Thursday, 31 May 2012

Little Steps Big Jobs

This last fortnight has seen a total stop on anything travel related, be that in the immediate future (Jubilee week) or our extended travel plans. All in favour of dealing with the damp works at home. As reported earlier we found a patch of mould in a corner. And upon further investigation I found that damp is extensive. So extensive in fact that the only cure is to excavate the entire floor screed layer and replace it. I estimate 4 to 5 cubic yards of material or about 4 to 5 tonnes. We then have to tank the lower part of the walls, replace the subfloor DPM (Damp Proof Membrane), install sub-floor insulation, re-lay the screed over the insulation (thankfully considerably less that we took out with the addition of insulation), re-plaster and finally redecorate. To say the least a lot of upheaval, expense and back breaking work. And when I say its expensive, that’s expensive with me doing the bulk of the unskilled work. The first quote we got from a professional was for £3300, which is toe curling when you’ve just spent double that refurbishing the motorhome, and particularly galling when you price the materials quoted by the firm for yourself and see that most of the cost is brute force and ignorance labour and mark up… and the firm quoting expects you to get rid of the rubble, or pay extra for them to do it.
It is very easy to be disappointed, it’s very easy to be frustrated and angry, and in fairness these emotions are the usual first response. However with a week or two’s reflection, digging and discovery the mind accommodates the initial stress, faces up to the problem and rationalizes it. Ergo, you would have to fix the damp at home whether you were moving or not, in exactly the same way as we had to fix the motorhome if we were to live in it and continue our adventure. And there is the point: there is a goal beyond all these setbacks, and as long as you don’t lose sight of it, everything else is just part of the story.
We intend to sell this house, and use the equity in part to fund our travel. So the pragmatic way of looking at it is: Speculate to accumulate. We had intended to sell then move into a flat near Leigh on Sea for the rest of the year so we could enjoy the summer, close to one of our favourite local day out spots, and over winter in an area with a windy and wild beach. With the extra expense we have now incurred, we’ve changed tack. Instead of putting ourselves up against a hard target and ramping up the stress, we’ve changed our plans and timescales.
We will spend extra money doing the renovation works at home and make some marketable home improvements and hope that they in turn pay dividends when we come to sell. It’s like everything involved in this enterprise; a bit of a gamble, but I refer you to the blogs name, “It’s later than you think”. If you can’t gamble now before you are too old, then when can you?
Here’s the equation that put us on this path 5x22=110, and here’s how it breaks down. On average you get five weeks annual leave per annum, I have twenty two years left to work, that’s a literal one hundred and ten weeks (but some firms only offer four weeks leave for several years so that number can be a lot less). If you look at those numbers, my remaining life time annual leave entitlement is two years. Now try to imagine using all that leave just for travelling and fitting in all that you want to see without repetition, wasted miles and picking up previous threads. Quite simply you aren’t going to do it, and you’re going to have to contend with changing circumstances and the rigours of age as the twenty odd years progress. And lets not forget, that there is not a year goes by when outrageous fortune steals those hard earned days of annual leave from you… a good example being next week, we planned a week in Southwold Suffolk, testing out the re-fit, exploring somewhere new, and being far from the madding crowd. Instead we’re going to be carting five tonnes of rubble in bags to our local dump, and dealing with the other tasks listed above in preparation for an autumn house sale. When you look at it like that, sticking two fingers up to the rat race, taking your money and running for two years is clearly the most sensible, dare I say logical conclusion.

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