Almost there!

So close, indeed, I felt moved to use an exclamation mark.

Progress on the house has been a long slow slog since I started painting the outside back in September. Or so it seemed. But when I look back at what's been done in those weeks, I guess I shouldn't be so impatient. Three sides of the house are now finished, the fourth almost done - just one more lift of scaffold to complete the final third. The new windows are all in, and correctly sorted. All the upstairs rooms are decorated, and best of all, we have carpets.

The man came on Saturday, around about lunchtime. He wasn't all that talkative, but set about the task with admirable zeal. Three bedrooms, the landing and two flights of stairs, each with awkward corners and stuff, were all grippered, underlayed and carpeted in a nice outmealy brown shade of the cheapest stuff I could live with* by half past six. Not bad, for a one man band, and probably worth the £158 his time cost us.

Before you can carpet a room, obviously, it has to be empty. In order for your fitter to fit quickly, it helps that all rooms to be carpeted are empty. If you get the carpeting done before moving in, then this is not a problem, but if like us you move in and proceed to gut the house, living on a building site until everything is finally sorted, then emptying the bedroom you've been sleeping in, the bedroom you've struggled to get decorated so that those few friends still talking to you can come and stay, and the bedroom that's been used as a storage dump for all the furniture that doesn't fit in the basement and can't go in the living room until that's been decorated is quite an undertaking. A bit like reading that sentence, really. Just finding a spot to put everything is a challenge. We managed, mostly by piling things up to the ceiling in the bathroom - handy that there's a second toilet down in the basement.

But what comes out must go back in again, and once our chipper fitter had left, clutching his wad of dirty money to his breast, the Horse Doctor and I were left with the task of refitting the rooms. As tasks in the renovation of this wreck of a house go, however, this is up there with hanging pictures.** It's onerous, true, but I know that I'm not going to have to pull everything out again until the place is sold. We got as far as remaking the bed on Saturday evening, and left the rest until Sunday. But it's all back in place now, ready for visitors in a fortnight's time.***

And we have carpets.

No more whistling drafts through creaky floorboards. No more yelping in pain as splinters, nails, staples and other strange metal fixings**** pierce the sole of my bare foot en route to the bathroom in the weak-bladder hours. No more clomping up and down stairs with clog-feet, sounding like Lurch from the Addams Family. Now all is soft and quiet and warm and fluffy.

We have carpets.

Can you tell I'm excited about that?

*well, I couldn't see much point in splashing out on expensive wool when we're putting the place on the market in the spring. Likewise kitchen plans have been scaled back dramatically.

** which I shall be doing next. Just as soon as I've found them. They're in boxes somewhere. Fife, probably.
*** it's true, we have friends. And even some who come and visit occasionally. These guests are, however, the Horse Doctor's mum and sister, determined to visit once before we sell up.

**** lurking in between floorboards and under the skirting in all of the rooms in this house I have found many dozens of hairpins, bizarrely enough.


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