January 10 2021 – St Leonards-on-Sea.
2021 and the new decade started off pretty much as the previous year and decade finished, with Brexit shitness added on for flavouring. The UK has now left the EU and the transition period is over. Bring on the unicorn filled sunlit uplands of ‘sovrinty’ and blue passports. As I write this post the Brexit failures are being masked by the appalling UK Covid statistics; over 1500 dead today alone. The UK (and the USA) is not in a good place right now, and while we have the great news of vaccinations on the horizon, the grim statistics will be with us for a few more weeks yet.
Eleanor had a medical appointment in Walthamstow last week so I used the opportunity of her not being at the flat to get some very messy work done. While she was away she received an email from NZ Immigration, the first communication we have had from them since they acknowledged receipt of our partner visa request. The email was a request for a lot more information regarding our relationship, fortunately it has all been fairly straightforward to collect. We both hope this is an indication that we have a case worker now working on our case. Our fingers remain firmly crossed.
A few months ago a crack appeared in the Victorian lath plaster in the master bedroom, and it has been getting longer and wider, with an ever increasing sag, ever since. In December it got to the ‘I now need to be concerned’ stage, so I arranged to get plasterers in to replace the wall/ceiling, before it collapsed by itself.
The bedroom is in the roof space so there is more ceiling than wall.
Even though we are in lockdown 3 (the crappy sequel) in the UK the rules allow for contractors to continue working as long as safe practices are maintained. I had a long conversation with the plastering company and decided to go ahead with the work. There is every chance the rules could change any time, and if the ceiling did collapse, it could be months before I could get someone in, and the room would not be habitable as there is only roof tiles between it and winter weather. It was also a good opportunity to get insulation put in as the bedroom is the coldest room in the house.
A couple of weeks ago we moved our bed and the dresser and set ourselves up in the spare room, it is quite cosy in there and seeing as we are really only in the bedroom at night we have decided to see how it goes and make the room swap permanent, making the master bedroom the spare room and Eleanor’s work space. I moved all the rest of the furniture out over the weekend.
The guys started on Tuesday morning, there was five of them at various stages during the day and they used hammers to break the old plaster down. I was working in the room below and it was a hell of a racket. I cannot believe the amount of dust that covered the house.
The work went on all day and at the end of it, and with a significant amount of moaning, they carried about two tons of rubbish down the four flights of stairs.
I ate dinner huddled in the lounge surrounded by bedroom furniture and a washing hung all over the place as I attempted to clean up some of the dust. It was bad.
The guys were back Wednesday, less of them than previously and they stuffed a pile of insulation into the wall space before lining with plaster board and then laying plaster over the top. It took all day, but was significantly less noisy.
I was certainly glad when it was all over, and it is looking pretty good.
On Saturday I drove up to Walthamstow to pick up Eleanor and we spent the rest of the weekend cleaning and putting the house back together; setting up the old master bedroom as an office and spare bedroom and keeping our bed in the smaller, cosier room. Everything in hear was covered in dust, each book, CD and picture were taken down and cleaned before being put back.
I think it makes sense this way, it is a big room and though it has the best view in the house it did seem a shame for it just to a bedroom. The plaster is almost dry and I will soon think about what colour to paint it, though will wait for spring when we can have the windows open again and not let the wind and rain in.
I snuck a picture of Eleanor working in the new space.
We will see what happens when spring and summer come around and we miss those mornings with coffee in bed looking out over the sea.