DI- WHY? because we had to, is the easiest answer to this question. Like most people we haven’t won the lottery, robbed any banks or married any princes lately (could’ve been me Harry ) plus we had spent literally every penny buying a very old house (shop) located between my Mum and Sister in North Norfolk. Why not go for something more affordable ? Well we did in the village along but unfortunately the owner got greedy and halfway through the nightmare that is property buying decided he could get more money by selling off the land! This left us out of pocket after the fees and there was diddly squat we could do about it . Well apart from beep , moonie and flick the V,s every time I pass…. I know I’m so mature.  There was also the fact that me,  the boy our dog and cat had been living in my poor Mum’s little bungalow with my Sister and her boyfriend for the best part of 18 months 😧😱I was working full time in a new job , Andy was still in Bedford trying to sell our house which had only just limped out of negative equity and commuted down on weekends😬.

I made the decision to move quite quickly from our life in Bedford (where the boy was born) after a lot of family illness which I’ll keep for another post but nevertheless I had always intended to return to the motherland to bring up my children in the Norfolk countryside. We had an awesome childhood, filled with farm adventures ,days out, the beach , mud-pies and madness. We never went on one overseas holiday didn’t have the latest clothes or even a computer but DID have the most devoted parents.

I digress or waffle as Mrs Burton my English teacher use to say ! Back to the house . So after losing the first house when our current home came on the market there was an air of desperation to our bid and we soon realised after purchasing the extent to which old properties “need a lot of work”. To start with the kitchen oven didn’t work ( fooled by the crafty fresh scones on the oven routine) and on closer inspection the wall with the kitchen units was top to bottom Black mold 😮( the worst kind apparently) Not to mention the damp that ran through the whole road side wall of the house 😯😯🤬 We used our last pennies having the wall tanked ( not cheap) after removing the plaster ourselves just to keep costs down.

I moved in with the boy our cat and dog and not much else. I got to be quite a pro at cooking in a microwave and one working hob ring , I think I’d give Heston a run for his money . I’ll fast forward now 12 months and a multitude of DIY disasters later which again I ‘ll leave for another day . We had decided to move the small kitchen to the other side of the house, due to the wet wall which would eventually have to have a false metal stud put in and because we wanted a large family kitchen. There was a self built unfinished extension, small WC and small reception room where I wanted my kitchen to be.  I’ve never used any architects or interior designers just my ideas, ran past our builder and of course completed the necessary paperwork for building reg’s etc. So after moving the old oil boiler ( most expensive job could have bought a mini yaught) we set to knocking down the toilet and interior wall, I had many a nippy bum moment i can tell you, but hey no turning back now. My main bit of advice at this point before you go grab a mallet is the amount of mess and rubble it creates… it’s unbelievable, thankfully we had my dads van and a farm close by who wanted rubble. Without that van and sheer blood sweat and tears we would have been screwed . Skips are so expensive and the amount we moved would have costed us a fortune.

I carefully pulled up the old wooden floor board which felt like sacrilege, so vowed to reuse it later and that I did. We had to get a builder in at this point to help with a weight bearing wall and supporting beam . By now the cracks were starting to show I was working full time,  trying to work on the house at night with the help of my dad and look after the boy. Andy came up on weekends and we tried to do stuff as a family so that the house wasn’t all consuming but this made me resent Andy’s bachelor lifestyle during the week. When Andy finally got a job in Norwich and we sold the house it did get easier but we were still both working full time so evenings were our only option. The worst part of the kitchen refurbish happened in November weeks away from Christmas and thoughts of a microwaved roast turkey dinner filled me with dread . On big projects like this timing is everything we had booked in a kitchen fitter who had a 4 month waiting list mostly because he was the cheapest around, the building works were done we were just waiting on the plumber ( something we didn’t attempt ourselves due to the boiler regs) he was due 4 weeks before the kitchen fitter.  The day came he didn’t arrive no phone call no nothing . So I rang from work the next day … no answer so I left a message … I left messages throughout the week still no answer . The following week I got a message that he would give me a call. He didn’t I rang again towards the end of the week . I finally got through only to learn he was going on holiday the following day for two weeks and had gotten the dates wrong😱 whatttttt I pleaded but it was no use we would have to find someone else …. the job had been started which other plumbers hate and literally everyone I tried was booked up until the new year.  I rang the kitchen fitters to explain my plight and they said quite frankly that if it wasn’t done they wouldnt be able to come back until the summer 😲that microwaved chicken dinner was looking more and more likely . So I went on all the local village groups and eventually found my savior  a local chap named Paul who would help us out but couldn’t do the ground work, with two days until the fitters were due we pulled out all the stops much to the disgust of our new neighbours. As soon as the boy was in bed out came the kango ( kick arsed drill for those not in the know) and we started to chisel up the remaining floor for the pipework. The night before Paul was due we went 10 mins past the 11pm curfew and didn’t we know it the villages went to town on us on the local Facebook page some even threatening to come round and ‘ sort us out’ needless to say I responded with a heartfelt apology 😏 before reminding them that I had a 2 year old who had slept through the noise and was leaving at 4am the next morning to go to London for work so the fact that we were doing it at this time of night was out of necessity not bloody choice. But with the help of Paul our hero we were done in time . I rang the fitters relieved that we had made the deadline only to find that the Giant Cockwomble Fudgenuggets ( my greatest insult) had booked another job as they were concerned that I might not make the deadline ……..well you can guess how the next phone call went 🤬🤬 the man actually described my onslaught to a mutual friend as “that woman tore me an new arsehole” so at least he got the message. Absolutely devastated I went to my builders house who lives a few doors down and cried in his driveway at 10.30pm at night (close to the 11pm curfew again I know they really love me in the village) I don’t know if it was my tears or ill parked car over in his neat driveway or manic shaking that did it but he agreed to fit my kitchen for us in the following weeks and also worked out cheaper than the Cockwombles before him.

So all there was to do now was to lay the floor obviously we had zero wonga and paid everyone that worked for us at each paycheck so Andy stepped up to the bar and said he would do it. Now it’s a big floor and I wanted large stone looking tiles in a diamond pattern. Andy bought himself some new tools ( loves a b&q trip makes him feel all manly) we had loads of extra tiles and had also took some much needed advice from the builder. We ignored his smirk when we said we told him we were going to Do it ourselves but later found out why he was so smug . It was an absolute cock juggling arse badger of a job . Andy nearly lost his mind . No really,  he nearly did …I would hide upstairs as he kept talking to himself as tile after tile ended up cracked outside in a sad heap. It was really unsettling by week two he had started talking to the floor and the day before our builder came the air was blue . Now Andy is not a swearer in fact he use to sing regularly in a church choir when we first met so just imagine if your local vicar decides to drop a few expletives in the weekly sermon and you’ll be quite close to the awkwardness of the situation , I genuinely thought he may need counseling after! I still daren’t let anyone in heels walk through … if I drop a knife I literally hold my breath and bladder before dropping down flat to look for the slightest sign of a hairline crack or nick on the precious tiles.

That being said he did a great job for a first time tiler and theirs only a couple which give off a very Hollow sound or you stump your toe on😂 but do you know something there all his in fact I love the fact that when people come round we can tell them that the majority of the work we did all ourselves, from you tube videos, pinterest,  advice and some good ole blind luck. It’s a really great feeling …I’m not saying that I’d turn down the money or expertise to do the remaining jobs if someone offered but there is a great pleasure and satisfaction in making something yourself not that either of us could see that at the time .

The kitchen is still unfinished, doesn’t have skirting and is rarely tidy as I’ve still yet to get round to organising cupboards and all those dam whojamaflip space saving gadgets that came with them . I really regret not having the underfloor heating but we just didn’t have the cash.  I can dream though there’s one tile where the pipes run under that is always warm so I stand flamingo like on it in winter while fridge raiding 😂🍰. We’ve got a bit of a leaky wall problem when we get a real downpour which we can’t put our finger on especially as it runs right over the light switch🙄😅 but I think it’s always going to be this way we’re never going to be completely finished there always be something to do but that’s why it’s our forever home. Anything worth having in life takes time and love …that and the fact that I think if we ever did move Andy would take those bloody tiles with us.