All entries for July 2005

July 26, 2005

Decorating has commenced!

The lovely wooden panelling is gone; the highly suspect rubble pile under the load bearing beam on the stairs has been rebuilt with gasp mortar! The carpet on stairs is up along with more staples than your average junior school.
By far the best thing though isÖ

I get to play with a crowbar! Or more accurately; with a ďwrecking barĒ (canít decide which sounds best!).

My slave labour pool (aka Dan) is working hard stripping wall paper and paint and other noxious substances (that left my hands disturbingly dry and cracked when I did it) from the upstairs rooms after the planned kitchen wall moving has been postponed. Dan and I have decided that a degree in Electronic Engineering (between the two of us, Dan is foolishly spending another year doing a masters!) is enough of a qualification to build a stud wall ourselves upstairs. Not load bearing, no sockets (that I can see externally, have to hope there are no wires about) and best of all, no door to hang! It will blatantly fall down within a day of having been done but it is all about the experience! ;-)

Anyway, it wonít be the wall of my bedroom, itíll be the guy who is renting from me so all is good. Though it will form the wall of my study so guess Iíd better do an okay job.

The kitchen is fully designed now using the wonderful Ikea kitchen planner (what an excellent way to waste half an hour) and the tiles picked out. Now just got to wait for the wall to be moved and prep for some serious flat pack assembly.
At some point in the not too distant future Iím going to have to pick the colours for the rooms and find a carpet for myself; now for me this is the worst part of the whole projectÖ Iíve not got a clue what kind of carpet I want! Or what colour walls to have thatíd go with all my black furniture (which I already have). Current thought is some description of light grey or some form of off white for the walls, and then ??? for the carpet!

Ideas on a postcard!

July 22, 2005

I have a house…

'nuff said! :-)


Why sell two blends of coffee but label them in Swedish? What is the difference!?! "Oooh I'll have the red coffee today I think, I had the green yesterday". That is the only difference! Other than of course the different swedish word on the label :-P

And who the hell thinks of the names for products? And what do they mean? Are they random swedish insults or something? "Faktum" really means "you cheap arse bastard"

Anyway – we must do nothing to anger the Gods of flatpack… All praise Ikea

Must find all solicitors…

and show them how much they irritate us mere mortals. Damn are they starting to annoy me!
The rigmarole started on Tuesday with my solicitor telling me that there was something for my Dad (who is going on the mortgage with me just so that I can get something other than a cardboard box) to sign. Okay, no problem! A little late since we're supposed to be completing on Friday but okay. I gave her my Dad's address in Manchester so she could send it straight to him (previously I've been sending things up and down myself).
Wednesday I phone my Dad to check he has received it and surprise, surprise… No. Whilst eating lunch I get a phone call off my mate who is still at the house in leam telling me that there was something sent by special delivery but he'd not heard the door go and missed him.
At this point gears start turning in my head and I guess that the solicitor has in fact sent the urgent forms to me rather than to my Dad. Okay, so without these forms we're not able to complete right?

Why in the name of everything holy did they wait until Tuesday to ask for this thing to be signed if it was so goddamn urgent!? Nothing like leaving it to the last minute. So to cut a long story short (and also miss out the bits that might leave this blog with an "Adults Only", strong language and mild peril contained within rating) the forms were faxed around several times back and forth between solicitor, me and my dad.
Me: "We good to exchange contracts now?"
Solicitor: "Yep thats great, I'll do it first thing in the morning"

Thursday Morning
Clean the house in leam ready to leave and pack everything up, because of course I will be leaving tomorrow! The solicitor said so after all!

Thursday Afternoon
How strange, no phone call yet. In the meantime I've spent a lot of time in B&Q, Currys and Ikea (hmmm… meatballs) planning what to do with this house that still isn't mine.
So I phone the solicitor and she tells me that the other side aren't replying… The "other side"!? What the hell is going on? Is she communing with the dead!?! Don't they keep regular office hours and have people working there during the day?

At 4:30 I get a call from her saying she had been in touch with the "other side" and they were ready to exchange; had I considered drawing up a Bill of Trust with my Dad since he is entitled to half the house if I sold it, she didn't want to exchange until that was decided… At this point I'd almost lost the ability to speak and was quite possibly going red in the face trying not to shout down the phone and point out that:

  • Why didn't you ask me this months ago? Why wait until 4:30 the day before I'm planning on moving IN to this fecking house

  • I trust my Dad and he trusts me, thats why he is on my mortgage

  • You could have exchanged contracts on your last phone call if you'd already asked me about this sodding contract of trust or whatever bollocks it is called.

Can I just add that I'm sure I've provided great amusement today in my ranting and raving to my mate Dan who has been doing an absolutely sterling job helping me shift stuff and get this house ship shape and Bristol fashion.

So after the call about the trust thing she said "I'll phone them now and exchange contracts", oh goody. I might actually move in some time this century.

This was all going on in the car park of Currys near Ikea in Birmingham by the way, so obviously the M6 (and the midlands in general) being the world's largest car park there was traffic. We went the scenic route back and I suddenly realised where we were and the fact that we were near where I work. "Excellent, its sunny and nothing else to do - lets go for a quick pint at the pub we go to from work". Typically, I get the phone call while still driving and my secretary (Dan again) answers and takes the good news that contracts have still not been exchanged. Is probably for the best that Dan answered my phone otherwise I may have been less than polite.

After chilling out and calming down again at the pub we head on back to leamington for the clean up operation. By the way, the pub is called The Orange Tree and it is near Fen End (near Knowle and Balsall Common), absolutely wonderful restaurant/pub thing and is staffed by an entirely Australian staff it seems, can be quite a nice view really when the right staff are on ;-) I highly recommend going there, though if you're planning on eating there (food is top notch) I'd wait until someone offers to take you out for food and asks you where you'd like to go since it can get a bit pricy. But any pub that has spring rolls and prawn crackers hot from cooking as free bar snacks is a good pub and well worth it in my book!

Anyway, now back home in Leamington spending my last night here ever again. The main reason for desperately wanting to complete today was that I'm getting kicked out of here on Friday! The landlord has been excellent and let me stay here until now for free, I owe him so much for that. But I must be out by this weekend.

So anyway, here's hoping that I get to move in tomorrow – otherwise you may here some shouting coming from the vicinity of Coventry city centre (now there's a novelty, shouting in Coventry) as I explain to my solicitor, who is happily taking lots of money from me, just how much moving in on Friday meant to me.

Grrrrrr is all I have to say! ;-)

July 20, 2005

Gotta love PC satire

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

No idea how I found this blog entry but it has certainly made me laugh this morning :-)

T minus 2 days and counting…

This is extremely scary, in 2 days I will be the owner of a house and all the associated joys that goes with it. I'm too young for this!
Everyone keeps telling me that I'm acting like and old man and that I shouldn't be buying a house at the tender age of 21 (and only just that!).
I kinda agree with them to a point but then again what is the problem?
I have a job where I am going to be for at least a couple of years if not a significant time longer so I need some digs of some description!
I have been brought up to be my father's son; I resent the idea of lining someone else's pockets with rent money. I'm spending the same on my mortgage as I would be doing on renting a house, except the bricks and mortar are mine to do what I want with. If I can afford that much money each month then I want it to contribute to something that is mine, renting is dead money…

So tonight I've got to start moving stuff out of my rented student house in leamington to a 3rd party location, my God I'd not realised how much random crap could be accumulated in two years of living somewhere. I dread to think what my next move will be like when I've had my own house and been there a lot longer!
At some point this week will make another trip up to Ikea and pray to the God of flatpack that a nice kitchen is going to cost me less than I think!

First job once in the house is gut the place, remove every last nicotene stained Artex ceiling, every single layer (for there are many on each wall) of wallpaper from the walls, remove the carpet and take out the kitchen. Basically destroy the place. Then comes the job of rebuilding it, for which I have recruited (read: they were in the wrong place at the wrong time) a slave army of several thousand… Okay around 10 people who will come and help out at various points over summer and turn the house into a home.

Be it good or bad, this is all going to be an experience… kinda like University really!

July 19, 2005

T minus 4 days and counting…

Hmmm… going to get a house on Friday…

I will be a property owner…
I will have gained that invaluable first rung on the property ladder…
I will have a place to call my own and to do with as I please…
I will forever more have to work to survive and stay solvent…
I will be £83,000 in debt…


July 16, 2005

Enter the Graduate

No longer a Graduand… Now I have officially been conferred to the degree of Bachelor of Engineering (or whatever the Chancellor said). Yay.

For the people who haven't had the joy of graduating yet let me give you one piece of advice; wear something cool. I am convinced that the person who designed the gowns was an evil bastard who had never done a degree and never intended on doing one and graduating!
He must have thought
"Ha, I'll show those smug poncy bastards with their clever degrees... I'll make them wear a dress and a silly hat with a tassle. I'll make the arms so big and billowy that they'll catch on anything in a 5 mile radius, the coloured sash will constantly slip down and look a mess. I'll make it out of the heaviest, darkest material I can find to make them sweat"

So there I am arriving at the University at about 8:30am, nice and early to get my sister a ticket for the actual ceremony rather than having her sit in the cinema or whatever daft idea they'd had. 8:30, me, in my robes in the already rather warm sun. Great.
Photos, photos, photos… parents and graduations do not seem to be a great combination! I think there must have been an unspoken challenge to figure out every possible permutation of Mum, Dad, sister and myself and have a photo of every single one. Each one obviously taken twice and with the usual thing of "Did that take?" "Did it work? It didn't make a noise"... No, it won't make a noise – it's digital.
Once those photos were done with it was time for the professional photographer. I was just happy because I'd neglected to pre-order my photos before the day and was slightly panicy that I'd be too late. No fear, just walk in, tick the boxes, give the nice lady my credit card and walk straight to the photographer.
Now this guy must be a nightmare to live with, especially if you were on holiday with him. A family holiday must be torture, trying to have a photo taken with some landmark or something would take a small iceage to complete.
He handed me my plastic tube with a ribbon screwed into it (my scroll obviously!) and the spent the next 5 minutes telling me to relax my wrist and move my feet out and head to the side etc The variation in these photos must be so minimal it might be easier to just get a mannequin and superimpose a head on top of it!
Next up, parents. Much to her disgust my Mum was asked to stand on a box, my dad was instructed in how to place his hand on my shoulder and I had my tassle rearranged! Loads of fun!

Once all this was done it was time to mill around some more then eventually go into Butterworth hall at around 10 o'clock. At half 10 (when the music part of the ceremony was supposed to start) a woman appeared on stage and gave us the wonderful news that we'd have to wait another hour since there had been a chemical leak on A45 that was causing traffic delays and "it'd be nice to let everyone get here before starting". The killer line was "Graduands are NOT allowed to leave their seats. Stewards will provide you with water if necessary". What!? You're planning on having us sat here long enough to require water to be passed out!? It was quite possibly the most uncomfortable and generally roasting hour of my life. I was quickly running out of water and there was no sign of the stewards anywhere!

Finally the ceremony kicked off with some rather interesting musical selections (such as the choir singing "oh I do like to be beside the seaside") and the Chancellor paraded in followed by a lot of our lecturers looking rather amusing in their poofy hats (doctorate hats) and robes.
The whole ceremony was rather… well… ceremonial. It was quite nice actually, quite appreciated the formal and ceremonial aspect of it. Though I can see why going to an "old" university such as Cambridge or Edinburgh or somewhere would be nice since you could have your graduation in an old hall rather than Butterworth hall theatre!

So I got my certificate without tripping over my gown at any point and finally shed the damn thing. Very attractive wet back after that, though I was quite pleased (or at least reassured) when I saw the majority of other guys walking around with wet shirts as well. A friend who'd just put her robes on for the afternoon ceremony made the mistake of hugging me, she quickly moved her hand off my back when she realised what was there! Later in the day though she'd experience the same thing!

So ended three years of my life, relatively well spent I feel.

Now out into the big wide world into full time employment and home ownership and probably bankruptcy…


July 12, 2005

"What is your inside leg measurement sir?

Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that detailed but the grilling I received at Natwest today came close to it!

I'm about to enter into the big scary world of home ownership and am now at the stage of giving the nice people at the solicitors the large (or large in my eyes anyway, I've never HAD that much money, let alone spent it) sum of £3,000 as a bankers draft for my deposit.
Understandably the lady behind the desk asked for my drivers license for ID, okay, good. Then "do you have your NI number?", errr… No. Funnily enough I don't carry it around with me, nor am I blessed with a photographic memory. Bugger.
So then she asked what standing orders or direct debits I have open on my account… I don't know! The whole point of standing orders is that I don't have to think about them! The wonderful people at T-Mobile just take whatever money I owe them and I don't worry about it too much! I said this to the woman and she looked at me as if to say "You stupid person". I don't know what bloody standing orders I have going! Upon getting back to work I checked and the only standing order is for T-Mobile, why did she look at me like that then!? I told her T-Mobile and said I didn't know of any others!! Which was true!

So she toddled off to go phone through for authorisation, 10 minutes later (where I sat sweating thinking a SWAT team was gonna come and get me for fraud) and after repeated glares from the growing queue as I'd just halfed the number of people working there at what is probably the busiest time (lunch time) she came back carrying the sacred document aka a 3 grand bankers draft.

Thinking I was on the home straight she tapped at her computer and asked me "What were the last few transactions on your account?" what!?!? I don't know when I last used my card! Maybe it was at ASDA yesterday on fuel? "Nope, not showing on here" Bugger (though secretly hoping ASDA had just neglected to charge me). Eventually I managed to persuade the woman that I was in fact me and she gave me my cheque.

Now thinking about it I should be:

  • Pleased that they take security so seriously and that not just anyone called Anthony Williams could walk in and withdraw £3,000 that usually isn't there
  • not in the least bit surprised at this turn of events considering my account branch is in Ashton-Under-Lyne near Manchester, I was withdrawing at Balsall Common near Solihull and the last few transactions on my account were in France and in Chester.

So I can't really complain, and I'm not. I just found the whole process rather amusing in a "oh please don't reject my banker draft because then I won't get the house I need to move in to next week" kinda way.

All in all quite an eventful day and one step closer to owning my own house :-D

July 11, 2005

Emphasis on Tongue in Cheek :P

I'd just like to clarify for people reading this blog (who'd have thunk it!? People reading my ramblings!!), most of the things I say that aren't personal will be deliberately one sided, I love a good debate and the best way to start them I've found is to give your opinion on one side of the issue and ignore the other side and let people start arguing the flip side.
I am no fool despite what people who know me may say! I can see the other side of the argument in everything but generally (as with everyone) I'll have one particular side which I personally believe and that is what I will write my blog about.

July 2005

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