprised when I opened the back door! We have a woodpecker who visits regularly, rabbits who haven’t eaten my plants yet and we are encouraging the smaller birds with (squirrel proof) feeders. It’s like scene from Snow White out there sometimes. I go out every evening and water the pots and just take it all in. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.