Just call me Nell (Mangel), I am a nosey neighbour. Fact! Now, let's be clear, I'm not your average curtain twitching, "did you see who she was galavanting about with last week" type. No, my snooping, is of an altogether different nature. I am a renovation stalker. When, I am not knee deep in my personal share plaster dust, I am nose to window salivating over other peoples.
One of the joys of living in an 'up and coming' area (aka. a dump with a couple of organic cafes and Breton top clad beardy's), is that there is an endless supply of renovations to behold. Sometimes though, it can be tricky to get a good look, lord knows I try. So, imagine, my utter delight when the mother of all renovations commenced right over my garden fence. I kid you not, I have a clear line of vision from my back bedroom into their kitchen.. ohh happy day!
So, it is that, I have spent the last few months monitoring their progress (daily, sometimes hourly, ok occasionally I don't get much else done.. just, you know, sometimes). The house in questions started life as something of a wreck- ahhh such fond memories- and has through a long, arduous slog begun to take shape as something of a beauty.
Step one: All rotten PVC windows replaced with wooden sash's.
Step two: Said windows painted a colour that, one could only assume is... wait for it..... you guessed it... downpipe. TICK. (Never mind new restaurant openings, the real sign of neighbourhood gentrification is a healthy layer of downpipe)
Step three: Large hole knocked into back wall for insertion of bi-folding doors, this bit seemed to take a long time and me and my own builder were dumbfounded as to what they could be doing.
Step four: Bi-folding doors proceed to be painted ....downpipe. Whoop! By now, I'm thinking i like these people, we should certainly be making acquaintance.
Step five: New kitchen installed, cleverly planned use to maximise small space and incorporate table adjacent to bi-folds. They are stylish, they get design.. oh yes, we are going to get on so well.
Step six: Well, despite use of binoculars, it's all a bit of a blur and I can't actually see what is going on in the rest of the house, but by this point I am convinced I like it.
Step seven: Kitchen, complete, socialising commences, small, candle-lit dinner parties progress into full on parties. It MIGHT have been cordial to invite the oh so supportive neighbours, hmmm? I mean, I thought we had something special going on here?
Step eight: Just when I think the work is complete, all my wishes are answered and they start work on the loft conversion. I don't even need to strain my neck to get a clear few of this beauty.
Now, let's not get carried away, my new 'friends' are not without fault. Having painted all the windows delightfully moody downpipe, they proceed to commit an almost unfathomable error and leave the ledges white... This upsets me to the point that a (real) friend suggests I paint a grey line on all of my windows at the same levels so I need never assault my eyes with the offending articles again.
Similarly the dormer windows, installed in the last week, appear to be, it pains me to say it, turn away now if you are squeamish ..... white PVC... I know, I know... I can only hope I am short-sighted and await the outcome with bated breath.
It's taken hours of thought, consideration and effort to get to the point 'we' are at but, of course, we all agree its been worth it. These are my kind of people (window ledge excepted). I literally can't wait until we are perusing our interiors mags whilst sharing a pot of tea.... any day now, I tell you, any day. Oh, and when me and my fence buddies are very good friends, we'll just keep this early stage of the relationship between ourselves, if that's ok with you.