Buying a house-load of furniture at once

Tomorrow morning Jane and I are going to drive a Ford Transit full of furniture to Cellardyke. Assuming that the snow doesn’t scupper our plans.

I picked up a hire van this afternoon and following a spot of tea (pasta with chicken in a honey and mustard sauce, thanks for asking) Jane and I drove to Currys at Hermiston Gait to pick up a fridge I’d bought there on Monday evening.

Currys was closed. The big wendys! They’d closed the store at 6pm because of the snow. We Brits don’t do snow very well. There was hardly an inch of the stuff, and most of that was melting. So we’ll have to go there on our way to Cellardyke tomorrow morning.

Ikea, however, was very open. And it was like a ghost town — admittedly one where all the inhabitants lived in a giant open-plan town that is encased in a huge warehouse — but there was hardly anyone there. It was great! We bought a dining table, six dining chairs, a kingsize bed, a bunkbed, 3 mattresses, 2 shelving units and a pair of curtains.

And here’s the crunch: we were offered 10% off if we opened an Ikea Homecard account. Sure, we said … that would be about £100 discount. I went to move the van while Jane signed up. When I returned we were told that “computer says no!” Our credit check was refused … something about them not understanding what a ‘tied house’ is. Hoorah! Discrimination on account of my job. So, I had to hand over my Switch card and forego our tasty discount.

And THAT had to go through a credit check too! “What’s the first and third letters of your security password?” the assistant asked.
“Which one?” I said. I have two: one for telephone banking, one for online banking.
“Dunno,” he said.
I had a guess, and got it wrong. I had another guess and thankfully this time it went through. I’ve not had to use that since 1998. Good memory! Whew!

So, tomorrow we drive to Cellardyke and I build Ikea furniture. All day. But it will be SO worth it. We’ve looked forward to this day for months; it was July 2004 we put in the offer on the house.

And pray that I did leave my electric screwdriver in the house on the last visit…

Cellardyke: locks, gloss and two smoking boilers

Back to Cellardyke this afternoon to meet a kind man from Scottish Gas, who priced a new boiler for us (nearly £3,000 inc VAT) while Jane and I tackled our snag list of bits and pieces left to do on the house. I went crazy with a tube of Polyfilla, while Jane began glossing a couple of windows (not the glass bit!), some skirting boards and the dreaded louvered cupboard doors in the main bedroom.

I was particularly proud of fixing the Yale lock on the front door. The trouble was two-fold: first, the lock was really stiff, and second, when the door was closed it didn’t sit flush against the door frame (architrave?). I managed to fix the stiffness problem by adjusting a couple of screws here, a couple of screws … actually, it turned out to be just the first set of screws. The second problem would require some careful measuring, a hammer, a chisel and some prayer. But, do you know, I managed it. I’m getting better at this controlled hacking-bits-of-wood-from-a-door lark. The door now sits flush to the frame when closed (so that it doesn’t bang back and forth when there is a wind) and has the added bonus of you being able to unlock it from the outside, without feeling that you’re a master locksmith carefully picking it open. I’m still glowing from that piece of craftsmanship.

This Thursday we do the mammoth Ikea run and buy furniture: a double bed, a bunk bed, two shelves, a wardrobe, a dining room table and six chairs. Then we may pop into Comet or Currys for a fridge. I can see that after shopping, I’m going to be spending most of my next day off building flat-pack furniture.

Cellardyke — sofa days: rest in peace

Driving over to Cellardyke today I noticed that as you approach some towns, on the countdown to the 30 mph sign there are rumble-strips on the road: at 300m there are three strips, at 200m two, and one at 100m before you enter the town. It’s like braille for cars!

Jane and I drove over to Cellardyke in two cars, in convey, with our sofa-bed split between us, disassembled, like some comfy Frankenstein’s monster. Thanks to (an inheritance of) Dad’s socket set I was able to reassemble the settee in time for lunch and watching the rugby. It was a very poor TV signal, it looked as though Scotland had lost.

It was a rather lazy day in the house this afternoon: I reassembled the sofa-bed, we hung a picture, we cleared away the carpet offcuts, I hoovered, Jane filled the dishwasher … we packed the cars and came home. Not long before we’ll be able to stay there overnight, and not have to pack up the car with pots and pans, tools and a vacuum cleaner, a stereo and a host of other heavy objects. Soon.

But then there’s the garden to sort out …

Cellardyke — we have carpets!

It was an exciting day for Jane and me today: our carpets were delivered and fitted in Cellardyke. The two carpet fitters who arrived around 09:15 were fabulous, staying until 19:00 to complete the job. They fitted carpets in two bedrooms, the living room, hallway and stairs, and vinyl in the bathroom and kitchen. The stairs was a massive job, as each stair had to be carpetted individually … and that was only once each of the 12 stone steps had been drilled, plugged and gripper screwed to it.

While the two carpet fitters were busy at work, Jane and I finished painting the conservatory, I fitted new wall lights and blew a fuse one some dodgy wiring on a fused switch that I’d pulled out to paint behind. It was an experience trying to repair the switch in the dark, by the light of two pocket torches; we managed it, however.

I wasn’t terribly bright today, either. I was clearing up in the conservatory (with Prof Plum and the candlestick) and I opened a black bin bag to put some rubbish and got paint all over my hands. “Ohh!” I muttered and went to the bathroom to wash it off with white spirit. Returning to the conservatory (with Mrs White and the revolver) I thought, “Now what was I doing? Oh, yes, binning rubbish”, opened the black bin liner and got white paint all over my hands! Again. I did that three times.

I remembered my camera today. Here are a few pics:

Kitchen with flooring
Transforming our kitchen from a cold, white room into a warm country kitchen.

Each step had to be individually carpetted, after it had been drilled, plugged and had gripper screwed to it.

Notice all the new floor coverings
The intersection of three new coverings: light in the main bedroom, dark in the hallway and stairs, and the new bathroom vinyl.

Living room
Newly carpetted living room, with ye olde style heater.

Jane and picture
Jane’s new picture hangs proudly in the living room.

The conservatory with painted walls and new lights

We’re back again on Saturday to meet a man from Scottish Gas to price a new boiler (one that wasn’t last manufactured in 1983!). Then a mammoth trip to Ikea, methinks.

Cellardyke … it’s a gas waiting so long

Back to the house this afternoon to await the return of a Scottish Gas engineer to replace the jet for the pilot light. It needed replaced and rather than risk the house freezing should the weather turn nasty in the near future (would it do that? I’m not so sure!) I decided to book the return visit for this afternoon, after 14:30.

I arrived at the house with plenty of time to spare, at 14:18. At 15:58 I wandered down to the harbour to find a phone signal (no O2 signal in our house or garden) and phone Jane: “Hello! I’m cold and bored!” Typically, the gas engineer arrived about ten minutes later.

He was a cheery, friendly man who fitted the new jet to the fire, and then tested it using a special machine that sang a nice ditty when it found a gas leak. He tested for CO2 emissions — none, and then asked me to nip upstairs to check the radiators were working okay, which they were. Job’s a good ‘un.

The drive home felt longer than usual, although I am now getting the hang of the road, and the order of towns along the Fife coast: Cellardyke, Anstruther, Pittenweem, St Monan’s, Elie, Drumeldrie, Lundin Links, Leven…

This evening I need to finish my Powerpoint presentation for this weekend; I revised it while practically hugging an oil-filled electric radiator waiting for the gas engineer.