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My first, my last, my only home grown radishes

December 1, 2010

In September I was feeling pretty pleased with my effort at creating a veg patch at the back of our building renovation project.

I was feeling even more green-fingeredly pleased just a few weeks later when things – namely winter radish – started to sprout up.

I picked my first two rather humble radishes, and looked forward to patiently waiting for a better and larger crop.

And then the ruddy builders flattened the whole lot with their building tools and materials!

‘Sorry love, we ran out of space,’ they said, shrugging their shoulders and flicking on the switch of the kettle for yet another brew. I bet Alan Titchmarsh never has these problems!

More soon, my chums (to quote the brilliant Miranda Hart, comic goddess and my current TV crush).


It’s all about a good foundation, my grandmother used to say

November 30, 2010

Ok, so this is where we were with our house renovation project a month.

And here’s where we were two weeks ago.

This was the view from the top of the stairs a few months ago:

And here’s the view now.

Yes, that really is the whole of the back of the house that’s been taken off!

And finally, the first crop from one of London’s most expensive allotments! You can see the veg patch in the background.

 More soon.

What’s cooking, good looking?

November 29, 2010

Last Friday I thought ‘sod working, I’d rather cook’. And I just happened to have a lovely invite from Alastair Instone of School of Food to attend one of his cookery classes. Alastair said he’d give me a lesson in cooking fish, and that’s just what he did.

First up, here’s the talented man himself:

Read more…

Once we owned a house, now we have only half of it

November 10, 2010

The builder and architect got into a huddle, emerged, and told us that they had to take down the WHOLE of the back of the house.  Cue deep intake of breath by us….

Apparently the bricks and structure are in such poor repair that it was going to save time (though clearly not money) to take the back of the house off all together and start again from scratch. So that’s what they’ve been doing. Gulp.

Here was the back of the house we bought. “Just needs a bit pointing,’ thought we:

And then this was our new-look house without the privvy. So far so good:

And here’s our house, minus about 50% of structure…and value!

Remember this fireplace in the upstairs of the house?

Well here it is now, dangling fetchingly off the side of another house:

More soon.

House renovation: new photos of upstairs

November 9, 2010

So yesterday I showed you the downstairs, today it’s the turn of the upstairs.

This used to be the view to the back of the house, from the top of the stairs:

Which then turned into this:

And the last time I was there, looked like this:

Here’s the master bedroom as we bought it:

Then the builders started to get stuck in and turned our bedroom into this:

And the last time I was there, our master bedroom was looking like this:

And you can see in the next 2 photos that not a wall has been left intact.

I think it’s fair to say we’ve reached a low point in the project, both in terms of progress and enthusiasm. We put the offer in on the house over 12 months ago, and it’s going to be another 6 months at least before we can move in. If we’d known how long it was going to take from the outset, there’s no way we’d have bought the house and embarked on this renovation project.

More soon.

Planning permission is granted! Pop open the fizzy water

November 8, 2010

Nearly 5 months after we applied for planning permission, it’s finally been granted! I’d love to rejoice, but we feel more inclined to shout ‘about bloody time’ than pop open the champagne. Besides which the delay means life’s rather more fizzy water than champagne… 

So here was the house up until the point we got planning. The builders had taken out every last brick and wall support that they could before needing planning permission and signed party wall agreements.

Here was the outside privvy. Now you see it… 

… you don’t:

The sitting room is tidied up from this:

To a more minimalist this:

And the stairs have gone inside:

Tomorrow: progress upstairs

Autumn in London

November 7, 2010

I definitely have days when I wish I lived anywhere other than London. And then I have days when I’m reminded how beautiful London can be. Especially this Autumn.