Week 24: Welcome to the money pit
It’s the eve of Midsummer. All the daylight is helping me get plenty of work done on the house, but once again it’s pretty much all I’ve done.
There is now tolerably fast internet access to the house. On Monday, an engineer came round to set up the VDSL line. He was confused by the fact that the line had no telephone service. We’re probably not saving any money by not having a landline service, but what use is a landline these days to anyone except scammers?
It’s not fibre, but the speed is still acceptable. We’re getting about 57Mbps down. I went for a technical, niche ISP (A & A) so at least we’re not likely to be subject to the traffic shaping and blocking of the majors.
We had a roofer round to fix a loose roof tile that was identified in the survey. It wasn’t so loose that it was letting in water, but it’s now happily back in its proper place. While he was up there, because paying for a man to climb up a ladder is the expensive part, I had him reroute the satellite cable that had been slung all the way over the house into the loft space. I don’t know if we’ll use it, but if we want to we should be able to feed it down to the living room along the same path as the TV aerial.
I took a much-needed day off from renovating the new house on Tuesday.
My reskinned shamisen body finally arrived after an epic journey at the hands of USPS. Or, perhaps, an epic extended stay at a warehouse in San Francisco. After a slightly hairy bit of trimming to make sure that the neck could mate perfectly with the body, I reassembled it and it sounds very good, and very loud. I’m glad that I’ll be playing it in a more acoustically absorbent room in the new house.
I’d expected to be hit for VAT and possibly duties, plus the inevitable bullshit facilitation charge for the privilege of being charged, but somehow it sneaked through without touching the sides. I’m not complaining. I celebrate ever win over The Man, no matter how small.
I had a second dose of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine on Thursday. This time, I suffered no ill effects beyond a slightly tender arm, and, weirdly, a bruise on the inside of my arm. My second dose was originally scheduled twelve weeks later, for 13 July. Because it had been booked via the trust, when the time between doses was reduced to eight weeks, I was able to schedule a second dose via the national booking system for eight weeks after the first, on 22 June. But then the trust sent me a message moving my original second dose appointment to 17 June, so I actually only had seven weeks and two days between doses.
Anyway, it’s done. I’ve had two doses. And despite the constant apocalyptic tone about cases and variants, deaths from COVID in the UK have been averaging under 10 a day for a couple of months. The vaccines seem to work rather well.
On Friday, we had an electrician round to replace the old school fusebox with a proper modern consumer unit with circuit breakers. This was recommended by the survey for safety, but it’s also a convenience: fuse boxes are so rare these days that it’s a challenge to find a 30A or 15A fuse if one blows.
I opened the back door to ask the electrician about an outside light, and the mechanism jammed leaving the door unlocked. So then I had to find a locksmith at short notice. I did, he came round, determined that the gearbox of the multipoint mechanism was broken, and had to get a new one. From Croydon, a three hour round trip at that time of the afternoon. But it was fixed, at a cost of nearly £300!
And then a plumber came to fix the blocked and leaking kitchen sink.
Friday was an expensive day. However, that’s why we offered and paid £29,000 less than the original asking price, I suppose!
I finished painting the second bedroom which is actually going to be my office/music room. It’s quite a challenge painting a straight edge between wall and ceiling/skirting board/door frame when every edge has been patched up with several generations of filler. I ended up doing the top edges by hand with an artist’s brush. It gives the impression of a straight edge from the right angle.
That means that I can now start transferring across all the musical instruments that I don’t want to entrust to the movers.
I knew it would be a lot of work getting the house ready to move in, but it really is a lot of work. I’m looking forward to about two weeks in the future when this is all behind me.