Floorboards and chimneys and doors, oh my!

18 January 2016

Happy New Year everyone!

OK so straight off the bat I need to deal with the elephant in the room.

Yes, I realise I’ve been very quiet lately. In fact, I’m a little embarrassed to say this is my first blog entry in over 5 months, which is an inexcusably long time to go without checking in, especially for a blog which is supposed to be all about me. You’d be forgiven for thinking I was dead. Or that I had no life. Not that there’s necessarily much of a difference between those two states of being.

However, if there is one little thing I can say that might go some way to excusing my absence, it would be thus:

My house is finally finished. My wife and I are now ready to move in.

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A view from the front. The driveway here is brand new, hence the copious amounts of sand

That’s right! Months of hard work. Weekend after weekend of wasted time spent painting and fixing and tinkering and pottering. Piles of catalogs and endless trips to IKEA. Whole teams of workmen standing around in our living room scratching their heads as they pull quotes out of thin air.

It’s all over. It’s done.

Finally the end is in sight.

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A view from the back. Please excuse the patchy grass in this picture. It had a rough summer bless it

As you can imagine, I’m pretty stoked about this fact. Moving house was one of my main goals for last year and to think it’s finally happening – this week no less – fills me with nothing but happy thoughts.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a way to go yet. My wife and I are going to be knocking around in some pretty empty rooms for a few months yet while we save us enough to buy more than a couple of items of furniture. But the important thing is that the bulk of the work is done.

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The upstairs bathroom complete with custom-made storage unit for hiding away the washing machine

What’s more, it looks pretty good too in my opinion. Oh sure I’m well aware the style we chose won’t be to everyone’s liking but what matters is that we like it. And that’s good considering it’s us who will be living there.

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A view of the living area. To the right is the kitchen. To the left the faux-brick fireplace

 

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And here’s the opposite angle showing the living room with the stairs on the right. At the time this picture was taken, we hadn’t finished installing the skirting board, so if the blue wall looks a little unfinished, that’s why

Oh and as the icing on the cake, you will recall that I mentioned a couple of posts back that I was re-working my novel for the umpteenth time with the aim of finally posting it off to an agent.

Well, I’m happy to report mission accomplished here as well…

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For some, this will look like just an ordinary envelope. For others, it’s a Big Deal

What happens next is in the hands of much better people than myself. In the meantime, if you don’t mind I’m going to be right here, chilling in my new pad. It’s been a tough few months and we could use the break.

#dealwithit


Bits and bobs

16 May 2015

No time for a proper post this week so I thought I’d update you all on what’s going on this end.

First of all, I’m in a book!

It's a thing of beauty

It’s a thing of beauty

Not one of my own books sadly but one written by my former director Terence Clark-Ward. It’s called “I can Sing in English“. The aim of the book is to teach young children how to speak English through the use of songs and repetition. Admittedly it’s not a very new idea, but the core concept in this book is that all of the songs are based around just 25 key words. These words, according to research recently conducted by Professor Leslie Rescoria from the Child Study Institute at Bryn Mawr College, USA, are the first 25 words that a child will learn in English if English is their mother tongue. This means that if a Polish child can master these same 25 words, they will have the equivalent vocabulary of an average 2 year old English child. That right there is a very persuasive argument for loosening any parent’s purse strings!

I appear on the CD as one of the lead vocalists. And yes, before you ask, I can sing. In English.

Here's a pic of me in the recording studio looking all singery and professional and stuff.

Here’s a pic of me in the recording studio looking all singery and professional and stuff. This is actually the second book of Terry’s that I have been a part of. The first was Zegnajcie Bledy all the way back in 2010

And finally, an update on the house.

Courtesy of a month of back-breaking labour, our garden is now (finally) weed free and neatly raked over ready for grass seeding.

Not a weed in sight

Not a weed in sight

We also have a vegetable patch complete with strawberries, potatoes, rosemary and onions. We did have some basil planted as well but the slugs attacked and killed it in less than a week. We’ve since swapped the basil out for mint and so far the slugs are leaving it well alone. So at the very least it’s nice to see they are fussy eaters. God knows there isn’t much vegetation left for hungry slugs to choose between in our garden, hence the impenetrable wall of loose stones that we ferreted out from around the garden to keep them at bay. (Un)fortunately our garden has no shortage of stones in its soil.

One day all of this will be in my stomach

One day all of this will be in my stomach

Our upstairs bedrooms now all have floorboards and the beginnings of a skirting board (although this will need neatening up as we are not happy with it at present).

Once all the furniture is in place, this room will look very different

Once all the furniture is in place, this room will look very different

The downstairs bathroom is a complete mess but at least we have a plan for it (more or less).

The bathroom. Minus the bath. And the toilet. And, in fact, anything

The bathroom. Minus the bath. And the toilet. And anything at all for that matter

Next week we’ll be getting a fireplace and exterior blinds. I’ll post pictures of that when I have them.

And finally, a last bit of news. Hard to believe but it’s now been over a year since I’ve been working for Credit Suisse. Yes, strange to say I am no longer the wide-eyed innocent that I was when I first stepped foot within these hallowed hallways. Next week I sign my full-time, non-probationary contract, and that is a very good thing.

That’s all for now. Expect the next proper post any day now.


Our new house

2 March 2015

So it’s still not officially official yet – the bank hasn’t approved our loan application yet and the final documents are still in the process of being put together – but it looks as though my wife and I will soon be the proud owners of our very own house.

This house, to be precise.

A shot of our new house from the back

A shot of our new house from the back

As you can see it’s a brand new semi located outside the city. Owning a brand new house is cool because it means you can make everything fit your exact specifications, but it does mean a lot of work needs to be done before it’s fit for human habitation. I can already tell you that every weekend between now and the summer is going to be a slog of visiting showrooms and pouring over catalogs for everything from bathrooms to fireplaces. But hey, it’s a project, and it’s something my wife and I have been planning for a very long time.

Unlocking the front door for the very first time

Me unlocking the front door for the very first time

The house itself is located just outside Wroclaw, in a small village a few kilometers away. It’s close enough to the city that we can drive to Wroclaw in just a few minutes but far enough away that it feels like we’re in the countryside. It’s very quiet around us. There’s a park with a children’s playground opposite us. Our neighbours mostly comprise chickens and a small company that chops wood. There are no shops but there are a lot of domestic animals. We also have some friends living in the same village so that’s cool.

A shot of what will eventually be the kitchen

A shot of what will eventually be the kitchen

My wife and I are both really excited to see how things pan out from here. As always I’ll be posting our progress here so check it out if you’re interested in keeping up to date on all things house-related. I’ve a feeling there are going to be a lot of updates on the subject.