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Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 11:29 am
I have been away from LJ and DW for a little while and I can see that some of my friends have been having worrying times. I’m sorry if that’s the case. I can only offer belated hugs and commiserations.

I’m very close to the Great Work on the flat being finished – Marius the builder says it should be today or tomorrow. More likely tomorrow. At which point I’ll be able to get Smokey back from [livejournal.com profile] gloria1 and bring her home. I think I’ll put a Feliway plug-in thing in, because a lot has changed and it will smell rather different, not least of paint. I will try to post before and after pictures.

It has, and is currently still being little short of hell on earth, not least because since December, and worse since the middle of January I’ve been struggling with some sort of viral infection as well as the builders, and with a flare up of my IBS. It’s been horrible. Everything still tastes of metal. I did go to the doctor and he gave me a cough medicine call pholcodine, a medicine of evil that is banned in the US but is supposed to calm your cough. Did it hell. He also gave me, because I had oral thrush, a medicine called Nystatin which is quite the foulest thing I’ve ever tasted, even including that ‘lamb kebab’ from the nearby kebab shop that looked and smelled like poo.

Next Tuesday the Bulgarian cleaner mafia (Niki and Vesi) are coming over to put everything back in the right places and sort everything out. I’m so looking forward to it. I’m paying them well since I don’t know how much use I’m going to be.

I want my kitty back, I want my flat back and I want my cosy things around me. First world problems.
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Thursday, January 21st, 2016 01:34 pm
Current progress is that I have a bedroom almost finished (there is some electrical work to do) and the builders have started to work on the living room. All the furniture is in my spare room and the hall cupboard is full of stuff which made it into boxes as opposed to being hurled into black bags to be thrown out. The other place full of said boxes of stuff to keep are my new wardrobes. I do need someone, though (looks at [livejournal.com profile] clare_nce in a hopeful way) to go through the three (!) boxes of wires with me. This is truly a flat of a million wires.

Not that everything made it. Over the last couple of days, Marius and Nico (the builders), Niki (my cleaner) and I threw out in excess of twenty black sacks of stuff, and I have a bankers box of stuff good enough to take to the charity shop, though for some reason best known to themselves the builders have stored it with the stuff I’m keeping. I presume they don’t read enough English to identify the note that says “charity” across it in big red letters.

Currently I’m ironing my bedroom curtains because it’s odd sleeping in a room with no curtains. Odd and unpleasant. Slightly creepy, even.

Smokey is safely at [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s and I took her treats yesterday. She was so pleased to see me that her tail did that quivering thing that cats do when they’re delighted by something. I suspect it was the treats but [livejournal.com profile] gloria1 says it may have been my visit that did it. She did seem very happy to see me.

Work on the living room continues at speed. Niko is currently scraping away at the old woodchip wallpaper that I hate so much, and I expect him to finish that today as he really puts his back into it. Not like me who loathes ironing to an intense degree (I’m ironing the freshly washed curtains) and keeps on taking tea breaks to get through it. Not to mention the fact that I find it painful to stand for that long.

So there we are. Progress, but not yet completion.
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Monday, January 18th, 2016 08:38 am
I have wardrobes. I'm not completely certain the builders are ready for me to start putting things in them, but they better be because tomorrow I have Niki (my cleaner) arriving to help me move stuff from the current boxes to the wardrobes so that they can start on phase two of the work, which is the living room. Exciting stuff.

Smokey is currently a guest at [livejournal.com profile] gloria1's pad.

It took me an hour and a half yesterday to persuade the kitty out from behind the sofa and into her cat carrier. I tried blandishments. No dice. I tried treats. No dice. I tried silence. I tried conversation on the phone to people - she would come out from behind the sofa but never got near enough to catch.

In the end I looked for sounds of kittens wanting to be fed on YouTube and tricked her into investigating the noises of desperate kittens by putting my iPad on the floor, and scooped her up when she got close enough.

I feel like a complete heel tricking her that way, but it was the only thing that worked.

She's much safer at [livejournal.com profile] gloria1's than she would be here just now, because they're painting and I don't want her to get paint on her fur, they're going to be replacing the floor in the hall, kitchen and bathroom and doing the work on my living room meaning there will be nowhere for her to just be for about three weeks.

She's much better off in the warm, peaceful flat that is [livejournal.com profile] gloria1's, but of course you can't explain that to a cat.
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Thursday, December 31st, 2015 12:11 am
From here, which was drawn to my attention by [personal profile] legionseagle, this frequently gets missed when people talk about decluttering:

"No. I can't just "go buy another one" if it turns out I needed it after all. They cost money. Shopping costs gas and travel time (or shipping costs and time) (or spoons). Often, if I only need one once in awhile, I would have to buy a whole box every time, and then throw out the extras every time. Or I could just keep the box, and always have one. Also I hate retail stores, they make my head hurt, and I'm a bred-in-the-bone cheapskate, so chances are if I have it, I got it used for little-or-nothing, so no, I can't just stroll into the once-a-year rummage sale and buy another one for a quarter. Of course, I am not someone who is going to hire an expensive and prestigious clutter consultant, either."

These days, I live on a low fixed income and I can't just buy anything that I might want on a whim. Those days are gone, gone, gone never to return.
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Thursday, December 24th, 2015 10:46 pm
Well, the builders have not finished the first tranche of the work. Ho hum.

Smokey spent the last few days at [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s house in the peace and quiet. It took her a day or so to settle in, but once she had she was stealing [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s seat with the abandon with which she steals mine. I missed her dreadfully, but it was better that she was out of the noise and disruption.

Disruption continues – my stuff is around me in boxes and I have three outfits which I’m swapping into as and when two get dirty and have to be washed, which is going to make Christmas interesting and memorable. On the other hand, the fridge is stuffed with food, which will make it tasty and fun.

The builders start again on the 27th. Yippee.

The bad news is that the wardrobes aren’t going to be delivered until the 6th of January, meaning that they won’t be installed until the 8th or so. I’ve arranged for my old cleaner, Niki, to come and spend six hours with me on the 9th Jan putting my clothes away and preparing the living room for the work. Once that’s done, on the 10th, Smokey goes back to [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s to stay with her while the floors are done and the living room is renovated. It should all be done (!) by the 31st. Hm. We’ll see.

The second tranche of work starts properly on the 11 Jan, and that’s also the day my new fiction writing course starts. I hope they won’t want printouts, because my printer will be put away until the second tranche has finished.

I will be putting pressure on the builders to have it finished before the 13th of Feb, because I have a get-together to play Call of Cthulhu that day and as I’ve had to cancel the one on the 9th of Jan, I don’t want to cancel the second one.

Still, Happy Christmas or whichever holidays you’re celebrating this weekend, and cuddles to everyone’s kitties and doggies.
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Friday, December 18th, 2015 09:14 am
Life is somewhat uncomfortable Chez Lexin just at the moment. I knew when I scheduled building works that it would be, but really hadn’t realised – I don’t think anyone ever does – just how disruptive it would be. And this is the ‘easy’ part, the work on the bedroom. Tranche 2, the work on the living room, is going to be hell on wheels, I already know it.

Everything I own that was in the bedroom is currently in boxes, and they are all over the rest of the flat. My bed has been disassembled and is leaning in bits against my living room wall, the pictures that were in the bedroom are leaning against the table that was there, and are slightly in front of the TV – not greatly, but enough to annoy me.

Even with all this, the builder asked me if we could clear out the hall cupboard. I said well, we could, but where would we put it all? He didn’t have an answer to that, so the work on the hall cupboard hasn’t started.

On the other hand, we have progress. In the two days since they started, they’ve scraped the wallpaper off the bedroom walls and ceiling (yes, for some reason the ceiling in that room was papered. Go figure) and taken the old wardrobes down.

I just don’t know if we’re moving quickly enough to get all of tranche 1 done by December 24th, which is the date set in the contract for the conclusion of this section of the work. I hope so, it’ll be a bit of a grumpy-making Christmas if I have to have my Christmas dinner with my belongings in boxes. I have only three outfits accessible to me, and two of those have to be washed today.

I did wash the bedroom curtains yesterday, and it was astonishing (or perhaps not given how long they’d been up there) how much dirt came out of them.

My poor cleaner is coming today – it’s going to be heart breaking for her to see the state the flat is in given how much work she puts in to keep it tidy and clean. But she’s only really coming, and I have told her this, to collect her pay and her Christmas present. If she can empty the bins and unpack the dishwasher, that’ll be nice but not required.

Smokey is doing well given that cats don’t like changes, but if the work gets noisy today she may be going to [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s today until the 24th. We’ll see how she gets on, because having her here is a comfort to me, but I’m not about to let her get too stressed.

In other news

The builders were a day late starting (!) and in that day, I toiled my dress. The only problem I can see is that the sleeves are a bit narrow for my taste. Georgian dresses do have tight sleeves, but I like to be able to move.
lexin: (Default)
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 10:30 am
I’ve been a bit quiet, what with one thing and another.

Smokey has been quiet the last few days. She seems to have picked up now, but I don’t think she was too impressed by the Christmas tree I put up. The flashing lights bothered her and she seems happier now I’ve put the lights to ‘always on’. I also changed the dangly thing on her thing on a string on a stick because she’d destroyed the old one, and she doesn’t like the new one, so I’m going to have to buy a replacement, perhaps with feathers. She likes feathers.

I don’t like it when she doesn’t run about after the dangly thing. I think she needs exercise and not just to lie about the place like a little furry cushion.

It could also be the weather, which isn’t all that cold but has been quite grey and depressing. As I type this, she’s sitting on her cat tree looking out of the window at the gardens, I think hoping for signs of birdies or other cats.


No news on the sewing front. I’m waiting for beads to be delivered. I could be getting on with doing a toile, but haven’t.


The reason for the above is that I bought at PS4. It took a while for Amazon to send the games I’d ordered (of which more below) but now they have I’m spending time playing LotR: Shadow over Mordor. details of interest mostly to other gamers )


Amazon pissed me off somewhat mightily over delivering my latest batch of stuff, most of which was for Christmas or for my dress. They managed to fail to deliver nearly all of an order (how? I’ve been a customer since 1999 and only one other thing has ever gone astray) and when I contacted them to get it re-delivered, they re-did the order, this time cocking up by sending me a second PS4. Getting that collected was far more difficult than it should have been.

In other news

I’ve been setting up having my flat decorated next month. So far, I’ve two really interested firms, but no actual written quotes for the work.

I did have a third firm come round and look at the job, but he didn’t strike me as really interested – the other two were full of ideas about how it could be done, but the third just noodled about, took my bit of paper explaining what I wanted doing and disappeared. I’ve heard nothing from him since, so I don’t know what’s going on there.

Running as favourite to get the work so far is the Italian girl (and her friend who didn’t speak English) who took photos when they first came to scope the job, then came round with samples a couple of days ago and are taking the whole thing very seriously. Second is the firm run by a Greek bloke called Demis, but I haven’t seen any samples of the stuff he wants to use so he is definitely as second choice.

We shall see.

While the work is done Smokey will become a lodger at [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s, and [livejournal.com profile] gloria1 has kindly agreed to take her in and treat her as her own.

This is because the work will include floors in the hall, kitchen and bathroom, decorating my bedroom and decorating the living room, which takes up most of the flat. I can’t keep her shut up in the spare room for several weeks, so have to find somewhere she can stay in peace and quiet. I will miss my baby girl, though!
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Monday, September 7th, 2015 05:54 pm
I am back from visiting a friend in Sunderland - have I missed anything important or interesting?

Smokey was very pleased to see me and purred and purred, even letting me pick her up and cuddle her, so I was very honoured as she doesn't usually allow that.
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Friday, August 28th, 2015 12:16 pm
My cleaner and I did a really good search of my cupboards and finally found the pink Kipling bag. Much joy, I am saved £50 for a new one.
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Friday, July 10th, 2015 03:52 pm
How long must I have been overpaying for home contents insurance?

I finally decided to check today, and I've saved £300 on my home contents insurance by doing an online check on cost.

Plus, I've paid it in one lump, which saves me even more. Cuts out one direct debit.

Go me!
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Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 12:16 pm
I didn’t mention yesterday what happened with my satellite signal and the scaffolding outside my flat.

When the blokes finally turned up, they took one look at it and said they’d have to fix the satellite dish to the scaffolding. Very reluctantly, I let them do this and I’m still not sure that I did the right thing. But it was that or carry on with no satellite signal.

This means that when the scaffolding comes down, the scaffolders will have to put my satellite received back on the wall. I have a suspicion that they will not like this and it will end up hanging off the wall until I can get the bloke out to put it up, which will probably cost me yet more money.

Ho hum.
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Sunday, March 9th, 2014 02:44 pm
To add insult to injury, just after having to replace my washing machine, my dishwasher's gone belly up. Didn't need that.

I strongly suspect that both the fridge and the microwave are on their way out, too. I trust that they can wait for the next couple of months before being replaced.
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Friday, February 14th, 2014 10:26 pm
The BBC website tells me that the wind here is a mere 29miles/hour. It doesn't sound like it, it sounds as if it's about seventy. I'm eyeing the tree just outside my flats very warily.
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Thursday, October 4th, 2012 12:53 pm
I have central heating back, and I am a happier and warmer bunny. My bank account is squeaking from the shock, however.

The installer arrived on Tuesday as agreed, worked like a Trojan to install the boiler and do everything else required in the time allowed – including installing a further radiator and changing a gas pipe to the new specifications. I’ve no complaints on that score at all. He also moved the stuff when required, so I was able to just observe with interest. And when he’d done, they arranged to take all the detritus away. Score.

So, I can recommend British Gas for their service for an installation. Not cheap, however.
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Thursday, September 13th, 2012 12:01 pm
I have arranged to have a new boiler installed at cost of a vast sum. They're starting work on 2 October - would have been sooner, but it had to fit in with my leave plans.

I'm so looking forward to having central heating and hot water back, though.
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Friday, August 31st, 2012 06:47 pm
I think I'm going to have to have my central heating boiler replaced.

To be fair to it, it is ten years old, which means it's at the end of it's useful life, and there have been many times which would be worse than now to have to pay for something like that, but it's still far from ideal.

Heigh-ho, and other comments like that.
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Thursday, August 9th, 2012 04:37 pm
This photo is of the item that my brother and I inherited from my mother and of which I'm the keeper.


Does anyone have any clue about what it might be or how old it is. It has no marks on the base at all, no marks that either my brother or myself have ever found. I've skated through a few antiques sites, and ebay, and never found anything like it.
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Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 04:53 pm
I have central heating at last. Two and a half weeks without it, and I was beginning to feel a bit cold.

In health news, I've done the other tests and now await results.
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Sunday, March 11th, 2012 08:42 am
OK, so I’ve reinstalled Windows (yes, Linux users, I know) and everything is running very much faster and happier than it did, not least because the system is now free of 2+ years of dead software and crappy registry entries. Boy, did I have some tut on that system.

Having said that, I still have a couple of programs still to reinstall, but they’re things I don’t use that often and can install as and when needed.

The other outcome of this whole problem is that my desk is fantastically clear. There are huge bits of time when you're installing software when you're waiting for something to happen but can't leave your desk, and I filled in the time by clearing the papers and assorted detritus from my desk. My cleaner is going to be so proud of me! I also found a few bits of things that I'd forgotten I had, including a rather handsome brooch and a pair of lapis earrings.

While I was doing this (I may be slightly hypomanic) I sorted out my spare room and have three large bags of stuff needing to be taken away. I will book AnyJunk on Monday, leaving enough time to sort through my wardrobe and get rid of some clothes I don't wear any more.

I am preparing the room and the flat for the stuff which is to come from the Aged P's next week, and I now have a clear shelf on my shelves in my hall for china and glass, and I'm planning a reorganisation of my china cabinet to accept the Coalport.

I was in pain by the end of yesterday, but I slept very well once I'd taken painkillers.

Just to add, I hate iTunes, so so very much. To me, it's a nightmare program which works in a totally counter-intuitive way. It's one of the things which puts me off Apple's products - if that's an example of how their stuff works, I can't risk buying anything of theirs because I'll never get my head around it.
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Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 03:23 pm
To add insult to injury, my broadband connection has gone down, as has my telephone. Not-very-urgent enquiry on the part of my broadband provider has produced no solution, so I have an engineer coming to visit on Thursday in the hope of tracking down the fault.

My preference would be to see them before Thursday but it seems that they don't do evenings and I have meetings back to back at work meaning I can't take Wednesday off. I just hope I've some kind of service over Christmas because not having phone or broadband over a major holiday will not be fun. It already is no fun, and I feel surprisingly cut off from the world.