Well that's it. The car's packed full, the caravan is bare and we're off to Framlingham in the morning. I've said that on here plenty of times in the past six months but this time it's final. No coming back after a couple of days of stressful meetings with architects and builders - the caravan site closes in a couple of weeks and we're on our own in a brand new town where we know nobody (other than those who have done work for us, Dave and Lyn who rented us their lovely cottage and a couple of friendly neighbours). We're staying in the cottage for a week to give us time to clean up after the builders and settle in without too much pressure after the furniture arrives.
The builders tell us that the house is clean but builders' definitions of "clean" tend to differ slightly from our own so we've put two days aside before the removal van arrives on Thursday morning. I'll be very happy to correct myself if we find things spotless.
We haven't had too many problems in our six month project (apart from ending up at almost double the original budget) but we have had one which is still ongoing and is likely to cause us major headaches in the next few weeks which won't make the move the happy event that we had hoped. If you've followed this blog over the time you'll know that we had a very nice studio built in the garden. We've retired from a very big five bedroomed house to a small three bedroomed one and we knew that we wouldn't have enough room. So the garden studio was the solution. It was intended for me to use to write in and to use as a home office. It looked fabulous at the Ideal Home Show and it looked okay when it was built.
But this was the state of the ceiling after a couple of weeks.
And this was the cause. I don't think I've ever seen such shoddy workmanship. The suppliers are a supposedly reputable firm and were most apologetic. They employed an industry expert approved by our architect to report on it. He deemed it unfit for purpose.
And this is what we have now. We were promised it would be rebuilt before Christmas and then early January but we now fear that we are going to have to seek an alternative manufacturer and are worried that the suppliers may be unable to fulfill their obligations. Having nowhere to use when we move in is bad enough, having nowhere to store the furniture is worse and the prospect of possibly losing a substantial sum of money doesn't help either. Fortunately we paid the £5,000 deposit on credit card and are hoping that we can claim the whole sum back. But that could take months and in the meantime the landscape gardener is trying to landscape a garden in which the studio was part of the design.
This episode has put a real dampener on this week's move and what should be an exciting time is dogged by worry and real inconvenience. I had a conversation with the supplier on Friday when I told them I had approached VISA for a refund and they promised an email by close of business outlining the full rebuild schedule. They also gave me their personal mobile numbers to "phone any time even at the weekend". needless to say, no email arrived and the phones were switched off all weekend. They say that moving home is one of life's most stressful times. We could really do without this extra hassle.