DIY and Me! :)

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DIY and I go together like Morecambe and Cream and Peaches & Wise!
So, I deliberately stepped outside my comfort zone today and dropped in on my friend Chris. The plan was to lend a hand with his latest garden project. This required sawing, screwing, drilling, measuring and aligning – all the ingredients of a typical DIY job – involving some lovely ‘big-boy’ toys!

Big Boy Toy!
Four hours later, there had been no major problems, no missing limbs – just a couple of very smug blokes admiring their creation!
We even got time for lunch where Chris, conjured up some homemade Stilton and Broccoli soup helped along with a spice-mix that I’d never heard of before – the mysteriously named Zhoug!

The it was off to help out Trish bluetooth her shiny new iPhone to her car. That task was much easier, and it was sorted in a flash! Home by 4 where Ann had prepared a full roast – yummy! Then it was out for a walk, dropping-in on Jo and Janet on the way back before settling down back at ours to catch Sunday’s first episode of BBC’s production of Howard’s End.

Lounge Makeover (Part 1 of 9637)

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And so it begins!

The Lounge was the first room we decorated when we moved-in nearly 21 years ago, and although it’s worn well, it’s looking a bit drab, when compared to the other, more recently decorated parts of the house.

Being us, simplicity and speediness didn’t come into it, and every square inch of the room will be changing soon, in some way – walls, lights, carpets and even the three-piece suite. Stay tuned!

The biggest change for me was the decision to ‘embrace the new’ and go totally diskless for all my music. I’ve now managed to convert 99.9% of my tunes – around 16000 tracks to (250-275 VBR kbit/s) MP3s – and so it’s goodbye to the CD tower that’s occupied one corner of the room since 1996!

My new whizzy amp – when I get it fully up-and-running – the Yamaha RX-A1060 will ‘talk to’ the PC and make it a lot easier to select and play music. Yes, I know, (apparently, according to audiophiles) “digital music sounds cold and loses some quality in the conversion”, but to be honest, I really can’t tell the difference, and the benefits of having instant access to ALL my collection, at the push of a button (or two) easily outweighs these downsides.

Therefore, it’s ‘goodbye’ to my trusty hi-fi stack system (that cost me a King’s ransom back in ‘95) to be replaced by just ONE box to ‘rule them all’.

In preparation for the change-over, today’s task was to disconnect everything behind the hi-fi. In doing so, I was reminded of how complex this original setup was with what seemed like ‘miles’ of cabling. I re-discovered twin phono/coax/optical cables, as well as speaker leads, running in all directions under the carpet, as well as up and down the wall cavities (so they stayed hidden) whilst linking-up with the TV/DVD player and various other AV units that I’ve owned over the years.

Well, at least going forward, with HDMI cables these days now being the main connecting technology, it should all be a lot simpler getting it all up-and-running.

…or will it? Already, just reading the first few pages of the Manual, there’s a massive learning-curve ahead!

More chaos news to follow…

Cordyline Corner

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Thanks to Ann’s green fingers, our trellis-painting skills and some help from David to erect it into position, this corner of the garden that was looking a bit sorry for itself in recent months is now looking much more attractive!




Dining Room

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Out with the ‘Old’

Hot on the heels of the Kitchen makeover, is the Dining Room. The final addition – the furniture – was delivered today, and I can now say, we are free from any more makeovers (for at least a month or so!!)


…and in with the New

A Flaw in our Kitchen Plans

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OK, do I get ‘pun’ of the year’?


At last, the kitchen makeover is almost complete. The floor was completed yesterday and all we’re waiting for now, is the splashback behind the hob, and the swishy red window-sills.

Kitchens, Arks and Takeaways!

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The Kitchen Makeover – Almost Finished

We always knew today was going to be busy! It was the day we set aside for restocking the kitchen cupboards after emptying them last week in preparation for the kitchen makeover.

In spite of the hard work by Anglia Interiors’s Grant, their kitchen installer, the job wasn’t quite completed by Friday, so that made the re-stocking slightly more time-consuming as there were certain cupboards we couldn’t touch. It would have helped, If I’d labelled the black sacks I’d originally stocked the kitchen goods in, but it did add a certain ‘kids-at-Christmas-opening-pressies’ feel to the exercise!

We started at 7.30 am, trawling through the Dining Room that was temporarily acting as the warehouse for most of the stock -and then  there was the garage for all the stuff that wouldn’t fit in the Dining Room!

We managed to squeeze in a trip to the local dump – sorry, Civic Amenity Site – to get rid of come of the bits and pieces we ermm, ‘re-discovered’, as well as a tour round the local ASDA for something simple for tonight’s meal, but mainly to replace the out-of-code foodstuffs we found during the ‘sack-race’! It was amazing to find so much stuff that was past its prime – whatever did we do before we had ‘best-before’ dates?!?! I think there was a jar of spices that had no date on it at all!!!

By 6.30pm we were shattered. The job was 98% completed and so we called it a day, and sat down to sample ASDA’s Chinese takeaway menu – and Russell Crowe in his latest blockbuster: Noah. The two went together very well – the food was very disappointing, and so was the film (possible RC’s worst film to date… maybe EVER!!!)

At least the Pimm’s went down a treat!

Ironically, just as the film finished, the heavens opened, and it started to rain! Spooky or what!!

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Let the Chaos Begin!

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Sooooo last century!

And so, this week sees the start of ‘kitchen chaos’ as it gets a well-deserved makeover.

Stage 1 includes smashing the s*** out of all the tiling, together with the removal of two doors (to the dining room and utility room), to create an altogether more cleaner, more modern look.

On Wednesday, Stage 2 begins with the installation of new white units with chrome finish handles to replace the err, white units with brass finish handles (the brass-look is soooo last century!). Then it’s the turn of the existing gas-hob and leccy-oven to find a new home, as they’re being replaced with a ceramic hob and a much more modern double oven. Continuing the theme of electrics, our existing microwave is being dumped after it recently acquired a new feature of catching food alight – on whatever setting we chose! Finally,the blue worktops are to be replaced with wood and (eventually the floor will switch from white to wood too!

Those that know me will be relieved to hear that I won’t be doing any of this hard work! The sight of me, and any form of DIY, is enough to put the country on high alert! Anyone who has seen a picture of me with a paintbrush/screwdriver/chisel/hammer knows that it must have been photoshopped! – we’re leaving all of this to the professionals! – all I have to do is cope with the dining room looking like a food-bank for a week, whilst it becomes the new larder, and my XKR snuggles up and makes friends with, everything else from the kitchen! Next week, the re-decorating begins – and I won’t be doing that either!!!

I love retirement! – so much more time for err, supervision!



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Our current kitchen sporting that ‘Old Mother Hubbard’ look!

By Saturday morning, we should have a sparkly new kitchen and utility room!
Confused smile