Posted by: glenswatman | August 11, 2013

20130801-10 Slaving away at the cottage

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THURSDAY 1 AUGUST 2013 – First thing we go to the cottage to do a final check before handover.  Basically it is mostly OK but cleaned and done to a poor standard, however the company feel they have already gone over and above what is required and say they will do no more but we can keep the bond.  At least I can now get on with the cleaning and other stuff at my own pace which has to be faster than the 6 months it has taken them to get it ready!  We have a viewing by people who may be interested in renting it but reading between the lines the woman would prefer a modern house.  I crack on with some painting, cleaning out the garage, weeding and bleaching the bathroom tiles.  Steve spends a bit of time round at Pete’s.   Mid afternoon I return to take Mum up to Drayton, cheating a little and using her outdoor walking frame.  First we stop at Mercian Court to view her new apartment and I am able to point out just how much of her existing furniture she can take and even have quite a similar layout.  She’s really happy with the existing kitchen so we can probably kick out a new kitchen idea Mum understands she needs a walk in shower to replace the bath so might as well have the bathroom redone.  I drop Mum at the hairdressers then return to Mercian Court to meet Sean from Homebase. I ask him just to do a bathroom plan and quote and we will leave the kitchen on hold.


FRIDAY 2 AUGUST – Mum’s being ripped off on her paper bill so I return to the shop for the 4th time to try and sort out how they can be asking for 3 weeks money when my sister cancelled the papers a week last Tuesday.  The guy is being obstinate and as they are the only delivery agent in town I agree to return tomorrow to speak to his brother or father.  Mum’s having her “for sale” photos taken this afternoon so I clean the windows and do a few tidying up jobs.  My contact with Whitchurch hospital, social services, Market Drayton Health centre and other help lines have paid off.   Occupational therapist Sonia arrives with an outdoor walker.  She assesses’ Mum’s needs and will also bring a toilet frame.  My understanding is that if you have a certain amount of savings you have to pay for all this equipment but I think my complaint plus the fact that without aids Mum would be in hospital means the charges have been waivered.  Estate agent Folwells send someone out to do an energy performance test, floor plan and take photos.  I race around hiding clutter and staging each room as he goes round.  It makes such a difference that when Mum sees the pictures of her kitchen she comments on how big it looks!  Netty & Ian pick us up for a meal at the Bernie Inn in Newport.  With bottomless chips there is no reason to not feel full, unfortunately too full for a dessert.  I get a message from cousin Karen to say Auntie Pamela has had a heart attack and is in hospital but I can’t get hold of her for more information.


SATURDAY 3 AUGUST – We finally manage to sort out Mum’s paper bill from the newsagent and will now keep on top of it paying each week.  Learn that Auntie Pamela is feeling OK in coronary care and waiting for an angiogram early next week.  Mums neighbour Pauline has a carer called Poppy and I meet Poppy’s Mum Heather to talk about whether Poppy may be able to help Mum.  Poppy can do whatever is needed such as shopping, meals, bathing, cleaning or even just being company so when we leave we have the option to get that started.  In Newport I get cracking on the cottage.  Paul drops off his pressure washer but we find it has a leak however the hose pipe alone works pretty well in getting rid of a lot of dirt under the window sills, paths and other nooks and crannies.  Steve potters round trying to help but invariably find whatever he does leaves him in pain so he gets banished to the car.  By mid afternoon I have made considerable progress although there is much more to do.  We visit his sister Netty and Mark and sit there chewing over our different ailments and signs of aging!  Reckon if our kids could hear us they would be booking us in to nursing homes.  Mark lends me his pressure washer so I can get all the paving stones clean and wash away the moss rather than scraping it off.  Think I may have bitten off a bit more than I can chew as I already have lots of paintwork to touch up after this morning’s hosing but as they say “if a job’s worth doing…”  When we get back we find Mum has coped quite well but does keep forgetting to use her walking frame.


SUNDAY 4 AUGUST – Steve is banned from the cottage so I head off alone at 8.30am.  I spend a good few hours using the pressure washer which does a great job but also unearths a few other things that will need attention.  The cottage has supposedly been cleaned but I reckon just by someone with a damp cloth and washing up liquid so I begin a proper clean up in the bathroom once it starts raining.


MONDAY 5 AUGUST – I’ve arranged for a removal company to come round and give a quote so leave Steve & Mum to deal with that whilst I make may daily visit to Wilkinsons to pick up more paint and other equipment.  Visit the surgery to have blood taken for tests to check out whether I have gall stones or not.  Abbey removals have told Mum that the piano is going to be a huge job to move as they are no longer allowed to manhandle it and must get a hoist in and remove the balustrade on the balcony to get it down.  The brave removal man suggests Mum might prefer to leave it behind and buy a new one – you can guess the response.  At the cottage I crack on but whilst trying to clean a patio door it gets stuck and won’t shut.  Luckily Steve the roof man turns up and with manpower helps shut it before checking out the kitchen ceiling leak.  It turns out a bird has nested in the guttering between the two roofs and this has dammed the channel.  During a flash flood the water got too high, seeped under the tiles and into the kitchen ceiling.  At least there is an easy cure as he relocates the nest.  Steve suggests the patio door may need replacing and he also thinks the shed and garage roof leaks would be better cured by re-roofing.  Have a feeling that when we get his quote back that this is not the way we will be going!  I call in to see my computer guru Bobby who has been tidying up a few problems on my laptop.  It’s good to catch up with Steph and Olivia also.  Mum’s had lots of visitors today, her friend and a couple of pupils and she seems to have coped well.  I’ve picked up paperwork from the solicitors concerning the sale of Mums bungalow and land the task of answering some long questionnaires.  This leads to me needing paperwork which in turn leads to me having a big clear out of Mum’s files and piles of stuff in the letter rack.


TUESDAY 6 AUGUST – Cracking on at Newport I get a few windows and frames cleaned.  Reckon they have not had a good clean since the tenants moved in 16 years ago so spending over an hour on each window is not that unexpected.  There’s a huge transformation when I paint the lower part of the cottage white walls in black.  David from Crown Property calls round and I show him the long list of odd jobs that want doing.  He reckons he will be able to tackle them all (including repairing the patio door, garage and shed roof) and will get back to me tomorrow night with a price and timescale. At this stage I am happy to just take on the simple jobs like cleaning and painting although I do get carried away with some instant concrete and end up filling in holes in a path.  Manage to find time to get one coat of white paint on the border wall and to do the garage door before heading back to prepare the evening meal.


WEDNESDAY 7 AUGUST – I can’t believe how much paint I’m getting through, feel sure Wilkinsons profits will be up this quarter.   I have a really productive day and get the border wall finished, paint all the gates black, wash the white walls, do 3 more windows and frames and clean the en suite shower room.   Netty is off work today and has taken Mum out so she can meet her “old cronies” for lunch at The Tudor.  I call the surgery and my blood tests are back but the Doctor needs to speak to me about them and the earliest appointment is a telephone one on Monday.


THURSDAY 8 AUGUST – We meet Netty & Mark in Shrewsbury and leave our car at the park & ride.  Marks parents Ester and Geoff live at Brightwater Lakes Holiday Park in just the type of lodge we would love.  They’ve created different themed garden areas and have a huge deck with gazebo.  We chat to them about the pro’s and cons of park living and enjoy a walk around the site.  Some of the lodges have decks over the lake and huge private gardens but in terms of location it is no good for us.  Ester mentions that there is a “Sidoli” factory shop nearby with 14 portion gateaux for £4.  That’s just irresistible so we head there and leave with 2 boxes.  Marks likes the water feature Ester has so we head to the garden centre at Oswestry where he manages to buy one the same.  Oddly enough the garden centre has a kitchen and bathroom section where we see a fantastic shower wall (rather than door) design that would be good for Mum. Back in Market Drayton we call in on Netty to share some of the gateaux and end up stopping for tea.  Netty took Mum to the Doctors this morning and they are going to try and do more things to help her including having a physio call at home.


FRIDAY 9 AUGUST – Steve’s sister Netty has offered to help me at the cottage and brings along her vacuum type window cleaner.  Between us we get all the windows cleaned inside and out and I manage most of the frames as well.  As usual the  work has unearthed more problems, one pane of patio door glass has loads of scratches that look bad, the other door has a pane where the seal has gone, a window frame is broken and there are loads of smaller problems.  I do a bit more painting and use a bag of pebbles to fill the gap between the kitchen path and cottage walls.  It takes me over an hour, using cream cleanser and scourer, to remove layers of paint of one of the window sills.  When I get back I hear about Mum’s trip out to Morrissons using the community car.  Poor guy must have made half a dozen trips up the steps with her shopping as it looks like she is stocking up for a siege.  Tonight Stoke football team are playing Market Drayton in a friendly match to celebrate the opening of the new club house by Mark Hughes the Stoke manager.  Bobby has invited Steve to join him.  He enjoys the outing but his shoulder aches from standing up so long.


SATURDAY 10 AUGUST – Im able to complete some of the higher up painting jobs when Pete drops off some step ladders.  I also take the opportunity to clean all the moss from above the bay windows.  Summon up enough elbow grease to finish cleaning most of the paint off the upvc window sill, surprisingly the only problem underneath the layers of silver, pink and cream paint is a small cigarette burn.  It’s only 3pm when I’ve finished cleaning the cooker, kitchen and bathrooms so I crack on and paint the white wall by the side passage.  Of course this then makes the path area look shabby.  At the farm supplier I buy 4 20kg bags of gold coloured pebbles (£10.60) and begin digging out the channels between paving slabs and walls to fill them with pebbles.  I’ve found an old black tarpaulin in the garage and use this to cover a small border and lay pebbles on top.  My back is aching so I call it a day and in the evening appreciate being able to take up neighbour Mandy’s offer of a massage.  She does a terrific job and easing my aching bones and sets me up for a good night’s sleep.  Mum’s had two viewings today and Steve did a really good sell on the property, so good he thinks the first couple may put in an offer.




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