March 2005 Archives

There must have been a time before my flat. A time before, when it didn't exist (or else existed outwith my knowledge), when it didn't consume my every waking thought so. But it's difficult to remember now.

The worst part is that I know I've become such a terrible bore on the subject. Like those peculiar self-obsessives who seem able to twist all conversation in their vicinity until it revolves around themselves - much as matter spirals towards a black hole - so too I seemed condemned to misdirect all potential topics of conversation towards my flat. I can seemingly craft an apt allusion towards it to fit nearly any scenario with scarcely any effort.

Still, there was finally light at the end of the tunnel. After endless weeks during which nothing was seen to happen, things seemed to be going my way again. The plumber turned up and did some work. The electrician is due on Monday. The tiler plasterer and decorater soon after that. All my dominoes were finally lining up neatly at least.

And then I got a call from the plumber to tell me he'd discovered a large area of damp underneath the shower tray. I'm hardly any expert in these matters, but he made it sound rather serious and directed me to call a specialist.

My neat row of dominoes has collapsed. I suspect they were more like a house of cards.


Lament of the lost

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I have become a ghoul, a wraith condemned to wander the soothingly lit halls of Habitat and tastefully decorated confines of John Lewis from now until the end of eternity (or until my flat is ready, whichever comes first. My money is on eternity.)

On the plus side, I actually managed to get a plumber to turn up this morning. A charming chap who pleasantly conveyed the fact that there was absolutely no way he'd be able to fit the new toilet I'd bought in space available in such a manner that I almost didn't mind the bad news.

The electrician, on the other hand, remains missing in inaction.

Never. Moving. Again.

Let there be lights...

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...and there were lights. Lots and lots of lights. And they were good. Or bright at least.

Here's another of those lessons I've learned in my ongoing efforts to finish my flat: I should have budgeted for lights. Oh, there are many (many!) other items I should have budgeted for - cushions! how could I have spent so much money on cushions! - but somehow my lighting expenses seem particularly high. This likely has something to do with the quantity involved (and perhaps the quality too. I seem to have an ingrained aversion to inexpense). Thus far I've purchased 18 individual light fittings, comprising some 26 bulbs. I've not yet totted up exactly what sort of power requirements I'm dealing with, but I believe it's in the 1200 watts region (mostly halogen bulbs, before anyone suggests low power alternatives). And bear in mind these are just the fitted lights. I've still got to account for table lamps, freestanding lamps, and uplights. All for three rooms spread over some 350 square feet.

They're not all fitted, yet, but I await the grand switch on with great anticipation and a pair of sunglasses close to hand.

Dripping yarns

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Well, the day is drawing to a close, and my hands are a little tied workwise, so I thought I'd spend the next half and hour or so catching up with you all. I could give a status update on the flat, but there's not much to tell really. Suffice it to say that I'm truely astonished by how little I've managed to accomplish. At least I don't find it depressing any more - I've come to terms with the whole situation and can now view all matter of turmoil with an air of detached calm (like my electrician who's been ill for the last two weeks with flu). I've learned to find small joys wherever I'm able. My shower was delivered yesterday - two weeks late, but not nearly enough to disturb my rock solid sense of inner calm (and besides, there's still no sign of my plumber to fit it. Oops I can feel my inner calm trembling, better change the subject quick Plumbers, grrrr...). The shower is a truely lovely piece of design, and I can't wait to see it fitted, and better yet use it. It's pretty.

One thing this experience has taught me is how inflexible my viewpoint can be. In many ways I think I have relatively flexible viewpoint. But once I set my heart on something, it quickly crystallises to "That one! I want that one! I have to have that one. My life won't be complete without it!". I felt very much that way about the first shower I saw. And the one after that. And those that followed. Each time convinced that I couldn't live without it (please assume comedic hyperbole rather than shallow materialism).

The shower that appealed most I found on display in a bathroom store. I was immediately attraced by it's simple yet elegant design and it's silky satin sheen. Naturally I couldn't resist playing with it. I'll now relate a piece of advice that may come in useful should you ever find yourself shopping for a shower. If said shower is mounted above a large trough, please assume that the trough is probably there for reason. I realised this when I twiddled the shower controls and was blasted by a jet of cold water. It took me a second to work out that the sudden appearance of the water stream, and my twiddling were not unrelated events. I turned the shower off, and stood there with a slightly startled expression on my face, water dripping off me. I squelched my way over to the counter, where a sales assistant cast me a rather bemused glance. I stood there briefly, a small pool of water slowly forming around me, raised an damp arm and pointed back at the shower.

"That one," I said, "I'll take that one".

(It later transpired that particular shower couldn't be installed in the limited cavity space I have to deal with. I'm more than happy with the replacement I found, but I'll always have fond memories of that first shower)