A bit of a driving day for Dad yesterday. He must hot-foot it early on up to Gravesend to help out with a move of the Cambria from the 'trot moorings' down to Royal Terrace Pier, where she can take on drinking water and where they load a mountain of food provisions care of Asda's on line delivery service. The barge is off on another 'respite for young carers' adventure under the Skipper Richard Tichener. That drive means Dad re-acquanting himself with the good old A21 snail-trail, the only major road between London and the coast not yet upgraded to be a motorway or at least dual cabbage-way.
Job done, he drives all the way back to share lunch with us and to take us a walk and play a quick game of Scrabble with Pud Lady before the next mission, which is to take us up to Faversham to see Mum and to grab a supper supplied by Diamond (with whom Mum is currently lodging - "Yay! My Landlady Rocks!" says Mum).
In between Dad gets back the Engineers/Survey report on the Project Erroll house, which is also pinged across to Mum. Seeing it in black and white is a bit scary and causes them both to wobble briefly but then, on mature consideration (ha! - letting their hearts rule their heads more like!) 99% of the issues described (damp, woodworm, dodgy floor-boards, bubbling plaster etc) they already knew about because they jump out at you when you walk in the front door, so they steady their nerves and decide to soldier on. Pud Lady is delighted as she already loves the place.
Diamond's John supports this as he has 'been there and done that' on one house already and is doing it again on another. You just plod way, he says, doing the 'labouring work', call in the tradesmen when you have the job exposed and stripped down so that they can see the worst of it all, only pay for them to do the skilled stuff and it can be very enjoyable. He also advises clearing any rubble or plaster choppings every day as the last job so that a) they never build up and b) you are not scrambling over them first thing next morning.
He also advised (as have other chums) buying or renting a caravan to use as on-site accommodation so that you have somewhere to retreat to at the end of each day/job to get cleaned up and warm and dry, rather than having to reconnect power / water / sinks etc each night and disconnect each morning. Mum and Diamond are straight onto E-bay and find a good selection of locally available 2nd hand caravans for hundreds, rather than thousands of Euro. John further advises taking plenty of photos of the bad bits so that, should you ever get disheartened, you can look back at how much you have achieved and get your spirits back up. That one, to be honest, Dad would almost certainly have done anyway, being an keen photographer. Finally, John re-assures us, we might be better off than him anyway as he had to fit all his repairs and rennovations in around a full time day job, and could only really 'play' at the weekend and evenings. We'll be able to 'play' full time.
Game on! Where's me rigger boots and hard hat?