After the despair of Friday, the weekend has passed fairly calmly. Water has been leaking from the bathroom ceiling and damp patches have appeared on the wall, a circumstance which will presumably inhibit painting, I would imagine, though these cowboys might well simply ignore it. I will report it at 8:30 tomorrow.
Above the wash basin, there is a narrow strip of wall – to be precise it measures 110 cm high by 30 cm wide – where we would like to have a mirror. So on Saturday we went prospecting for bathroom mirrors. The local picture-framing shop would have made us one but it would have been very expensive so we went out and about looking at DIY shops and builders’ merchants. Several people referred us to Barnsbury, a glass merchant in Liverpool Road, but a stone’s throw from where we live. They can make us a mirror, sealed for bathroom use and cut the the size we want. They recommended gluing it to the wall but I didn’t like the idea as we may want to remove it. The mirror itself will cost about £34 but the price rises to £56 if they put holes in it for screws. I am not sure why it costs £5.50 to drill a hole. Maybe that’s insurance if the mirror breaks. Despite the extra cost we will probably go for holes rather than glue.
Above the toilet is an alcove and we decided that a bathroom cabinet could go in there. Again, precise measurements matter. Furnishing our little flat is a bit like furnishing a doll’s house. So we spent a good part of Saturday afternoon looking in furniture and bathroom shops for cabinets no larger than 60 cm wide, 66 cm tall and 20 cm deep. Prices vary hugely. In the end we plumped for the first one we had seen, which was in the Argos catalogue, leaving it to the morrow to actually buy it.
The big purchase of the day was curtains. These houses have huge windows that cannot be altered because the buildings are listed. Our curtains need to cover an area 90 inches wide by 95 inches deep. All the ready-made curtains we have seen have a maximum length of 90 inches. So we have to have curtains made. We went to a curtain place Tigger knew of and ordered some. When they quoted us the price, my jaw dropped. Worse still, I thought that the price was for two sets of curtains, one for each room, but it was for one room only. But they are nice heavy curtains to keep out the winter draughts so I had to bite the bullet.
The rest of the day was spent having supper, listening to the radio and generally relaxing.
For today, Sunday, we had several projects in view. The first was to have breakfast and the second was to take a box of items and a wall-mountable dish-rack to Oxfam. As we knew Oxfam wasn’t open by the time we set out, we took all this with us to Pane Vino where we breakfasted. We reached Oxfam at 10:53 to find it still not open. We resigned ourselves to waiting for opening time at 11 am but when someone came along with a donation and knocked on the door to hand it in, we followed suit.
Then we were off to Argos to buy the famous bathroom cabinet and some temporary curtains for the back room whose window has the same dimensions as the front room. The curtains sold by Argos are only 90 inches long, thus too short but we have fixed things temporarily (it’s wonderful what you can do with bits of string) and when they install our curtain rod for us we may find someone to add an extra strip of cloth at the bottom of the curtains to make them the right length. I must say that having proper curtains up makes a big difference despite the general mess and chaos.
Before we could put up the curtains, however, we had to play “Big Chess”. The idea was to rearrange things in the bedroom to make it easier for me to clear the front room when the painters are due. Tigger’s eye for spatial arrangement allowed us to compact the boxes and other items, leaving space for the clothes rack which can now stay in the bedroom permanently. All I need to do tomorrow, is to upend the bed to make room for the settee. Then we are set for the day.
Having completed the game of “Big Chess”, we had a cup of tea and Tigger suggested we construct the bathroom cabinet which, inevitably these days, had come in “flat pack” form. The instructions were clear and all the bits were present but you would need about 4 hands to do the job. Fortunately, we had 4 hands between us so that was all right. The cabinet threatened to fall apart several times but in the end we managed to get it all screwed together as per the instructions. The door even opens and closes and the latch works. How’s that for constructional skill? (Luck, more like – Ed.)
Having admired our work and had a cup of tea, it seemed appropriate to take a nap. So we did. In our properly curtained bedroom. Now we have a relaxing evening to look forward to before the fray begins anew tomorrow.
At the moment, I have bounced back from the feelings of despair I felt on Friday and feel fairly cheerful. No doubt the painters will once more dispel my optimism but I will try not to think about that until tomorrow.