Friday, September 30, 2005

Puglian Diary

Apologies to both my readers. We have been on holiday in Puglia for the first real holiday in the Hovel-in-the-Hills™. Or so we thought... Catching up with a summary of the posts I would have made if I could:

Wednesday, September 14, 2005: Our first guest

Mary's old friend Andrea came to visit the new Wandsworth house. As it was a long haul back to Essex, "A" became the first to sleep in our guest room.

Friday, September 16, 2005: Family seal of approval

Had all my family (Mum&Dad, Jane&Pete, Ian&Sarah and a nephew for good measure) around for a Chinese take-away and a tour of inspection. They give the new abode the thumbs up.

Saturday, September 17, 2005: Curate's hovel

Off to Italy, BA business class out of Gatwick. Daniele over-promised and under-delivered. We had hot water and a toilet that flushed but no cooker, no sink, no fridge, no furniture (apart from the beds), the plaster still drying on the walls pumping humidity into the air.

Sunday, September 18, 2005: Internal Wildlife

Mind you on the plus side the turkish gheckoes were back and joined by a tiny scorpion (2 cm) and a horde of woodlice. These woodlice are HUGE like some relic from the Paleozoic - most impressive!

Monday, September 19, 2005: Walk like Groucho

The arch into the bath room has been preserved in its original form and height of approx 170 cm. After head-butting the limestone on the way in and out I soon learned to genuflect and walk like Groucho Marx

Tuesday, September 20, 2005: Birthday boy

53 today. And a fine leather briefcase from Mary which she bought at the airport and smuggled past me by holding the bag in plain view. Fat use I would be as a witness. Had supper cooked for us by neighbours Anne&Henry.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005: Relocating to Anne&Henry's

The power blew and took the hot water with it. So we took up Anne&Henry's kind offer of the use of their guest Trulli.

Saturday, September 24, 2005: Thunderstorms in Puglia

For two days. Not the sunshine and 28°C the 10 day forecast promised.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005: Reading the riot act

We had a second meeting with Daniele and gave him a mildly hard time about his delivery promises. We know the house will be beautiful in the end, we know that the pace of life is slower down there and he knows we are back in a month with Mary's mum and sister.

Thursday, September 29, 2005: Back in Blighty

And home again. Ah the luxury of so many airmiles we could travel business class.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

We've moved house

And hard work it was too. Saturday was a bit hectic, moving all the stuff out of the flat so we could get the spring cleaners in and then take an inventory. As it was they turned up early and were co-opted as boxers of belongings. Then they cleaned round us as Mary shuttled more stuff along the road to the house and I assembled furniture.

Ten hours I spend assembling the best that Ikea Croydon could provide, five on Saturday, five on Sunday. That is how they keep the cost down, of course, by using the punter's labour. All I can say is thank God for the cordless electric screwdriver; an absolute essential for this kind of stuff.

By Sunday night when the first of the tenants arrived it was all looking pretty spick and span, gleaming with brand new furniture, beds and kitchen appliances still in their boxes. Mind you the house is a mess with boxes piled randomly all over the place. It will take a month there to unpack and put everything into its rightful place.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Moving house with a wheelbarrow

Well not *actually* a wheel barrow, more a GBP 39.99 Load Carrier from Argos, but the principle remains the same. The last three evenings have been spent shuttling back and forth the 79 paces between our two front doors with crates of kitchen wares, unruly plank pieces of pine beds, the carcass of a chest of drawers, a double mattress and much more besides.

Hot and sweaty work. My advice: children don't try this at home!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

We're moving house

Now the "cone of silence" has been lifted and I can reveal that we are moving house. At first SWMBO said not to tell anyone in case it all went pear-shaped. Even after we exchanged contracts force of habit made me keep schtum.

It is all part of the grand plan to sell Avon Cottage in four years time, clear our debts and downshift to Italy. We would live in the Hovel-in-the-Hills™, reinvest in a UK based property and work here part time. The principle is still good, it is the sequencing that is all to cock.

Discussing where to live I remarked that all the considerations that made us choose Wandsworth for our current London base still hold good so Mary went surfing - "just to check out the area". Our requirements are very specific and, *expletive*deleted*, if the ideal property didn't pop up two weeks later. A unique property that might not come on the market again for a very long time.

What to do? The horns of a dilemma! So we said, what the heck, and we bought it. We are converting the flat into a buy-to-let mortgage, renting it out and we are moving *literally* three doors down the street.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Reap just what you sow

Catching up. This should have been Friday's post but I was entertaining the Scottish relations...

Wednesday evening I spent a very enjoyable evening with Mum and Dad down in Farnham. Caught the train straight from work. Amongst the topics was the GCSE results for the nephews. Jane's Tom got seven A's, one B and one C. Ian's Tom got eight A's and one B. Lorenzo (Ian's eldest) got three A's for his A-levels. Well done all of them!

Dad was saying how proud he was of all of them and how lucky he was to have such grandsons. I was reminded of the old Gary Player quote "the harder I practice, the luckier I get".

Of course it isn't luck. He passed on the genetic raw material and the inclination to use it to his children. They in turn chose their mates in similar vein and the grandchildren are the result of that.

* Perfect Day by Lou Reed