I live in an old miner’s cottage. When most people hear that or see it the usual response is “Oh how lovely, it’s so pretty, it must be nice living there”. For the most part those people are right, but in terms of practicality it’s a nightmare. There are no straight walls for a start – ok, it might add ‘character’, but you just try putting shelves up or hanging a picture. It’s also very cold, and very small. The walls are two foot of granite blocks, something which isn’t easily insulated, and the doorways are typically around six foot or so. I’m 6’3. You do the maths. I’ve hit my head on them more times than I care (or even am able to any more) remember.
As it’s an old miner’s cottage it wasn’t built with modern living in mind, which amounts to a one-up, one-down box. There’s a single-block, single storey extension tacked on the back with a tiny bathroom, thin kitchen and ‘dining’ room, all of which when added up are about the same size of my living room. It’s cold, very damp, and very impractical. The problem is the house is in a really nice location, down away from the main road and with plenty of garden front and back. We came to the conclusion that the only way we can live comfortably and happily in it is to knock down that old extension and built something more substantial, to make it a proper house – a proper home. So that’s what’s happening.
I was stood in the kitchen yesterday, looking at the snow in the back garden and cooking some lunch when I saw something unusual. Normally I’d expect to see the cats prowling about, but yesterday I was greeted by a digger coming through our back wall and tearing the end of the garden down. We’d arranged a builder, had plans drawn up and submitted them, and got everything done from that point of view weeks ago, but a final start date was never agreed upon. The digger is there to dig an accessway from the road to our house, as the lane down is poor and not something you’d ever get heavy plant machinery down.
The driver of the digger came up and had a chat to us, and casually during the conversation mentioned that they should be demolishing in the next day or so. The next day or so….. right, best get packing then!
The whole rest of the day and evening was spent furiously sorting things into ‘bin’ or ‘keep’ piles, and then trying to figure out what to do with it all. It’s just about there now, so it looks like tomorrow I’ll have half a house. It’s suddenly becoming very real. The builders reckon it’s going to take 12 weeks from start to finish, and to be honest I thought it was going to take a LOT longer than that, so anything around that length of time would be fantastic. It would mean we’d be in and settled by my Birthday at the end of May – party time. I’m really looking forward to having somewhere nice to invite people for barbecues too, BBQ season is close at hand now and as regular readers will know, I loves me a barbecue!
I’m going to use my blog here as a diary for the whole process, hopefully it’ll help me put it all into perspective a bit when it’s dark and miserable out and the back garden looks like a bomb site. There’ll be plenty of pictures too, I’m hoping the transformation will be as stark and brilliant as it is in my mind. Cross your fingers folks.