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Home improvements

17 January 2012 by superlative

Oh look, we’re only two weeks into January and I’ve already managed to go more than a week without posting. I just couldn’t think of anything to write! We’ll call that a holiday, and I’ll try to get back on the wagon from this week.

Today I thought I’d write a little bit about our flat, and about all the things that we’ve done to it – just little things really – that the previous owners never did and which frankly I find BIZARRE that they never attended to. They were either inept, or lazy, or complete oblivious to the world around them. I suspect it was the last of the three, as they seemed very much the sort of people who drift along in shopping centres staring in wonder and confusion at everything around them and generally getting in the fucking way.

So, these are some of the things we’ve done in the last six months (God that time has gone fast) that have made our home better. We have:

  • put a lock on the bathroom door
    Honestly, why had they not done this? The door doesn’t even stay shut if it’s not locked, it swings ajar, so they were basically just shitting in the hall. BIZARRE.
  • fixed the leaky gas meter
    The gas meter for our flat had a minor leak that was constantly seeping gas outside our bedroom window. It was only small, not enough to be dangerous, but it was a leak nonetheless. Because the former owners never had any of their gas appliances serviced, they never knew, but I am convinced that our gas usage dropped on the little graph thing the British Gas website produces once we had the meter replaced. Which I can believe, because if it was leaking after the point where the gas is measured, the numbers would have been constantly ticking up even when nothing was being used. And unsurprisingly British Gas have since reduced our direct debit because we’re ‘using less than expected’. So for the two years they were there, they were just paying to release natural gas into the atmosphere because they were too half-arsed to maintain anything.
  • put curtains up in the living room
    The living room faces the back so you don’t technically need curtains for privacy, but the windows are large mostly-glass French doors. There is a curtain pole above the doors, but they seem to have spent two years looking at that and not hanging anything from it. And by fuck it’s COLD in that living room in the winter, especially after dark, if you have nothing between the room and the glass. It’s single glazed, so it’s basically a large refrigerated panel set into one wall that efficiently extracts all the heat from the room and releases it onto the patio. How can they not have been freezing?? BIZARRE.
  • had the gas fire disconnected
    Maybe they weren’t cold because they were using the gas fire in the living room as well as the central heating. But if they were, they were at risk of death at any moment, because the gas fire was dangerous and posed a risk to human life (said the gas engineer we had look at it). So he was legally obliged to disconnect it to ensure our safety. We’ll hopefully get a new one put in this year, one that doesn’t come with carbon monoxide poisoning as standard. DEADLY AND BIZARRE.
  • filled in the hole in the kitchen wall
    Yes, there was a hole in the kitchen wall, about 6-7cm in diameter, that ran straight outside to the patio , and which even in summer meant there was basically an Arctic gale blowing in 24 hours a day. So we filled it in with wadding stuff – no more gale. Was it that hard? Really? No. CHILLY AND BIZARRE.
  • installed secondary glazing in the bedroom
    OK, this one is a bigger thing that cost some money, BUT it needed doing really because the windows are about two feet from the pavement.  It adds value to the flat and makes it feel much cosier and quieter in the bedroom, and loads of the other basement flats on our road have it, so I think it was a good thing to do.
  • put a second lock on the front door
    The front door when we first moved in basically worked like a back door. It had a handle with a keyhole underneath it, so you could lock it from either side, but unless you locked it with the key each time you went through it, it could just be opened from the outside by anyone. And I’m sure they weren’t the sort of people who were locking it all the time, so it would have just been open. Also, the living room is really far from the front door, so in the evening you wouldn’t be aware of anyone coming in through it. Now it might just be me, but when I close my front door behind me I want to know that no one else can just open it again. And if I wanted to slam the door in someone’s face, I’d prefer not to have to find my key so they couldn’t just push the handle down and open it again. So we’ve put a Yale lock thing on it, and now you can only open it from outside with the key, and it feels much safer and actually like a front door not a back door.
  • fixed the hobs so they light
    Two of the hobs wouldn’t light, not at all, because the clicky clicky electric lighter bits were so caked in grime that they couldn’t generate a spark. So… what? They just never used those two did they? Our gas engineer man tested them as part of his service, said “oh, these are all grimey”, and scraped them off with a bit of metal for two seconds. Hey presto, four working hobs. What is it with the previous owners and gas appliances??
So yes, those are lots of little things that have made the flat more like a NORMAL flat and not a weird doesn’t work sort of noisy cold deathtrap sort of flat. I can’t fathom their thinking, or lack of it, but at least I know that, despite being the same place, my home is now much nicer than theirs. Freaks.


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