Monthly Archives: October 2019

Home Ownership

Having bought my house, I’m now enjoying its delights, but I’m also faced with all its problems.  I have a number of projects, some of them within my capabilities, others requiring professional help.  For example,

  • Get properly connected to the ‘net.
  • Build a bike shed in the underground parking area.
  • Install a big fitted wardrobe in the main bedroom.
  • Install wall lights for reading in bed in both bedrooms, and on the beam over the sit-down desk in the office.
  • Install ‘plantation shutters’ in the kitchen (which otherwise has no privacy from passers-by).
  • Replace the door to the balcony, and add fanlight windows suitable for winter ventilation.
  • Replace knackered old boiler.  A water (river) source heat pump would be good, if I could find anyone to install one.  Failing that, a regular combi boiler.

But right now, I’m dealing with a bigger, more urgent and unanticipated problem than any of those.  The bathrooms.

The two small bathrooms are back-to-back between the bedrooms and over the kitchen.  They are separated by a stud wall.  One has a shower, the other a bath; each has a basin and loo.  Great, I mostly take showers, but it’s nice also to have a bath available.

But the bathrooms have two problems.  The shower sometimes leaks into the kitchen below.  And the bathtub is only 150cm long, which is inadequate to take a bath in comfort.  150cm is the full width of the bathroom, and rearranging it wouldn’t be easy.

Until I can get the plumbing fixed around that shower, that’s a daily uncomfortable bath.  Actually it’s less uncomfy with practice: one learns what position works, but it’s certainly no pleasure.

OK, I need the shower repaired: that’s a plumber’s bill.  But can I, at the same time, do something about that bath?  The shower room is the same width as the bathroom, and a shower cubicle doesn’t need 150cm!  There’s room to steal 20cm from a corner of the shower room to make an alcove for the foot end of a new 170cm bath.  If this is to be my home for a fair few years, I bloomin’ well want to enjoy my home comforts!  Extending that thought, let’s have a little extra indulgence while we’re at it: a whirlpool bath!

So I started looking for a plumber to give me a quote.  Easier said than done: the usual story was “no time to take that on until sometime next year”.  Ouch.  Should I drop the ambitious plan and just get someone to fix that shower, so I can make the revamping of the bathrooms a non-urgent longer-term project like redesigning the kitchen?  Grumble.

Finally I found a plumber who could do it on a reasonable timescale (for an arm and a leg, of course).  He’s just done his first day of the job, in which he ripped out the old shower and put up struts for the new/moved stud wall.  The new shower will be a 120cm cubicle, and will stretch wall-to-wall.  That is to say, new wall accommodating bigger bath, to far wall.   TomorrowToday I think he’ll be putting in the wall to make the new shower cubicle.  I’m hazy on the sequencing of events, but the idea is to do as much as possible in the shower room while I still have the bath, so I’m not stuck with neither bath nor shower.

If all goes well, I’ll have him back to replace the boiler soon, and to do the plumbing when I redesign the kitchen sometime later when all the urgent things are done.  But until the job is finished, I’m a bundle of nerves about how my bathrooms will end up.  Ouch!

The other frustrating problem is my ‘net connection.  The 4G connection that did the job from my old place works for the laptop provided I keep the device on the window sill looking out (though even there it intermittently degrades to 2G), but it no longer works for the desktop – which is where I have all my main work stuff, like the toolchains and admin stuff for developing and testing software, and mentoring projects incubating at Apache.

I’m doing what I had in mind for when I bought a house, which is to go upmarket in my choice of ISP, with a view to the possibility of acquiring a couple of raspberry pis and bringing my server out of the cloud and in-house.  But I’ve hit a snag there: whereas in theory I have FTTC broadband, in practice something needs fixing between the house and the cabinet.  It’s now more than two weeks since I was supposed to be up-and-running, and the latest date to be suggested for the fix is November 11th.  Ouch!