Happy New Year and a look back at 2013...

Wishing you love, luck, health and happiness for 2014!  

It's natural to approach the New Year with optimism while taking time to reflect on the year that's just ended. I'm no different and will use this post to do just that.

So 2013...

It was quite a year, although it got off to a bit of a stuttering start when in January I was diagnosed with an over active thyroid.

At first, I was disbelieving but was soon forced to accept that my symptoms and the medical evidence were correct. Throughout the year both the NHS and private medical care I've received have stabilised my thyroxine levels although I remain on a daily tablet and expect to do so until May this year.

In February I started this blog to capture our journey of the work we were having done on the house. Since then I've posted 327 times from planning the work, progress and the lack of it along the way and much more in between. 

We celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary in June with a short visit to Guernsey, the weather was mixed but we had a fab time walking, visiting gardens, eating and photographing our stay on a beautiful island.

Back home and our new patio and stone circle were completed and at the start of July we were ready for the kitchen and redecorating work to startor so we thought. I don't think anything could have prepared us for the disruption that was to follow.  We sold our old kitchen on eBay - too cheaply on reflection but we hope it went to a good home - and MOH became the BBQ King of South East London!

There were unfortunately many low spots throughout all of this but we were lucky it was a good summer as our new patio became our new sofa and in August I rediscovered crafting.

It wasn't until September that I was using the kitchen again properly and the decorators finally completed their reduced schedule. There aren't many posts on this as it was really tough emotionally and I didn't want to jeopardise any of the negotiations while they were taking place.

Let's just say that our gut feel in July when they started work was right and we should have been firmer about them stopping work rather than being optimistic and move on. It's still raw, maybe one day I'll post about which decorating company to avoid, but not now. 

My parents said goodbye to Chessie just before their holiday, and ours to Norfolk to cat-sit her while they were away - a tough, but brave decision on their part though. Our luck didn't improve in October when we had the first of our storm damage with some fence panels "leaning."

On reflection that wasn't too bad as we suffered worse storm damage in the Christmas Eve storm (which I've yet to post details of, but will soon).  

Before we knew it it was December and I was taking part in this Capturing December challenge and we headed off to Barbados for a friend's wedding but with strict instructions to be back for Christmas in Hunny!

I've learnt lots this year, including practical things like:

  • How to reconnect our wifi, and how reliant on it both of us are!
  • Where our electrical circuits run and where each is located on our new fuse board
  • How to turn on the gas BBQ, the BBQ King allowed me it use this unaided when he was out!
  • How the vacuum cleaner hose comes out (just don't ask me to demo it, I managed that twice this year without help!)

And more generally:

  • While things (stuff) are nice to have around, it's not the important stuff in your life
  • TV is not the only form of entertainment, but it is the easy option
  • I'm a detail person (incase there was any doubt!)
  • Just because you're paying someone to do a job doesn't mean they will do it well
  • Home cooked food is best - we knew this already, but really missed proper food this summer. See here which also reaffirms the detail point above!
  • Dust really does get everywhere
  • And finally, that wet wipes and paper plates are always handy to have around!

Quite a year, and quite a lengthy post so I think I'll leave this post here and post a forward look at 2014 separately. 

Happy new year!

Almost at the end of phase 1...

Apparently we've done well. Just five and a half months after starting, we are almost through the majority of work we set out to achieve. Five and a half months. That is not doing it well, we expected for the work to be fully completed by end-August, and we thought that was generous!

And two rooms were dropped from the plans, along with a small wall downstairs by the stairs as it was just becoming too tricky. And now we need the dining room wall re-papered as the difference in colour didn't dry out like the decorator said it would. 

We thought end-August based on the plans, plus some from the people carrying out the work. It just goes to show how wrong you can be sometimes...

So are we straight yet? Well no, and we're not even that close really. Now we've unpacked some of our things, we've re-packed the boxes with other things and are now managing these more sensibly. But we're still not straight, there's always the things you don't know quite what to do with and we have a box for those now!

So since the middle of June we have had:

  • A new patio and stone circle laid,
  • A new kitchen installed with new appliances
  • The exterior of our three storey house completely redecorated, front and back
  • The study and spare room on the top floor redecorated, including having the floors sanded
  • The spiral staircase sanded and varnished, as well as having the stairwell and landings redecorated
  • The downstairs redecorated and floor sanded and re-varnished. 

There's still more to do yet, although the next batch of work will be known - as is tradition - as phase 2!  But nothing I suspect will happen until the New Year now!

This washing machine's way too clever

Last time I used the new washing machine I noticed it had a flashing symbol on it, which I hadn't seen before.  A quick look at the instruction book and it wasn't obvious and I started to worry...

Looking at the instruction booklet more carefully  I discovered it meant the fluff removal cycle needed to be run.  Phew. The symbol lights up after ten drying cycles and a short programme is  needed to make everything right with the world again...

This washing machine is way cleverer than it needs to be!