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Thinking about buying a house? Read this first!
Although my diaries are almost completely handwritten, occasionally I write them to disc. Recently, whilst dredging my C drive I discovered this horrifically accurate description of a typical day in the life of Joe Tame when he had half a mortgage. It's no great piece of writing, but shows well how owning a house is not always what it's cracked up to be, and how everything depends on money. After two years of paying £250 a month for our mortgage, we owed the bank more than we'd borrowed in the first place due to the interest!

It was all in a bid to convince ourselves that we were meant to be together. I look back on that time and think, "Thank God she had the sense to tell me it was over!"

26th September 1998

Dear Diary,

Hello! I'm really quite excited and happy this morning as there's so much that I want to do and so much going on. So much has happened too... where do I begin?

The washing machine flooded the spare bedroom on Friday, causing the ceiling to fall off in the lounge below. I tried to convince Ruth that it was a fault with the machine, but when the chap came round to fix it he laughed, telling me that I hadn't attached the hose properly.

Since that party last week we've decided that the carpet throughout the house has got to go as the stench of dog piss is getting worse by the day. I'd hate to see it through a microscope, or the contents of a VAX that's been over it. Imagine drinking that...

Ruth got her Marks & Sparks loan, and with that we've paid off Barclayloan. The Cashback from the mortgage came through, and with that we've bought a minidisc hifi. My craving has finally been satisfied, and Ruth has renamed me "gadget-man".

That happened on Thursday, a day of great trauma between us. I was very tired and was feeling very bad tempered and impatient. Ruth got all my grief as I was very nasty to her all day although I didn't mean to be. I was so wound up that the smallest thing made me go ape! I think it's money-stress.

The skylight in the kitchen has started leaking - we guess it's because of the neighbour's cat that insists on sleeping on top of it (therefore putting unnecessary pressure on the seal). Whenever I see the cat I wack the underside of the skylight with a broomstick, but sadly the cat has got quite used to that and now it doesn't even lift an eyelid.

The kitchen floor hasn't totally fallen apart yet, although a couple of tiles did come up after I'd defrosted the fridge all over the place.

I ventured up into the loft on Sunday, only to discover that the main beem that holds the roof up is cracked in the middle. I asked the man who was doing the neighbour's roof to have a look, he said it would probably be ok if we propped it up with some big timbers.

The mains stopcock under the sink has started to leak. At the moment it's just a small drip, which will take several weeks to fill a bucket. For now the bucket will just have to do.

In a bid to broaden our horizons we have started doing an evening gardening course at a local college. It's boring as hell and I often fall asleep during the lessons, but we have to convince ourselves that we enjoy it as we paid over £160 to enroll.

We've bought a doorbell button, which I wired in yesterday. Now we just need a bell on the othe other end. That should increase the value of the house by about fifty pence.

The shower continues to flood the bathroom floor. I re-sealed it five times before realising that in fact there was a crack right through the base. The whole thing is gonna have to come out. We had a chap come round to give us an estimate, but weren't too pleased as he told us we needed a new extractor fan too as the one we currently have is not designed for bathrooms and could easily electricute us.

I contacted BSM about driving lessons, and then I left a message on mum and dad's answerphone asking them if they want to give me an early Christmas present / 21st birthday present! That's all quite exciting although Ruth is wondering who's car I'm intending to drive as she uses hers for work everyday. I've been checking out the bus route to her workplace...

It's been two months since I wripped the sink off the wall in our bedroom, and finally last weekend I had a chance to polyfilla the hole that was left behind. The wall has been crumbling quite a bit - it's bizarre how victorian houses seem to be held together by things like sinks and 1950's wallpaper.

The big black cloud at the moment is money. We're in the red, and it doesn't help that I basically have to wait until the end of October before I get paid. I just have to try to not think about it too much.

Anyhow, I must go and dig up the concrete floor at the bottom of the stairs as water has been suspiciously pooling there. We suspect the water main is leaking...


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