It all started just before Christmas 2003 when part of the ceiling came down while we were away (Thanks mcurtains for clearing it up!) - the plumber we called in said it was a slow leak from the loo cistern in the bathroom, and fixed that, but we subsequently found a somewhat larger leak from a joint in the bath drain ... funny how having no ceiling shows up where the water is coming from ;)
Rang insurance who said 'Oh, just get our builders to do it, it'll be quicker, we'll send the guy round in the next day or so'. So we did, guy came, saw, put up a temporary bit of plywood, went away ... insurance company sent a letter saying 'the loss adjuster will have to come out, that quote was too high'. Which started a 14 month fight about how much it was going to cost. They accepted they would cover the cost of repair, they just didn't accept that it was going to cost as much as several different builders said it would. We eventually didn't use the insurance company's builder as they wouldn't quote low enough for the loss adjuster to accept ... the one we did use initially scraped in just below the cut-off of ~£1550 (yes, that much - there was apparently trace amounts of asbestos in one of the layers of artex on the ceiling, needing specialist contractors to remove the whole ceiling, but not sufficient quantities that it was an issue for us to be living with a hole in it).
So in February 2005 we got the go ahead from the loss adjuster on one of the quotes, and got the builder in - remains of ceiling removed in March 2005. Builder takes one look at what was hiding above the ceiling and says we have to get the electrics fixed (it was a mess, but actually most was dead, it was well worth testing though) and a joist needs fixing as it is rotting! So back to the loss adjuster for more money for more work ... thankfully quicker than the last time so we only ended up about a month with no ceiling at all (that's weird, by the way, and you wouldn't believe how much rubble can fall from seemingly nowhere). New ceiling happened in late April 2005.
While the old ceiling was being ripped out it damaged the walls slightly - so we were going to have to repaint them, anyway. So we thought as we'd got plasterers in, we'd get them to quote us for the walls too, and get rid of the nasty textured stuff the previous occupants of the house had put on the walls. They did, and duely came and did most of the job in mid-May. But it subsequently turned out that the cost they quoted didn't cover little things like finishing off the job properly - I guess that's why they were cheap :/ - so I spent most of a month trying to ring either of the builders who'd done the work to get them to come back and finish it, like they'd said they would (and we spent one Saturday waiting in for a builder that never showed). Two weeks ago we got fed up - after all we'd paid them for what they'd done, if they didn't want the extra money for the rest of the job then that's their tough luck. So in the last two weeks we've had an electrician come and put the lights back up and turn the sockets back on that they disconnected while plastering and we've had a builder come and finish plastering round the radiator and put the curtain rails back up.
And today the guy came and put the coving up (we'd got him to quote a month ago when it looked nearly done, just had to arrange him to come by and actually do it). So it's ALL DONE!
Just gotta paint. Wonder how long it'll take before we get round to doing that ;)