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Little fabric house

Most of this week has been spent scrubbing the holy heck out of our new conservatory. It started off as the game every new tenant wants to play, ‘Guess that smell’.

When we viewed the house, we were bowled over by the fantastic view of the parkland in the valley below. The decorating wasn’t the customary magnolia we are used to from rental properties. Sure there was no bath but beggars can’t be choosers. It was at least in the right school zone, a number one priority.

Neither one of us stopped to question why the doors and windows were all flung wide open. After all, the owner was busy out back pruning the bushes and plants in the extensive gardens. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary and our suspicions were not raised in the slightest. Which just goes to show how jet lagged we really were.

I’d like to think that I’m not that much of a rube normally. We have been responsible homeowners for seven years and before that, we had rented for over a decade so you’d think by now we would know what to look out for. Apparently not. As my husband quite rightly points out though, it is all a moot point anyway. We needed a place to live and this was the only one left in our price range in the area we wanted to live. Now we know why.

Like cat and dog

So, getting back to my new favourite pastime, I was adamant it was trapped wood burner fumes that had permeated the rubber flooring and just needed airing. I wasn’t worried, to begin with. Meanwhile, my husband was positive it was, “Cat pi$$,” as he so eloquently put it. I started mopping with Mr. Muscle floor cleaner, quietly confident that would do the trick and Husband was simply overreacting and his threats of moving out nothing more substantial than salad for lunch.

‘Put the freshness back’

But the damp rubber floor (really a flat roof with four glass walls slapped on top) only seemed to become more pungent once wet. Just infused with a not-so-subtle citrus scent now. It wasn’t long before I was pouring neat cleaning fluid down and scrubbing the living daylights out of it. Husband even resorted to emptying an entire can of Shake n’ Vac on it, hoping to neutralise the odour which we were beginning to think might be cat spray. The more we cleaned, the worse the whiff seemed to get. If the windows were open it wasn’t too bad. After several attempts, we knew what we had to do, complain.

That went about as well as you would expect. The letting agent knew about the stench and thought airing it out would suffice. She packed us off with a bottle of enzyme cleaner to see if that helped. It didn’t.

Then the landlord came over to check out some other things we had flagged up in the walkthrough, mainly a broken window. That’s when it turned out they weren’t all bad. They were happy to fix the broken pane and genuinely thought the persistent tang would clear after their own efforts to clean the conservatory.

In fact, the tenants before had had dogs – not cats as we had suspected – and the landlord believed they had just gotten a little overwhelmed and felt sorry for them. It was refreshing to meet a landlord who was actually human (our past experience has not always been so positive).

Cat’s out the bag!

Knowing what we were dealing with (dog wee not cat spray) made me realise where the offending smell was coming from. I pulled back some edging strips and discovered the source of the malignant smell. I have pictures, which you don’t want to see, but if you’ve ever owned hamsters just imagine it on a much larger scale.

Doggone smell

After cleaning it up, just a vague smell of dog kennel remains. Not great but I can live with it… now, just the damn mice in the attic to get rid of.

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Kia ora!

In 2019, we sold our house, packed our bags and flew 18,782.17 km from the UK to New Zealand. This is our story of beginning again on the other side of the world, proving it’s never too late to chase your dreams!  Learn more here.