Margot tries the good life: refurbishment plans hit the buffers


- Credit: Archant

Like a bad episode of Grand Designs, Margot’s refurbishment plans hit the buffers with the builders

The dreaded DIY has finally caught up with me and the worst part is that the weather is just starting to look like summer might be on its way. Never has that deckchair in the garden looked more inviting, dear Reader. Still there’s work to be done in the house and I’ve run out of excuses.

Considering what Jerry and I know about DIY could be written in large letters on a postage stamp, we drafted in some local builders to give us a hand. The kitchen has been limping along for the last few months with only two hobs working and an oven that cremates everything. Long overdue a makeover, we bit the bullet and it seemed wise to leave it to the professionals.

The walls in our laundry room still bear the scars of where we (I say ‘we’, of course I mean Jerry) attempted to put up a set of shelves for all the millions of pairs of shoes that seem to have made a home for themselves in there.

Two months later and still no sign of the shelves being any closer to going up, I wasn’t about to let Jerry loose on fitting a kitchen or tampering with the cottage’s electrics. So home improvements began and one could almost have predicted the drama that ensued. Cooking on a camping stove for two weeks, builders accidentally drilling a hole through the electrics, sockets popping all over the place and the fuse box having the last laugh and refusing point blank to allow us to use lights and switches all over the house. When builders start shaking their heads and saying “Oh you know these old houses”, one knows that things are definitely not going according to plan.

Where was the team from DIY SOS when I needed them? I started to feel like we were in one of those episodes of Grand Designs when Kevin McCloud pops up to ‘revisit’ the build, usually in a depressing downpour designed for good telly, only to find that the owners are no further on than when they began the project.

In a bid to try and take my mind off it all, I decided to while away some hours on eBay looking for the perfect wall cabinet in a ubiquitous shade from the Farrow and Ball palette. Said cabinet ordered and delivered, Jerry’s first comment was “Oh I thought that for the amount of money it cost, they could have at least painted it. Looks like it could have done with another coat.” Typical! He knows nothing of shabby chic, dear Reader, but it did start me thinking that I could really get into all this upcycling. Some unloved junk and a tin of paint - how hard could it be?

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Jerry of course had the sympathy of all the chaps in the village. “You ought to watch yourself. You could get a serious case of writer’s cramp with all those cheques you must be signing,” one gentleman joked. Quite wisely he was elbowed sharply in the ribs by his wife.

However, a cheery phone call from a local farmer ensured that, for now, our DIY dramas could be put to one side. As you know, I have been dying to add to our flock for some time – so when an opportunity presented itself, I jumped in feet first and three new woolly arrivals have now been installed at Margot and Jerry HQ. From colour charts to legs of lambs, Jerry’s thoughts have now well and truly been turned towards filling his stomach!