Friday 5th August 2011
Just though I should add a few extra things to amuse you, as my new house is so awesome, there’s just so much to tell!
After the incident with the kitchen door, in which I met my neighbours for the first time while hanging halfway out of the kitchen window, and the seriously mature way that I dealt with spiders, I have now progressed to an even giddier height of maturity – gardening and DIY.
By gardening, I mean that I have transferred some pot plants into some other, slightly bigger, pots. I think that practically counts as landscape gardening. Makes me feel incredibly grown-up.
Also, on Monday night, after a full day at work AND an aerobics class, I successfully operated my drill for the first time, and installed two roller-blinds PERFECTLY in my spare room. I was so proud of myself, as I figured it out all on my own and didn’t need any help at all. No-one ever told me before what a enormous sense of accomplishment and achievement you can get from successful DIY. My mum has always been so good at DIY, and I always felt a bit sad that I didn’t get that gene, but lo and behold I appear to have it! It’s like discovering a dormant superpower! Suddenly I am invincible! I even went out and bought a spirit level!
I was so incredibly chuffed with myself about those blinds that I felt like a rockstar. I felt like Superwoman. I was basically the Bono of DIY. I took myself off to bed, grinning like a maniac, and was just thinking that this must be how God felt at the end of the 6th day, after creating roller-blinds and realising she just couldn’t top that…..
…..but then my Ikea flat-pack bed collapsed underneath me.
As luck would have it, I had recently installed a set of blinds in my spare room, so I was able to go and sleep in there for the night!
I have now, several days later, managed to cobble the bed back together for now (it’s missing several screws and the dowelling keeps slipping into the holes so it’s not basically holding together terribly well). However, in my newly appointed DIY-goddess state, I have since then put up a shelf (It’s flat!! And doesn’t wobble!!! And you can actually put things on it!!! – But not heavy things, obviously. That would be tempting fate).
I have also single-handedly (thanks to my new spirit-level) put together my bathroom cabinet and screwed it onto the wall (it wobbles ever-so-slightly, but it’s mostly pretty stable). I even spent last night constructing my enormous flat-pack Ikea wardrobe, ALL BY MYSELF, which is now standing handsomely completed and looks amazing (except that I couldn’t quite make the doors hang straight, so they don’t quite close properly, but WHO CARES!!).
I have now used at least 5 of my new drill-bits, and am working my way through my toolbox using my hammer, my various different screwdrivers, and I am on extremely good terms with my massive new set of Alan keys. I am slightly concerned that I’m developing a bit of an unnatural attachment to my new drill, although I haven’t come up with a good enough name for him yet (I’m leaning towards calling him Fred..). I never realised quite how awesome it is to wield power tools (and yes, I do sometimes laugh maniacally while operating my drill. I just go with what feels natural).
This morning my lovely garden table was delivered, so I put that together before work (yeah, that’s right, I can even manage to squeeze in a bit of DIY before work now). And my curtains were delivered yesterday, so they are all up and look amazing (they turned out to be slightly the wrong colour and size, but I can’t frankly be bothered to send them back, far too much hassle).
In other words, my house is all starting to look really great!
Also, I’m finding the most mundane activities exciting at the moment. Last week I used my new washing machine for the first time (it’s all swish and posh and has all sorts of buttons and functions!), and then I got to hang out my washing on my washing tree in the garden for the first time, and then I got to use my new iron for the first time! I don’t normally enjoy ironing, but somehow it was much more enjoyable because it was MY swish exciting new iron, and MY ironing board! I’m sure that will wear off soon enough though, but seriously, even cooking and cleaning, hoovering and sorting my recycling, it has all suddenly become new and interesting and fun – I feel a bit like I’m playing house, and pretending to be a real grown-up!
Also, after my initial introduction to H, the neighbour who lives down the street and who helped me to escape from my kitchen, my neighbours have all been incredibly nice and friendly. K, the woman who lives across the road from me, came over to introduce herself and her toddler. R, who lives two doors up, introduced herself last Friday after very kindly signing for a parcel for me while I was out last Friday. S and her lodger E live next door to me and are both lovely, (about my age), and have been helpful when I ask questions about the bins and the keys to the communal gate etc. I met L yesterday, who lives across the road next to K, as she had also signed for one of my parcels (my curtains) while I was at work. She was lovely too, and seemed to have an endless number of very cute small children swarming around her (I’m not sure yet if they were all hers or if she was watching the neighbour’s kids too).
There are lots of kids on my street, who skateboard and cycle and play quite happily, and three of them approached me yesterday as I came home from work and very pointedly asked “Are you new?”. I think I may be causing all sorts of speculative excitement, although I seem to have been deemed acceptable (R informs me that we live in the best part of the street, the middle bit, with all the nicer houses, and a better sort of people. Apparently (according to R), down the end of the street it’s all flats and the people are a bit “chavvy”. But they seem nice enough!
One of my acquaintances here in Oxford made a hilarious comment the other day. When I mentioned I was moving to a nice quiet street with lots of kids, she said “Lots of kids? Oh dear, that’s not good. You poor thing” When I asked her why this was such an awful thing, she replied “Because they’ll all grow up to be teenagers, and then you’ll have gangs.”
This made me laugh quite a lot. Partly because I don’t have the same deep-seated fear of teenagers that she clearly does, but even if any of them grew up to be the evil hoodied yobs she imagines they will, I seriously doubt they’d want to hang out and terrorize a cul-de-sac. Surely there are cooler places for teenage gangs to converge than outside their mum’s house?
And lastly, it’s a very good thing I have become so mature regarding arachnid-disposal, because it seems that I have accidentally moved into Spider HQ, and they are clearly plotting something. There are TONS of spiders, large and small, in the garden and lurking in corners and all sorts of places. I noticed a sentry spider had set up it’s web right outside my front door, while several others are setting up shop on the outside of my upstairs windows. Starting to feel slightly surrounded, as if they are planning some sort of a military coup, but I have managed to reclaim my washing line, and I am slowly planning my own defensive counter-attack….
Phew! That one turned out to be pretty long too!