www.OllyAndBecca.uk
Becca's B.Sc. students

Toilet troubles

A day or two after we moved in we both started to think our bathroom really smelt of stale wee. Now our bathroom had some rather lovely cork floor tiles in it, so the assumption was that the smell was a residual from those. A few days and a lot of scrubbing later we realised the toilet was leaking. Moreover, it was leaking from the soil pipe. More moreover, it was leaking from behind a boxed in part of the bathroom. Joy. A few hours later I had managed to pull all the floor tiles up to find the leak had made it a disturbing distance away from the toilet. Double joy. A bit later I smashed the boxed in part away and found the leak. It was kicking out about half a shot every time the toilet flushed. The thing is, where it was leaking from makes me think it’s been leaking for years. Yummy.

Much bleach and a plumbers visit later we had a functioning toilet once more. Luxury.

Power to the people

One of the things we hadn’t really appreciated was that our flat had two analogue electricity meters – one day time and one off peak. Coupled with this was a rather retro mechanical clock that turned the peak meter on and off. So far that seems reasonable enough – a digital clock would probably have been the size of our flat in the 60s. Where it began to get a bit frustrating was when we realised the immersion heater is wired into the off peak meter. This meant the hot water came on all night, and we had no way of turning it on ourselves. Ever. The obvious solution was to get our electricity company to come and sort it out. Simple. It would appear that the folk at EDF had absolutely no idea what we were talking about when describing the meter. It took several sessions of Becca shouting at people before they understood what she was talking about. In fact EDF have sent a letter saying they are processing our complaint – what complaint? That’s just how she talks to people!

Anyway, they have finally come and taken the off peak meter away and wired it all into the main meter, so we can now have hot water whenever we want. Well about an hour after we want it. Luxury.

The laundry and the tramp

One if the things I quite like is to have clean clothes. Our new place didn’t have the fittings for a washing machine installed, or any real way to dry clothes. This was a problem. So in the interim we thought we would give a launderette a go, how hard could it be?

The first problem was that launderettes don’t seem to have websites, or be listed anywhere googlable. We eventually found one not too far from us (a car drive still though).

When we went the launderette was unmanned, so we had to figure it out ourselves, I’ve used a washing machine like a thousand times so it should be easy enough. No. It is not. We filled the machine up, picked a setting (this was a random choice since the labels were non-existent), and stuffed it full of cash. Then it started leaking. Ummm. I managed to mega force the door shut so that stopped that problem.

After five minutes of watching the clothes go round we decided that launderettes should have bars, but since this one didn’t that we should go find one elsewhere. But how to know when to come back? This is where I struck upon one of my brighter ideas – I’ll go and ask the chap sitting at the other end of the the launderette how long a washing cycle takes. So I did. And so the chap looked at me, informed me that he had no idea. It very quickly became apparent that he was in fact a tramp, of course he doesn’t know how long it will take. The bar was going to have to wait.

Fifteen minutes later the next dilemma presented itself – the washing finished. Clearly we had picked the ‘cursory attempt at washing’ cycle in our random program picking. Alas given the exuberant prices for doing laundry (we had already spent £8) we had no choice but to accept our fate as wearing only slightly cleaner clothes for the next week.

It was rather soon after this that we bought, and installed, a washer-dryer in our flat (an almost hobo-free zone).

Our new house

As some of you may already know; we have bought a flat. It’s all part of our relocation to Bristol for work (which I shall write about at some point). It does give me a (good?) excuse to revive the blog I wrote about our last place.

It’s a 1960s flat in the Clifton area of Bristol, so it is a short walk to work in the morning. I think it is fair to say that it is a ‘project’, all the usual cosmetic stuff needs doing, the kitchen and bathroom both need doing, the wiring needs some TLC, the garage needs water tightening, and it needs some heating. In fact it might just be easier to knock it down and start from scratch.

You can have a look at some photos of the flat before we moved all our stuff in. Needless to say it looks a lot more crowded now.

We have invested in living things…..

So Olly and I decided we were going to finally take the plunge….. As we both work full time, tend to travel a lot and live in a flat we can’t really have pets 🙁 So Olly and I decided to invest in a plant each.  The idea being that if we could look after a plant successfully, maybe we could progress to a living thing of the animal variety (a piggy)! So we each chose our plants. Olly: a Bonsai tree.  More specifically the growing-in-the-rock type – a tree that represents the struggle to survive…. and Me: I bought a Venus Fly trap! I was wondering how the plants refelct our personalities… the Bonsai requires lots of meticulous preening whilst the Venus Fly trap is just a wild carnivore!  I’m so impressed – my plant is still alive and has caught a fly, i also saw it snap shut one of its traps yeaterday.  I’m hoping it will continue to grow [I’m thinking little shop of horrors style here!].

Irresponsible neighbours – Part 2.

So after the trauma of the last “incident” where we suspected an EDS air con Ltd van ran into our garage, damaging the door and the uPVC facias (less than 7 months old!)….Olly spoke to the residesnts that own the van. They told us that the driver was no longer with them and the van would not be parked there any more. What a load of bollox! Guess what i saw parked in front of our garage less than 1 minute ago….yes the exact same van, parked in its usual spot , in front of my now damaged garage.

Luckily for me, the resident that owns the van was out in the road, happily twittering with other neighbours in front of her house, were there is a pick up truck and two other cars parked. I told her in front of everyone that the van had to be removed from in front of my garage, as last time the driver caused a lot of damage (which surprise surprise – they won’t claim on their business insurance if they have any!). I also informed her that it was residents parking four our courtyard, and that the freeholder was putting up signs shortly. I have now been pro-active and found a sign making company to produce the parking signs. I have also chatted to other residents in the courtyard who are happy for signs to go up on their property, providing we consult them as to the exact locations. I swear to god, as soon as those signs go up, if that van parks there i am going to phone the police and council straight away!

People complain about having problems with travellers/gypsies parking on their land – we just have a chavy irritating resident outside of the courtyard, using the courtyard parking spaces, damaging our garages and damaging the tarmac courtyard residents will need to pay to replace! I really have to wonder why people are so selfish. I am contemplating parking my car in the annoying neighbours driveway – in front of their garage….perhaps that will make my point clearer?

Irresponsible neighbours

So last week we left our house to go to work when I noticed our garage door looked a little odd, on closer inspection I realised it had been crashed into.

Someone had hit the door and bent it, and broken the nice PVC bit at the top. Very annoying given that it wasn’t that long ago that we had the whole garage redone.

broken garage pvc

Given that the PVC bit that was broken is very high up, the two broken bits at the top are the same distance apart as the uprights on a typical ladder, and the bend in the door is a vertical bend from top to bottom, it is fair to say that it must have been a van that did it.

Now as it happens a van parks illegally outside our garage every day and guess what; it has a big ladder on top that matches EXACTLY the broken bits. The company that owns the van is EDS Aircon Ltd (clearly an irresponsible company if they don’t care about hit and runs). So after a bit of digging I found out where the van owner lives and wouldn’t you know it, he is not at all forthcoming about the whole issue.

So after a few hours a hammering the door back to a normal shape it at least opens, but I am left waiting for a reference number from the police and an insurance claim to deal with.

Three days in a cupboard and other new years’ things.

So I have spent the best part of the last three days in one of our kitchen cupboards. I kid you not, you see when the builders put our kitchen in they took the covers off two vents and installed a cupboard in front of it, the upshot being freezing coldness in the kitchen. So to fix it all I had to do was to pop the back out of the cupboard, squirt some builders’ foam into the holes and put the back back in. Pfff why can’t life be as simple as Becca?

First up; the back of the cupboard fits EXACTLY in, so it can’t pop out, and there are wires behind, so I can’t jigsaw it. I ended up spending about three hours carefully breaking the back off enough so I could see where the wires were. THEN I went at it with a jigsaw, which is the scareiest powertool I have EVER used.

Then to fill the holes; well builders’ foam seemed the way to go, that stuff is wierd. It expands to twice its size overnight and it sets from the outside in. So when I went to cut it down to size the next day I ruptured the wet stuff inside and it slowly oozed out making lots of farting noises, it really was one of the strangest things I have ever seen.

Then to putting the back back, well the old one was distroyed in the great battle of jigsaw, so I had to fashion a new one. And to cheat to put it back I braced it with lots of long screws behind it.

All in all it was a pretty professional bodge up I think.

I also put a fancy pants new shower curtain up (that took me about a day too) which is so solid that it is probably considered load bearing now 🙂 Now just the kitchen flooring to see to.

B&Q Suck donkey balls.

So K-day arived and our kitchen started to invade our house. We are one day in to the fitting proess and we already have a catalogue of errors to report 🙁 So where to start, at the very beginning I suppose;

  • Forgotten splash back – They completely forgot the stainless steel splash back, so Becca spent a long while on the phone getting them to sort it, in the end it took a several of attempts to sort it, and so the splash back had to be express deliveryed.
  • Early delivery – Despite giving an 8 hour delivery window starting at midday they decided to deliver the tiles at 8:30, telling us they would come back later to give us the rest.
  • Scratched splash back – The splash back turned up out of the blue with no warning from the delivery people after the origional delivery, we were of course at work, so they left it with a neighbour. On closer inspection it looked like it had been dragged across a concrete floor for several miles, the box was knackered and the steel very scratched. No chance of a new one being sent until June.
  • Bent sink – The fitters turned up this morning and found the sink was as bent as a banana.
  • Much longer fitting time – We were told it would take three days to do the whole thing, the first thing the fitters said was it would take over a week.
  • Forgotten larder bit – Having made a lot of progress today the builder left this evening, when Becca saw the larder he had fitted we realised that he had put shelves in it instead of the magic pull out draw thing it is supposed to have.

And so that brings us to the end of day one, we have one partially fitted kitchen and a draft complaint letter. It currently looks like the timetable for completion is:
Units fitted by Friday,
Tiling done next week,
Splash back delivered and fitted in a couple of weeks,
Larder unit delivered and fitted sometime in the distant future.

Yes, that is, 3 days to over a month to fit our kitchen 🙁 The moral of this story is to never ever ever get anything from B&Q.

Dishwasher!!!!!

We bought our dishwasher yesterday! Well rather Tesco bought our dishwasher for us, a year of collecting clubcard points and down to MFI we went. It’s going to take a month to be delivered, and then I guess it’s going to sit in the box for a month or two until our kitchen gets delivered, or I could try to do a bit of creative plumbing…………

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