I returned to my home in London, expecting to enjoy the finished projects. Instead, I am struggling to stay warm and comfortable in an unheated house without hot water, cooker, and washing machine.
Top on my list is to move the kitchen extension project forward, get the necessary building regulation permit, and resolve the bathroom/toilet project which stopped three weeks after it was supposed to end and remains unfinished, with work still to be done, undone and redone.
How does one live in a house that has become a building site on the ground floor level?
Live upstairs where I have made a temporary kitchenette with a sofa bed and dining area out of the back bedroom. Keep the carpeted staircase and tiled bathroom and wooden floors clean by insisting on a no shoe policy.
How does one live without central heating? Use an electric heater and keep the bathroom underfloor heating on at all times. Try to stay warm by wearing additional clothes.
I set the thermostat of the electric underfloor heating of my new unfinished bathroom (or I should say shower room) to 25 degrees Celsius. But the underfloor heating doesn’t extend to the tiled shower area, so that part of the room is always cold.
I sleep under three double duvets and a microwaved wheat bag. I move the portable 2kW convection heater between the bedroom and the temporary kitchenette. It’s cold when I venture downstairs to get something from the refrigerator. The boiler thermostat showing the interior temperature of the house has fluctuated between 9 and 13.5 degrees Celsius.
How does one live without hot water? Use the electric kettle to boil water. I cycle to the local gym to shower. Since 31st December 2017, the water in the shower stalls has been lukewarm at best.
How does one live without a kitchen?
I’ve gotten used to eating simply. Microwaved oatmeal or toast for breakfast. Grilled sandwich or tortilla for lunch. Microwaved Thai or Indian instant meals for dinner. Washing up is tedious. I have to boil the kettle, pour a bit of cold water into the bathroom sink so the porcelain doesn’t crack when I pour the kettle. I dry the washed dishes onto a towel on the toilet cover. It does take quite a bit of careful manoeuvring in this small space.
How does one live without a washing machine? I thought about washing my underwear and socks in the bathroom sink with hot water from the electric kettle. Even if I managed to wring them well, I wouldn’t be able to dry them in the coldness of the house. Today, I gave in and packed two loads of laundry into my bicycle bags and cycled to my friend who has a big AEG washer/dryer-in-one.
How did I get into this sad state of affairs?