I've spent the last few days stripping wallpaper, taking up carpets and flooring, and removing wardrobes and doors from the new house. Most of the jobs have been incredibly repetitive - scrape a bit of wall, take out a screw, then do it again X 1000. I sometimes wonder how people who work in the building profession cope, but then they would probably look at my job, which often involves repetition of a different sort (except it's on a laptop) and think the same thing. My job might be mentally tiring at times, but at least it's not physically tiring. My hands ache and are covered in tiny cuts. I've stopped noticing when my fingers bleed but just continue - the bleeding stops after a few minutes so I just pour Dettol on them at the end of the day. I forgot to wear my face mask yesterday and noticed that when I sneezed, I produced black stuff...
We have removed most of the traces of the previous owners now and have a blank slate with which to improve on. Every hour results in new discoveries. In the main bedroom, a piece of flooring had been "mended" with a flattened baked bean can. The area around the toilet in the bathroom had been boxed in with some cheap looking plywood which had a sticker on the back, proclaiming it to be a "telly cabinet". We have found old coins - some dating back 80 years. There are also bits and pieces of other people's lives - a photo of a child found under a stinking carpet in the attic. A man's blue polo shirt (size XL), still in its packaging at the back of an inbuilt wardrobe. A bit of 1930s newspaper stuck to the bottom of the floor - hidden away for years. An old Stork margarine lid - probably from the 1950s. After I'd taken up the horrible wee-stained parquay flooring in the hall, I found a hatch. Lifting it up, there were stairs going into a previously un-mentioned cellar. Sadly there were no dead bodies or hidden treasure. Just some sacks of bricks. At least it wasn't damp.
The dog wee smell is sometimes overpowering - a couple of times I have had to run out of a room and retch. I have developed a hatred of little dogs over the last few days, which I suspect will now remain with me for my entire life. They have come to represent a cluster of traits that annoy - yappy, easily excited, silly and incontinent.