Out with the old and in with the new (boiler).

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I know it’s silly to attach significance to inanimate objects but I’ve been looking at our old boiler for the past week, knowing its days were numbered, and couldn’t help the small pang of…something.

When I first moved in, it was just me; still slightly terrified I now had a mortgage (my dad told me “just think of it as paying rent to the bank instead of the landlord” which helped).

My fear of being a ‘grown up’ only increased when a collection of small problems led to one big problem. It started when my dad tried to replace the lock on my front door on the second day. When we tried to get back in, we couldn’t, which meant two hours camped on the doorstep while we waited for the locksmith to come. Next the furniture arrived early, which would have been good had the the new carpets not arrived late. There was a rather extreme game of Tetris where we tried to cram all of my stuff into one room so the carpets could go down in the others. And then the big one, I turned on the boiler and…nothing. Dead.

My uncle came to check it over and decreed it couldn’t be fixed. It was the end of October, if I remember correctly. And already cold. I’d spent all my money on the deposit for the flat and was in a bit of a muddle – now more than ever pondering whether home ownership really was such a great thing after all.

I phoned around for some quotes. One man couldn’t do it but recommended his mate who could. A week later and the flat was warm for the first time in probably a long time, given the state of the boiler (the man also gave me “mates rates” because he thought I was a friend of the person who recommended him. I wasn’t).

And I started my new life: broke, happily single, loving being able to paint my walls colours I liked for the first time (although the buttermilk was a mistake which had to be painted over a week later because it clashed with the carpet and made me feel sick) and put pictures up without worrying about losing my rental deposit.

I had many lovely times in the flat with my friends and just chilling on my own. I can’t remember ever being lonely.

I’d only planned to stay for five years, maximum, but here we are, more than a decade later, a husband, child and now in need of another new boiler.

It wasn’t with sadness that I kept glancing at it but maybe a touch of nostalgia – the boiler was the first (and last for a while) thing I bought for the flat. It’s been with me since the start. Witnessed the good and the bad.

It’s taken a month to find someone to replace it. Thankfully we’ve still had hot water and mini heaters so it could have been a whole lot worse. It hasn’t been without its stressful moments – such as when I thought I had it sorted, paid a substantial (to us) deposit and the company rang to say it was going to cost AN EXTRA £1400 (I only paid £1700 for everything 10 years ago). I cancelled that one but had to wait 10 days to get my deposit back and also find someone else to replace it.

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The funny thing is, I was having a moan to the nice lady in our local charity shop (where I’d just donated some stuff). She’d only asked ‘how are you?’ but she got more than she bargained for. A man came to the till. He’d overheard our conversation and recommended a company he’d used three times before and highly rated. I called them when I got home, their surveyor came out that afternoon and gave us a quote cheaper than all the rest. At this very moment, the new one is being installed. Hopefully by this time tomorrow we will have heat again.

I wonder what things the new boiler will get to share with us.

What’s the first thing you bought for your home? And have you still got it?

Thank you to those of you who got in contact wondering if I’m ok, much appreciated. Sorry for the lack of posts, I’ve had a lot of stuff on and there just hasn’t been time. All is well. Hope you are too.

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Review: The Sewing Room Girl.

sbavinIf Susanna Bavin ever needs an alternative career, I think she should consider being a hypnotist. 

I’m sure she must have had some training already because the minute I see one of her books, it’s impossible to look away; anything could be happening around me and I wouldn’t notice. 

Her third book, The Sewing Room Girl, is a powerfully written story, full of twists and turns, heartbreak and smiles, that will stay with me for a long time. 

Here’s the blurb:

Born into service, sixteen-year-old Juliet Harper has always idolised her mother, Agnes. But Agnes is haunted by what could have been, and the glamorous life she might have lived if she stayed in Manchester rather than settling down in the Lancashire moorland with her husband.

Life takes another unexpected turn when Juliet’s father suddenly dies. Agnes’s reputation as a seamstress leads to her being taken on by local landowners the Drysdales, where she is proud to work. But it will be a bumpy road for both of them as they settle in to their new lives.

Will Juliet ever be able to choose her own path? And what will become of them when Agnes falls ill?

Every single character pulls their weight. As usual, Susanna’s villains are enough to make me shiver when I think about them, even now. Also, I think plucky, courageous Juliet might just be my favourite of Susanna’s leading ladies (and I don’t say that lightly). 

The time period (1890s) and location seem meticulously researched. Susanna has the perfect touch when it comes to weaving in interesting little titbits of the time without making it seem like a history lesson. 

Her wonderfully warm writing style lured me deeper and deeper into the tale until I felt like I was there living it with them. 

I pre-ordered this one and I will be doing the same with book four.

Format: Kindle.

Price: £2.48 (via Amazon).

My rating:  Five stars. 

Susanna was one of my first Behind The Book interviewees last year, talking to me just before debut was published. You can read more here.

My Sunday Photo – November 11th, 2018.

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A lovely friend popped in for a catch up this week and came with these beautiful flowers.

They are grown by a man down the road who then sells them from his front garden. I had such a lovely time taking photos of them (after she had left, don’t worry). Please forgive me for the flower spam.

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And then I discovered they came with an added extra.

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I’ve linked up with Darren’s My Sunday Photo. Please click on the camera below to see what other people have shared.
Photalife