Monthly Archives: July 2014

Mattress woes

The issue with moving into a room that was a seminar room is that it doesn’t have furniture in it. This in itself was a tragedy for me because since moving to this country and being convinced I was going to move from it pretty soon, I have always taken furnished flats as a result.

This meant when we moved we had a bookcase, a shaky (very shaky) storage unit and a lot of plastic crates. And cardboard boxes that used to contain computers that the IT guys at my firm kindly gave me because they had little handles on the sides and stacked.

Nothing else.

At the time this wasn’t a train smash as we moved with a fairly good quality blow up mattress. It blew up to almost the same height as a normal bed although you did have to reinflate it occasionally. This too was not a problem because you just pressed the little motor at the back. You did find when someone rolled over, we all felt it, not good for the seasick.

In the meanwhile, plus one and I argued about the mattress we should get. I felt, like books, you need to test a mattress out before you buy it. (No, seriously, I generally only buy people books I have already read as gifts. I also tend to go examine them in a bookshop first, even if I land up buying them online and so help me if they don’t have the same dustcover as what I saw in the shop)

I wanted to go with one of the big guys who do mattresses and have a warranty and moreover, a SHOP where I can go lie on the merchandise and make sure it doesn’t have any of those horrible buttons in it the UK are so fond of.

He convinced me to go with one of those discount deals website thingies. I’ve used the website before for restaurant and spa deals as well as goods deals. They are not bad at delivering what they say on the tin but it is no more than they say it will be which makes me nervous.

Needless to say, I had trouble typing our address into the thing because it is a bit of an imaginary address as the group who took over the site renamed all the blocks on it and the room numbers. They also didn’t give me the option of delivery time.

The site is cordoned off and visitors are meant to be signed in by residents. Security has no onus to assist. I had to flirt/bribe them to agree to take the mattress when I got a text message about it’s delivery on the Friday. The day it was meant to arrive, security swore noone turned up. I reset delivery for the next Monday. This time it was different staff and they turned the van away point blank.

In the meanwhile, the DAY the mattress was originally meant to arrive, the airbed developed a puncture. It had done so before and we managed to patch it with a bike repair kit. This time though, it bled air as if we had cut a major artery. We landed up sleeping on a bed base on doubled over duvets while waiting for this delivery.

Plus one got fed up and gave them everyone’s phone numbers possible and forced me on my day off to stay on the site to take the delivery, In the sweltering heat I stuck around. For practically the whole day. I was additionally annoyed because instead of next day delivery, we would now have to wait another three days without a bed.

The van did call this time. I had to run round like a hare to let him, got all the doors open and he said, ‘here’s your gazebo’. Turned out the mattress was NOT in the van. There was one there but he said it wasn’t MY mattress. They forgot to load it. ‘Tomorrow’, he said, ‘It will arrive and we will call you an hour before this time so you aren’t trapped here’.

This morning I got a call, not an hour ahead but 15mins ahead as the guy was here, trying to find the entrance.

I let him in and he dropped a mattress off. I have no idea if it is actually MY mattress as there is no tag saying who it is for. And he literally dropped the mattress off and said ‘health and safety prevents me from carrying this any further’. 

Not even if I help? 


No stairs allowed.

You want to see a five foot girl manhandle a mattress up a (fortunately) wide flight of stairs? It is sort of funny. So long as you aren’t the girl. I was both sweaty and filthy by the end of it. It turned out the protective plastic wasn’t exactly clean from being in warehouses and vans and it also takes a fair amount of energy to try push/pull/rotate a mattress upstairs.


I still don’t know if it is the right mattress. It is a bit smaller than the double bed base we acquired so I am sceptical. It has buttons in which I hate but fortunately I can’t feel. It is however, a mattress, I am beyond caring.




Filed under Housing

The Secret Garden

The first few days we moved into our new home, we wandered around the site. I can say ‘site’ because it is a big plot of land. I forgot how big and creepy until a delivery guy turned up today and said ‘what is this place, its quite spooky’. And then you look again and the crumbling brickwork, the overgrown plants and the slight feeling of desolation and realise he has a point.

Those first forays into the various blocks that made up our place were interesting to say the least. Our footsteps echoed along empty corridors with the occasional vision panel blocked up showing someone had moved in. Or once, a panel had not been blocked up and you could see the hump of a girl curled up on the floor with a pitiful collection of belongings stacked against a wall of what was previously a classroom. Not all guardians came equipped for their surrounds.

Walking through one of the buildings we bumped into a really chatty guy with dreadlocks who asked us if we had found the secret garden yet. He diverted from his current plan of action to show us the garden. You accessed it down a stairwell, through a series of gutted rooms and out through a door you had to prop open to get back in. A small walled off corner of the site, parts of the building forming two of the walls, the external edges the others, A little pond, some wooden benches and the first signs of a garden that was almost residential and previously cared for.

A sad but exciting little space. Clearly the guardian programme knew about it as the bits of lawn and weeds had been neatly trimmed but the plants ran riot and they were strawberry runners and raspberries. There was lavender and rosemary there. Something that looked like it might become a pumpkin plant. 

A secret space. A hidden space. A little gem.

For a moment at least, it almost made the communal showers worth it.



1 Comment

Filed under Housing