Never Leave a New Worktop in a Damp Garage

You'll remember last week that I said I would be going to a mates house for a day to fit his new worktop and new kitchen doors. It was supposed to be a simple job, but it couldn't have been further away from easy.

The first thing I did was remove all the old cabinet doors, saved the hinges to use again and then set about measuring up the worktop. Of course he had just bought a length of worktop for me to cut to size. Fair enough.

Only he had decided that it was a great idea to store the worktop in the garage, sitting on its side for several weeks. With the ups and downs in temperatures lately and the fact that his garage shifts from a freezer to a sauna at the blink of an eye, it was fairly obvious to me at least, that the worktop would be ruined – and it was.

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Good Job I'm No Cowboy

I have started a new job this week. I finally got away from the warring divorcing couple and now I have a nice old lady who wants a few things done to her home to make it a bit more user friendly for someone of her advancing years.

So I am building a ramp up to her door, hand rails on either side of the door and in the bathroom and some little changes to the kitchen cupboards so she doesn't have to stand on stepladders to get at anything. Basically I am moving everything within arms reach.

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So Why Aren't I Rich Beyond Belief

This week I have been considering my options as a kitchen and bathroom fitter, come electrician/ jack of all trades. I wonder if I am spreading my skills too thinly, or if I could make much more money doing something related, but more targeted.

The reason I was thinking about this was because over the last week I have had six quotes to do ! Yes count em...that's S-I-X! Best of all four of those have come back to me already and accepted. I am now booked up for the next 10 weeks and there doesn't seem to be any real let up in interest.

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Too Late Mate - The Bathrooms Out

Sometimes it is best to keep your nose right out of other people's business and this is a lesson I have learned this week.

As you will remember, I was doing a bathroom for a friend of Claire who has just split with her husband. Sounds simple enough – aah no, not really. I should have put two and two together when I did the quote, because the bathroom they already had was almost new. She just said she didn't like it and I figured it was a case of more money than sense.

Turns out he chose the bathroom and she hated it, so the minute he was out the door she set about changing it. I tried to convince her that the main white suite could be reused and that she shouldn't be wasting her money. There was nothing wrong with the bath, basin and wc – but she is adamant that nothing in her whole house should remain as it was.

Fair enough. So I start ripping it out. The next thing that happens is her ex coming back to the house. The neighbour (who is a mate of his) had called him to let him know his precious brand new bathroom was being ripped out.

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What a Great Feeling

We are tenanted and all paid up! What a great feeling that is. To get a cheque for two months rent plus another month for the security deposit was fantastic. Especially after waiting for the last few weeks before we could start making money from our investment.

We eventually settled for the professional couple and at a rate of £700 a month – plus we agreed to look after the garden. Well, actually Claire will be doing that, but she doesn't know it yet. Their names are Samantha and Ben and they seem to be a nice couple. Chances are they will never be there as they are both solicitors and work all hours. Still, as long as they pay the rent, I am happy.

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Good News - We Didn't Lose Money

I have made some great progress this week. The weather has really helped me to knuckle down and put in some seriously late nights and early mornings. If it is raining I don't mind being stuck indoors.

So the bathroom is finished, the kitchen is very close and the final finishing touches are underway. The main news is that we have registered the house with a letting agent. We are asking them to look after getting the tenant and all the legal guff which is required. But after that we will be responsible for collecting the rent, keeping up with maintenance and so on.

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Working for the Mrs

Who would have thought that a tiny bathroom could take so long to tile. I have only been able to work evenings this week on our little house and all I have managed to do is tile the bathroom and lay the floor.

I guess I could have figured that buying smallish tiles because they were cheap would be a bad idea. I managed to get a great job lot of plain white tiles (enough for the bathroom and the kitchen) for 50% off the recommended retail price. I couldn't turn it down.

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How to Squeeze in a Bathroom

So, bathrooms. Today's lesson will be how to squeeze a full family bathroom into a room which ought to be a cloakroom (on a good day).

I suppose I should have considered stealing some space from one of the bedrooms or perhaps just decided to opt for a shower room, but I am pitching this house as a family home and so a full bath is called for.

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Wonders Will Never Cease !

Wonders will never cease! Yesterday I got a call from the police regarding our break-in and they thought they had found some of our stolen items. Now I am not usually very impressed with the way police deal with things and I was fairly sure that they had simply written off all of our stuff. But this time I have to say they did a great job.

Apparently some of the the tools were advertised in the local paper for sale. I am ashamed to say that I wasn't checking for this myself as it now seems really obvious. The police said that they had been keeping an eye out for some time in local papers due to the number of similar break-ins which were happening. They knew that the gear had to be sold off somewhere.

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Freedom to Achieve

Having just watched a rather inspiring speech made to our parliament by Barack Obama, I kind of feel inspired to chat for a minute on some of the themes which came up. Funnily enough, I think it relates to the sort of life we lead as builders and tradespeople.

I am not the sort to get involved in political posturing. I mean I am not really into royalty or even very patriotic. But one thing has to be said for Americans. They really believe in what they say and what they do. They have this belief that no matter what they face, they can achieve their dreams.

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