We recently celebrated eight years living in our house. I say ‘celebrated’. Commiserated would be a better word. That’s not to say we don’t like our house. On the contrary. It’s a lovely character property and I’ll be genuinely saddened if we ever move out.
It’s just that, since we moved in, we’ve had no end of problems with it. The kindest way of describing our home is a gift that keeps on giving. Including a dubious present to mark our bronze anniversary of living here. Yes, I looked that up.
More on said discovery shortly. But first, a few examples to provide some context to my exasperation. At least one of the previous owners was a keen DIYer. We’ve spent a good chunk of the last eight years undoing their handiwork.
In our first week, I needed to take down a built-in shelf. I removed all the screws but it still didn’t budge. It had also been superglued in place. Away came rather a lot of plaster. Sigh.
It also soon emerged that somebody had done the wiring in the kitchen themselves. With the wrong type of wiring. Luckily, the three electric shocks I had from the dishwasher were very minor but, given the choice, I would rather not have had them.
In fact, since we moved in we’ve had to replace the front door, all the windows, the kitchen floor, all the carpets, the boiler, the bathroom suite and the plastering in four different rooms.
So what of this moving day anniversary gift? We’re gradually redoing our garden at the moment so I was busy levelling the uneven surface that used to be our lawn and patio. Suddenly, I exposed what looked like bronze. Could it be destiny? A material-appropriate artefact waiting to be unearthed on our eight-year anniversary?
No, it was a discoloured manhole cover and one of our house’s previous residents had seen fit to bury it.
I carefully scraped away the earth around its edges and, wanting to check for damage, attempted to open it. It didn’t play ball, of course. Rather than opening properly, it brought all of the concrete that was holding it in place with it. And, yes, the concrete immediately disintegrated. Man alive.
I immediately put it back down and covered it with four large paving slabs. We’re grudgingly installing a shiny new one next week.
Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I had naively thought that we had already found everything that was wrong with our house.
Let’s hope that this ‘bronze age’ discovery is the final insult…