Monday, September 5, 2011

Cleaning and painting

Rest assured, we were not the ones moving, but we just got back from a couple of weeks in Northampton helping Claire and Geoff leave one house and move to another. Paul and I stayed again, one last time, at Sedgebrook Hall in Chapel Brampton, where we first stayed two years ago for the wedding. The price has gone way up in the past year and the service is not quite what it seemed. Our past two stays, in June and now in August, were not really satisfactory and we will not miss it as much. They've been having weekend special prices over the summer and because I had booked our room before the special was announced for that hotel, I was told I couldn't take advantage of the special price. On the internet, when you book, you are told it's a non-refundable price, so I was disappointed, but not surprised. However, when it came time to bill, they told me that was when they were charging the account, so I could have cancelled at no charge, taken the weekend special for the weekend and the higher rate for the weekdays. I was angry that I had been misled. That and other little things.
We took Aurelia to the park and then tried to babysit while helping with the move. She also attended a friend's birthday party! We picked up the new fridge and Charlotte on Friday, after the move -- sort of a day off -- and spent a lovely lunch break with Alison and Ahmed.
Leaving the old house meant cleaning it thoroughly. Paul and I had brought the steam cleaner with us, so I spent a day cleaning the kitchen and then bathroom, etc. Paul went over the carpets. Claire and Geoff packed, filled drill holes in the walls as they took down shelves and fixtures and then did some spot painting. All was ready by Wednesday morning when the movers came to load the trucks.
In England, you have to wait for a call from your solicitor telling you that your buyer's funds have been received, before you (or the agent, if you've used one) call the buyer and can give him the go-ahead to move in. Then you wait for your seller's call giving you your go-ahead. The calls come during the movers' lunch break. Claire got the keys at 2 and the move in was under way.
Unfortunately, the previous owner did not leave the house in such good shape as Claire and Geoff had left theirs. So, it was back to cleaning the kitchen cabinets before Claire could start filling them. And the oven! It was opaque and completely encrusted. It took two rounds of special oven cleaner to get the better of it. When I just started to wipe off the oven door in front, I wiped a bit "too" hard and discovered that it was a mirror finish, so I had to keep rubbing. Paul took over and when done, it was beautiful. But who in his or her right mind would choose a mirror finish for an oven door? It just invites little girls to admire themselves and put their fingers all over it. It'll be a nightmare to maintain.

Then it was time to tackle the windows and such. All four bedrooms and the hallway upstairs were repainted within the week. Paul went around the outside and restained the windows on the ground level. Luckily, the weather was cloudy, when not raining, so we were not tempted to laze out in the garden until the day we left!
We did take a break to celebrate Aurelia's birthday on Wednesday, the 31st, and the next day was beautiful and sunny, so we were able to have lunch outside and take advantage of the garden a bit before it was time for us to leave.

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