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June 21, 2006

A little walk

On this historical day, it took us a bit longer to get home when we got back from Early Bird Harvester. On my way to the door I noticed a man going up the steps with a frame under his arm. Desperate to avoid a sales pitch for the most unsellable item in the world, we decided to go for a walk around the block instead. Ali felt really naughty for some unknown reason, but we're saved from aerial views of our house for another day…

June 07, 2005

Hold on

Follow-up to Well from [TBA]

The quest for a new ceiling continues after the break.

So I went to Holland which was great fun. Unfortunately I slip in full sentences of Dutch while I speak instead of just the odd word. Strangely enough no one really notices, which makes me wonder if people actually listen to me, or if my Dutch sounds like English. Don't.

But yes, I got back eventually and saw the same mess in the bedroom next to mine, call it rubbish room, as when I left. Apparently someone had come to have a look at it and decided to come back a few days later. Granted, it was bank holiday weekend, so he came on Tuesday to have fun making the hole bigger (so he could easily fit in new weak boarding that will fall down with the smallest amount of pressure).

Mentioned Tuesday was 8 days after the ceiling fell down. It might have been Wednesday. But well. While the contractor was enjoying his work, my housemate decided to do her dishes using the hot water tap out of which only cold water flows. Though stupid, I'm glad she did, as the hot water tank holding the cold water started leaking and the contractor was the first to join our side against the poor maintenance and called the agency to get the plumbers to fix it again.

Obviously the plumbers need 9 days notice so we were glad it only took them one day to arrive. Wait – where I said Tuesday it was Wednesday as I'm positive they arrived Thursday. Apparently, there was a puncture in the hot water tank. Or maybe two. Yeah we'll come back tomorrow or next week with a new tank. "Great, see you next week then", as indeed, they needed to order a new tank (basically a bucket with a hole for the pipe, but apparently not so common plumber material).

Monday morning, 11am. 2 Weeks after ceiling collapsed. Plumbers arrive: shouts of joy and excitement. A new water tank is installed and I ask them if we should worry about any more spillage when the hot water is in, but no, there's a lid on this tank so it should be fine. Joy oh joy in excitement I decide to do my laundry. Luckily I stay in the room for lunch as when the machine starts draining water all of it ends up on the kitchen floor. Turns out lovely plumbers forget to re-attach the pipe. Fortunately, we were planning to mop the floor this week anyway so I guess it was a sign that it needed to be done!

Slightly obviously, the washing machine asked for hot water, and it was actually (piping) hot this time. Sounds great, as we could marvel at the workings of the new hot water tank. But no. It held on for about half an hour and then the greatness of the hot water and air stuck in our pipes broke its resistance and yes, water started spilling in a concert of three buckets.

The plumber has been called again, and probably as I type they're working on it, though I doubt everything will be fine. Hopefully the material will be dry tomorrow so that the contractor can finally finish his job, though that will surely take till Friday. And then we can live again!

For those actually worried, the contractor assured us that no further bits of ceiling would fall down, despite a few cracks. Also, we have contacted the Union, but as work is on its way, there is nothing we can really do. Though we will send a letter showing our concern and pointing them at promises they've made at the start of the tenancy. Unfortunately, my digital camera is being repaired (I know that's a good thing but it means I don't have it right now) and my housemate refuses to take a picture of the rubbish room or let me take a picture, so this entry is again just a big collection of words. More pictures next time!

May 25, 2005


What can you do? I'm tired but need to blog. Don't know why. Not having exams to complain about. Going home tomorrow so should have more interesting stuff to tell next week. Got amazing new CDs but am not allowed to talk about them (it's like having seen Star Wars but downloaded from DC++ not that I know how - honestly!). So let me tell you a story about off campus student housing.

I live in a lovely house on Canley that makes me ill every other week. It only makes me ill because we can't open the windows as they have locks we can't remove. And because it gets dusty and none of us really feels like using the vacuum cleaner. And (until recently) because it's either freezing or it's boiling hot.

But recently someone showed us where the thermostat is and told us how to use it. Amazing technology! But then one day I came home and the hot water tap wasn't running up to speed. Consequence: washing up takes 5x as long and lazy students as we are the dishes piled up. Time to call the letting agency.

Lovely people, but communication wise a bit… bureaucratic. We're not allowed to call the plumbers ourselves, but they can do it for us. So we call the agency they call the plumber who will arrive the next day. Which they don't. So we call the agency who call the plumber who will arrive the next day. Which they do. They fix one of 2 things we need them to do so we ask them if they could please fix the other as well. Nope. Agency didn't tell them to. "So let's say I call the agency now and you leave but then they call your boss and you'll be back in half an hour?" "If your lucky, yes". Great. So we do. And they come back the next day. Yay! Everything is working! Or not.

We try out our heating and the whole house seems to fall apart. Luckily that didn't happen for another month. Apparently some way lots of air was trapped in the pipes and made a racket. We call agency agency tells us it's normal with our heating system and it happened in the last tenancy as well. Sure. So we use it as an extra method to wake up in the morning (but we fail).

April comes and goes.

Had a great weekend just now, and I come home and my lovely housemates await me with a smile. Poor me didn't recognize the smile of despair: a massive leakage (not as in pouring down everywhere, but just a continuous stream of water through a small hole in the ceiling) occurred in one of our bedrooms. Hot water. Why is that hot water? Why do those pipes go into the loft? Why isn't there any light upstairs? So we call the plumber's emergency line but get the answering machine. We realize we have to call the agency first, but they decided to take a break too. It was already past eleven but who knew what could happen so we decide to call for the help of our amazing neighbour who can fix anything.

After being ashamed of waking up the whole family and every other living creature in the house, amazing neighbour comes, sees, and… can't help us. He amazingly climbed into the loft and tells us the hot water tank's overflow isn't working and that there's about 2 inches of water waiting to go down, so we might have to stay up for a while. Great. At least we know what and where it is. Fortunately, the leakage calls it a day so we don't have to refresh the buckets every hour. And we go to sleep.

9:00AM Phone rings. "Hello Thorwald, it's the agency. You called last night. Do you still need help?" "Woo-aaa-elllll there is still 2 inches of water waiting to pour down, we don't know if we can use the hot water, and we still have a power cut, so yeah would be nice if someone could just pop in and say hi." "OK then we'll have someone over in an hour" Back to bed.

10:00AM Doorbell rings. Yay! Housemate is up so she can open. I sleep in while I hear everything going on in the room next to me and in the loft above me. A crack appears over the width of my bedroom. Time to wake up. Housemate relieved as she doesn't understand any other English than the Queen's, or oddly enough, mine. So yeah, plumber/electrician/fixitall guy explains that when my (other) housemate turned on the light in his room, it caused a power cut as the wire was touching the hot water pipe which had melted the safety stuff around it. Apparently must have happened ages ago but now it decided to fail on us completely. Oh and that cut blew a hole in the hot water pipe. Ah! Hence the water! It all makes sense.

Lovely fixing guys fix everything and drill holes to drain the water and soon the hot water is working again and the light can shine safely and we're all happy. "So see you later!" They say, and a loud bad noise comes from the bedroom. Turns out they stay for a while to clean up the mess. Also, they don't have to use the small loft trapdoor to get up there anymore. There's a new 6sq ft whole in the ceiling of the 2nd bedroom. Amazingly, no one got hurt, only some clothes got dirt spat on them, and nothing got damaged. Well, apart from the ceiling.

So we call the agency and tell them what happened. Kind of. Agency guy comes in an hour later expecting to see some minor water damage. "Ooh – that hole… That wasn't there before was it?" Sometimes you've seen a red on a person's face you never knew existed. Nice guy though, but he can't promise swift repair. "But the hot water pipes are fixed?" "Yes… and the light still works. Well. It would if it would still be hanging there."

Nice guy tells us the next morning that some contractor guy will arrive some day to assess the costs and then some day later when all the beams are dry (which will take a while in a house where windows cannot be opened) the ceiling will be redone. Oh and probably all of it will have to be redone. Yay! New ceiling without cracks! Which means you'll have to move all your stuff… Great.

There's still more going on. Also, I need to decide on whether this whole thing is exciting, or funny, or terrible. First, I'm going home though. If trying to avoid studying isn't exhausting enough, try landlord bureaucracy!

January 31, 2005

The longest day

I'm ill. Can't really point out what it is but as I'm writing I'm trying to avoid spilling anything on my housemate's desk. It doesn't include a headache so I am just gonna add a few entries to my blog. Here's what I did last week. Don't go away now - it's almost interesting!

Actually, the first event happened earlier this month, but I need to mention it anyway: I have some sort of foundation for my thesis! And I've only been doing it for 4 months (seriously, that's quite an achievement seeing that it's mostly a trial and error process). But yes, I had some trouble getting excited about earlier articles I read – too technical – so my supervisor googled another name in the field I'm interested in and voila, here I am, fully enjoying and understanding three articles about the influence of turbulence on the population dynamics of phyto- and zooplankton, a system that plays a vital role in the global carbon cycle. Will explain more later.

Second event: Departure of housemate. Now, I'm not sure what the rules are for housemates that are your friends when they leave (as in, no bad word about the dead) but let me just say, he didn't make it easy. I'll just note that I spent my whole Thursday doing the dishes he left for his goodbye dinner (which I didn't particpate in, see below). Still need to clear out the fridge. You get the idea.

Third event: Concert team meeting. Actually, this is not of any interest to anyone, but let me just say we got a great design team, and an awesome (SC accent) publicity crew, so it's bound to be a wonderful night. What night, you say? Saturday 5 March, Coventry Central Hall (near the Litten Tree), Inspired!, brought to you by Warwick Revelation Rock-Gospel Choir. Keep ears and eyes open for more publicity!

The longest day: Wednesday 26 January.

  • Woke up at 8am which only happens once a blue moon
  • Had graduation (MSc in Mathematics) which only happens twice a lifetime or so – blatantly lasted 1,5 hours longer than advertised
  • Mom and sis visited which never happens (as they'd usually spread their visit and mom would come with dad) – blatantly ended up shopping in Coventry
  • Walked home from Coventry Railway Station, which is bound to happen more often this year
  • Said goodbye to leaving housemates and hi to his friends some of which are also my friends – made them improvised dessert (stroopwafels with cream and hagelslag, yumm!)
  • Went over financial details with housemates so that everything was (more or less) sorted
  • Went to bed 1.30am fell asleep before 4am, I think – surely there are longer days, but when are they so packed with events?

In the mean time, I ruined my throat singing a really high bit in Rev, which signalled the arrival of swollen tonsils (Wed-Fri)/ flu (Fri-Sun)/ severe cold (Sun-now). I was planning to go to Edinburgh for the weekend for EdRev's Ball and to see many friends, but yeah, thought that wasn't too clever an idea… Don't think I can write this much about this week as I'll probably stay in for most of the time.

November 30, 2004

Charter Avenue aka Sunset Boulevard

There's no place like home, and there's definitely no place like Canley. Or maybe it's Tile Hill. But I haven't found any other road than Charter Avenue which has been aligned so perfectly that every evening the sun casts a forewarning spell over the neighbourhood. Looking at the picture almost makes me think I took at at two different times but I'm pretty sure I missed 5 minutes of Neighbours just to capture this moment of beauty in otherwise miserable Canley.

No offense to Canley – my lack of enthusiasm might be due to the fact I still have to adjust to taking care of myself instead of having someone clean my room and 1Mbs internet etc. My house is actually conveniently placed 4 mins from Tesco ergo 10 mins from the Maths Department – not to mention the 8 mins to my friends' house who own cars and occasionally drive me to places when it's too cold/dark/far. It's not run down and has a lovely garden which we still haven't planted the bulbs in my housemate bought 3 weeks ago… It finally has a working washing machine though the microwave is now broken which leaves me to eating pizza and chips even more than twice a week.

Why is Canley so miserable? I just forget it's there. The other night my friends drove me to Rainbow's Chinese takeaway and I had no idea that place fitted between my house and Hearsall Common. I only realized the size of Canley whilst walking home 3am from Earlsdon (quite impressive I realized anything that night) which took me 35 mins i.e. 15 mins more than I thought it would having only seen the detour the bus takes.

Anyway – still wondering why Canley is miserable. I'd like to say it's the people that are miserable, but they actually really seem to enjoy living in Canley. Screaming, shouting, chanting to passers by and laughing at them… Kids joyfully racing down the sidewalk on their bikes on their way to wherever – hurling some unidentifiable words at me while walking at the wrong time of the day (5pm-8pm is when they're most active).

And the people are not that miserable to me. I asked my neighbours if they were going on a trip when they were busy with their car and their kids seemed all excited. After a look of 'mind-your-own-business' which almost made me cry and run into my house, the mother grinned and said they were just cleaning out the car of all the crisps and stuff (oh how I'm looking forward to family life! Or maybe first just owning a car…). They even say hi to me now when I run into them in Tesco's – even when I haven't spotted them first!

The children (the ones wearing red jumpers after school – which school is that?) are annoying but no more annoying than the regular English kid (I know most kids are annoying to people who don't know them, but in England they seem to outweigh the nice ones 99 to 1 as opposed to 9 to 1 – no offense). In the end they just want to know what your business is. Thank god I'm tall (again no offense – this time to not so tall people – but if I were smaller I would be picked on more as I'm easily scared/startled/whatever).

So actually Canley is not that miserable. It's just England. But kudos to the planners of Charter Avenue who helped make it look better those 10 minutes a day when the sun is setting.

P.S. I'm sorry if you cannot find a reason for this entry's existence, but here is one: I just want friends and family to know I'm still alive and how life in Canley is.
P.P.S. Even though I just realized Canley isn't miserable, I'm planning to go and live on campus next year. Convenience over independence.

October 20, 2004


OK, so we have spiders in our house. One of my flatmates apparently has them biting in his arm causing allergic reactions; another (male – don't want to be prejudiced, but still!) starts screaming and leaves the room as soon as he sees one not bigger than this . dot; the final (female :)) actually manages to control herself… So what about me?

Well, guess I have to thank my mother for always telling me that spiders are about the best creatures to have in your home as they eat all the other annoying bugs etcetera. I also enjoyed moving around the long-and-thin-legged-ones as – if they wanted to – they wouldn't be able to bite you anyway :) [am usually not that cruel though!]. As long as their bodies don't get any bigger than two peanuts I'm fine and just keep them where they are. One exception though: the evil house spider with double fangs creeping through your sheets just when you're about to go to bed.

Anyway – reason I had to report this is to tell you I have actual proof of the spider's usefulness! I would take a picture of it and post it but that would be too shocking I guess. But the thing is, this long-and-thin-legged one that has been hanging around in one corner of my bedroom for a week now has managed to catch the one fly living in my room and wrap it. [don't ask me why on earth a fly would go to the outskirts of my room where there's nothing to eat. ah well].

Was just wondering if you guys 1) keep spiders in your room; 2) chase them until they're out of your sight; 3) let them chase you until they're out of your sight; 4) kill them; 5) bring them to the garden; 6) anything else (that's not disturbing! so no stories about people eating zillions of spiders in their lifetime!).

Back to work now!

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