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A few years ago I decided to start a new career as a performer. I used to be a biology teacher but couldn't face walking around in a white coat all day teaching children who didn't want to learn. Actually it wasn't so much the children as the system cause I think all children want to learn - they just don't all want to learn in schools. Anyway I now work as a Life and Executive coach. Work is perhaps not the right word because it never feels like work. I just love to see people grow and change. I love it when they peel of the layers of limiting beliefs and find their true self. And I make some great frends in the process. I've re-discovered my writing and have published two poetry books and now working on 2 CDs, a novel, a book of short stories and talking to someone about a collaoration on a film script. That should keep me busy for a whild. Oh and I do bellydance.
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Sunday, 26 October 2008

Wading through treacle

Progress is so slow it feels like wading through treacle. Although the demolition work is coming along a treat the construction part is reminiscent of a new driver doing kangaroo starts. I learned a new skill this week. Taking apart a chimney breast. I did it the slow way taking out one brick at a time. Chiselling out the plaster between the bricks and gently prizing each one out so as not to disturb the wall too much. One skill I was not ready to develop this week was using a cutter which not only cut through brick also cut through concrete and steel. I watched in awe and certain amount of dread as Andrew cut through the steep pins holding the concrete base of chimney to the wall above the sink in the kitchen. It was awesome watching all the sparks flying and wondering if he could avoid the dangling electrical cable. I was too busy checking the photos I'd taken to see the concrete block come away from the wall. The room was covered in red brick dust and although I'd sheeted down everywhere it was so intense it filtered through the dust sheets. Brick covered apples - yum yum.

So why does it feel slow? Because the builders are not keeping pace with our destructive work. Well - it isn't all strictly destructive. Andrew is doing a lot of the foundation work. He spent most of the week laying the pipes for the ensuite showers, basins and toilets. Floorboards are up everywhere, the house is covered in dust. The carpet, where it is still in place has acquired Mars like red sheen top layer over the green. I haven't quite given up vacuuming because I can't stand eating grit - but I did take myself away for the day yesterday when the workmen turned up to put in a fireproof partition wall and fire door in the loft. We were expecting them to come back and do the ensuite today but alas they were having a day off as well. The main man was coming round only to measure up. It was too much to bear. I pointed out our deadline of end of November and that I could not see how we could meet this if they only work one day a week on what by his own estimation was a job requiring another 20 days work. He suggested we could let out two of the rooms which would be ready on a £50.00 discount till the rest of the house is finished. I wasn't really asking for business advise - just for the job to be completed. I voiced what our problem was - we had put all our eggs in one basket and was now totally reliant on one builder. Not that we had much choise. We knew no other builder at the time.

Anyway, he has arranged for the plasterer to come and do the stud wall in the second ensuite room on Wednesday and is trying to arrange for a tiler to come and tile both rooms this week. He will come next weekend to fit the showers (when I think of how we rushed around getting the materials a couple of weeks ago and they are still sitting idle). Whe the elusive fire doors arrive he'll send the chippy in for a week to fit them. I think Andrew lost heart when he realized how much there is still to do and how little time we have left. He went home early with a bad back. At the rate we are going we need a miracle to bring this in on time.
Sunday, 19 October 2008

An unexpected day off

Its Sunday and I've had an unexpected day off - unexpected because the builder who was supposed to be fitting out the ensuite bathrooms is having a weekend in Devon - not told to us till Thursday afternoon and then only at the end of a very long story about his wife booking it and him forgetting. I was pretty damned pissed of especially as we had been busting a gut to try and get things ready for him. My partner had even agreed to go and pick up a couple of shower parts from Bridgnorth so they would be available. He could have saved himself the time (getting up a 6.30 a.m.) and money in petrol. They would have posted them if we knew they weren't going to be used till next week. He (the builder) said he understood that it's no fun livng in a building site but that things will proress very quickly once he gets the fire doors. He'll have the 'chippy' working all week to fit them and the bathrooms and tiling shouldn't take too long. He tried to reassure me that the kitchen shouldn't take more than 4 days (why did he quote 5 then?) He also tried to reassure me that the work will be completed on time. I reminded him that the end of November was for everything - including decorating - so his bit need to be done prior to this. It's at times like this when I just have to turn things over to my spiritual guides and trust that things will be done in divine timing (otherwise I'd go spare - and it wouldn't change anything). Does anyone know a builder that talks straight, gives a price and sticks to it, arrives when he says he will, completes the work on time and leaves your house clean and tidy? Does anyone know a female builder - that might be the answer.

Anyway with our unexpected day off we went for a two hour walk along the canal and river near Kegworth. It was beautifully sunny and although I wasn't quite blinded by the sun on the water it was certailly dazzling. Loads of boats were out taking advantage of the weather and although it was a bit blowly it was relatively warm. If only I could get over my fear of cows I could see their gathering by the styles as an innocent act and not one designed to terrorise me. I just don't see anything harmless in the way the stare at you as you try to get by. I'm convinced that there's at least one in the pack that's got it in for me and has persuaded the others to join in. It was a good thing Andrew was with me this morning or I may never have got past them.

The walk was followed by 2 hours in the wet area of the gym. Steam, sauna and jacuzzi. I love it at Reeds because they play music to soothe - not the manic stuff you get at L A Fitness. They understand that after a long week relaxation is what a body needs. So - next week we'll continue with bending pipes, cutting channels in walls, chisseling off tiles, dismantling cupboards and joy of joys I get to take out a chimney breast in the kitchen ; new skill to learn there - cutting through bricks.
Saturday, 11 October 2008

More studding

What a difference a week makes. The bath and sink are outside awaiting collection by the council; the bathroom is stripped back to the plaster awaiting tiling, en suite number one is plastered and ready for tiling, en suite number 2 was created today - all the studding went in, double boarded, fire and so and insulated. Unfortunately the plasterer is on holiday for 10 days so we'll have a wait till that one is progressed.

It's beginning to feel real now. We bought a ton of tiles on Thursday and by sheer coincidence got a great deal in showers in the tile shop. The two showers we'd bought in Junction 2 Interiors were not ordered in time and they offered us replacements, which when I checked on the web were up to £150 cheaper than they were charging us (199.95 on the web J2 charging us £350). So I cancelled and found in this tile shop in Kingswinford 3 showroom models ranging from £900 to £1200. It was one of those moments where both parties got what they wanted. The owners had been unable to sell them and were having the display removed at the weekend. We were lucky. We got 3 shower cubicles and trays originally priced at £3000 for £800. This went some way to compensate for the fact that the stud walls are more than double our budget (£900 instead of £400)

It felt last week like the project had taken over our lives. I kept sneezing and being fluey until I realized that I was reacting to dust. Once I started to wear a mask things improved - there is so much dust in the house old stuff and the new stuff being created with every job - especially the carpentry materials and all the sawdust. I didn't quite take to bed this week but was generally on a go slow. Performing in the Birmingham Book Festival on Thursday night was touch and go but I made it. My partner was so tired he didn't come - strange not having him there to do the filming or to mike me up for recording. So - I have no means of reviewing my performance. I'll have to rely on what I've been told by others - that they really enjoyed my pieces.

Andrew took the day off today to go walking with his group. I hope it's cleared some of the cobwebs out of his head and left him feeling a little less stressed. It's been a long day. It's now 12.30 a.m. and I can barely keep my eyes open.
Sunday, 5 October 2008

Stud walling

The partition walls are in and the spaces have been transformed. One wall is in one of the bedrooms (Bedroon no 2) what used to be my office - a room 17ft x 16ft. The builders have created the space for the ensuite shower room and I have to admit to being quite taken aback by the transformation. It's a room within a room and the very high ceiling makes if feel much bigger thaan the 6ft x 6ft square it is. The second wall is the one at the top of the stairs that encloses what is currently my bedroom and shower room into one suite (previously two separate rooms with a bit of landing between them). It is so cosy I wonder why I've never thought to do it before.

The two guys who acheived this worked like the clappers from 9-6 on Saturday and 10-6 today. Andrew and I looked on in awe from time to time and quietly admitted to each other that there's no way we would have been able to do a fraction of it in the time they've taken. Would probably have taken us three weeks. Especially as I've not been able to do much since Thursday when I was laid low and had to spend the day in bed. Friday was not much better and it was Andrew's day off. He insisted I do nothing until I was properly well and for once I heeded his request because I felt so lousy.

There was a point on Thursday when I felt I would not be able to write anything in time for the Writers Without Borders performance on the 9th. I was laying in bed at 8 p.m. listening to Radio 4 when David Dimbleby announce that Question Time was coming from Birmingham Convervatoir as part of Birmingham Book Festival. That jolted me. If Question Time could make it I could certainly make an effort to be part of the book festival. I struggled up and with head lolling on my chest from sheer fatigue at times I managed to write a piece on ritualistic killings (or theme is Rituals and Traditions) - albeit of goats. I managed to struggle in to rehearsal on Saturday morning and surprisingly the piece was well received.

I've done virtually nothing in terms of working on the house this weekend - lots of paperwork and research on the web. After the mammoth vacuuming session after the guys left at 6 p.m. we went for a well earned meal at Cafe Rouge - to spend one of our buy-one-get-one-free main courses token from the Sunday Telegraph last week. It's our day off tomorrow....but we'll see.
Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Tiling and tings

It was 2 o'clock before I made it out of bed today. That cold took a hold last night completely blocked my head. Now those of you who know anything about Louise Hay's philosophy will know that colds are about doing too much - having the head full of too many things. Yes - that could be me. I'm living slap bang in the middle of a building site, I've got a performance next Thursday with Writers Without Borders, and preparing for two in December; one at the Town Hall as part of Worlds Aid Day and the other with Amnesty International for the 60th anniversary of Human Rights Day. I'm still seeing coaching clients. It wasn't until I did some self Reiki that I felt human enough to get up and face the day. Andrew (my partner) was very understanding. He's nearly finished the painting in one of the bedrooms in preparation for the ensuite which hopefully will be fitted next week.

The builder is coming on Saturday to put in a couple of partition walls. He came round today to measure up so I'm hopeful the work will begin as agreed. The drains guys were 3 hours late as they were stuck on another job. The negotiation skills I learned in Egypt came in useful tonight. 'What's your best price?' I asked and negotiated a £850 discount. They can start next weekend.

I learned how to use a chisel and lump hammer to remove tiles today - and spent most of the afternoon and evening taking the tiles off the bathroom wall. I stopped about 9.30 p.m out of consideration for the neighbours. Tomorrow is supposed to be my day off but already it looks like we'll have to go and buy the ensuite and bathroom equipment and, because Andrew is having Friday off, we'll have to put out two settees and the dishwasher (which has very conveniently stopped working and after 17 years and not worth repairing) out for the council to collect on Saturday morning. We are both tired and its only Wednesday and we'll be working with the guys at the weekend. It's the 1st October today we only have 9 weeksif we are to get this in on time.