Monday 11 June 2007


The “building project(s)” is/are getting closer. I say projects because my optimistic husband thinks that he has enough life left in him to extend and renovate our house, a massive undertaking in itself, build an Olympic sized all singing, all dancing indoor swimming pool/gym/sauna complex and THEN construct a four-bedroom house on the site of an old corrugated bungalow in our garden. All of which, I might add, we have planning permission for. How’s that for being upbeat about the future?

As we are not newcomers to building projects we should know better. Our first building site home was 30 years ago when nine of us lived in a house with two ladders instead of a staircase and no kitchen for several weeks. But we had a glorious view from the terrace! That was the high point of our renovation career!! Following that, things deteriorated. This house started life as an overcrowded diddy two-bedroom bungalow. At one point there were ten of us living in this particular building site paradise. Thankfully it eventually morphed into the very comfortable five-bedroom house that it is now.

Knowing what hell is in front of us you may well wonder why are we about to embark on a year or more of intense pain and upheaval, not to mention cost? Answer - because the house has no “curb appeal”, because I have been watching too many TV makeovers, because retirement bores us, and because we can.

We have lived in this house for over 20 years and consequentally have accumulated massive amounts of junk. So here I go again, packing my life away into cardboard boxes and re-assessing life values. When did I ever need 40+ glasses of various sizes and quality, 28 tea towels, 33 assorted plastic boxes and 17 flower vases? And this is just the stuff that I'm keeping! I AM being disciplined enough to discard the multitude of plastic box tops that have lost their families and tatty old tea towels, but the rest of the stuff I’m having problems with.

The trouble is that most of my treasures are worthless in monetary terms but have great sentimental value. I can’t bring myself to throw them away that old ashtray lovely fashioned by tiny hands in some long forgotten school, the personalised school tea towels and mugs purchased especially for us on long ago forgotten school trips etc.

So…. into the boxes they go with a promise that when the house is finished I will be ruthless and throw them out. Will I? To be honest, not a chance.

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