Yesterday, after months of planning, the home improvements started. The electrician was first, fitting extra sockets, sorting out the switches for the lighting in the hallway and landing, and changing the wall lights in the living room. He also changed the external light on the back of the house for a sensor operated light; previously this could only be switched on from the living room but now I'll be able to take the rubbish out to the bins from the kitchen without needing to walk through the house to switch the external light on first.
I'm really pleased with the standard of his work. He also had his own Henry hoover and cleaned up after himself as he went along so that alone earned him brownie points! I discovered one potential problem after he left, which was that the cloakroom light wouldn't work. I'm going to try a new bulb today (once I've bought one, as typically it needs a completely different bulb from any of the others in the house) to see if it is a simple coincidence that the bulb has gone as he wasn't doing anything that should have affected it, but it that doesn't resolve the problem he said he'll come straight back to sort it out.
Next to be done is the kitchen, but that's not quite going to plan. Despite their initial promise to do this work, possibly in a couple of weeks, they are now saying that it'll be May at the earliest and most likely later that that. So I'm in the process of changing my order with them, still buying the cabinets but cancelling the installation. The electrician has recommended one of his friends who will be able to do the work next month, so he came to quote yesterday and I'm just waiting on his price but am assured that it will be much cheaper than I was going to pay ... fingers crossed.