Fluorescent Blue Feet


It’s starting to resemble a crime scene. All it needs now is a chalk outline to mark the place where a body has been recently removed. Mrs Duck did it, in the bathroom, with a plumbers’ monkey wrench. Tensions, as you may have gathered, are running high.

The impending decision between Plans A, B and C remains omnipresent. Seared into the retina, via the medium of masking tape, through morning ablutions, evening ablutions and any ad hoc visits to the bathroom in between. Not only do the builders start to dismantle the existing bathroom next month but there is also the pressing need to get the new fixtures and fittings manufactured and safely onto British shores before Europe shuts down for the summer break. For these purposes Britain is not regarded as part of Europe. Even though we still are. Just. Because Britain, unlike mainland Europe, does not get to take the whole of August off.

And so. Three out of the last four days, cruelly coinciding with the best spell of gardening weather of the year so far, have been spent driving up and down the M5. In search of a bath. And a vanity unit. You’d think that at the very least we might have been due a bit of a lie in this morning. Alas no. Shortly after dawn, which arrives rather early in June, the blackbird discovered a new perching point atop the thatcher’s ladder.. the same ladder currently to be found leaning on the roof right alongside the open bedroom window. It’s just as well the blackbird has a nice song.

And if all that wasn’t enough there is an additional hazard. Remember the masking tape on the bathroom floor? And the blue ink marking the position of the vanity unit in Plan A? I wanted to try and simulate the thickness of the edges of the new basin in question. The pen that I used Mike gave me for the purpose did not contain waterproof ink. (It always feels better to apportion at least some of the blame doesn’t it, however tenuously.) The tap on the existing bathroom basin has seen better days and the water pressure, thanks to the recently upgraded boiler, is very high. The water has a tendency to splash. Everywhere. You can see where I’m going with this can’t you. Fortunately we managed to avoid the spectre of blue footprints all over the house, and in particular on the white rug in the bedroom, because I just about spotted it in time. But I can tell you, with some experience in the matter, that ink is very difficult to remove from the soles of your feet. It is the bathroom renovator’s equivalent of beetroot fingers.



2018-06-12T11:37:33+00:00June 12th, 2018|Tags: |


  1. Marian St.Clair June 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    I love it when you start a new project! Looking forward to enjoying the ups and downs of this one…and seeing its (inevitably) amazing result. On the recent tour to East Anglia our group had fits and giggles over colorful feet, too…the result of wet lawns and bleeding shoe dye.

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      Oh no! I hope the shoes weren’t ruined. Or the feet for the evening sandals.. And I hope that you had a good trip, the gardens must have been looking at their best at this time of year.

  2. derrickjknight June 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Your sense of humour becomes an essential asset. I hope you receive the fitments in time

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      It’s been quite difficult finding the right things for such a compact and compromised space. A proper silk purse/sow’s ear job.

  3. Jacqueline Mumford June 12, 2018 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Having work done in the home is always difficult and the cause of many a disagreement !!! We have had lots od odds and sods done lately which has been ongoing for months …… the guys came and put up my new outside canopy above the backdoor yesterday { see blog !!!! } which only took an hour and he reminded me that our bathroom needs re tiling …. I said let’s wait a while as I’d just cleaned the house !!! haha !! XXXX

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      Anything bathroom related is so disruptive. I am absolutely dreading it. Wish I could just go away for three weeks and leave the chaps to it, but then I’d be dreading coming home to see what they’d done!

  4. Christina June 12, 2018 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Sorry; I think I missed something here. I thought the bathroom was done and dusted some time ago!! Ho – hum, I know what you mean about August but of course usually Europe does have a very hot summer and not working in August has some very good sense behind it. The schools for younger children have already broken up!!!!!

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      It must make good sense for employers too.. no disputes about who is taking holiday when. It always catches me out though, it seems we’re forever racing against the clock for something or other. My love of Italian design you see. Alas, the bathroom is not yet done. We started last year then came up against a water pressure problem and had to get that sorted out first.

  5. Provincial Woman June 12, 2018 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    So funny! I giggled my way through your post. Looking forward to the next instalment.

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 7:45 pm - Reply

      You have to laugh or else you’d cry. And I would be crying buckets..

  6. Caro June 12, 2018 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Distant birdsong must be lovely to wake up to but right outside your window? No, thanks. I can tell if pigeons are cooing on my balcony (and eyeing up my veg seedlings) and have got up at crack of dawn to shoo them off. A neighbour woke to find pigeons had crossed the line and entered her bedroom through the open window last week – the cheek! Wishing you luck with your bathroom; hope it goes smoothly although your mishaps make very entertaining reading for the rest of us!

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 7:50 pm - Reply

      I don’t know why it always happens to me, but it does always seem to.
      We had a bat in the bedroom once but so far the pigeons have kept out. I wouldn’t put it past them though. Or the squirrels. Hopefully rabbits are not built for scaling walls.

  7. Peter Herpst June 12, 2018 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    You have a gift for keeping your sense of humor through this ordeal. Thanks for sharing the fun.

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 7:51 pm - Reply

      Sometimes it’s only funny after the event..

  8. stephanie young June 12, 2018 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Don’t you just adore (abhor?) home renovations….!?! in an old house!!!??? I admire your tenacity so much!!! We’ve lived in our 1923 bungalow now 21 years…..and our kitchen floor is desperate for replacement. It was probably desperate for replacement in the 50s. It runs from the kitchen into the laundry area. For the life of me, I can’t figure out where to put the stove, refrig, washer, dryer, cupboard, and 6,000 lb (at the very least) antique butcher block for this to happen. When I figure it out, you’ll be one of the first to know….because I’ll need a support group.

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      Kitchens are great fun Steph. We put our kitchen in the entrance hall temporarily, extending the plumbing from the downstairs cloakroom in an eccentric arrangement which amongst other inconveniences meant we could no longer have a door on the loo.
      I’ll be here for you, of course.

  9. the veg artist June 12, 2018 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    I can honestly say that I will never, never again take on the renovation of a 1660 house. I have realised that as long as I have running hot water, heat and electricity, I can put up with anything else. But I love watching other people suffer!

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      I hear you! Having undertaken the boiler replacement at the start of winter I flatly refused to consider the bathroom until Spring at the earliest. And here we now are. I shall have an emergency bag packed in the event I decamp to a hotel. We’ll gloss over my chances of finding a room in Devon at the height of summer..

  10. FlowerAlley June 12, 2018 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    We enjoy your projects more than you do. I feel better about my one wall floors that need attention now. Thanks friend.

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 9:02 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome. Anything I can do to help 🙂

  11. Jayne Hill June 12, 2018 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    I wondered if you had ‘parked’ the bathroom refurbishment in favour of consolidating the garden and the thatching . . . but clearly you are made of stronger stuff!

    Good luck, hope you find all the fittings you need. I remember you once saying “one complete room a year” – dare I ask how many more to go?

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      Sadly the need to refurbish a bathroom doesn’t go away, however hard you try! There was no project last year so I’ve failed already. How many more to go? Seven. And only then if I count the hall, stairs and landing as one.

  12. janesmudgeegarden June 12, 2018 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    I love reading about your restorations, it brings back memories of my own. In Sydney we lived in an old house that was not unlike the Harbour Bridge in that it was a) long and thin and b) when we got to the end, we went back to the beginning and started again!

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      But if it was as beautiful as the Harbour Bridge it would have been more than worth it.

  13. Anne June 12, 2018 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Ha ha … That’s so funny about the feet. Glad you spotted it in time. I am with Christina here – I too thought you did a bathroom a while back – or was it just a shower? It is said that you should never fight a battle on two fronts ……..

  14. Anne June 12, 2018 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    Ha ha … That’s so funny about the feet. Glad you spotted it in time. I am with Christina here – I too thought you did a bathroom a while back. Or was it just a shower? It is said you should never fit a battle on two fronts!

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      Sadly no, last year was a false start! It’s given me all winter to look forward to starting again. Not.

  15. Anne June 12, 2018 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    Should be ” fight” and it’s duplicated itself!

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      Not sure what happened there.. the ghost in the machine. Or the mice have been nibbling the wires again.

  16. Kris P June 13, 2018 at 1:34 am - Reply

    I shuddered as I read your post as my husband and I are preparing to embark on our own renovation. Once discussed as a simple update of the cabinetry and solid surfaces in the kitchen plus the replacement of a few appliances, it’s now envisioned as a complete gut, replacement of the flooring in half the house, and a new HVAC system. And while my husband has abandoned his proposal to demolish the massive chimney structure that separates our dining and living areas, we’re still exploring a reduction in that structure. AND he’s proposed raising the section of the roof over the kitchen and dining area in order to also push the house’s footprint out 5 feet to give us a significantly larger kitchen! I’m terrified!

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      Good grief Kris. You make my to do list sound like a spot of Sunday afternoon DIY. At least you have the garden. And the lath house.. could you create a temporary camp in there? Warm enough in SoCal. The greenhouse is my retreat when things get too stressful. But we’re thinking of moving it this year so maybe I won’t even have that.

  17. Chloris June 13, 2018 at 10:10 am - Reply

    You never take the easy way with your renovations. Being perfectionists has its drawbacks. It’s a good thing you have a sense of humour. And on the plus side you keep us all entertained.

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure there is an easy way. Other than gutting the house before even moving in. If we’d had the budget that would have been the way. But we didn’t.

  18. ginaferrari June 13, 2018 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I sort of feel I shouldn’t have laughed… but I did! At least the white rug escaped.

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      I was suitably reprimanded today when Mike discovered that the underside of the bath mat is now blue. Oh well. I was going to replace it anyway. It won’t go with the new colour scheme.

  19. Janine June 13, 2018 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    Ah yes, the sweet contentment’s of renovations. A sense of humour is as essential as a hammer or any other tool.
    Your post title reminded me of when I emailed friends and sundry to check out the birds we had spent the day with on the Galapagos. We took our own boat there.
    I innocently suggested people google “blue footed boobies”. It created a flurry or very funny replies as apparently the results were not quite as I expected.
    Keep up the postings.
    Regards Janine

    • Jessica June 13, 2018 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      Hi Janine and welcome.
      I’ve always wanted to go to the Galapagos, in particular to see the boobies, very envious.
      The working title of the post, suggested by Mike, was ‘Blue Feet. With Boobies.’ I chickened out!

  20. mysmallerlife June 14, 2018 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    One day it will all be finished …. then it will be time to start again 🙂

    • Jessica June 15, 2018 at 9:13 am - Reply

      That thought is always in the back of my mind.. it never ends does it!

  21. snowbird June 14, 2018 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Oh….it’s great fun reading all about it, however I imagine it is a right old pain getting it done! Good luck with everything, I hope all goes smoothly!xxx

    • Jessica June 15, 2018 at 9:14 am - Reply

      Thanks. This could be the most difficult project so far. The roof is easy by comparison!

  22. Vera Coe June 14, 2018 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    It will be worth it in the end, …..you know it will be………..despite inky feet……trying to keep things calm (sort of)…….and getting frustrated with not being able to take advantage of sunny weather, which, by the way, is sorely lacking down here is rain soaked and flooded SW France!

    • Jessica June 15, 2018 at 9:15 am - Reply

      I’ve seen a snippet of your post and will read it properly later. I hope all is well.

  23. hb June 14, 2018 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    Our bathroom needs remodeling also, and I’m terrified of the ordeal to come. Hope your project goes beautifully and uneventfully. Blue feet are not so bad, put in the right context…

    • Jessica June 15, 2018 at 9:18 am - Reply

      Blue feet look better on boobies.
      The bathroom is going to take three weeks apparently. Three weeks of limited facilities, builders inside the house at the crack of dawn. Horrific expense. Noise. Need I go on.

  24. Mary June 17, 2018 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Oh man, blue feet, a bathroom reno and a repaired thatch. Glutton for punishment, eh? I am trying to put off a bathroom reno, but getting a bit worried about the floor noise when the sitting down on the loo. I either need to lose weight and/or redo the bathroom…or perhaps one day soon find myself sitting (ignominiously) on top of my husband’s car in the garage below. Guess I should start calling some contractors.

    Best of luck with your reno adventures and here’s hoping the blue fades soon.

    • Jessica June 18, 2018 at 8:16 am - Reply

      We’ve been putting ours off for years, such is the extent to which I am dreading the experience. Because it’s such a small space I’ve opted for one of those loos which hangs off the wall, only a stud wall too. I’m getting nervous.. in my case I would land in the middle of the dining room table..

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