Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sweet home

Two weeks today we are supposed to move house. Again. This time in the right direction out of the rented house and back into what is supposed to be our Northumberland dream home. Two weeks does not strike me as a long time when I look at the cottage. It still does not have a bathroom although it does have half a kitchen. There are carcasses of creamy doored cabinets but no svelte black granite tops; half an oak planked floor, the rest, polystyrene and wooden struts; half a pantry, that is to say, an alcove but no shelves. The builders have only just finished knocking another hole in a wall to connect two rooms. I was slightly disconcerted because I had forgotten the rooms were supposed to be connected. I said: "Are you sure you weren't holding the plans upside down?" They tell me they weren't.

I respect our architect's talent and creativity. He is also a very nice man who has come up with a design for a family home which works on a number of levels. I suspect he has not warmed to me after I accused him of chauvinism (perhaps I had PMT that day), reinstated the pantry which he hated and which I had agreed to scrap(women can be so indecisive) and, most recently, wanted a forensic analysis of why the wrong sort of insulation was put into the roof space (and picky. They can be very, very picky.). He had specified the type of insulation but local planners do not accept it. He said this was a recent change in planning regulations. I said: "How recent?" (I have no idea why I do not have any friends up here.) To his credit, he agreed to absorb the cost of the £1,500 to £2,000 insulation in his own bill. I am pretty sure he will not want to keep in touch after the job is over.

I am not sure what my builders think of me. I like the fact they take decisions. I just like to know the reasons behind the decisions. "Why have you put the pantry door on that way round?" "Why can we have a flat floor when we couldn't a week ago?" "Why have you knocked down that wall?" The builder looks at me for a split second. Sometimes, I think he is constructing his answer. Sometimes, I think he is thinking: "Why. Do you ask all these questions?" They are very patient with me but I think they like to talk to my husband. I suspect he provides them with answers rather than questions. Maybe they just feel sorry for him. Maybe they think I ask him: "Why do you want sex with me tonight?" Anyway, they have another two weeks to finish off the job and give us our house back. It will not be entirely finished. There is a string of arches in the farmyard which are also being converted. Work will continue on the arches when we move back in but I do not mind that. Frankly I will miss the builders when they leave.

I really want to move back. I feel adrift. It has been nice to be in a village to see other houses and cars drive by but I want to get on with my life. I want to move into a home where we have space, where we can stretch out and breathe. There is a pond in the garden of this rented house. We carefully covered it up. The boys equally carefully uncovered it. I want to open the door and let my sons out to play in the garden without worrying about whether they will drown. I want to fill my pantry with fancy tinned stuff that looks like art and glass jars of fruit we will never eat, not even at Christmas. I want to keep vanilla pods in sugar and have everything just so. For a day at least. That will be a very good day. One to remember. I want to go home.

15 comments:

Clara said...

A pantry - you're a woman after my own heart. I too have a longing for an orderly pantry in our house extension and now I have come across someone who might understand why. I don't want a bigger kitchen I just want a pantry! I hope it's ready in two weeks I also know what you mean about being able to open the back door and not worry about the children coming to harm.

Rivs said...

At least whilst up in the wilds of gods country you're missing out on the annual surge of 'Henmania' down here in the home counties, living in rented accomodation is a small price to pay surely?

Some quick tips for you ref Northern Builders, let them think they're in charge even if they're not and keep them overflowing with cups of tea.

Good luck with your move.

The Writer said...

DON'T SCRAP THE PANTRY. Ah, such memories, particularly in the wilds of the countryside where you have to be prepared to be snowed in (or the car's gone to the graveyard) - your only source of food being that which you so carefully stored in the pantry. It should have thin metal grates over the window/s to keep out the mosquitos and flies.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I join the chorus of those in favor of the pantry. (oops. typo, put in panty to start with) You'll never be sorry you have it. There's no security blanket quite like a pantry packed with gorgeous goodies you won't use. Kind of like a psychological hug.

Sally Morten said...

Builders are a different species, sounds like you're doing very well...

liv said...

I feel fairly certain that the builders of my upstairs expansion still heartily hate me. But, when you have what you want and they're gone, oh the joys!

Iota said...

What on earth are you converting a string of arches into? Can you point me to a previous post, or is this a story still to come? You are so right to hold out for a pantry. (What's the difference between a pantry and a larder, by the way?)

Kaycie said...

I am envious. My time is still spent looking daily for a home. I think we may be getting closer, though.

I hope two weeks is all they need to have your home ready for you.

Steve Schewe said...

We started a porch and deck on the back of the house starting last summer. The builders said, "It will be ready by Thanksgiving" but they neglected to say in which year!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I keep just about everything in my pantry. Do I understand it that you're feeling 'at home' here? I do hope so, it's good to have you in Northumberland.

jane said...

Once you get a pantry, you'll be fine. It's a psychological nesting thing - you lay in stores of good things for times when you need them, and stash all the unwanted stuff you don't need every day but don't want to throw away - it so gives you a sense of security just looking at the lines of tins, jars and packets. If you're anything like me, you'll put all the alphabetti spaghetti and baked beans at the back and tins of artichoke hearts and barlotti beans at the front just in case Woman and Home come round for a photo-shoot and want a pic of your pantry. Put a bolt high up on the inside and, hey presto, you've got somewhere to hide with a quick bag of cashew nuts and a gin in times of stress. Perfect!

Nicole said...

God no- keep at your builders with the questions. I gave up after awhile and not it drives me batty every single time I open our bathroom door which was put on the wrong way after a quick consultation with my husband. They actually took away the regular door and went to the effort of finding a door that had been removed from the house already, but opened in the opposite direction under the mistaken impression that it would be much more roomy in the bath. It is not, and not the door is ALWAYS swinging open into the hall and blocking the way. Builders are men who do not imagine themselves walking through the house and living there but imagine ways of rapidly getting the drawing into wood and cement reality.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Our builder finally started this week. We waited over a year for him to come. My husband was determined that HE WAS THE ONE. Who am I, a mere woman, to question this. My husband keeps me well away from the builder. He won't let me ask probing questions like, why are you taking my roof off in this rain? My husband is very, very nervous that I might upset the builder. Why? By this time next year he might be an Ex-husband!

merry weather said...

That's a very nice post wifey, your house will be lovely by the sound of it. Things will come together. Why will you miss the builders ? .... :)

Winchester whisperer said...

I wish you much merriment in your new home, dear heart, and make sure sloe gin's a staple in your pantry