Refurbishments for Free?! Team up with neighbors and Landy…

Flowers at Woodpeckers. Ha! Last year ;) This year is far behind.

Flowers at Woodpeckers.
Ha! Last year ;). This year nature is far behind.

Finally, even at winter struck middle Europe, spring arrived last week. With summerly temperatures and people flocking outside to have fun under the blue skies or do some work in the garden / at the house.

Spring is there, time to share!
And to team up with your neighbors…

Bustling with energy, Woodpecker and family started / accomplished a few projects – as always not without trying to find frugal and efficient solutions, and to improve social interaction ;).

1. Expand the terrace – for free!

The terrace in Woodpecker clan’s house is way to small to cater for our increased family size and increasingly frequent grill events with friends and family.
However, Woodpecker rents out the house and cannot force the landlord to do anything, so this is the deal we struck with the landlord (call him Landy):

He is paying and providing all the necessary material. We do the choice together, but the bill is his. In return, Woodpecker, Family&Friends will do the construction work.
Actually, this is a perfect win-win situation: Landy will get a new terrace relatively cheap while pleasing his renters. Woodpeckers will get a new terrace without any increase in rent, while pleasing Landy.

Did that kind of deal a few times by now, for a new parquet floor, new carpets, and minor improvements. By now Landy outright loves us as “the best renters he ever had” and we are enjoying a quite favourable rental in return. I mean, the guy is as much an economist than me, but then – as most people – he is not without reciprocity.

Woodpecker on top gets some very welcome and nice diversion from his often-good-fun but low-physical-activity office job. Plus improved relationship with a very practical hands-on neighbor who volunteered helping in construction.
This guy in return gets some nice steaks and frequently lends out one of the few electric tools of Woodpecker’s.

2. Refurbish the balcony balustrade – for free!

This was more than necessary, as the balcony really started to look ugly with all the wood starting to rot after years of neglecting. However, no way to force Landy to do anything on his own, as all is still functional.
So we struck the same deal as above.

Tried to do the Tom Sawyer trick with some passing passers-by. Had good laughs with most of them, but unfortunately none volunteered.
However, the kids and me still had fun painting on a bright sunny Saturday. The little boy now can climb the ladder at age 1 ;).

3. Clean the lawn of moss and plant some stuff

Of course we don’t have a scarifier. Didn’t know what the hell this is only 5 years ago! (…a bloody noisy machine ripping out tons of moss from filthy un-british lawns in a huge cloud of dust and pollen)
But guess what? Another neighbor has, along with all kind of spades, picks etc.
Lended all out in return for some eggs they happened to need for pancakes.

4. Received some fire wood for free

While working all day outdoors, our other (elderly) neighbor came around to greet and to get rid of some fire wood he had produced from cutting his fruit trees.
Very welcome, bring it in!
As the guy had nothing else to do, he even sawed all the stuff in handy pieces for us.

Well, actually he owed Woodpecker, as I repaired his WWI style fuse system some months ago – actually after two hours searching for the f**** fuse box. This guy had simply had glued a wallpaper over it twenty years ago!!! Good old fuses seem to last longer than today…;) 😉

5. Got invited to a cycling tour by the guy who gave me the scarifier

Fun thing is, people quite enjoy helping others! In today’s world too few people seem to ask, so go ahead and give them the pleasure.

6. Had a grill party to celebrate at Woodpeckers

Live long and prosper!

Again with a family that just moved in the neighbourhood – with kids matching the age of the Woodpecker boys. Walked up the other day, said Hello and invited them. Sure they were happy to come around. Zero petrol wasted, only quite some beers and steaks.

All in all a funny weekend.

Practically zero costs, but a lot of things achieved and a lot of sun soaked up!

And this is how the world goes around:
Talk to people, team up, do things without calculating your gains and costs too strictly, and all will benefit and prosper!

Cheers and enjoy your day,



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