Welcome to our Edwardian house renovation

There is a moment, I think, in any house renovation when you can’t quite believe what you have let yourself in for. The words “What have we done?” passed my lips sometime late on day one. We moved into our unrenovated Edwardian house four days ago with a mixture of excitement, trepidation and fatigue. I say fatigue because selling and buying homes in England is extraordinarily and needlessly stressful. Additionally, in all our other (at least seven) moves we have moved into a property completely ready to inhabit – it was just a matter of unpacking and deciding where to put the furniture. In this house, at least, there is a fairly modern upstairs flat in which we intend to live until the renovations are complete. There is a bathroom, kitchenette/living room, and bedroom. The rest of the house dates from one of two eras – around 1910 when the house was built, and then the late 1950’s when the the house was “modernised”.

One of our great worries was how we were going to cope without a dishwasher. The fates have decided to test us because we have had drainage problems from the kitchen and bathroom sinks since we moved in. At first there was just slow drainage but then we moved on to complete blockage. We can’t wash dishes, brush teeth, wash hands and all of those other things that one takes for granted. At this point I don’t care if there is no dishwasher – I just want running water and a clean drain to wash dishes by hand! I have tried five different chemical drain cleaners, the last of which was sodium hydroxide – caustic soda –  the label of which said not to combine with other chemicals. I mixed the solution, turned my head away and poured it down the bathroom sink, holding my breath so as not to inhale any deadly chlorine gases. I could have killed us all with a chemical explosion but I was willing to take the risk. Nothing happened. The plumber is coming tomorrow.

The simple fact is, we have no choice but to move forward. There are exciting times ahead!