[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms . He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Previous Entry

First Entry

A Luddite Abroad - Moving House Edition
We have taken the plunge and bought a house. It seemed like the right move, since we are both gainfully employed in the area and are expecting to be so for the foreseeable future. We wanted a place which had a good balance between character and livability. We would happily have bought the place we were renting but - alas! - the owners like it and are planning on retiring to it someday. While that day was probably distant, it did feel like a bit of a sword of Damocles, and that urged us to a little haste.

The house itself is an interesting mix of the good, the bad, and the good idea badly executed. Part of the house dates to the late 19th or early 20th century, and a handful of structures in the road are of a similar vintage. The Cottage, for that is its name, was originally a two-up two-down, but in the mid-1980s was greatly expanded, roughly quadrupling the floor space. The old house now forms most of the right front corner of the house. Another surviving house has what appears to be the mirror image of the layout, so one can see what the original house might have looked like.

The bad things are for the most part fairly minor, or at least easy to fix. The old walls are single brick construction, which makes them particularly vulnerable to rising damp. We had the damp remediation people in to put in what's called an 'injected damp proof course,' and they mentioned that they didn't think the walls had ever been treated. Most of the other problems are attributable to simple neglect. The house has been a rental for some time, and the owners couldn't be bothered to address any of the problems.

The expansion in the eighties was pretty well done. What is a little concerning is that some subsequent owner seems to have fancied him- or herself a dab hand at DIY electrics, and had an obsession with having TV access in every room. With respect to the first, we've hired an electrician to do some installation and rewiring, but mostly to remove most of the 'improvements.' As for the second, well, let me just say that I'm acquiring quite a collection of lengths of coax and broken cable brackets extracted from external brickwork, from internal plasterwork, and from under badly seated flooring quadrant.

General neglect also means we need to replace the boiler and hot-water cylinder, outside decking, and some radiators.

The good ideas badly executed are the most bemusing things that we have stumbled across. For instance, when the expansion was done, the stairway in the old part of the house was removed and a new stairway built in the new lounge. The old stairway space was turned into a cupboard, which makes perfect sense. The cupboard had a door put in, which is not a bad idea. The door opens inward. Half of the cupboard was effectively useless. I've already removed that door. The door itself is good quality, which makes it even more bemusing. Several of the doors in the part of the house look like they may have been repurposed from the older structure, which is a good idea! But they were jammed into places where they didn't really fit very well. All three doors in the entryway, including that strange cupboard door, are lovely solid doors. All have charming brass doorknobs. All five doorknobs (the cupboard had no interior knob) are mounted so close to the jamb that it is nearly impossible to open the door and closing it has a high probability of crushing your knuckle between knob and jamb. One set of knobs has already been replaced with lever door-handles, and the other one will soon follow suit.

Some of the good features of the house are very good indeed. The kitchen is lovely and large. The garden is a good size, although overgrown and neglected. The conservatory is west-facing with a view of the garden. The unexpected delight, however, is the ceiling. Most of the rooms in the house have plaster ceilings, each of which appears to have a different pattern applied by hand to the plaster. Each room's ceiling is, essentially, a large piece of unique art. When we mention this to people, they often turn up their noses, and I can see why. Done badly, they would be horrible. Ours are done very well - except in my office, where it's not horrible, exactly, but neither is it lovely.

I think the ceiling covering is Artex, and given the time period, that means it is probably packed with asbestos. This only becomes a problem if we want to do anything to the ceiling that involves putting holes in it or something like that, which would release the fibers. It's possible, of course, that the ceilings were done much later than the 1985 expansion, in which case, they might be post-asbestos Artex. The only way to be sure is to have it tested. Something else for the list ...

Luddite'sLog, 5 June 2017
© 2016 Jeff Berry

Next Entry

Last Entry

The Luddite on Twitter

The Luddite on PlusPora

The Luddite on the Medievalist Mastodon instance

The Aspiring Luddite's main page

An American Reenactor Abroad

RSS for all things Aspirationally Ludditic, or
RSS for just An American Luddite in York