hawkida: (Default)
I am incredibly grateful to Elvis and Lara especially, but also to Vic, Helen and Lee. Between them and myself we've packed up all my stuff, moved it south, shoved it into the house largely at least on the right floor, replaced bits that wouldn't fit in, bought bits that were missing and generally got me something approaching settled in the new place. I have a huge mountain of boxes to unpack and a lot of furniture still to be assembled but the work these people have put in for me is astounding and very thankfully received. Lara and Elvis in particular were available from Thursday right through until late last night and we barely stopped, sleeping short hours overnight and doing a LOT of work throughout the days.

There is one major outstanding issue though. The washing machine. Now, I like my washing machine, it's got some useful programmes, a very fast spin and a decent energy rating. However, it is 7.5 years old now, and smells musty if you leave the door closed. Also, when setting it to run the dial makes some strange mechanical creaky sounds. However, I was hoping to get a year or so more out of it.

Here lies the problem. The plumbing for the washing machine is in the downstairs shower room. To put the machine in place means wheedling it through a gap of 60cm - the exact same width as the machine itself. Thus, highly unlikely to happen. Now, the machine is only 58cm in another direction, so it could go through that way. Except the gap is partially blocked by a radiator and a shower door handle. This leaves me with the following options:

1) Borrow, hire, or get a handyman who comes with a scissor lift to put it into position.

2) Ignore the space for a washing machine that currently exists, tear out the fitted fridge, and replace it with the washing machine.

3) Buy a new washing machine - a top loader seems to be the best bet as it's reduced in size but can still do decent loads.

Cons for each option:

1) Costs money, most likely. Whilst cheap in the short term if the machine dies I'll have to pay again to get it back out.

2) What do I use the washing machine space for if not a washing machine? It is well placed but for the getting it in. Also, why tear out a well positioned fridge, and just how easy will it be to move a washing machine up a flight of stairs with a turn in the middle?

3) I already HAVE a washing machine, I'm not keen on buying another. Also, there are issues around delivery. Likely second hand sources aren't turning up much (Loot, Ebay, Gumtree). Slimline machines are expensive and rarer than normal shaped/sized ones.

Meanwhile I'm going to have to work out how launderettes work. There is one within walking distance, at least, but I've no idea what the costs are and what hours that kind of place does. And, frankly, I have better things to be doing with my time but I'm not keen on spending extra money for the convenience of someone else doing my washing. There's always the bath and stomping around option, I guess...
hawkida: (Default)
I am incredibly grateful to Elvis and Lara especially, but also to Vic, Helen and Lee. Between them and myself we've packed up all my stuff, moved it south, shoved it into the house largely at least on the right floor, replaced bits that wouldn't fit in, bought bits that were missing and generally got me something approaching settled in the new place. I have a huge mountain of boxes to unpack and a lot of furniture still to be assembled but the work these people have put in for me is astounding and very thankfully received. Lara and Elvis in particular were available from Thursday right through until late last night and we barely stopped, sleeping short hours overnight and doing a LOT of work throughout the days.

There is one major outstanding issue though. The washing machine. Now, I like my washing machine, it's got some useful programmes, a very fast spin and a decent energy rating. However, it is 7.5 years old now, and smells musty if you leave the door closed. Also, when setting it to run the dial makes some strange mechanical creaky sounds. However, I was hoping to get a year or so more out of it.

Here lies the problem. The plumbing for the washing machine is in the downstairs shower room. To put the machine in place means wheedling it through a gap of 60cm - the exact same width as the machine itself. Thus, highly unlikely to happen. Now, the machine is only 58cm in another direction, so it could go through that way. Except the gap is partially blocked by a radiator and a shower door handle. This leaves me with the following options:

1) Borrow, hire, or get a handyman who comes with a scissor lift to put it into position.

2) Ignore the space for a washing machine that currently exists, tear out the fitted fridge, and replace it with the washing machine.

3) Buy a new washing machine - a top loader seems to be the best bet as it's reduced in size but can still do decent loads.

Cons for each option:

1) Costs money, most likely. Whilst cheap in the short term if the machine dies I'll have to pay again to get it back out.

2) What do I use the washing machine space for if not a washing machine? It is well placed but for the getting it in. Also, why tear out a well positioned fridge, and just how easy will it be to move a washing machine up a flight of stairs with a turn in the middle?

3) I already HAVE a washing machine, I'm not keen on buying another. Also, there are issues around delivery. Likely second hand sources aren't turning up much (Loot, Ebay, Gumtree). Slimline machines are expensive and rarer than normal shaped/sized ones.

Meanwhile I'm going to have to work out how launderettes work. There is one within walking distance, at least, but I've no idea what the costs are and what hours that kind of place does. And, frankly, I have better things to be doing with my time but I'm not keen on spending extra money for the convenience of someone else doing my washing. There's always the bath and stomping around option, I guess...
hawkida: (Default)
People keep asking me when I'm moving. I don't bloody know. What I do know is that the solicitors continue to appear incompetent.

They asked me to suggests dates some time ago and I said 15th August would suit me, I recognised it might not suit everyone in the chain and so offered a backup date in July. Both were Saturdays and I specifically referred to how weekend dates would be much more preferable for me as I work full time.

I heard nothing. So yesterday I chased in email, asking if the date of 15th August which I'd previously suggested was all right for others in the chain, and stating that I assumed as the July date is rather close now I assumed that would not be happening.

I got a reply that said they would recommend going for an August date given that there are things still outstanding, and was there any particular date that would be my preference? Note that the response QUOTED my own email in which I referred to 15th August.

So I stay polite and calm and restate this date, reiterating that a weekend date will suit me best. The response comes back fairly quickly again. It tells me that they can't do weekends as they are closed "and so are the banks".

1) My bank bloody ISN'T closed at weekends.
2) Why is it only NOW mentioned that a weekend is unsuitable?

This is a bloody pain in the arse as it means I'm much less likely to be able to rely on getting friends to help me out and will probably need to pay a real removals firm. She has suggested working towards 14th August, but has not yet replied to my email asking what that means - I don't know at what point I find out if the date we're "working towards" is actually my moving date. I don't know how long it will be until we're at the exchange point, which is when I assume the completion date is set in stone. I can't give notice on my broadband, or book a removals firm, or ask friends if they're available until the date is real. I need to have at least a fortnight between the date being set and the date arriving and with these incompetents I feel like they're going to turn around on 12th August and say "yep, completion will happen on 14th" or something. This is all really damn frustrating.
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hawkida: (Default)
People keep asking me when I'm moving. I don't bloody know. What I do know is that the solicitors continue to appear incompetent.

They asked me to suggests dates some time ago and I said 15th August would suit me, I recognised it might not suit everyone in the chain and so offered a backup date in July. Both were Saturdays and I specifically referred to how weekend dates would be much more preferable for me as I work full time.

I heard nothing. So yesterday I chased in email, asking if the date of 15th August which I'd previously suggested was all right for others in the chain, and stating that I assumed as the July date is rather close now I assumed that would not be happening.

I got a reply that said they would recommend going for an August date given that there are things still outstanding, and was there any particular date that would be my preference? Note that the response QUOTED my own email in which I referred to 15th August.

So I stay polite and calm and restate this date, reiterating that a weekend date will suit me best. The response comes back fairly quickly again. It tells me that they can't do weekends as they are closed "and so are the banks".

1) My bank bloody ISN'T closed at weekends.
2) Why is it only NOW mentioned that a weekend is unsuitable?

This is a bloody pain in the arse as it means I'm much less likely to be able to rely on getting friends to help me out and will probably need to pay a real removals firm. She has suggested working towards 14th August, but has not yet replied to my email asking what that means - I don't know at what point I find out if the date we're "working towards" is actually my moving date. I don't know how long it will be until we're at the exchange point, which is when I assume the completion date is set in stone. I can't give notice on my broadband, or book a removals firm, or ask friends if they're available until the date is real. I need to have at least a fortnight between the date being set and the date arriving and with these incompetents I feel like they're going to turn around on 12th August and say "yep, completion will happen on 14th" or something. This is all really damn frustrating.
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hawkida: (Default)
I must be organised. I've defrosted the freezer and put most of my clothes in a suitcase. But it still doesn't feel like this is my last weekend here.
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Apr. 1st, 2002 11:59 pm

Bedtime

hawkida: (Default)
There was nothing in the loft really worth scavenging apart from a bathroom cabinet. I think my house may come replete with cabinet, and anyway it was from Raz's parents and he wants to keep it. I did find some empty boxes, though, which came in handy for stuffing kitchen and bathroom stuff into. Surely the packing is nearly done now...? Oh, and I took some of the shelves that Lee left behind when he went to Australia. Even if I don't put them up I can enjoy the knowledge that if I wanted to, I could. It's my wall and my shelf and I can do as I please with no landlord to say otherwise.

So now it's time to go sleep in preparation for work tomorrow. And I forgot to buy a train ticket so I have to leave the house early. Gah.
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Apr. 1st, 2002 11:59 pm

Bedtime

hawkida: (Default)
There was nothing in the loft really worth scavenging apart from a bathroom cabinet. I think my house may come replete with cabinet, and anyway it was from Raz's parents and he wants to keep it. I did find some empty boxes, though, which came in handy for stuffing kitchen and bathroom stuff into. Surely the packing is nearly done now...? Oh, and I took some of the shelves that Lee left behind when he went to Australia. Even if I don't put them up I can enjoy the knowledge that if I wanted to, I could. It's my wall and my shelf and I can do as I please with no landlord to say otherwise.

So now it's time to go sleep in preparation for work tomorrow. And I forgot to buy a train ticket so I have to leave the house early. Gah.
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Apr. 1st, 2002 03:43 pm

Shopping

hawkida: (Default)
Well that all went surprisingly well, considering...

I went to Tesco in search of a particular model of video that I'd seen on their web site. They didn't have it. However this was not a bad thing because in being there I discovered that they had a special offer on TVs and I picked up a wide screen television that does NTSC and everything for �190 when I'd been looking at spending �300+.

Then we went to the retail park where I discovered the model of video I wanted was readily available at Comet. The vacuum cleaner I was planning to get wasn't so easily available - they had a display model out but no boxed ones and for once the staff weren't hovering with their "Do you need any help?" routine. This actually worked out well because the other vacuum cleaners were cheaper so I picked up a �30 model instead of a �110 one - if it breaks, so what? At �30 it's replaceable fairly easily.

So this left me with money I'd assumed would be spent by this point, which meant I got a better stereo than I'd been planning.

Oh, and I begrudgingly bought an iron and less begrudgingly picked up a toaster. I'm all kitted up with entertainment and toast. What more could I ask for from a shopping spree?

Now I'm going to climb into the loft and see what's up there that's worth packing... Again with the good luck wishes, please.
Apr. 1st, 2002 03:43 pm

Shopping

hawkida: (Default)
Well that all went surprisingly well, considering...

I went to Tesco in search of a particular model of video that I'd seen on their web site. They didn't have it. However this was not a bad thing because in being there I discovered that they had a special offer on TVs and I picked up a wide screen television that does NTSC and everything for �190 when I'd been looking at spending �300+.

Then we went to the retail park where I discovered the model of video I wanted was readily available at Comet. The vacuum cleaner I was planning to get wasn't so easily available - they had a display model out but no boxed ones and for once the staff weren't hovering with their "Do you need any help?" routine. This actually worked out well because the other vacuum cleaners were cheaper so I picked up a �30 model instead of a �110 one - if it breaks, so what? At �30 it's replaceable fairly easily.

So this left me with money I'd assumed would be spent by this point, which meant I got a better stereo than I'd been planning.

Oh, and I begrudgingly bought an iron and less begrudgingly picked up a toaster. I'm all kitted up with entertainment and toast. What more could I ask for from a shopping spree?

Now I'm going to climb into the loft and see what's up there that's worth packing... Again with the good luck wishes, please.
hawkida: (Default)
I would just like to state for the record that NTL are bastards. I've been looking into the cost of getting my new house cabled up and I was investigating the channels I'd actually want. Having narrowed it down to Sky One, E4 and maybe the Sci Fi channel I started looking for details of the cost. And it turns out that I don't get a choice. It's all or nothing with the exception of the premium movie channels.

I had considered going down the ADSL route and getting Sky Digital which is cheaper, I think. Again, no-go. They don't do ADSL in my new area, so NTL it is, then.

So I thought I'd make the "Please charge me lots of money" call now and try to book a date for installation. Only they're shut. No 24 hour sales line. Not even a Sunday sales line. Which means that a bank holiday sales line is kind of unlikely, too.

Still, at least when I'm not renting I won't be bound to a stupid contract that insists I keep a BT phoneline despite having a perfectly good NTL line. That's a minor saving, at least.
Mar. 28th, 2002 11:40 am

My House

hawkida: (Default)
For those who may care for more detail, here is some info on my house. Bear in mind it is written in estate-agent-speak and may require some translation.

Description: This well maintained modern terrace home benefits from gas central heating and double glazing. The accommodation briefly comprises: entrance hallway, kitchen/diner, lounge, first floor landing, three bedrooms, bathroom and separate w.c. Outside there is a rear garden.

Storm canopy with tiled slates. UPVC double glazed door through to:

Entrance hallway:
Stairs to first floor with understairs storage space and cupboard. Double radiator. Textured ceiling. Alarm sensor to corner.

Kitchen/diner: 17'10 x 10'0 approx.
Refitted range of medium oak effect base, drawer and eye level units with tiled worktop surfaces to compliment. One and a quarter bowl sink unit with mixer tap. Tiled splashbacks. Built in carousel under worktops. Built in electric single oven and fitted four ring gas hob. Plumbing for automatic washing machine. Breakfast bar to middle. UPVC double glazed window to front aspect. UPVC double glazed French doors to rear aspect. Two double radiators. Air vent to side wall. Alarm sensor to corner. Dado rail. Tiled flooring. Two central ceiling lights. Coving to textured ceiling. Archway through to:

Lounge: 13'10 x 11'10 approx.
UPVC double glazed window to rear aspect. Double radiator. Television point. Telephone point. Dado rail. Picture rail. Coving to textured ceiling.

First floor landing:
UPVC double glazed window to front aspect. Built in airing cupboard housing wall mounted gas central heating boiler (combination boiler). Smoke detector (linked to central station). Textured ceiling. Loft access.

Bedroom 1: 11'10 x 10'10 approx.
UPVC double glazed window to rear aspect. Single radiator. Coving to textured ceiling.

Bedroom 2: 11'10 x 6'7 approx.
UPVC double glazed window to rear aspect. Single radiator. Textured ceiling.

Bedroom 3: 11'10 x 6'0 approx.
UPVC double glazed window to rear aspect. Double radiator. Textured ceiling.

Bathroom:
Two piece suite comprising panelled bath with wall mounted shower and screen, vanity wash hand basin. Ceramic tiled splashbacks. UPVC double glazed frosted window to front aspect. Single radiator. Textured ceiling.

W.C:
Comprising low level w.c. UPVC double glazed frosted window to front aspect. Textured ceiling.

Outside:
The rear garden is laid to lawn with mature shrubs and flower beds. Rockery to one side. Paved patio area. Timber storage shed. Brick built wall to one side. Enclosed by timber fencing with gated side access.
hawkida: (Default)
I've just had two phonecalls from my solicitor. The contracts have now been exchange and the completion date - 10th April - is now unable to slip any further. I really am buying a house. Two weeks from now it will be mine.

The fact that two people in the office are now humming my ringtone (the Tetris music) is entirely inconsequential.
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Mar. 18th, 2002 10:16 pm

Delays

hawkida: (Default)
Looks like the house purchase is being held up by someone further up the chain. I THOUGHT it was all going a little too smoothly. I may now be looking at 2nd April for the completion - though it may be before that as the guy I'm buying off wants to get his kid into a school in the new area by 1st April and has to be resident there by then. It's just a waiting game for now.

And I made a dumb mistake at the train station. Instead of running onto the 5.36 I thought I'd buy some earphones to replace my current ones as the left one has gone crackly and almost given up. So I missed my train, only to find there were no earphones, only fuck-off-huge big headphones in Dixons at Waterloo. And then, of course, the train I had been waiting for was delayed... I should know this by now. I should know to take the first available train. I could have bought earphones at lunchtime tomorrow - and probably will if I have time after visiting Kinkos to get that fax sorted. I could have saved myself the frustration of staring at those damn departure boards for far too long... Oh well. I'll know better next time. Maybe.
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Mar. 18th, 2002 12:23 am

Tired Now

hawkida: (Default)
Too tired to write much. The lesson learn this weekend is: start packing early. You own more than you think you do.

And the house is a tip after I pulled everything out of cupboards. And I need more crates and boxes. And possibly also more time. Erg.
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hawkida: (Default)
I'm free of the hospital at last! Five years after my operation they have finally signed me off the books - and only because I reminded the surgeon that it had been five years now.

That's the good bit. The bad bit is where they were an HOUR late seeing me this morning. 9.50 my appointment was - I think they start at 9.30. The woman with the 9.40 wasn't seen for ages but finally left the building at around 10.30. It was another twenty minutes before they called me in! I even checked with reception that they hadn't forgotten me. How can they be running an hour late by the third appointment? And how, then, can they show no signs of urgency or wanting to catch up?

After the appointment I walked to the station as I was clearly not going to make the 11am train given that it is way more than two minutes by vehicle from the hospital to the train station. I bought a drink and a biscuit and sat in the sun for a while on the platform, enjoying the view. It's quite pretty alongside the water, but they're ruining it all by putting up huge great office buildings all over the place.

After work I did more packing at home. I was amused to find that the plastic storage boxes I've bought are prominently labelled "Max" on the side. They're mostly full of books. I don't get it. I don't have many books. How can I have filled this many boxes? And I haven't even gone near the video tapes yet. In fact, the whole under-the-stairs area is frightening me. I'm sure I have way too much stuff under there that will need to somehow be packed...

I think I've started early. I think I've got plenty of time. I wouldn't, however, be surprised to find I'm very, very wrong. It's starting to seem real, now though. As we trip over boxes and wend our way around stacks of half packed crates I can actually believe that I'm going to live somewhere else. Despite all the hassle involved it's actually kinda fun. The stress is probably yet to come, but it's something new right now.
hawkida: (Default)
I'm buying a house. I must have turned into a grown up while I wasn't looking. It's kind of scary.

I trecked out to Peterborough today, looked around the city some, found the Estate Agent Corner (why DO they always appear in clusters?) and got down to business. I registered with one agency that dithered and muttered and is meant to get back to me on Monday about seeing places next weekend.

Then I went to the only one that actually sent me info about the properties I saw on their web site. They were much more enthusiastic and I got to see three places today. The first was bloody awful and worried me. Is this all I can afford? I was wondering. There was no way I was going to show an interest in it - there was damp, it was in real need of decorating, the kitchen smelt of curry and the doors didn't fit into the frames properly.

My hopes weren't high after this, but I was given directions to a place around 20 minutes out of the city (20 minutes if you don't go in the wrong direction halfway there...) and I was shown around by the current owner. It is a little far from the train station, and the outside doesn't look great but the inside was brilliant. Great kitchen and dining area. Three bedrooms, a little on the small side, but perfectly adequate. Cosy living room. Nice small garden with a shed. Extremely well maintained throughout (uh-oh, been spending too much time listening to estate agents!). Suffice to say, I came away wanting it. Especially given the history - it was on the market and sold before Christmas but the buyers messed the owner around leading him to lose his potential property that was next along the chain. He brought down the price for the second attempt and it took it to just below the point where stamp duty kicks in.

Back at the estate agents' office we took a trip to property number three. Another guy in the place was really keen on this place, told us how we'd need to be quick on this as there was lots of interest and it was marvellously redecorated and ... etc etc ... So we went to check it out, me and Mr Estate Agent. The layout of the place was a bit weird, like the first one. The stairs are ultra steep and at the top there is a bedroom to the left and to the right. Going through the one to the left brings you to another bedroom. Who wants people traipsing through their room every night?! And the bathroom is downstairs and off the kitchen which I'm not too keen on. But despite being freshly decorated and newly carpeted, this place has some pretty nasty damp problems as well. At this was going for the same price as the really good house.

We got back to the office and I made a snap decision. Either Nice House is underpriced, or Nasty House and Okay House With Problems are overpriced. But the price is something I can afford, I can put up with (make use of, even) the walking distance as it's all healthy exercise and by putting in an offer I save the hassle of wandering through to Peterborough every weekend for the foreseeable future. So I did it. Made an offer, had it accepted, and Monday I get to do the scary solicitor stuff and start to work out all the finances.

I'm buying a house. A real one with walls and bedrooms and everything. Eep. Wish me luck!
hawkida: (Default)
So with everything being All Change, or at least several plans in that direction, I'm looking to buy a house. In Peterborough. Because houses there are cheap and there's a chance that work might want to relocate us there eventually. So I dutifully go along to numerous web sites and click the "Send me information" links about interesting looking houses and what happens? Bugger all, is what.

So I phoned an agent today. Said I'd like to look around some places Saturday if possible. Told him what I'm looking for - and according to their web site there are several properties that match the criteria. He took my name. He took my number. He promised to call me back. I've heard nothing.

So my plans aren't going very far very fast but I'm going to go for a wander around Peterborough on Saturday anyway. Call in and register with some more Estate Agents and desperately hope they're not all the scourge of the Earth as people lead you to believe. I can't say they're doing much to prove otherwise thus far. Wish me luck.

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