Chateau d’Omnishambles…


So, we moved house on the 27th August, exactly 10 years and one month after I moved into my last house. (I bought my first ever house on 27th July 2011!).

My amazing mum came down and helped us for a few days, and she was invaluable, running around helping me to take all the furniture apart and put it all back together again!

Moving day itself was odd. We were all packed up early (there was a mild problem with the moving vans so they had taken a van load of stuff the day before and put it into storage for a night) and we gave the place a quick tidy up, and then locked up and left the keys.

The money had come through to our solicitors from the buyers, so the house no longer belonged to me, but the money hadn’t yet been moved across to the next people in the chain. So we had about a 2-hour gap when we were technically homeless while we waited for the next part to kick in, which made me feel oddly anxious! The lads with the van went to grab some lunch and we did the same, then hung around waiting to get the keys to my new house.

My sister and her family arrived just as we were waiting. They were on their way back to Wales from visiting relatives in Cambridge and promised to stop by to deliver a bed frame I had been storing at their house.

We got the call to say we could go to the house and get the keys, so off we went, and soon discovered that the owners were nowhere near ready to leave, they still had quite a lot of stuff to move out, furniture and bags and boxes etc. Our guys needed to start unloading as they had to go get the second load out of storage too, so it was all a little bit chaotic with us all all trying to get in and out at once.

I was a little annoyed that they had left their wardrobes, which I’d specifically asked them to remove, as it didn’t give me room for my own furniture in the bedroom. Their dining room table and chairs were still there, and they’d left a load of stuff out in the shed at the back of the house too.

The owner tried to be helpful and showed me round, but he ended up panicking me further, as he took me around saying “By the way this window doesn’t open, I’m not sure why as it’s new, and these 2 windows don’t close, that one the catch is broken…” and so on. He also tried to explain that if you turn on the bathroom light, the hallway light turns off, and how the lights were all a bit peculiar….

When I asked for the keys, he handed me 2 keys for the inner front door, (there is a porch, so 2 front doors, and a conservatory, so there are 2 back doors) and that was it. I looked at him gobsmacked and said what about the back doors? Turns out there are no keys for either of the back doors and he had a shitty padlock on the very dodgy broken garden gate and a wobbly bolt on the back door that will literally fall off if you look at it.

So I was furious about that, as it means I can’t secure the house, and my home insurance is completely invalidated if I get burgled. There’s no point changing the locks as the doors themselves are old and badly fitted – the kitchen door is full of jagged broken glass shards where one of the panes has been smashed, so they need to be replaced anyway, but it’s going to take a few weeks to organise it.

Later on after he had left, my mum gave my daughter a bath and discovered that the taps are plumbed in wrong so the hot water comes out of the cold tap!

We bought a new padlock for the shoddy gate but it’s not a whole lot of safety. We discovered that the upstairs lights are REALLY odd, and suddenly turn themselves off or on seemingly by themselves! There isn’t enough power so they are so dim as to barely work, in spite of us changing the bulbs, and occasionally the power seems to surge and blow the bulbs (I’ve had three or four bulbs pop in a week!) so it definitely needs to be looked at!

After looking up the cost of a new back door (composite with a 3-point lock) and then freaking out completely as it is truly eye-watering, and realising the electrical works needed were much more comprehensive than we thought I was in a bit of a state. The house move has essentially wiped me out financially and I had a very small amount set aside for carpets and painting and decorating, which it very quickly became clear would not be enough for all the electrical works and new doors etc. Thankfully my very supportive family came to the rescue and offered to help out financially so I could get the house safe and warm and secure.

In the days that followed, in addition to unpacking boxes, I keep discovering new and exciting disasters that need to be fixed.

For example, the builder that came round pointed out that the radiator in the living room was meant for a bathroom (basically it’s a glorified towel rail) and won’t heat the room much at all in winter. So now I need to get proper radiators installed so we don’t freeze in a few months, alongside getting new window handles and new doors etc.

The electician was stumped when he saw what the upstairs lights do, and thinks they have all been looped off the wrong circuit. He also discovered a terrifying live wire loose in a cupboard that I’ve been going in and out of and hadn’t noticed. It is exposed and live and would have given me a seriously nasty electric shock if I had touched it – frankly it’s a miracle I haven’t up to now.

I also discovered a rather scary looking electrical plug at the end of the bath/shower, which definitely needs to be dealt with.

The pile of dirty laundry was just about growing insurmountable after the house move, when finally, hooray!! Glory be, the new washing machine arrived and was installed!!

The nice men set her up, popped a quick rinse cycle on to flush her out and off they went in their van. I had 8 glorious minutes of joy, anticipating the moment when we would once again have clean socks and pants again. 8 minutes of sheer happiness before the rinse cycle drained directly into a brand new lake on my kitchen floor. 8 minutes of joy, followed by an hour of pleading with the men from Curry’s to come back and fix it, and after they did come back, and discovered the waste pipe is completely blocked and unusable, another 2 hours calling various plumbers to see if anyone can help me replace the pipes….

The plumber came out a few days later thinking it was a 10-min job to replace the pipe joints, but then discovered he’s got to come back another day and take the oven and the kitchen units out to replace all the pipes. Apparently the current pipes are too narrow, not high enough for a gravity feed, blocked and also probably installed wrong as well though he can’t tell til he rips everything out to have a proper look at it. I’ve been carting my laundry around to various people’s houses to keep it manageable for the moment.

Don’t be surprised if I show up on your doorstep with a defeated look on my face and a bin bag of washing to do…

In the face off all these disasters I can only laugh, as crying it’s all that helpful.

I’ve christened the house “Chateau d’Omnishambles” and I’m thinking of getting a sign made up.

In spite of all the panic and many, MANY things that are wrong, the house is huge and spacious, and I can see how lovely it’s going to be when it’s all fixed up. I’m unlikely to be able to paint it or decorate it any time soon (it will take MONTHS to scrape all the wallpaper off the walls) but it will be beautiful one day.

The garden is much bigger than I had before, and there is lots of space for us to spread out a bit.

So I am firmly focusing on how lovely it will be, and visualising it in it’s glory when it is finished to get me through the difficult weeks ahead…

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