Anybody here?

Old FireplaceThe last couple of weeks have been pretty busy. Work and a certain footbal tournament have been occupying a lot of time, but the biggest time grabber has been getting the living room sorted after having the fire replaced. The old fireplace as seen on the right wasn’t bad…well, I thought so. However the fire was a bit wonky, the firebox at the back was a slightly broken and hastily repaired (not by me) and the tiles weren’t really liked. However what started off as a job to paint some tiles turned into a far bigger job. This was increased when our chimney was condemned meaning it had to be lined. Seemingly very common in houses of our age in the West End of Glasgow. While I have no reason or evidence to doubt the experts they would say that, wouldn’t they. Two weeks ago today the old fire and tiles were removed replaced with new fire, marble while retaining the original mantle. A lot of cleaning followed by a room repaint and we now have a nice looking but more importantly safe fireplace.

New Fireplace

One nasty job was cleaning up the wooden mantle. When we moved in four 1/2 years ago the mantle was covered in hundreds of paint flecks which stubbornly refused to be cleaned. After a tip off from the chimney people I went to Smith & Rodger Ltd who gave some great advice on how to remove the paint. Some chemicals, six hours and two new arms later and the wood cleaned up really well. Some advice to others painting around wood though – covering it up before hand is far easier than removing it after.

So another major (for me) job done, another that we said we would tackle when we moved in and one less for Remember The Milk to remind me about. What’s next?

Back to the grind

Well after a great week off it’s back to work tomorrow. Got lot’s of outdoor work done this week which was good. The weather has been great for April – yet more freaky weather! Also got chance to enjoy the PS3 a bit more, catch up on some movies and also some TV. Sky+ is great but I can never keep up with all that I record. That meant I had over 3 weeks of some series to watch but then I can at least skip the adverts.

Also starting to get my act together with the two Macs and also thinking about off-site backup (paranoia is rife at the moment). I hadn’t really got the laptop and desktop working well together yet. The NAS drive I’ve got is good but gets noisy, so much so that I’ll be picking up an alternative or at least busting it open and replacing the fan with a larger, slower, quieter one. I’ve got the mail sorted by switching to IMAP so that all my e-mail (dating back to 98) is available on the server so from either Mac or on the web I can see it all. Next is the sharing of data between calendars, address books and a few applications I use. I’ve got a couple of options. Sign up to .Mac which is £70 a year for syncing and access to a 1 Gig iDisk. There’s other benefits but none that I would use. Alternatively I could sign up to something like Dreamhost and use it for the sole purpose of remote backup and synchronisation, making use of Transmit to keep folders in sync. Dreamhost would give me 160Gig with Webdav support for £60 a year. Decisions, decisions.

Anyway, back to watching Lost. The last three episodes have been great!

Tidy up time

Got into the garden over the weekend – hedge cut, borders tidied and grass cut. Even cleared out the garage of some of the mess thats built up over the last six months and took it to the dump. I’m determined to keep it clear and not let it build up again.

Since the work we had done I hadn’t taken any pictures – that’s now rectified with the results up on Flickr. The surprise wasn’t the difference we’ve made in the last two years but the fact we’ve got a second skylight that we hadn’t noticed before. If it wasn’t for West Wing I’d be in the attic investigating but that can keep for another night.

Shattered

Made the most of the holiday weekend and I can safely say that I’m glad to be going back to work tomorrow. The clear-out on Saturday was followed by lot’s of flat pack building. Also cleaned out the rest of the garage and organised what’s left – for the first time since we moved in the garage is looking tidy…for a garage.

The rest of the furniture is all built and in place but it’ll take a few days of tidying to get back to normal. One thing I do regret is I forgot to order a lock and key for a set of office drawers I bought. I foolishly went into Ikea today for it – never again on a bank holiday. The place was mobbed and you could see three types of consumer

  • Browsers – they walk at a snails pace (now called the ‘Ikea Shuffle) and seem to stop and point at all the room displays whether they are buying anything or not.
  • ‘The Lost’ – trying in vain to make their way through the maze is not easy but on a busy day, with people wanting to take short cuts they had no chance
  • Irish – the place was teeming with them. Day trips from Ireland to the Glasgow Ikea are VERY popular
  • Never mind – a lesson has been learnt.

    It's been one year...

    …since I picked up the keys for the new house. This has been the quickest year of my life so far but also one of the most enjoyable. The move has been a real change of life for us and looking back I wish I had done it sooner.

    Since moving I’ve done some gardening, some more DIY and also become far more relaxed at home as we no longer need to worry about neighbours, drunks and people being sick over the car. Looking ahead I’ve got some goals I want to achieve by end of year 2…decorate hall (it’s massive, well for me anyway), fill in some cracks on the outside walls, organize garage, develop garden some more and at the tail end of this year or start of next year it will be double glazing time hopefully. Can’t wait 🙂

    Autumn Clearing

    With Autumn now officially here and a break in the wet weather we’ve been having it was time for the final grass cut of the year. This then turned into a garden clearance (never did I thought so many plants would last for such a small time). Cue 10 bags filled and a trip to the dump. To round it off, a trip to Dobbies to restock the barren wasteland that was the garden. One point…since when did garden centres clear out half there shop to stock MASSIVE amounts of crimbo decorations. Blimey. I guess it is only 10 weeks on Saturday till Christmas.

    The second clearout was the pc. Only 3 months old and running out of room (it only has 160Gb)? A swift clearout later and I’d freed 60Gb. Shocking the amount of guff you accumulate with broadband. Having the 1 Meg connection doesn’t help. Time to get the old pc set-up as a server and put all the movies and music on it instead.

    Scottish House Prices

    If you live in Scotland and looking to buy a house (or are just nosey neighbour) then you’ll have heard of MyHousePrice.com which allows you to find the price of a recently sold house for £1. While good, it still costs money. For a free alternative try HousePriceScotland.com. While it doesn’t allow you to search and find local houses if you know the exact address your looking for it works a treat. Even better, use the postcode searching at myhouseprice.com to find the pucker local addresses and then use that info at the other site to get the house prices for free. Joy.

    6 Months In

    Well, Tuesday 20th July marked 6 months since we moved into the new house. Even though it’s been a bit of a slog, and financially it’s a lot more stretching, it is most defiantly the best thing we’ve done – the last 6 months have been great. Neighbours are very friendly and a total opposite to what we had before which on reflection wouldn’t be difficult. Seeing someone shoot-up on the landing outside the old house was the last straw. And I don’t miss the Friday and Saturday night drunks that used to annoy every week. And goodbye Orange Walks – never again will I have to put up with your bigot driven strolls down Argyle Street while the hangers on piss all over the pavements.

    I’m even enjoying the garden 🙂

    Gardening

    Spent a good bit of the weekend in the garden – I must admit I never realised how much effort it would take. Just digging a border around the front lawn was knackering and also meant 2 trips to the dump with 16 bags of refuse. But the weed killer on the front lawn has worked so the grass seed has been planted – I’ll do a photo update every few days to see if the seed works.