Tuesday, 18 November 2008


So the builders have shafted us between the ischial tuberosities. With a whole bunch of stuff left undone, the chief has decided it's too much trouble to actually complete the work, leaving us in the lurch and trying to find someone to fit a stove, plaster over holes in the ceiling, and a hundred other shitty small jobs he should have organised. He's sending us an invoice with the cost of all the incomplete jobs deducted, but I say screw that. I've informed him, by email, that I will be deducting the cost of all the tradesmen we have to employ from his total, and that he will get not a penny more. Luckily we arranged a fixed price at the beginning and have paid him 3/4s, retaining a considerable sum to be paid only on job completion. Well, he ain't completed, so he ain't getting paid. If I need to bring in a lawyer I will do so.

I usually preserve people's identities on this blog, but just in case anyone from this area is thinking of getting building work done:

DO NOT EMPLOY KEVIN TULLOCH PROPERTIES. Their dis-organisation is a joke. They will claim to have ordered things but will not have done. They will send plumbers before tilers have finished, and then you'll never get the plumber back. They will half finish jobs. You will have to chase them every single day with numerous phone calls, many of which will go unanswered. Then they will decide they can't be bothered with the hassle and ditch you for no good reason - certainly never having discussed any problems they may be having, or expressed any discontent. They are, in conclusion, not fit to run a business.

That is all.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Good v Bad

Good Things
  1. Just back from a 4 mile run, much of it uphill.
  2. Have discovered lovely places to eat in and around Perth.
  3. Have lost target 2 pounds this week.
  4. Decorator is reliable, hard-working, good quality, and cheaper than chips. Also pleasant.
  5. Rooms decorated look wonderful. No regrets about colours so far.
  6. New curtains and blinds have arrived.
  7. New gym is better than adequate, with good running machines, a swimming pool and sauna.
  8. Love my lovely PS3.
Bad Things
  1. 4 mile run laughably slow, and am laughably knackered after it. Had to stop for a 30 second break after 5k as had the world's most agonising stitch in right lung
  2. Lovely places to eat mean we keep eating out. Last night consumed own bodyweight at The Angler in Guildtown
  3. Target 2 pounds only achieved by stepping on scale right after my run. Have sneaking suspicion pounds may magically reappear tomorrow as my stunned body realises point 2.
  4. New curtains and blinds have to be hung. This means Fisher has to do it.
  5. Fisher has had to do everything and is in a shitty mood.
  6. New house is cold. My mother will be miserable here.
  7. New gym is great, but made mistake of swimming 1k in the pool, watched by Thinks-He's-Sexy instructor (long hair in pony tail, Russian accent, way with the lay-deez). Since then, he has made winky-jokey remarks about how, next time, I'm going to do 5 'tousand' metres as a warm up. Goddamn it. Now I can't get into the pool and do any less than 1k or I will lose his respect. Also, Fisher and I spent a long time discussing why he would be so impressed with me swimming 1k when he's a fitness instructor and must be used to far more spectacular feats of stamina. It took us 20 minutes before a thought struck me. I blew the dust off my mental Book of Male-Female Flirty-Flirtiness and wondered out loud if he fancied me.
    Fisher laughed and laughed and laughed.
    Which is fair enough. He has seen me in a swimsuit.
  8. Fuses keep blowing. Can't put kettle and cooker on at the same time. This morning the heating fuse blew for no apparant reason.
  9. I have spent so much money I feel physically sick.
  10. Had a small tantrum yesterday as Fisher was grouchy, things had gone wrong in the house - and I just wanted 1 day where everyone and everything was relaxed, happy, and not going fucking tits up.
  11. We have a vile little dog staying who drops little bits of shit all over the house and stinks to high heaven.
  12. We now have another dog staying who is not vile, but who needs enormous amounts of medicine: eye drops in the morning and at night, a pill wrapped in fish paste every meal time, eye wipes every 13 seconds, arse wipes every time she takes a dump ...
  13. Our building chief continues to be a pain in the anus. He will not have everything finished by the time Sister arrives. He is now 6 weeks overdue. He is a cretin.
  14. I am cross.

Friday, 7 November 2008


So, from previous posts I realise I was supposed to be keeping a food diary. We're drawing a veil over the past few weeks, but now Fisher and I have another bet on. Loser must forgo - well, in my case, ALL FOOTBALL! For, I believe, a month. That gives me until Christmas day to lose a stone, while she must lose 10lbs. Seeing as things are not looking peachy, I've decided to go back to the food diary idea. So far, 2 bits toast with Clover and honey. Must go to the gym, or for a run today - but not til this afternoon.

The plumber is supposed to be turning up today, but he was due at 10 and no sign so far. Unless he's sneaked in while I've been in here typing, and has got to work already. This is not inconceivable, as the walls are so thick you can barely hear anything. Still, he's fucked us around for 3 months, so I doubt very much he's had the initiative to just get on with plumbing the washing machine. Better check though.

Ok, he's not here. But Fisher has returned from a trip to buy paint ... and everything's kicked off! Firstly, she's been assured the plumber is coming, despite the fact the joiners yesterday told him we had no sink for the downstairs bathroom (not true) so, and I quote, there was "no point" in him coming. This, regardless of the fact there's a washing machine and tumble drier to plumb - and an entire cloakroom to put in upstairs! I have a sneaking suspicion that we're going to have to find a different plumber, as this guy's a joke. Then again, they're all jokes, so it might be a case of better the devil you know.

Anyway - that's a minor point. The major point is this:

We have an offer on Holly Frot! In fact, we had one yesterday, but it was 10 grand below the asking price so we rejected. Now, I know that was a risk in the current climate, but let me explain.

First off, the first estate agents we went with stated a figure, and told us that the days of 'offers over' were a thing of the past, and we should look to sell for £10,000 less than the asking price. We were a little disappointed with their estimate, so had another agent in to look. They wanted to put it on the market for £65,000 more than the first lot! This was over optimistic, in our book - plus, Fisher realised that, at that price, a lot of advertising would be lost on websites, as people who might be serious buyers wouldn't even get to see it, as it was outside the price bracket of their searches. So we reduced the price by £15,000, and waited.

It didn't look good. In 2 weeks we had only 2 couples look round. One was obviously interested, the others not at all. Then it all went quiet. Nothing. I began to worry that we had a turkey on our hands - but then:

Yesterday we had an offer! Hurrah!

Ten grand below the asking price. Hurroo.

I was disappointed, but the estate agent told us this was a good price, and urged us to accept. I dithered. We knew the buyers were serious, had been renting for a year, and needed land for sheep. We also knew that we had never gone into a negotiation from the offset with our maximum offer. Thirdly, we recognised a pattern: the first agents had suggested we might sell for 10 grand less than the asking price; now, here we were getting an offer 10 grand less than the asking price. Seemed to me, this was advice being given by solicitors, agents, and Sarah Beeney Of The Lovely Breasts. And lastly, thanks to an indiscreet 6 year old son, we knew that the woman's mother was seriously loaded.

I rejected the offer.

Then I realised that, had we gone with the first agents, we'd be looking at an offer that was almost 15% over the asking price. It's a recession: houses have been on the market for 6 months with no movement. Some people don't negotiate - they put in their best offer in the hopes they'll blow competition out of the water. So I pooed myself a little. We heard nothing for the rest of the day, which made me poo even more. It was quite possible they had made their best offer, and that was that.

Now Fisher has returned, and they have made another offer.

It's the asking price.

I did a little happy skipping dance, and immediately gave verbal acceptance. All going well, I think we've done very well for ourselves. It's the figure I hoped, in my secret dreams, to sell for - until, in truth, my head was turned by the original amount stated by the agents we went with. I thought we might get it for that - but, in truth, they were probably expecting to see for 10 grand less, which means only 5 grand more than we actually went with in the end. But then I think about the first agents - who are a bigger, more successful firm and who deal with most properties in Fife - and I realise how shafted we could have been if we'd gone with them. Basically, they were expecting to sell it for £60,000 less than we've agreed!

The thing is - in truth, we could hang on the HC and rent it out until the market turns. But there's no guarantee we'd sell it for much more, and then there's the hassle and faff of finding tenants, dealing with their demands, worrying about general wear and tear - and the depressing thought that this recession could last for God knows how long. In this case, a bird in the hand is definitely worth two in the bush, and I'm very happy. Now, fingers crossed that it all actually goes through ...

I've forgotten what I was originally blogging about, but whatever it was, it's dull in comparison to the thought of recouping some of the ENORMOUS quantities of money I've been blue-ing on our new house. Now, if only I can think of ways in which to wisely invest ...

Woohooooo. Happyhappyhappy. We're not home and dry yet, but fingers, toes and legs crossed and we'll be ok.

On a side note, the reupholstered furniture we inherited from the old owners of our house is arriving today. We thought we'd be thrifty and reuse it, but thrifty my arse! 3 grand later ... but the upholsterer was quite excited by it, and told us we'd never buy anything like it anywhere. It's all around 80 years old, solidly made, and a really interesting shape. It really suits the house, and I think 3 grand is ok for a sofa and 2 armchairs.

Sort of.

God, is it any wonder I'm so relieved to have sold HC?