Built environment

Over the next two weeks we (i.e. me and my long-suffering spouse, Sue) will gradually be moving into our new home, so the plethora of puns and bon mots from my keyboard may slow just a tad. We have built a brand new home, which will hopefully (cliché alert) be our ‘forever home’.

When I say ‘we’ and ‘built’ I mean a builder has done all the work, in return for periodic demands for portions of our life savings, which came from the sale of our previous home that represented our life savings. In return for walls and a roof and modest accoutrements, like windows and doors, we have also had to indenture several of our grandchildren into slavery. (Sue and said grandchildren are not aware of this yet but I will tell them at an appropriate moment. Currently, some time during the reading of the will after my demise appeals.)

In return for the privilege of our custom, from the moment that we signed the contract, our builder morphed from our dearest and most solicitous friend into an entity that regarded even the most gentle of queries about how our money was being spent and when various stages of progress might be complete as tantamount to requesting the release of information that may comfort terrorists and be entirely against the national interest.

Now let it be said that our current builder has been far more amenable than our first choice, who took our ‘grand design’, based on a plan that we loved garnered from the interweb, and turned it into a cubby house version of a gun emplacement (‘bedrooms are so over-rated, don’t you think?’).

We have now entered the 3 month maintenance period for the rectification of any faults or less than perfect workmanship. Now you would think this was a felicitous arrangement to satisfy the foibles of the most fastidious purchaser. But there you would be wrong. The reality is that you have to save all these items up and only submit them just prior to the expiry of the 3 month period, after which any rectifications will be dealt with sometime between now and the end of civilisation.

Of course we could have purchased an existing home that contained about half of our ‘non-negotiable’ requirements and lived with a kitchen the size of a broom cupboard, a roof that only leaked when the rain came from the west, a colour scheme that induced nausea on a daily basis and a Japanese knotweed-dominated garden. But, being of the fastidious bent, we decided to pass on the options available within our laughable budget.

We now understand that we have built on glacial sand, which we hope means any soil movement will proceed at that pace. Some bloke called Peter enjoined us to build upon the rock but he probably didn’t have to pay for the gelignite required to meet the requirements for modern day footings or for the nanny state requirements to ameliorate any potential future Armageddon. For example, rainwater tanks must be non-combustible, despite the fact that if you’ve gotten to the point where your poly-plastic rainwater tank has melted, your home will already resemble the contents of an ashtray.

Don’t tell anyone (especially the builder) but we are as pleased as Punch with our latest adventure and only slightly daunted by the challenge of turning our external wasteland into the Garden of Eden over the next millennium.

Below is the (unfurnished) view from the living room at the rear of our new home, which will never be built out by neighbours.

House rear view

15 thoughts on “Built environment

  1. We did the same, more or less. The house we bought was already here, but it was not The House It Would Become and my savings were not the Pittance It Would Become. Nevertheless, the sheer entertainment value of discovering three years later what the builder had neglected…how do you put a value on that. Seriously, a good builder is an artist and it is reasonable that an artist does not wish his or her vision tampered with by a lowbrow Renaissance patron, or by a a 21st century customer. These three words have seen us through the worst of things and I recommend them to you: “First World Problem.” Practice with them now and when the septic backs up, you will be ready. Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Daniel, although I have the feeling that if the septic backs up I’ll be thinking more like ‘Third World Problem’. PS – Don’t share this story this story with any millennials, for whom the concepts of ‘savings’ and ‘house’ are invitations to murder those of us that the Rona has missed. 😉


  2. Doug! Somehow The Devil Known as WordPress dropped you from my reading feed!! So sorry about that!

    The house looks lovely and I sincerely hope more jabs than reality played out in your description of sand vs rock as foundation.

    Liked by 1 person

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