Category Archives: home improvements

Upstairs, Downstairs – – –

Jack makes on time again – – –

I hate any kind of changes in routine and particularly moving house, which Wendy and I have done five times now. But almost as bad is moving rooms – I mean changing the use of rooms with the attendant moving of furniture.

In all the houses we’ve lived in it’s usually taken until we were almost ready to move again before we finally had things set up as we liked.

So to last weekend –

For a variety of reasons, we decided to make the ‘ceilidh’ room our bedroom and that meant moving our big old and bulky bed down our narrow staircase. Luckily two good (and young and fit) friends were staying over the weekend. So following a musical evening in the ceilidh room on Saturday, Sunday was spent maneuvering everything down. Although we were able to get the mattress bent enough to push and pull it down the stair, the headboard and footboard had to go out to a small upstairs landing and be lowered down over the rail. Something we could never have done on our own.

Getting the mattress down involved Wendy and the other Wendy losing themselves inside it while Doug shouted “push, push!” as if the stair was the birth canal!

After everything was down and assembled we were astonished how great the room looked. This shouldn’t have surprised us as it’s been the continuing story of the last 25 years!

Of course there are knock-on effects to what was our bedroom and is now Wendy’s work space and our movie theater, and what was our sitting room and now doubles as the music room.

Onwards to installing our woodstove – – –

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Filed under between books, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Friends Indeed

Jack’s Wednesday post is very late, but here’s the reason – –

We had lots of difficulty finding reliable trades people when we first moved here, but – –

As is often the case, after a while we have eventually used our new network of friends to connect with a couple.

A few of months ago we noticed that our kitchen sinks were slow to empty and then we saw water appearing in the ground outside. I got a long ‘snake’ and that helped but the problem came back. Wendy asked a friend if she knew any plumbers and – lo- a couple of days ago Thomas arrived with a couple of helpers and within an hour had worked out the probable culprit! Our sink had been connected to an ancient steel pipe that had corroded and that’s where the leak was coming from. But that doesn’t explain the blockage, so more investigation required.

We decided that in the event of a power outage we should have a back-up source of heat and got a small wood stove. But finding someone to fit it including the necessary chimney piping was proving difficult, until we discovered the very competent Nate who lives nearby. He first mended the fence in our back yard and then took on the wood stove job, sourcing all the needed stuff and came yesterday to measure up.

Before that we had invited our friend Leroy to come for an overnight with his guitar to play some music with me. The fact that he’s a competent electrician and we need a double outlet fitted beside our freezers is a pure coincidence!

I know from experience and from both sides that finding reliable trades folk can be very frustrating. I was Head of Construction Trades at a Scottish college for many years and ran a painting business before that. My Dad, who started the company, always said that the flow of work was “aye a hunger or a burst”. Nobody wanted painters in the winter and everybody wanted them in the spring.

My impression, though, when I was working in that college was that plumbers were very conscious that much of their work was dealing with emergencies and they took that seriously. When our friend contacted Thomas on our behalf he arrived within two days and made sure things were under control. That must mean he pushed other work back by a day, so someone had to wait.

The secret is simply good communication and Thomas was on his phone frequently during his time in our yard, as well as explaining constantly to us what he was doing and why. So his other clients knew about our emergency and we were re-assured!

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Filed under between books, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch