Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Trigger’s Broom – the deconstructed house

In the Only Fools and Horses episode Heroes and Villains, the simpleton Trigger wins an award for owning the same broom for 20 years. He reveals that it has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles, but insists it is still the same broom. This has given rise to the expression "Trigger's broom", or more properly known as the “Ship of Theseus” paradox); a paradox that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its component parts replaced remains fundamentally the same object.

I would apply that to our house. Fundamentally, we paid a substantial amount of money for a building that comprised of more than just bricks and mortar – it contained the collected sum of over fifty years of amended construction, improvement and DIY (though the latter could be questioned under the Trades Description Act). Over the last three years we have systematically ripped out, gutted and replaced certain elements and this process is set to continue for several more years until it is completed to our satisfaction. To date, we have a completely new dining room, lounge and soon-to-be bathroom. We have re-decorated the kitchen and two bedrooms. We have transformed the garage. We have re-sect the roof tiles, insulated and boarded the loft and had cavity wall insulation. The garden has been completely revamped and every door in the house has been replaced. There are plans to overhaul another bedroom, turn the loft into a den, decorate the hall and stairs, build a cloakroom, add a front canopy and replace the driveway. Will it be the same house?

One wonders what we would have paid for the piece of land and what we would have saved by just building the entire thing ourselves?

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