The First Weekend!

I’m fortunate that I’m not doing a classic move- I sold my house in southampton and have been living in my mum’s house since April while waiting for the solicitors to just TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY. Instead of a proper move with all your treasured memories in one van, I’m going back and forth with what I can fit in my car and keeping the house as empty as I can to make renovations easier. On the predicted completion date I filled my car to the brim with tools, the kitchen wear I’d packed up from my old house, a bed base and hope. Then drove for 6 hours praying that when I got there I’d be able to pick up the keys.

I grabbed my Dad in Brum on the way up- he works for Birmingham council as a technician, which means there’s not much in this world he hasn’t fixed. A great guy for having around to deal with the potential disasters waiting for me!

Turns out, the house was in pretty good nick.

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The front doors and backdoor look old but the key mechanisms glide easily. This is great as it saves me from having to have them changed- locksmiths are super expensive. YAY!

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Despite the old wiring all the lights in the house work, even if the switches are in random places. YAY!

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The hot water and boiler are newish and comes on easily. YAY!

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All of the toilets, including the grotty outside one work- YAY!

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After initial checks of the house it was then off to Ikea to buy a new mattress. My nearest ikea is 5 minutes drive away- you jelly? This bed base was gifted to me by a friend so I just had to buy a tube of bed in Ikea- turns out they take 3 days to fluff out from being vacuum packed so the mattress is currently paper thin and underwhelming. Hopefully that will change over time!

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Then the rest of the evening was spent doing exciting stuff like cleaning the kitchen. The cupboards are in all right order and the cooker even works! We also found a working extractor fan in the hood.

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I took out the drawers to clean them. I found a lot of old spider egg sacs 😦

Under the sink the plaster is very crumbly and there was a fair bit of mould back there. The passage down the side protected the other wall though so the backs of those cupboards are pretty good. To be frank, I’ve stayed in worse student houses.

Then it was to bed for my first night in my future home… which I spent most of it NOT sleeping. I was wrecked from helping my dear chum Keith move house the previous day, exhausted from the relief that this one was finally mine, but still I didn’t get to sleep until around 2am as my brain decided to panic about whether the new house was haunted or not. Eventually I drifted off…

…only to be woken up by this weird smell and boiling heat. In my sleep deprived state I was like ‘is that gas, am I going to die, should I check to see if the CO2 detectors have failed–zzzzz’.

After waking up in the morning not dead I decided to investigate. Apparently turning the hot water on had also turned on the heating, but the clock was fucked and decided that the middle of the night was the best time to test the radiators and start cooking the dust that had built up on them since the house was last used. Got to appreciate my survival skills in such a situation was like ‘ehhh go back to sleep’.

But, still that means the heating works! YAY!

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The house still smelt like old and cat and mould despite airing out, so it was time to pull the sitting room carpet up. That’s my Dad doing the first honours. We cut it into manageable pieces with a snap blade and rolled it up before filling my car up and taking our first trip to the local dump. The underlay was saturated underneath which explains the damp smell and also made the underlay heavy enough to warrant two people per roll.

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This is some of the second load to the dump- fortunately it’s only 5 minutes drive down the road, (YAY!) though very busy in the middle of a sunny saturday.

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The main job of the day was the hunt for white goods. Not many places have fridges and washing machines in stock ready to go, so before I left for Manchester I drew up a list of every British Heart foundation furniture store or second hand appliance shop within an hour radius and we started a tour of them. In the third shop in Cheetham Hill we found a Zanussi machine and an inbuilt fridge freezer which had just been cleaned out for £80 each. YAY! There’s always a risk with buying second hand, but they come with a 6 month warranty, I got them on the spot and my money went into a charity and not on producing more appliance waste.

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We also found THIS.

Now, my Dad is a bit of a bargainer. He will happily negotiate anyone down, whereas I’m the kind of guy who just goes ‘that is the price I will pay it, k thanx.’ My red velvet chesterfield sofa set he got me for £35- the guy at the dump wanted £40 for them, but noooo my Dad wasn’t having that.

This fire surround was £50, reduced to £30, probably because no one could fit it in their car. I went out to measure my car- the height of the surround was 4’1″, my car’s 4′ at it’s widest point. I figured we could jig it and so gave my dad a ring back in the shop to say ‘I think we can do it, see if you can get them to chuck it in for free with the washing machine and fridge.’

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We got it!

Now we just had to get it home-I think the guys in the store were glad to be rid of it and very surprised that we didn’t ask for home delivery.

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I love my car so much. It’s a vaxhaul astra, bought because of it’s tiiiiny 1.2 engine and surprising inside size. To give you an idea, we managed to fit both the fridge freezer and washing machine inside it with a bit of wiggling.

This is my dad with my length of car rope- a present he gifted to me after that time we bought a 3 seater sofa at the dump that was too long for my car and he used the shoe laces from his trainers to hold the boot closed for a very careful journey home.

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There was a guy watching us the entire time laughing. I was laughing too- in the end we opened the back window, rested it in there and tied it down for the 30 min drive home. We didn’t take the motor way this time, but to be honest it was hard enough getting the damn thing in, it wasn’t going to budge and fall out any time soon.

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So confident were we in our fireplace skillz that we stopped for lunch at a carvery which had the most amazing looking desserts- seriously going back there for a giant eclair!

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I don’t know about you guys, but I appreciate things even more when they’re free. Hello 70s fireplace, meet your replacement.

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Cheers Car, you’re the best.

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Sunday was an early morning pulling up the front bedroom carpet and discovering that the floorboards are pretty much good to go! YAY

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Just need to get rid of the cupboard taking up half the room- it’s wrapped around the chimney breast and that top panel is just empty space! Silly 70s, adding storage while taking it away at the same time.

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One day I’ll pull up the carpet in the bathroom, today is not that day. For now I just sprayed some upholstery cleaner on it and vacummed.

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Dad swept the patio while I vacuumed, that enough gardening for me.

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Then it was back down south again to get some work done ready for Manchester MCM comic con. See you soon, my little fantabulous house!

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