Slow Progress



I have watched enough episodes of Grand Designs to know that when carrying out a major building project two or more of the following consequences are inevitable:

  1. Going over budget
  2. Going over schedule
  3. Windows being delayed or not fitting
  4. Having a baby
  5. Falling out with the builder


Whilst I am pleased to report we are still on good terms with the builder (just), and have no plans to start a family, I can confirm we are encountering issues one, two and three, with bells on. The budget spent, our coffers are now bare. Hence I am breaking my own rule and consulting spreadsheets out of office hours to identify how we might complete the job without landing ourselves in the workhouse. Meanwhile our windows are suspiciously absent, the first carpenter having done a runner and the second failing to “have the right materials in stock” for an extended period of time. This is Thanet after all. There are not a lot of trees.


Thunbergia alata 'African Sunset', Polegate Cottage, September 2016


Thanks to a generous bail-out package from TFG Senior we should be able to get the job done, provided we stick rigorously to the revised budget (not my forte, but I must try) and accept we may not have carpets or furniture for quite some time. Visitors over Christmas will be presented with slippers and an inflatable mattress. We’ll call it a new form of glamping, but with books and a proper bathroom. Three bathrooms in fact. Having survived 10 years with just one I’m planning to have three showers per day, one in each, cold, of course, to keep the gas bill down. The truth is I’ve been paying two of everything for the last 18 months – council tax, fuel bills and water rates – so outgoings might ease a little when two become one.

Him Indoors and I do not often agree, but on one matter we are both resolved – no more building and no garden opening in 2017. We need a break. Just time for us to enjoy the house and garden with family and friends and an opportunity to get out and about more. Guests beware, we have not ruled out decorating: you may just find a brush under your pillow and a can of paint on the bedside table.

Top of post: Passiflora x violacea ‘Victoria’

Middle of post: Thunbergia alata ‘African Sunset’

Bottom of post: the emptiest the greenhouse has been since the beginning of the year – doesn’t bode well for winter!


The greenhouse, Polegate Cottage, September 2016