The never-ending ‘To Do’ list


I’d forgotten how time consuming renovating a house is, especially when it’s 100 miles away from where you currently live.

The last time I did one was my lovely house in Lyme Regis, and as I was working in London at the time, my freshly retired dad took the brunt of that nightmare project*, sheltering me from the real pain.

I know some people love a good renovation project, and an excuse for an Excel spread sheet, but to me it feels like I have a never-ending list of tasks to investigate, find a solution for, and make sure I can find enough money to pay for it all. It’s basically project management and, as you may have remembered from an earlier post, planning and me don’t have the closest of relationships. Don’t get me wrong I love coming up with the concepts, and can visualise exactly what I want, but it’s the bit in the middle where you have to turn concept into reality that I begin to lose interest.

To help keep me on track I’ve resorted to the age-old ‘To-Do’ list to get me by. Todays list of priorities was a particularly excruciating one, involving a call to the current energy supplier, and one to the council tax department of the local council.

I mistakenly thought the calls would be straightforward and fairly quick, leaving me time to talk to the local water supplier about increasing water flow to the properties (I told you todays list was a particularly exciting one). One aborted call, several transfers, a couple of “I’m not sure we can do it” (followed with responses from me asking what Ofgem would say about that), and I’ve forgotten how may “I’ll have to put you on hold”s later I finally had confirmation of an appointment to change the annex electricity meter from one of those rip-off pay-as-you-go key ones to a ‘normal’ one. And all in the record time of 75 minutes.

The call to East Devon Council (following up on an increasingly terse email exchange we’ve been having) can best be described by the words “computer says no.” said repeatedly over 30 minutes. It’s fair to say the tone of the call was even more terse than the emails.

Thanks to a painless, and helpful, call with Southwest water I managed to regain my will to live and lost the desire to bang my head repeatedly against a wall.

Next up, on tomorrows list:

  • A trip to the house to review progress
  • Spend more time contemplating what to do with the out buildings, but this time with a draft plan to work from, a tape measure and a very sensible friend to offer advice.
  • Meet the bathroom designer to review and sign-off the bathroom layouts.

I’m so excited at the prospect I’m not sure I’ll sleep tonight…

*The house in Lyme Regis started as a modernisation project, with a £40,000 budget. Sadly a rather nasty and expensive can of worms was opened when an old extension was taken down escalating costs so rapidly I gave up counting when it hit £90,000. I did end up with a lovely house at the end of it though.

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