Archive for builders

The fool’s waltz – one step forward, two steps…

Posted in Georgian houses, Renovation, sandstone walls, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 20, 2013 by pimpmybricks

Well hello there campers.  Long time, no thingummies.


(Please take as read the by-now standard apology for time elapsing, general slack tartishness and various assorted etceteras).

Actually, in fact, I had intended to write a post during our five week extravaganza to the UK, but we went at such a fast clop here, there and everywhere, ordering sofas, gathering paint samples and (most importantly) organising retirement homes, that I had hardly a second to sit at my machine.



In order to cope with the stress and the sheer wall of anger generated by house issues, our response has been, as far as possible, to pretend that the Regency Wreck doesn’t actually exist.  Instead, we have tiptoed, hand in hand, into the realm of fantasy.

william blake's 'jacob's ladder'

Not  that nice, safe, unattainable variety of fantasy, mind you,  but the sort that has a margin of realism, something that might actually be pulled off by those with stunning reserves of masochism, goodly sets of blinkers and at least one very impulsive adventure seeker (that would be me, the sort of adventure seeker who always forgets that adventures are hard.  Incidentally, on hearing my (abbreviated) litany of woes, someone at potty training last week reminded me that I was even so lucky to be in my position.  And, of course, she was absolutely right.  I think the mistake is in expecting luck to always feel pleasurable).

In any case, the bummer of it all is that our bolt into fantasy still involves houses!  Do you see what I mean by masochism? Is there no escape? Were we terrible destroyers of houses in other lives who have been set the task of making amends in this life?  It’s bonkers, I tell you, and I watch aghast as we keep on doing the same thing, but keep on we do.


So this little jaunt into fantasy – it started as a throwaway line.  The best and the worst things always seem to start with throwaway lines, don’t they?  Some friends told us that a house in the Somerset countryside which we know well, which we used to walk past yearningly, had finally come onto the market.  This was the house we dreamed about buying when we were properly grown up. It was the house we asked our friends about every year when we visited – had they heard anything about it, had it come on the market yet?


And now it was footloose and fancy free and seeking a dalliance with new people.  Excuse me, all potential buyers – but that would be us.  Begone, you scurvy knaves, get thee hence!


There are complications though. Always with the complications! One, a mere bagatelle, being the mountain of money it would take to secure this house.  We would have to sell almost everything (including that house which will never be finished).  We would have to go cantering over there quam celerrime.  It would take upheaval of the most blithering variety.  The Regency Wreck in comparison?  Would be a doddle.  A waltz in the proverbial park.  But why let that stand in the way?

And while we were at it, drooling over our old love, we had a little look at other houses in the same area.  They got bigger and madder the further we looked.  We rediscovered our old fantasy of doing up a vast old wreck and running it as a hotel.  If I tell you we got down to what we’d serve for breakfast and the fact that I’d need a studio to make the crockery, you’ll see how far gone we are.  If you’re going to be sick, I tell you, be properly so.

There was this one, which utterly smote my heart:


But it’s near a busy road and the whole village can peer into your windows.  But even so, look:




And then there was this little tootsie, which is already a hotel.  In need of, of course, dosh and love.  And, oh em gee, new bathrooms:






The problem with that one is that there’s a car breakers yard just over the hedge.  So then we found another, this one already a hotel and one which Mr P has the  decided hots for (me less so – it’s a tad masculine):


A grade 1 medieval number in need of a bit of colour and oomph




But alas alackikins, this one sits in the grounds of an agriculture college and has no land.

And there are more.

But I am off for supper.  I’ll be back in short order with pictures of the sofas ordered, rugs ogled and that sort of thing.  Tooraloo.

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 2, 2012 by pimpmybricks

So it seems that our jaunt in the garden of secret (housey) delights was to be a short one, for we have now plunged headlong into the valley of death.  Well actually, if I can stop myself striking attitudes for a moment,  into a sort of ordered brutality. Concrete is coming up, bathrooms are coming out, rotten ceilings are coming down.  More termites’ nests, rotten wall plates and other scary things are revealing themselves.  There’s a lot of builderly sucking of teeth, requests for even more cost variations, and a general fretfulness hanging over Mr Pimperstalsis and me. Money is flying out of the windows like winged birds and the house is looking worse than ever!  All very woebegone and laid bare.  It was derelict before, but  still beautiful.  Now it is just derelict. Its broken bones and dental cavities are on full display and it can be rather disheartening to visit, though we are compelled to go over at weekends and finger its wounds. We know, of course, that this is just a waystation to renewal, a plateau on the ascent to gloriousness, but even so it’s a tad challenging to find tree roots coming up through your kitchen floor, and to see glimpses of sky through your walls.

And those beautiful sandstone flagstones? They are now being gently eased out of their long slumber,  to be numbered, stacked, and dried out.  Soon great troughs will be hewn into their beds for the French drains that  (we hope) will fix our damp problem.


Things are not all draped about with gloom and murk.  We have found ourselves a place to live for the duration – no mean feat in this city with two, shall we say… slightly oversized dogs on the payroll.  We have started to pack and in two weeks are to be nestled deep within the bosom of  suburbia, as it happens, but nevertheless we will have four walls, a bit of a garden and a view of trees.  Remington will have a patch of his beloved grass to roll around on, I will have a corner for my pottery wheel, and we’ll have a place to retreat to. We’ll forget about the vertical blinds for now. Oh, and the laminate laid over carpet. Can you imagine? Like walking over marshmallows!  Gawd only knows what lurks under there.


Delight of  utter delights, a secret window has been discovered buried in a wall in the Regency Wreck! We knew the cavity was there but to find the original window extant, glass and all, was a wondrous exciting thing.  Even more so because the joinery is so fine and delicate and so, well, Georgian.  A little window humming daintily away to itself over the years, quite unheard by anyone.  This is the top half:

and this is the bottom half, still partially boarded up:

The eagle-eyed will no doubt spot the curious fact that the window, which is long and slender, a sort of supermodel of windows, is bisected by a floor.  Actually it is a balcony floor, the balcony at the back of the house originally having been two storeys high. We are keeping the additional floor on account of the un-garden and Ms Pimp’s need for a dressing room (this balcony will have concertina glass doors which she will keep closed but which can be opened).

I love this window. I keep the idea of it  like a well-polished talisman in my pocket.  You know, so that when I feel gloomsome I take it out and rub it some more and feel generally better.  Like a renovator’s blankie, sort of thang.