The first thing we did was ring a locksmith and get the locks changed. Probably an unneccessary expense but we'd completed on the house and bought the contents at short notice so it seemed prudent. Since we'd taken out house insurance with the mortgage we were happily covered from day one without having to mess about with any more paperwork.
We didn't expect to be buying the house contents, and we certainly didn't expect to get as much as we did. Although we don't have a lot of furniture we had too much to fit into a house that was already full of a dining table, a king size bed, a king size wardrobe (its big anyway), a single bed, another triple wardrobe, a dresser, the entire contents of a kitchen ... you get the picture (and remember those wardrobes were full of clothes!). We spent four or five days with all our stuff stacked in the front room and no idea how to solve the jigsaw puzzle of unfolding everything out into the house.
We held the housewarming 5 weeks after moving in and I think the house looked its best that day. We'd had the roof and guttering mended and patched up, and we'd chopped the weeds back to a manageable height (short enough to stand the barbecue on top anyway). Lots of friends joined us and almost unanimously described the house as "having potential" - by the end of the day we were wondering whether everyone thought we were mad.
Since then we've become an auntie and uncle which is fun, and we've had a lot more building work done in the house. There was no central heating so that has been added, and the boiler moved out of the living room (we think that room may have been the kitchen at one time, its not as random as it seems). In addition we've had the whole house rewired. Both these jobs have been disruptive, destructive and very messy!! Having not changed the bag in our vacuum cleaner for about three years, we're now on our fourth bag in six months, that statistic goes some way to describing how much mess we've dealt with. When we first bought the house and I blogged about it with some photos, someone who had been here said to me "what doesn't come across in the photos is the DIRT"! The only way to describe how filthy this place was when we bought it, and then again when we had the heating done, and then again when we had the wiring done, is to say that its the only time I've blown my nose and observed that my snot has changed colour...
Today the house is a bit of a disaster. Its clean (we had visitors earlier) but every single room has at least one hole in the wall/floor/coving/all of the above. There are floorboards damaged in quite a few places and lots of disused sockets and switches hanging about the place. It looks a LOT worse than it did for the housewarming but strangely I feel a lot better. Less than a year ago I blogged about pulling out of a second house sale and I was feeling really low about it. 12 months on and we've bought a much nicer (and bigger) place, paid 10% deposit and fees, had the roof sorted, survived the trauma of having the place flooded, put in central heating and had the place rewired. I really feel, despite the mess that we've done really well to get this far. And now, the workmen are gone, and we can make the place our own. We can start decorating and putting up shelves in our lovely deep alcoves. We can choose new floors to replace the ones that got damaged. Perhaps over the winter I'll find time to sew the bedroom curtains I bought the material for in about July.
The plan for now though is to start repairing and sorting everything out. We're starting with what will be a little study - mostly so we can practise on it before moving into more high-profile rooms. We'll then decorate the living room and replace the (currently missing) floors in the hall and living room. That'll take us well into the new year and will still be lots more holes to repair and fill ... so here's hoping for many more happy half house-years to come!