Hubble bubble termite trouble

Tap tap…testing, testing…1, 2, 3…

It’s been a while, crocodiles.

A month, in fact, since I posted from the sheet less bed in my – oh – old house.  A month in which we have passed through the valley of cardboard and emerged, blinking like moles, into the new suburban light.  A new suburban light which, I’ll have you know, is tinted yellow by bottle glass windows, and brown by  vertical blinds.   A suburban world of architectural wonders, everso shouting children and friendly neighbours. All of which deserves a post unto itself.

But while we were buried down there in our little house-moving purgatory –  stolidly chewing our way  out  through card and packing paper – what of the Regency Wreck?  Well, in fact, it was having a little crisis of its own, quite understandably.

It all began with the builder, a thoroughly thorough sort of fellow, digging away at the layer upon layer of flooring in one section of the house.  In some places there were as many as three or four floors all laid on top of each other, like so (though this is only two):

I mean, actually, when you think about it, why bother to remove old floors when you can simply cover them up?  Just add more as needed Missus and stop only when you can no longer stand up straight.  Anyway, while he was removing extraneous floors, the Thoroughly Thorough Builder noticed some rather suspicious little trails of mud which, when he followed their progress, led him to yet aNOTHer termite nest, very artfully and discreetly secreted within one wall.  And, in the way of termites, those little buggers had gone up and down, left and right, and nibbled away at the floor joists in four rooms. Four!

I give you, ladies and gents of the jury,  exhibit A, itself a mere fraction of the nest:

And what he found was that the floor joists, which conventionally are supported within the fabric of the wall, in the RW appeared to stop shy thereof. In fact, they were held up only by the render on said walls, which, when it was removed to get at the termite nest, resulted in such scenes of floorless carnage:

and this (which is the entrance to my study)

so that you can see almost from top to bottom of the house at the rear.  No need of internal intercoms now:

So the dear old Regency Wreck, which before looked derelict but absolutely beautiful, now just looks, well, abandoned.  Much in the way of the houses of my childhood, except without their dignity or intrigue. It’s as if we’ve taken a rather grand but crumbling old lady, removed her pearls, her lippy and her wig, pulled her arms out of her fur coat and left her revealed and without dignity under a fluorescent light.Our last few visits, to be honest, have been somewhat woeful affairs, characterised by a distinct flatness. We knew this sort of thing was to be expected, of course, but expecting something and encountering it are never quite the same thing, are they?

BUT.  But!  They say diversion is as good as a cure (don’t they? something like that? anyone?) and it just so happened that when we poked our heads above ground after the move, not only the yellow light and the bellowing children were there at the end of the tunnel to greet us , but also  Thoroughly Thorough Builder, gawd bless ‘is ‘eart, demanding lavatories with menaces. And so we have been cantering about the length and breadth of Sydney, peering down porcelain pans.  And as we all know, questions about lavs beget questions about basins, which in turn beget questions about baths (baths! don’t get me started) and many assorted sundry etceteras.  So we are diverted, madly, and in the diverted meanwhile TTBuilder is putting up floors, and patching brickwork….and so it may all come good in the end.

12 Responses to “Hubble bubble termite trouble”

  1. I’ve never seen a termite, but they are obviously unwelcome. Still, the pictures are very interesting – the structure of your house is so clearly revealed. Your builder must feel a bit like my dentist – slightly unwilling to root around too much in case of what lies beneath. I love the shot of the amazing window. Well done for staying so up-beat, even if only in typing!

    • Hi Ruth. Yes, the secret window is intact, and so all, ultimately, is well with the world. The upbeatness may well be denial or lahlahlandishness, but I’m clinging to it like a fireman to a slippery pole.

  2. Poor house (and owners!!). We feel your pain.

    Do you think because you are emotionally connected to the Regency Wreck you physically respond to its stress?

    It will be beautiful again, and whole.


    • Well, as it ‘appens, I do think such things manifest physically. But actually I think it was attachment to the last house which has been the troublesome thing. And I think you’re right – it will be beautiful again. It must be!

  3. brismod Says:

    Good Lord! That is a massive nest…it’s so sad that the Regency Wreck has been sustaining that colony of intruders quite undetected. But as John said, she will be beautiful again. And how we will all cheer for you when that happens!

  4. Those termites must have been as big as Kangaroos! Do you not have termite inspections over there? Maybe someone is liable. I have insurance for it here. As they say in the South, bless your little heart. For the loo, I recommend the Toto brand.

    • My heart does love its blessings from the South.

      They do have termite inspections over here, but these houses were in public ownership for a long time and the maintenance was very woeful. Which is why they are in such appalling condition but conversely why they’re still so unaltered. So we bought on the basis of ‘what you see is what you get’. More silly fool us, in some ways.

      Now, actually, Toto labs are well liked in this house. Mr Pimpernickel has a fancy for one of their painted jobbies, and Ms Pimperlicious, having lived in Japan for a while, would like one of the Full Monty models – all warming, all squirting, all music-playing. But they don’t seem to stock the more interesting models here, and those that they do are jolly expensive. But I do like suggestions – so thank you.

  5. Just a little note. When my subscription comes in, I go straight to you, but when you comment, you don’t have clear links. Like you have nothing else to do, I know you are buried. Your writing is my favorite, favorite so be good to the rest of the world and link up properly so more people can read you. I would love to sponsor you as a guest post on my blog. Could you do a condensed version, and could it start with…tap..tap..tap–1-2-3–please?

    • Liz, you’re very kind and generous and it’s really lovely. I don’t link properly to this blog when I comment because I don’t know how! Is there some easy way? I have to admit it drives me nuts trying sometimes because some want me to open a whole new account just to comment, others object because I have ‘illegal characters’ in my name (which I assume means the word ‘pimp’ – the mind boggles!!) and some plain won’t let me comment at all.

      And I’d love to write a guest post – what an exciting thing. I’ll write to you to find out what you had in mind. Thank you.

  6. Darling Darling
    I seemed to have missed this post previously. What a gem as well.Am loving what you have done with the place recently! clearly you are exploring your deconstructivist phase? Fabulous. So surreal to see your study-entrance floating mid-air. It reminds me of the house my mother grew up in (but i’ll tell you about that some other time). Such freedom to create. The stairway window – begging to be re-opened. Such an ambitious project. We salute your bravery all the way from Jubilee London!
    Are you going to pickle and mount that bit of termites nest atop the fireplace?
    Take heart! – when it comes to destructive household pests – you’ll look back and think ‘better out than in’ – just like granny used to say.

    • And you, dahling bahling, always make me smile. Get thee a blog, I say! Wish there was freedom, but alas alack, you know how it is with listed properties. You may only remove that nail, modom, if you replace it with an exact replica. And the (secret) stairway window is to be re-opened!
      Quite like the idea of preserving the termites’ nest. In fact I think I’ll pop over tomorrow to see whether it’s been thrown out.

      Did you have a Jubilee Street party in F Street? Ralph sport a Union Jack hat? Bake red white ‘n blue cupcakes?

      I shall hold you to the story of your mother’s childhood house X

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