5,7,5 – 365 31st October 2015

5,7,5 – 365

31st October 2015


A haiku and a diary entry, everyday for a year.
Work on our house in the fens has been going on now for over a year. What had originally been planned has been put further and further off, the direction dictated by the various problems revealed as plaster and render has been removed inside and out. Over the house’s 100+ years, various traps have been laid and then hidden by previous occupants and builders displaying either incredible stupidity or dastardly cunning.

Our bedroom, the most recently completed room, has not only been made beautiful, it has also been made safe. Not simply safe, as in bringing it up to modern building regulations but safe, as in ‘that wall is no longer about to drop through the ceiling into the living room, and ‘that chimney isn’t threatening to join you both in bed’. In addition, our brilliant builders, Gary and Susanne, have also turned a cold damp, uninviting space into the bedroom of our dreams. We now have a walk in wardrobe, so large that it hides all of my trousers (I have a lot of trousers) and an en suite bathroom that has transformed the room into our personal accommodation. The room has new pine floor boards, new doors and is warm, comfortable and inviting. It feels like home.
With all the work Gary and Susanne have done, both inside and out (more of outside in another blog), they have been careful not to hide the fact that she is an old building. The Old Pump Cottage is actually two former workmen’s cottages, now made one. She was originally built to house the men who worked on the fenland drainage steam pump that was once sighted across the road. We don’t really want to rip everything out and leave it looking new, we want to try and keep the heart of the old building. To that end, the original window sills have been stripped down, and varnished and then refitted, the floor boards, full of wood worm, have been replaced with new pine boards, but left uncovered as they would have been originally.

It would have been great to have retained those boards but they were all too far gone, except that is for a few. And just take a look at what Gary has been able to turn those few boards into. This lovely bathroom cabinet has been crafted from our century old floorboards as a birthday present for Laila. It is part of the old house, still here, performing a practical and useful purpose but transformed into something beautiful too. Thanks Gary.


The old house repaired

New plaster, paint and timber

Her old self shines through