British Gas …

We paid the gas in Long Ashton by direct debit, and when I checked, the account was £140 in credit after the final reading.

“Oh good”, I thought – that’ll stand me in good stead for the next hideous bill after all that cold weather, especially as another £120 will have gone into their maw.

But when I looked again today, the credit was still sitting on the Long Ashton address, and there are no additional credits from a direct debit on this address at 90 ramtops road, and WTF no 94 ramtops road is doing on the account, $deity only knows.

I phoned them up, and a very nice man told me that they refunded the £140 back to the bank at the beginning of December, so I’ll have to check that (and if so, why does the bloody thing show a credit? – surely it should show a zero balance), and that they don’t automatically transfer standing orders from one address to another, even when the transfer went through the house moving team. So instead of being £250 or so in credit with the gas, I’m starting from zero again 🙁 I’ve set up the direct debit again, but how STUPID is that practice?

progress 10 dec 09

We’ve gone back to work now, as things were piling up, and cash is running out, so not much happening at the moment.

Progress is also impeded due to the fact that I suddenly realised that it was bin day on Monday (after 11 years of it being bin day on *Thursday*) and hurtled out to put the wheelie bins At The Front Of The Property. The black one was very heavy, and I called up to Pete that he would have to move it, then decided to have another bash and somehow dropped the edge of the sodding thing on my left big toe. Excruciatingly painful. Have cracked the nail, bruised the toe very badly, and am still limping four days later, and am unable to put a shoe on. Bah. Don’t do this at home, peeps.

Still, we have:

  • Organised Man with Van to go and collect the aforementioned fireplace yesterday, as it wouldn’t fit in the car. It’s 1.85m tall with its hearth, painted white with doric columns either side, and with a real marble hearth and back piece (which nearly killed Pete and MwV getting it into the house) – going to look lovely when it goes in, and I will attempt to limp up a ladder and paint he chimney breast this weekend so that Pete can put up the television bracket, and go to the pet shop to buy some cuttlefish; apparently this is the best way to clean marble. Then I can phone the plumbering chap to come and put it in, and take out the horrible and redundant fire in the dining room.
  • Had the Warm Front people out to do a survey for the insulation, and they won’t touch it because there are cracks in the lining paper in the bedroom. There are no cracks in the office next door, but … Daniel the Polish Builder is coming back this morning to fix something that offended him in the loft access he did, so I shall consult him on what to do about it. We are pretty much out of cash right now for building works.
  • The bedroom poles, curtains and tiebacks are up, and very nice they look too. Almost floor length, dark blue, on white poles, with leaf tie backs. They make such a huge difference to the room.
  • Considered our options re a coat rack. Pete put one up, but after 24 hours it gave up the ghost and fell off the wall onto my head. Think we will put louvre doors on one of the dining room alcoves and use that for storage, and return the coats to the Shed (as we call the cupboard under the stairs).
  • Saw a chap cleaning windows in Belvoir Street yesterday, so have organised him to clean ours once a month. £2.50 for the front, a pound cheaper than LA.
  • Had our first visitors! Some folk we met at a couple of friends’ emigration live in Lincoln, and came up for supper, and to discuss a project they want when they have money. I sent Pete to the butcher for a chicken, and he returned with a free range one, at £1/lb. We had a nice evening, and shall be going down to see them in Lincoln after the New Year.
  • Got two of the four catcams up
  • Went to the Farmers’ Market at Humber Bridge on Sunday – some lovely stuff there. They’re doing a Christmas Market next weekend, so we’ll go take a look at that, and there’s a Farmers’ Market at Driffield tomorrow – if my wounded paw permits, we’ll visit that too
  • Went to see Rob Brydon in Scarborough last weekend – ate (excellent) fish and chips in a howling gale on the sea front first, encountering Mr Brydon at the counter; very rock and roll. He was hilarious, and only really did Uncle Bryn in the encore part. Very much in the style of "an evening with" rather than standup; we enjoyed it enormously
  • Went to the inaugural meeting of the Hull No2id group last week – hopefully something will come of that. We went out for a meal with the regional organiser afterwards in the Moroccan restaurant on Princes Ave, as he was staying locally, and had an excellent time putting the world to rights.

To do in the next few days:

  • Try to get to the clock hospital in the old part of Hull – sadly, the glass on my wonderful barometer has cracked.
  • Paint the chimney breast and the wall beside the kitchen (to put shelves up), then get the television bracket up. Have bought some long SCART cables to aid the installation
  • Put the wall lights up in the bedroom
  • Put the double glazing film up in bedroom and bathroom
  • Clear the living room for new front window being installed on Thursday

I can’t quite believe it’s only 2 weeks till Xmyth – I don’t feel seasonal *at all*.

Onward and upwards.

in and out of da house 4 December 09

  • The living room alcoves have been painted, as has under the window – just as well, as the plumber came to move the radiator yesterday, rather earlier than we expected! Will continue with painting tomorrow, as
  • We have realised that the only sensible place for the TV is on the chimney breast above the (currently non-existent) fireplace*, occasioning me to ..
  • Go off into Hull shopping this morning, all on my own. Managed to find the car park, navigate to the stores I wanted, and get home again without needing GPS – Pete was amazed. Bought a throw for the tatty armchair that Gavin left, as it is actually quite comfortable, just hideous to look at, two new cushions, and a wall mount for the television. Oh, and some cat fud, and two steak pasties and 4 mince pies, for the princely sum of £2.09 (not including the cat fud). It’s astonishing how much cat fud we are getting through – I knew the Tribe ate out a lot, but this is ridiculous!
  • Entertainment stack of TV, amp, tivo, dvd player, Neuros and Roku is all assembled, although the Neuros is currently sulking and refusing to speak to the network. It was doing this that made us realise the wallmount issue, as there is nowhere sensible to put the speakers except either side of the chimney breast
  • Another bookcase is up,and the book heap is down to 14 large boxes [scream]. Coffee table, and red leather Poang chair and footstool are assembled. Some ornaments are even out! – it’s starting to look like home. The triangular shelves are up in the kitchen, permitting the unpacking of Pete’s tea collection,
  • I’ve just started 5 gallons of wine; would have been six, but Pete snapped an airlock. Hock, apricot, Merlot, Barolo and Rioja (all from kits – I’ll do some winter wines soon though; parsnip, beetroot, that sort of thing).
  • The Polish builder who quoted £200 to fit the loft ladder is still here, after starting at 8 yesterday, although he did go home last night. Horrible job, and my dears – the *dust*. So soon we shall be able to insulate it, and be much warmer. I hope.
  • Actually went *out* and met some people on Thursday, of which more later.
  • *Scored a fireplace and gas fire on eBay today for £26, so off to sunny Scunthorpe tomorrow to collect it.
  • Have taken a hunk of silverside out of the freezer to slow cook tomorrow
  • And off to Scarborough tonight to see Rob Brydon. Looking forward to that.

in da house 2 dec 09

  • Got the very last box unpacked, apart from the books! Oh – actually, there’s one more box, which has teas and other mugs in it, but it’s waiting for the triangular shelves to go up in the kitchen so it doesn’t count
  • Found the curtain for the study, and put it up
  • Cleared the £1.40 from eBay dining table, added a cream chenille cover and a wooden plate of apples, stood back and admired it, and watched it instantly become a cat haunt
  • Had conversation with Karoo support explaining there was no master socket in the house, so we cannot try plugging the router straight into it; they will come and fit one this afternoon FOC
  • Got quote from joiner for cracked front double glazing unit and radiator moving from side wall to under window – better than anyone else, so booked him. Let us fervently hope we can put a log grate in the chimney
  • Freegled brass door furniture from study door (which is going to the tip), more boxes, 200 DL envelopes
  • Took car full of damp cardboard, carpet bits, ironing board (which collapsed in the move – how sad), etc to the tip – Hull tip is very civilised, a chap comes and *helps* you unload
  • Went up to the bakery for some rolls for lunch, and felt proud of myself for referring to them as "breadcakes" – I’m becoming assimilated
  • Filled the car with diesel for the first time since 13 November – averaged 49.something, which is pretty good, given I drove the 230 miles up here at 80+ most of the way, and the rest of the time we’ve been pottering around Hull
  • Put our lovely living room rug down last night, and got some the last of the lamps out – it’s really starting to feel like home now
  • Pete soldiered on with the study, which is almost done, and although small is probably more workable than the old one
  • I actually did some *work* – not much, but some
  • Won a small but significant battle with Wickes, after pointing out Politely that if I pay £5.60 for next day delivery, and it doesn’t arrive next day, then I should get a refund. It’s not much, but that’s not the point
  • Got the landing pretty much cleared of rubbish – just the business paperwork files there now, and a couple of empty boxes which are a cat playground at the moment. Box files are going into plastic crates in the loft when it’s done, so we can fit some bookshelves up there shortly.

No, I didn’t get the soup made, nor the wine started. Today I want to get the new bedroom curtains/pols up, and the double glazing film over the upstairs window, get the study finished, and just possibly start painting the living room, at least where the radiator is going to go, although that means moving lots of shelving bits.

in da house 1 Dec 09

Sunday was office day – we lifted the revolting pink and white blotchy carpet, which came up surprisingly easily, as it was laid on paper. perlmonger gave the room a good seeing to with the Dyson, then I washed the skirting boards with sugar soap; little wipes – lazy, but quick. I did the walls up to where I could reach, and Pete did the rest. Begone, foul lilac walls! We knew it needed a second coat, and inevitably we ran out of paint, so had to hurtle down to Wilkos to get another can. (aside; why did nobody tell me about Wilcos? – it’s wonderful!). Slapped the second coat on on Monday morning, and the carpet fitter had been and gone by mid day.

We also got the curtain rail up in there – if I could only find the curtain for it, that would be splendid.

We made a good start on the study after that – got my desk set up yesterday, and a wall mounted bookcase beside it and Pete is doing his now. It’s smaller than the one we had in LA, but it’s workable and we will just have to be more ruthless with the rubbish that we hang on to, or (more likely) at least put it up in the loft.

Have booked a Polish builder to fit the loft hatch and ladder at the end of this week, and I have just organised someone to replace the bit of the front double glazed unit which has a damn great crack on the inside, and thus is full of condensation. I went with someone who can do it, and move the living room radiator under the window, for £215. I’m now keeping an eye out for gas fires on eBay. This house is *freezing* and we’re spending what little spare cash we have on getting it warm – so loft insulation (which requires the loft access being done, and we need it for storage anyway) which we can get for £75 on a grant, I’ve just got some of that secondary double glazing film for the upstairs windows, and I should get the rugs down today.

British Gas are coming to fit a credit meter tomorrow – we’ve been using a PAYG since we arrived, which just eats money, and ran out this morning just as Pete was about to run a bath. Gavin had it put in in 2006, when he ran up arrears, and didn’t either ask our permission, or tell us, which is irritating.

Karoo (local telecoms) told me that our broadband might be running slow because it wasn’t plugged into the master socket. Now we have cleared most of the boxes, we find that we don’t *have* a master socket, the telephone wiring here is that old. So I rang them this morning, and they are coming out to fit one tomorrow, FOC, which is quite impressive.

By the end of today, I plan to have taken a load to the tip, started some wine, made some soup, and painted some of the kitchen so we can put up the triangular shelves. And cleared the dining table (that I bought for £1.40 from eBay, including four chairs) so that we can actually eat a meal off it.

Onward and upward.

day whatever in the house 28 Nov 09

had to do some work, as a client’s e-commerce had gone bang, so we didn’t get as much done as I’d have liked. Add to this that my poor body is falling apart – the arthritis in my hands has really kicked in, and they hurt, and I can’t grip much. On Thursday night I dropped some heavy metal brackets on my left foot, and badly bruised two toes. On Friday I was rushing through the hall, tripped on something, and fell, taking my not inconsiderable weight on my knees, and bruising my arms very badly – my left arm is black and blue pretty much from wrist to shoulder. All a bit of an arse.

Stilll, we:

  • Went back to Newlands Ave in the morning – Tony’s Textiles for another curtain pole, and we bought one for the dining room window, and some lovely red curtains. £8’s worth of veg in the greengrocer: red cabbage, aubergine, savoy cabbage, 8 big Braeburn apples, 1 cooking apple, ginger, green chillis, cauliflower, bag of spinach. Also got 2 steak pasties, ham and roast beef, and some pakoras for lunches this week – 7 quid, I think.
  • Got a couple of bookcases built – the first one has gone in a dining room alcove, and has allowed me to unpack the last of the living room boxes and stack everything on the shelves.
  • Transferred the televisual stuff off the hideous silver monstrosity (which has gone to someone via Hull Freegle), and stacked it all neatly on an old black hi-fi stand that was in the garage in Long Ashton. This has cleared a heap of space in the living room.
  • Tidied all the remaining bits of Billy bookcases (we have about eight of them)
  • Put an old white rug, which is in desparate need of cleaning, down on the living room floorboards – not yet enough room for our main lovely rug, but not long now
  • identified all the bits of the red leather Poang chair and the coffee table – they can be assembled in the next day or two
  • cooked four faggots (no, *not* that sort) that accompanied us with carrots, courgettes, mushrooms, onions, cider (no red wine in the house), for the freezer
  • Pete cooked dinner last night for the first time since we moved in – dhal and rice, nice simple food.

Onward and upward – carpet fitted tomorrow, so we’ve had a busy day.

7th day in the house 27 Nov 09

Not terribly productive – we really are hampered by the lack of a study, meaning that the boxes that should be unpacked into there and still all over the house. Still, carpet fitter on Monday then we can Get On,

Yesterday, we:

  • Nipped (or popped) out in the morning – to the (not very good) home brew shop in East Hull, to stock up on winemaking kits. I prefer to make it from scratch, but don’t have time, so I’ll set some of these going today. Also into Asda for turkey mince for the prodigal Iggy, and the next door Matalan for a beak, where we picked up a terracotta salt pig, a pair of boots for me, and a washing up bowl, for the princely sum of £25,
  • On to Wickes, to get the paint for the living room,so that I can start cleaning and filling the walls bit by bit, and then Pete can put up the shelves. We grabbed lunch from the van outside the store – a bacon, egg and mushroom breadcake (as they call them here) for me, and a sausage and bacon one for Pete; a fiver for the pair.
  • We finally found the missing shelf for the kitchen bookcase which is currently pressed into service as an emergency spice rack, so I finished (almost) emptying the kitchen boxes and reorganising the cupboards – only three more boxes to go, and I know exactly what’s in them, and where the contents will live
  • Went over to Newlands Avenue with a box for the charity shop, which was delivered to the Red Cross, as they were the first one we encountered, and it was raining. Also dived into Tony’s Textiles for a lined curtain for the bathroom – it’s really cold in there, and it has a huge, bare window. Picked up a cheap curtain rail, a pair of curtains and a tieback for £18. One curtain was plenty, so I’ll whizz back there this morning and get another rail and tieback, and the second one will do well in the study. Tonys is a great shop – we got the bedroom curtains in there from the reduced box – 20 quid to do the two big windows in the bedroom, to replace the vile and filthy things (which don’t even open) that Gavin put up. Must get the rails fitted – the curtains are all hooked ready.
  • Put up the bathroom rail and curtain; looks a lot nicer, and seems to be warmer in there
  • Freegled some more boxes
  • Did the quote for a client, and Pete also spent some time trying to work out why something which has been working perfectly for a year for another client has suddenly stopped working.
  • Had a kebab for supper – mixed kebab and portion of chips to share, £10.25 delivered to the door. And very nice it was too. I was looking forward to settling down to Gavin and Stacey, but the Tivo had failed to record it. This turns out to be because I failed to ask it too, so that’s a fail on my part.
  • Fell asleep at 9 p.m. again – my body clock seems to be currently set 5.30 a.m. to 9, which is not ideal.

And now it’s almost 8, and I must get going. Later, peeps.

6th day in the house 26 Nov 09

Going to detail progress here for myself – feel free to skip 🙂

Yesterday we:

  • spent 3 hours hunting for DECT phone base, firewall and Pete’s phone charger – this entailed opening every bloody box. We eventually found all three in the very last box, inside another box
  • got the bed made up, so no more sleeping on the mattress on the floor. I also washed the bed linen and hung it on the line, after a desperate but successful hunt for the clothes pegs – that’s a "feels like home" thing, but we need a new line and clothes prop
  • assembled the clothes rails, found the hangers (why do we have so many?) and hung up all the clothes I could find, although I know there are a fair few packed in the top of the tower of book boxes
  • sorted out all the wicker baskets in the bedroom, redistributed their contents to where they should be – bedroom is nearly there now, Bit more tidying, and new curtains and rails to hang
  • Had a Polish chap round to quote for fitting the loft ladder and hatch – he’s startlingly cheap at 200 quid, and I’m not sure whether to trust him, but his feedback on is good …
  • discussed how to lay out the living room, discovering in the process that our not very nice television stand will have to go; simplest thing will be to put a custom triangular shelf in one of the alcoves, so Pete will hie himself down to Sculcoates Lane and visit the wonderful woodmonger, who planed a piece of wood exactly to size for the catflap, and charged us precisely £1.50, including the wood
  • knocked out the manky shelving in the study alcove, part-assembled the spare set of shed shelves, and determined that they will fit in there – not ideal, but quick and easy, and so will do for now. The first set of shed shelves went in the cupboard under the stairs, which I have organised to within an inch of its life
  • found the blind we bought for the old study in Bristol, and discovered that – amazingly – it will just fit in the study here
  • found the missing shelf for the pine bookcase in the kitchen shelf, but sadly not its fixings – so we’ll pick some up today on our trip to pick up the paint for the living/dining room, which will have to be decorated in instalments; paint a bit, shelve it, move on. The kitchen bookcase is holding up the finishing of the kitchen, so that’s a priority
  • got the Linux server up and plugged into the firewall (now we’ve found it),although we have a lot of network plumbing to do. Did some research on a job that a customer needs a quote for today – just what we need right now
  • had fish and chips; £6 quid for two allegedly small portions, which we couldn’t finish, they were so huge. We were going to have them for lunch, but I was late getting up there, and they were shut, so I bought a couple of filled rolls – one tuna/sweetcorn, one ham/cheese … £3.10p. Cost of living is cheap up here!
  • had someone round to collect a stack of cardboard boxen via Hull Freegle, and got someone coming for more tonight. Also cleared all the ones from the back yard ready to go to the tip this weekend – they’re stacked behind the wheelie bin.

Then we collapsed. More today – onwards and upwards.

Well, we’re here. All we have set up at the moment is my Netbook and the wireless router – I haven’t *looked* at LJ, Facebook, Twitter, etc, just done the odd Twitter post from the phone to let folk know we’re alive.

The move was hideous, but eternal and inexpressible gratitude go to geoffcampbell, who drove the lorry, organised the team of packers and loaders as though he were playing Tetris, and generally made the whole thing work; Pat and Dave, WANOLJ, who came round to the old house at 6 a.m. on moving day and worked like *heroes* for five hours; agc who drove to Hull from Wiltshire to help with the unloading, and etriganuk who trained over from Manchester to do the same. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH.

We couldn’t get everything on the van, so perlmonger had to do a one way van rental at an extortionate price, and spent four hours packing and loading the last stuff in the pouring rain, not getting away from Bristol until nearly 5 p.m. He came down with a nasty chill on Tuesday , unsurprisingly, but he got here.

Nothing broken in the move so far, although my ceramic duck mobile’s wire broke when I tried to hang it up, so that’s a casualty. We cannot find the clothes pegs, or Pete’s mobile phone charger, so if anyone needs him, use the house phone or my mobile (contact details just posted in a friends locked post).

I drove the cats up, which could not be described as an enjoyable experience, even for me – Iggy and Mustrum cried the whole way, and Iggy disgraced himself in his basket. EnRon, of course, just curled up together in their carrier and slept the whole way – they really are utterly bombproof, those two. When we arrived they went off exploring, but soon came home through the kitchen window, which we kept open until Pete managed to fit the cat flap on Tuesday. Except for Iggy, who disappeared on Sunday evening – we were distraught. I’ll write more about this later in the cats’ blog, but suffice it to say that when I was making a cup of tea at 6 this morning, he strolled into the kitchen from the living room – so he’d found his way back through this grid of Victorian terraced streets, and discovered the cat flap. I’m more relieved and happy than I can say.

So, anyway, we’re alive. I’ll write more about the house later, but I know some people have been waiting to hear. Thanks to all those who’ve phoned and mailed – no time to respond now, but I’ll get there.

On with the unpacking – we nearly have a living room now, the kitchen is almost finished (going to paint it RED) , and Hull is good. Except that bloody Gavin still hasn’t paid the sodding rent.