TheBrink

Found Things

Today I: found things in the Garden

I spent the morning avoiding the fumes of the bathroom waterproofing, and chainsawing some dead trees in the garden.  The main victim was a mostly dead citrus that has been bugging me for months.

As the garden moves into spring its getting easier to identify what plants I have.  To my delight I've found a mulberry near the cottage (and a second mulberry outside the garden on the creek bank).  I finally identified the tree that makes all the birds go gaga, its an Abuliton (Indian mallow or Flowering Maple).  I found a Red Olive Berry tree... not a big deal in itself, but given it'll grow to 10m and is right next to the house I'm thinking I'll transplant it somewhere.  And finally, identified several Laburnum.

Rhubarb, Asparagus, Rosemary... oh my

Today I: spent the day in the garden as plumbers, builders and electricians all drilled holes into brick and/or cement in the bathroom

The Bathroom Day 6

Its been chaos, but noisy progress is being made, presided over by Albert-the-builder and the dogs.  The batons have gone up on the wall (excruciatingly drilled into the brick), to hold the villa board.  The down lights are working and wiring for the extractor fan, heated towel rail and vanity lights and power point are all in.  The plumber has shifted all the waste and water points and has been doing things like assembling the toilet and shower.

 

Rhubarb, Asparagus, Rosemary Bed

So avoiding all of this, I spent the day outside... and I am exhausted!  I fixed up the bed next to yesterday's Pinkabelle bed.  It's another perennial bed, and has two types of rhubarb (Victoria - best used for pies - and  Ever Red - the sweetest rhubarb) five asparagus (Mary Washington) and a rosemary.   

There's a blank spot at the front but I'm eyeing some Purple Fat Bastards (asparagus) on the Diggers site to fill it.

Back corner

As you can see from the pics the back corner of the garden, near to the gate out to the creek, was a stunning mess.  At the beginning this was the worst of the thicket.  it was so overgrown that beneath the morning glory everything was completely still and dead.  Not a worm, a spider or a bug to be seen.  They are starting to come back; I saw a teeny stick insect today, two lizards, a few mozzies, and a white cabbage butterfly was casing the place too.  Also found a tick on Harry, which was no so great.

If you'd told me that under all that was a concrete pathway, I would have laughed!  

That's as far as I got today.  Hopefully I'll get to plant up that corner tomorrow.  

There's a concrete slab resting on top of the path which is a bit of a mystery - as is the huge amount of concrete rubble that is dumped around the garden - I think the slab is from beside the old Brick Shithouse, but its been there long enough for the roots from a half dead Liquid Amber to grow under it.  I'll move it to where I think it lives but it weighs a ton so I'm just sweeping around it for now.

The Pinkabelle Bed

Today I: planted things, the dogs helped... well they napped where I wanted to plant things.... very helpful

The Pinkabelle Bed

The first bed with perennials came together today.  I cannot describe the weed problem in this garden. Any crack in the weed mat has morning glory creeping out of it already, it is everywhere.  So I'm covering the ground with a layer of cardboard, and then a layer of biodegradable weed mat.  On top of this I'm putting together a kind of faux raised bed in the hope that I can get plants established  and when the weeds are well and truly smothered and they cardboard and mat has decomposed the plants can then put their roots down into the existing soil.

So I've got layers of cardboard, weed mat, garden soil and raised bed mix (both bought) and then sugar cane mulch.

The main star of this bed is a dwarf Pinkabelle apple.  However, I've also got Strawberries (Cambridge Rival and Everberry), thyme, garlic (Flinders Island purple - yes its months late), and some lovely pale pink salvia I transplanted from the front garden. 

The small green shrub in the pic is what remains of a very overgrown May bush.  Its popular with the tiny Silvereyes that flit about the garden.  I'll keep it, but well pruned so it doesn't encroach on the Pinkabelle too much.

The black egg-carton looking panels on the ground are the base of the gravel path which will run through the potager.  They will be placed just below the level of the concrete paths on non biodegradable weed mat and covered in white/cream gravel.  Eventually.  

Not much of interest to report in the Found Things department...  I discovered an old jam jar with lid, and a compost bin with no lid (which is actually in pretty good condition)!

Bathroom Day 3 & the start of the Potager

Today I:  had the very unique experience of miming sitting on a toilet for the edification of the plumber...

First the bathroom... See we had a bit of a stuff up with some measurements and had to have a bit of a conference about the bathroom layout.  As we imagineered new scenarios I was required to demonstrate bathroom use, as it seems the plumber is a big fan of Method Acting (or Method Plumbing) when it comes to visualising the space.  What is left of my dignity had returned by mid-afternoon.

So the new layout will be thus, vanity on the left, toilet on the right and shower on the right as you walk in the door... the bucket is Albert-the-builder's sittin down bucket.

Those of you that know me, know that I'm rarely without a vege garden and/or fruit trees.  It being winter, I have ordered all my bare-root fruit trees (thanks Diggers and Daley's Fruit). So I currently have the following waiting to be planted...

  • Turmeric 
  • Asparagus (Crowns) - Mary Washington 
  • Dwarf Apple - Granny Smith
  • Dwarf Apple - Montys Surprise
  • Dwarf Apple - Pink Lady
  • Dwarf Apple - Pinkabelle 
  • Dwarf Apple - Red Delicious 
  • Gooseberry - Captivator 
  • Raspberry - Autumn Bliss 
  • Raspberry - Heritage
  • Rhubarb - Ever Red
  • Rhubarb - Victoria

As noted on the weather this evening, it looks like it'll be an early spring this year, and as if in agreement, some my dormant plants are are rapidly 'un-dormanting' and need to be put in the ground asap.

Thus, I'm starting to lay out the beds for the potager.  I KNOW in the pics its a huge mess, so I've included some images from Pinterest to show what I've got in mind.  White gravel paths, low wood edging around relatively small beds.  I actually planted a few spuds in the corner bed today, so I'm officially underway.  

Speaking of the garden...

An Eastern Spinebill visited this morning. He hovered just like a hummingbird as he partook of some salvia flowers.  I'm also often visited by a little flock of Silvereyes, and two butcher birds are nesting in the Macadamia (not a happy marriage, the bickering never stops!!!)  I thought I had a Tawny Frogmouth perched on the washing line the other day as well.   Back in Berowra I never seemed to have anything but Myna's, cockatoos and the occasional Koel.  

Its been a good day.

 

Oh and you want to make tradies jealous (and tell you appalling filthy stories of disgustingness at building sites) get a squeaky clean brand new portaloo and park it outside your house.  

The Bath

Today I: Had to drag a sodden carpet outside...

As those reading along will know I have no bathroom.  This means no shower.  So after festering in my own filth for two days the time had come to figure out how to clean myself.  I went to Bunnings and bought a flat bottomed trug and then exercised my initiative and ended up with the following arrangement...

Why yes, that's the tube from a dyson vacuum cleaner...

Why yes, that's the tube from a dyson vacuum cleaner...

All was going swimmingly, I filled up my bath and leapt in, at which point I discovered that Archimedes Principle (or displacement theory) is as relevant in 2017AD as it was in 287BC.  The placing of my capacious bottom in that small water filled space led to this...

And this was after I'd moved the sodden carpet

And this was after I'd moved the sodden carpet

So not without teething problems, but I am clean and that was the object of the exercise.

The Garden: War on Undergrowth

Today I: Knew it was going to rain, reminded myself countless times to get the washing off the line, didn't, it rained, dry washing now wet.

Today's selection of found things in the garden are as follows... a wheel rim, an old bbq, a bin lid, a whole roll of barbed wire and a golden syrup tin...

Next up I took the mower to this thicket... it was all very slash-and-burn, but without the burn

However, digging out the path, stripping the jasmine away from the fence and wrestling with the lantana required much more finesse ...

In other news the bathroom reno ground to a halt... as the electrician didn't turn up...

After providing me with the most vile filthy toilet ever the portaloo people brought me a new loo.. I have yet to summon the courage to go into it, but suspect that horror can only put it off for a little longer.

My latest foray into online dating crashed and burned... what I don't get is why middle aged men seem to think its ok to dish out disrespectful treatment to someone they're looking to get into a relationship with, expect that person to smile and continue like they weren't just treated extremely shabbily AND act surprised, indignant and shocked (SHOCKED I tells ya) when aforementioned person gets her snark on.  

Note to middle aged men, middle aged women don't do meek, we've all put up with your shit for far, far too long.

And now I'm going to go bathe in a trug on my kitchen floor... god I wish it wasn't 9degC :(

 

The Garden - Standing Stones under the Washing Line

Today I: Found more "treasures" in the garden

Bits of mattress

Bits of mattress

The thing about the garden, is that it's so overgrown that I'm finding "treasures" every single time I clear anything.  I like to think of it as my own Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Today I found the wirey remains of a very old mattress, a bit of path I had no idea was there, some very old bits of pegs, a bottle top, and some very curious "standing stones" under the washing line.

Bathroom reno - Day 1

Today I: Watched as the Chamber of Horrors was dismantled...

Building has begun... with demolition of course...

I'm making do with no shower and a portaloo at the moment. Its so horrible.  I will not miss that bathroom though.  It was revolting!

 

Harry

Today I: discovered that my gallbladder and I will soon part company

I wasn't very confident when I went to pick a new puppy.  All I could think of was poo on the floor and yapping.  And then I arrived and stepped into the enclosure where three 6 week old Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were playing. I melted.  No idea why I was immediately drawn to Harry, but I scooped him up and that was that, I was his person and he was my puppy.

He sleeps on my head, chews my hair, plays tug o war with the end of my jeans when I'm putting them on, eats my shoes, barks at teatowels, bites toes, falls in the pond (more of a stagnant puddle), hates baths, bugs Sebby, loves to sunbake, hates naps and hoovers up food like a vacuum. 

I'm completely smitten.

Reclaiming

Today I: took Sebby to get clipped, had breakfast out, then nearly died of starvation due to fasting for an ultrasound... damm grumbling gallbladder :( 

I was on Cauldrons and Cupcakes earlier, and today Nicole is talking about self worth and taking back your dreams... She says, "This is a week for reclaiming our joy, and reconnecting with our dreams. Why do we need to reclaim them? ... Because at some stage in the past we were told that we couldn’t have the dream. Or we couldn’t do the thing that gave us joy."

For me, over the last few years, its been my internal dialogue that has stopped me following my dreams.  And more recently, just when I threw everything over and felt like I'd found my path, I stopped myself again... this time taking a job when I knew it wasn't the right thing for me to do at the time.  Clinging to the familiar when everything around me was new and fresh.

The dumbest part of all is that I KNOW what my dreams are, I know what brings me joy.  I'm not searching.  I'm up to my chest in stupid-ass joy and dreams.  For me its in this train-wreck of a house, writing stories, being hilarious on twitter (ok in my opinion), online marketing, getting creative on canva, blogging like a boss... *cough*

So why did I take the job?  Because I never gave myself permission to follow my dreams.  Told myself I couldnt leap without looking, that the risk that comes with following any dream was too much (I dont know what that too much quantifies... risk, stress, fear, failure, success; it was just a dark nebulous roadblock labelled Too Much).

But when I walked away from that job I finally overcame the too much... As Nicole puts it, "When we give ourselves permission to follow our dreams and do what makes us happy all kinds of magic begins to flow in our lives."

Is the magic flowing... well, thus far in renewed passion for writing and reading, home renovating and delight in dumb-ass puppies... but its only been a fortnight...

 

Taking It Back

Today I: bought a stove, got the puppy his jabs, bought a kitchen island, bought a towel rack...

There has been much buying of things.  I've chosen not to blog it because it'd be an endless stream of me dithering about bathroom tiles and laundry lights.  And really... who cares... I'll post when there's some actual progress.

Harry

Harry

Did you notice the puppy reference?? oh yes, we have a little poo monster... he's very cute and has filled my house with laughter and delight.

I left my job.  Not so much resigned as removed myself from a deeply toxic environment.  I am now recovering - yet again, and trying to figure out wtf to do next.  

I had been doing really well, building a new life, being slow, taking time... my too-high heart rate finally made some downward progress... and then school holidays met with a very tricky work place and I went downhill like a brick down a mineshaft.  Stress, overwhelm, sleeplessness, IBS, palpitations, doubt... all the old friends. Work on the house ground to a halt and I spent days off trying to recover from days on.  So I walked away.  It simply wasn't worth it.

I took back my life.

The Roof...

Today I: ticked the first major job off my list...

The roof was in a right old state... much like everything else!  However, it was causing the most concern as the leaking was fuelling the massive mould problem.  It was also so weathered that that the tiles were constantly shedding white cement dust which covered the windows in grime whenever it rained.

The lovely Brody at Rekote Roofing spent two days fixing the roof and replacing cracked tiles, and then painting.  And this is the result...

I chose Charcoal for the roof as in time the colour of the house will be (probably) a dark green, with white accents... I'm aiming for a very cottagy feel for the whole house, inside and out, and really there wasn't any other roof colours that I could see working.

The weather obligingly tested out the roof with 55mm of rain in two days... not a drip, not a hint of dampness.  Its watertight and I'm most cosy under it.

Where to Start

Today I: Figured out a plan and went wandering at Bombo

This mess is doing my head in...

But, rather than focus on moving each ever-increasing pile from one spot to another, I realised that I've got time on my side.   Unpacking means I have to handle and think-about pretty much everything I own, so I've decided to go all Marie Kondo on my stuff.  I mean what better opportunity...

The KonMar method of organising is at its most basic to keep only the things which spark joy.  I'm good at dragging a lot of junk around with me (physically and emotionally) most of which I just keep because I've had it so long I don't really see it any more.  But there's a lot I can let go, and now is the perfect time to do it.

Rather than doing the KonMar thing and sort and purge one object type at a time (i.e. clothes, books etc), I'm going one box at a time.  Thinking over each thing as I unwrap it, and deciding whether to keep it or not.  I've already got a huge pile to be donated, and as the drive is filled with an ever-present skip, I'm filling it up with junk no one is going to want... broken sieve anyone??

So the unpacking stress and overwhelm has abated, and I'm making headway.

Miss 11 has been down for the weekend, and we want wandering to Bombo headland, where there is a Dog-Off-Leash area (and another on Bombo beach).  Result = one happy snoozing dog, well impressed child and exercised mum...

We have also been perfecting our selfie game...

A Big Whinge

Today I: Got over a visit to Wollongong ER

Its been nearly a month since my last update.  A new job, moving and ongoing illness reduced me to such a wreck that there wasn't much to say ... well nothing that would edify anyone reading it!

On Tuesday my darling Sebby got sick.  He was exhibiting all the signs of tick paralysis - to my mind anyway - and given that I lost my darling Ella to a tick (10 years ago now), I completely freaked out.  I rushed him to the Illawarra Vet Hospital, and they explained the symptoms were down to a heart murmur, hip degeneration and an abscess under his tooth.  So he'll be having his tooth out next week - the rest is just because he's getting to be an old fella.  I'd noticed him slowing down a bit, but now I see that he's well into middle age.  I found that a little startling.  Pets shouldn't age (says she who owned the Cat Who Would Not Die... but did after 22 years!).

Then last night I ended up in Wollongong ER with a gallstone episode.  Very painful and it took a lot of endone to get under control.  As a result I'm sat on my capacious bottom feeling pretty ordinary and this means blogging (and making frivolous online purchases... glow in the dark necklace anyone?!)

So last Thursday was the Big Day... I bugged out of Berowra and early Friday morning my goods and chattels arrived in Wollongong.  Just over a week later and I'm climbing over boxes, trying to start six jobs at once, no idea where to put anything, tired, confused and frankly all over the place.  

The main problems are that I've got NO kitchen, NO laundry, NO bathroom, NO cupboards, NO storage, holes in the ceiling, and before I move anything into its permanent home I've got hours of cleaning and scrubbing ahead of me.

I have no idea where to even start.

Update: The Foul Floor

In the last 3 weeks I: got the living room floor to some semblance of liveability

Its best shown in pictures, but I got that vile living room floor to a state where I'd let the kids in the house... using an orbital sander as a scrubber was a sheer stroke of genius on my and the chaps at kennards parts...

It took me all day.  And without the scrubber it could've taken a hell of a lot longer.  When I peeled back the carpet I found both the rubber backing - which was turning to a foul grey powder - and the adhesive were stuck to the hardwood floor.  

Boiling water got them off with scraping and scrubbing, but it was a tedious, filthy, backbreaking job.

So, after some online research into scrubbers, I headed to Kennards and hired a scrubber/sander type contraption.  With a heavy duty pad on it - just a skerrik off steel wool - boiling water and a squirt of floor cleaner the machine turned both rubber and adhesive into a brown slick of filth.  

The boiling water was essential, and I didn't get much of a result without it.  So I worked one kettle full at a go.  After scrubbing I rinsed down the floor  with buckets of water, and sent the resulting mess into the laundry with the broom, where it drained into the floor drain, and out into the garden.  Not pleasant, but it worked.

Once I'd got off every scrap, I brought in the high pressure water cleaner (I have a gerni) and basically hosed the whole thing down.  For good measure I gerni'd the bathroom and hallway floors too.  Then the entire laundry.  Not the most elegant solution but it worked well and cost me about $150 for the scrubber hire as well as $15 for the floor cleaner.

This floor will be sanded back and stained/oiled further on in the renovation.  But for now, it'll do.

Day Whatever

Today I: decided to forget about the whole day counting thing...

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Apologies for the hiatus... in a nutshell I sold my Berowra house way faster than I thought and I've been scrambling to get the Unanderra property liveable before I have to move.  A 3 month task condensed into 6 weeks, 3 of which I need to be in Sydney.

When I am not upsetting gigantic black snakes or avoiding electrocution by utter dumb luck in Unanderra (more on those dramas later), I'm hurtling back and forth on Picton Road, and various traffic clogged motorways.  

IMG_0107.jpg

Alas now I have been ground to a halt... yesterday I yanked on a weed and brought a whole retaining wall down. Luckily I was able to jump back and it didn't land on my entire leg - as I really think it would've broken it - but the top edge took out my ankle (just bruised, nothing broken).  So I am in bed, RICE-ing away - was originally using icy poles for the ice component but ate them so now its cold packs wrapped in a tea towel (so boring). In addition to this I've got tonsillitis, a bladder infection and my period is due tomorrow.  I'm kind of getting the feeling the Universe is telling me something??

Yes... its telling me I should drink more...  

Day 56: Sold, sold, sold

In the last 5 days I: sold my house, broke the chainsaw, broke the modem, fixed the modem, cleaned up a tub of gravy spilled in the car, tore up carpets, and swam in the sea.

My kids are exploring the new house; they're messing about in the creek, have found an oval, found a park, are assessing the climb-ability of trees, and sussing out local kids for potential friends.  This is exactly what I wanted for them and exactly what I would've been doing at their age.  Trips to the beach are a daily ritual, and they've discovered that Lake Illawarra is near - both are asking for bikes... my plan is coming together!

My Berowra house sold as of today - barring unforeseen disasters of course.  I had hoped for enough to have a small mortgage - something in the region of $100,000.  But a bidding war between two buyers, and a strong sellers market meant that it looks like I will be virtually mortgage free.  I say virtually because I'll borrow to get the renovations finished - as fixing the roof, the mould, gyprocking the walls, and fitting out a new laundry and kitchen are going to burn through the funds I have in no time.  But that future borrowing is going to be in the region of $30 - $40K (not sure exactly yet), nothing like $100K.  

I'm a bit stunned really, about selling Berowra.  It happened so fast, and I'm not nearly as ready as I'd like to be.  I'm thrilled of course... but I was thinking I had about two months if not longer to get the new house liveable... and now I've got about 4 weeks.  

Reno-wise I've mostly been removing the disgusting carpet.  I'll be hand scrubbing that vile grey carpet backing off the wood floors, so that's going to keep me out of mischief for a bit.

And sheet mulching out in the garden, too...  had a nasty fall; slipped and went over backwards and landed on a tree stump - I forgot how much being winded hurt!  So I've been taking it easy out there. I broke the chainsaw chain too... not entirely sure how, but a new chain is required, I know that much.  Bit inconvenient as I have tree bodies waiting to be dismembered all over the place.

Day 51: A Tree Guild

Today I: had a job interview, bought a fridge and a chainsaw

For the LOVE of GOD do not tell my mother I bought a chainsaw.  Also, if the worst happens I will de-friend anyone who calls me stumpy.

I'm taking a very holistic, permaculture-type approach to the design of my new garden.  "Permaculture-type" is my own shorthand for picking and choosing the facets of permaculture that work or appeal, and not going the full permaculture hog on the place (i.e. orchards, zones, buried horns full of poo etc etc).

One of the principles of permaculture that I particularly like is the tree guild.  Here you take your food producing tree (in my case a macadamia and an orange) and underplant it with a carefully chosen selection of plants.

The Principle of the Tree Guild

  1. Tree - fruit or nut*
  2. Suppressors - or bulbs - this is a circle of bulbs planted underneath where the drip line of the tree will be when it is fully-grown. Eg: Alliums such as chives, leeks and garlic. Also clover, oregano, thyme, columbine
  3. Attractors - These attract a variety of insects to help pollinate the plants and prevents any one species of becoming a problem. Eg: Dill, fennel and coriander plants (these CAN be weeds - check in your area), bee balm, borage, 
  4. Repelers - Plants that repel potentially damaging insects. Nasturtiums are the go-to species for this function.  Also mint, oregano and lavender, marigold, alyssum, daisy, basil, chives.
  5. Mulchers - Plants that naturally provide mulch Eg: Comfrey, artichokes or rhubarb 
  6. Accumulators - These species will increase the nutrient content of the soil. Accumulators are plants that send roots deep down into the soil profile to bring up nutrients such as calcium, potassium and sulfur. Eg: yarrow, chicory or dandelion, fennel (can be a weed), comfrey, vetch
  7. Fixers - These plants that will increase the nitrogen in the soil. Eg: Clover, vetch, peas, beans and alfalfa, chamomile
  8. Habitat Nooks - Besides the plants stones and logs can create habitat nooks that will attract animal species. A pond will do the same, attracting frogs, different bird species, and insects, which will add to the effect of keeping insect populations balanced and protect the fruits of your tree guild.

* If you have a huge tree (like my macadamia), its not unusual to underplant it with three or four fruit trees which then have their own guilds

Links I used in my research...

http://permaculturenews.org/2015/10/23/piecing-together-a-guild-of-your-own/

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/organic/how-to-plant-tree-guild.htm

http://jmney-grimm.com/tag/apple-guild/

https://www.regenerative.com/magazine/seven-parts-apple-tree-guild

Day 50: Rainbows and a lot of gold

Today I: became the owner of a whole lot of debt, and saw a rainbow

The scary bit began.  The double mortgage bit.  But, to offset that, I turned down the first offer on the Berowra house - a piss-take offer, not to be taken seriously.  Then this afternoon, on the drive south, the setting sun and showers colluded to provide me with several spectacular rainbows.  I took it to mean all will be well. I mean how can I argue with a rainbow??

I'm very very tired.  I think I'm unwinding.  This slowing down business is hard work and I've been quite the sooky-la-la over the last few days.  This morning I was up at 5am, doing laps of the house and starting jobs and then forgetting what I was doing. After a cuppa I fell back asleep. I dreamed. I rarely dream.  And this one was notable because I nearly ended up on a magazine cover, topless, with a potato squished between my boobs... luckily I persuaded everyone in the dream that the picture of the grey high rise was better.  Hmm.

Other than that I've been doing a ton of planning, and hacking the living daylights out of the weed infested garden.  I don't want to boast but I think I've got every single weed in the Illawarra Weed Guide.  Actually... one I haven't yet discovered is privet... my bete noir up north.  I loathe the stuff and am direly allergic to it.  Please not that!

Aside from the weeds, the garden is full of dumped masonry and dumped wood.  I've got two rules (so far). 1. No herbicides. 2. Nothing leaves the site unless necessary (asbestos sheeting and old carpets excepted). So I'm coming up with some very creative ways to create the garden of my dreams without any more environmental impact that has already been made.  More on this later (oh so much more).

Day 47: All about the floor

Today I: Got down on my knees... a lot

Down south today, and starting to put together a plan to get this reno started.  The main priorities are roof, ceilings/mould issue, bathroom, and those three are being dealt with by professionals.  The rest I will do as I can and call in help where needed.  

So FIVE amazing discoveries today...

  1. I figured out the house is double brick - I'd been told its brick veneer, but when I was peeling back some of the wall panelling I found brick underneath and it dawned on me that either they're massive bricks or its double brick.  This also explains why the house feels 'chunky' and solid, and the reason for the massive steel I-beams that are rusting quietly across the front door.
  2. Got the hot water system switched on ... the fuse box has those ancient ceramic fuses in it... dear GOD
  3. Ikea curtains fit perfectly - with no HEMMING - hurrah... gotta love high ceilings
  4. Totally awesome, mint condition hardwood floors when I peeled back the revolting carpet

3. The foul rubber backing left behind when I peeled up the 'carpet' in the kitchen comes off easily if you pour boiling water on it... as does the adhesive (with some scraping).  I thought that was going to be a nightmare job.

The musty smell in here has improved already with just the small amount of carpet removed, and when it and the mould is gone it's going to be lovely and fresh.  So feeling a bit less daunted and a bit more like it won't be months and months before I get this place habitable.

They day ended with a walk on the beach... That Beach... I searched for the car keys, retraced steps, tried to intuit where they were... didn't work... sigh.

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