Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Digging begins...

Yes, it's troooooooooo. After an unbrief hiatus during which my expectations reset button was pushed several times, we've now arrived at that day; that day when yer actual fact diggin' starts.

The briefest of glances at our cow meadow shows that progress to date has been little more than conceptual. The grass is shorter than last week, 'cos the farmer (God bless him) mowed the grass. In fact, Herr Farmer also agreed to us locating some of the building machinery gubbins on his land, which has saved us a fortune in dosh and worry (God bless him again). The only caveat is that after construction is completed, anything that doesn't look like a cowsh1t-strewn meadow will have to be terraformed back into its former glory.

Fair dos.

Looking out of the window I see rain drops, so one has a concern that the first days' progress will be little more than moving some machinery onsite, and the wiggling of toes in wellington boots. One is unsure what the Swiss word for 'wellies' is, but one is confident that on rainy days yer Swiss construction worker is to be found in a local cafe wiggling his toes in them. In fact, it's been raining torrentially on and off for the last few days. One can imagine that our land is an alpine pond right now, with frogs, newts and carp.

Where was I?

Oh yes. The Keller arrives on the back of a Huf Haus truck during the second week of October (Week 41), and then the house arrives five weeks later, during the second week of November (Week 46). God help us if the Keller-shaped hole isn't ready by then. One can imagine that the Huf Haus truckers'll simply dump the Keller on our land, and then clear off.

See what I mean about expectations?

(continues below...)

Right, onto the serious stuff...

Over the last few weeks, there's been a flurry of activities as we've tried to square off as many of the uncertainties (read 'indecisions') as possible. Herr Hufhaus has been busy finalising the ground plans, but that's a hard thing to do when the Capucho's still haven't committed to a kitchen/bathroom and whether or not we'd be deleting one of the balconies.

The kitchen story finally came to end end last week, just in the nick of time. Bottom line is that a last minute change of heart with regards to the fridge freezer rather chucked a grenade into the budget. We're going to have one of them big fancy american food centre thingies; all stainless steel, with an ice-maker and water cooler built in. Implication is that it'll need plumbing in, 'cos the water and ice don't come out of fresh air. Herr Hufhaus has been alerted (I bloody well hope) by Herr Arkitekt (he of the bowtie).

Needless to say, the bloody kitchen will be the bloody kitchen of our bloody dreams, and I'm now bloody sick of thinking and talking about the bloody thing. Final cost? CHF 38,500, which doesn't sound much better in pounds sterling so I'll not bother to convert it.

Next: the bloody bathroom. Ditto(ish).

Next: the balcony. Now yer might have heard that Switzerland has mountains, and plenty of them. This means that building land is invariably on a slope, and more often than not, a steep slope. (Mental note for yer: those parts of Switzerland that are flat were nicked by other countries centuries ago). Anyways, the lie of our land means that we have to cut a sort of step into the hillside, and means that one end of our house will be sort of sunk down a level. Hard to explain by a bloke like me good self, but easier to visualise if yer imagine that the parking area will be roughly on the same level as what would have been the balcony above the front door. Sooooooooo, after much deliberations, the Capucho's finally took the decision to delete the balcony on that end. Sounds trivial, but as the balcony is supported by what is in effect an extension of two of the longitudinal beams that hold the damn house up, then it's probably important that it's a decisions that's made early, right? Right?

Anyways, we're there now.

With regards to the overall budget. Erm, we're about CHF 75,000 over, and that's before we start. I'll try and give a regular budget update, as and when I have the heart to recalculate it. Needless to say, I'm planning on robbing a bank.

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