I know. I've been gone for ages. I'm not dead or anything. I don't really know what happened. I got blogging block! Anyway, I have overcome my fear and here I am again. Back luck. Thought you had got rid of me didn't you?
So, in my absence I have been busy. In addition to working like a loon, I have started work on the garden of the hovel. I have built a vegetable garden (of sorts) and am now spending my time trying to dig up top soil from elsewhere in the garden and lugging it over to the new beds. Back breaking work that is oddly satisfying. Here is a photo of the garden so far....
Hopefully, next year I will be able to show you a picture of it filled with a cornucopia of vegetables!
I have also made a driveway and parking area next to the house. This was done with the help of a local farmer and his digger and then 10 hours of crucifying work when I raked out eleven tons of gravel. That night I was so stiff that I thought it would kill me. The next few days even walking was a struggle. However, now I have an actual drive which you can turn in and everything.
My real battle is with the plumbers. The heating system in this house is deranged. The boiler, which the previous owner assured me was marvellous, is actually insane. There is only one thermostat in the house and it is in the sitting room. If it is cold I, not unnaturally, light the wood burner. Consequently the Sitting Room heats up and the thermostat goes off which then means the heating in the rest of the house goes off. In addition there is no timer switch and no way that I have found to turn the hot water on. If I want hot water I have to use the immersion override and wait an hour for the water to heat up. It is not ideal. Not ideal at all.
I have now had four different plumbers out to quote for a new boiler. I had naively thought that it would cost a painful £3500 or so. 'Or so' doesn't even begin to cover it though. It turns out they think £4500 PLUS VAT is more like it. The boiler is only £2000 so where is the rest of the money going? I am frequently driven to wanting to weep just thinking about it and it is becoming an issue which sums up the 'single and surviving, just' principle. I have to sort the wretched thing out but it is taking up a quarter of my budget for doing up the house, a quarter I desperately wanted for other things. Moments like this I would love to have somebody else in my life, not only to share the dilemma, but in all honesty, to also share the cost.
I know that it is horribly mercenary but it has taken me YEARS to save up the money for this project and now it is all being sucked up by the vile plumbers. Hateful, hateful boiler. It has given me sleepless nights, and chillblains. Ok, not actually chillblains, but if I don't get it fixed before winter then they are an option.
I am doing everything I can to earn more money. I am working on two book proposals but neither of those are likely to earn me any money for years (if at all) and the recession means that, though I have work on, people aren't spending as much so I am travelling as much as ever, but not earning as much.
In addition I made a mistake earlier this year (long story that I won't bore you with), that cost me nearly two thousand pounds. I have cancelled a trip to China to try and recuperate the costs but this is definitely my summer of money worries. Perhaps there will be a Karmic refund and I will win £10,000 (or a hundred thousand?) to balance out the arterial bleed that is my bank account.
Anyway, I shall stop whining about my life. The sun is shining, the blackberries are ripening and the sheets are flapping on the line. I just need to adjust my dreams for the house. Instead of it taking a couple of years to get the bulk of the work done, it may be a lot longer. A lot, lot longer.
The price of health
1 day ago