A tale of a man and his dog

I would so love to be writing to let you know of the huge progress we have made this week but, sadly, it’s just not going not happen.  That’s not to say we haven’t made progress, but this project is turning out not to be photogenic, is taking far longer than we anticipated, and is unlikely to have you marvelling at our technical skills or speed of execution.  Yes –  we are still trying to sort out the flat roof over part of the bar, which also serves as a balcony for one room on the first floor.   By end of play yesterday we had all joists in place; we had the slope packed so that the roof not only drains away from the house, but the roof over the snug drains centrally and then water will run onto the balcony. [If this isn’t making sense, just remind us to show you when you next visit us as I haven’t taken the class in how to post diagrams yet!]   We have put all but 3 pieces of the sterling board flooring in place and will then be ready to fit the trim.  Currently we have an array of tarpaulins trying to keep the area dry, with mixed success, so are looking for at least two dry days after fitting the trim before we can complete this task – one for everything to dry out, and the second to lay the fibreglass mat and topcoat and then have a celebratory dance.

Underside of new roof on snug
Underside of new roof on snug

So instead, I will tell you about other things.

As you may know our dog, Jasper, is getting on a bit and needs tablets for his arthritis.  Our new vet wanted to check his health before prescribing more tablets, so Mike had to collect a urine sample: we really should have sold tickets to this spectacle.  Armed with his pot-on-a-stick, Mike tried to surprise the very reluctant dog into obliging, but instead he managed to remain continent for an impressive distance on his morning walk.  Eventually, after several false starts, about a tablespoon full was collected.  While the tablespoon full was being decanted, Jasper spotted his opportunity and watered everything in reach! I don’t think Mike cares: he is too busy being triumphant that Jasper has lost a further 0.7 kilos on his strict (but surprisingly indulgent) diet.  Mind you, he did also meet a couple of working dogs whose obedience to their owners impressed him (but not overly, you understand – that might imply his dog was somehow faulty).

On Thursday, I attended a marketing masterclass in Carmarthen.  For those with limited geographical knowledge of Wales (like me) this required a journey due South, whilst most main roads seem to run East/West.  I spent 3 hours enjoying a winding journey through the delights of West Wales; a few hours learning about changing demographics and how these and social media advertising will affect hospitality businesses, and then 3.5 hours travelling back on a slightly more Easterly but nonetheless winding route which was also very beautiful.  The weather was kind – I drove through wind, rain, hail and snow but managed at all times to remember my lot was better than Mike’s since he was working on the roof.

In the interests of having a story linked to a reasonable photo, we send our congratulations to Philly who has submitted her dissertation several hours ahead of the deadline but was rash enough to send us the evidence.  Other offspring, please feel free to send us your photos and I will incorporate these if possible.

Philly proudly displaying her finished work in the rain (is she also living in Wales?)
Philly proudly displaying her finished work in the rain (is she also living in Wales?)

Following on from Mike’s bee keeping course, and following a slight initial scare about bees making unpleasant honey from rhododendrons (to reassure you, apparently the bees will consume any such honey since rhodos flower in May, but we won’t collect honey till August), Mike has now placed his order for 2 nucs (a nucleus hive which is a queen and some worker bees that need to be placed in the wooden hive).  All I need to do is hope that he actually arranges for the physical hives to arrive before the bees do.

To find out the next instalment in this thrilling saga, tune in next week, same time, same channel….



Joist another day

Its a bit steady eddy here at the moment – slow progress as necessary.

On Monday, we were very blessed.  We had no sooner finished taking 12 rooted ‘babies’ from the blackcurrant bush delivered on Sunday and planting these out than we received a delivery of bare root native trees.  The trees have tested our gardening skills since the soil here is so shallow: we managed to plant the trees out, but most of them into positions that could not support a stake so we will have to hope they can work out the best angle to grow for themselves.

Mike has now spent three further days replacing rotten joists and refitting the wedges that create the appropriate rain water fall from the flat roof, and fitting the new sterling board floor / roof ready for fibre-glassing.   Of course, we need a full day without rain (and with lots of energy and nerve) to do the fibre-glassing and, looking at the current weather forecasts, we will need to ensure the tarpaulin is well secured in place for a while to come.

On the domestic front, I attended my first ever Easter Vestry meeting yesterday and despite planning to keep a low profile have managed to return with a job – but what with that and finding my name on the church Electoral Roll on Sunday, am beginning to feel at home.  Today I have been reading up on Health and Safety management and creating necessary documents this afternoon as I needed a break after the excitement of this morning.  Following several months of asking certain people to repeat themselves, and receiving rather grumpy responses that perhaps I should get my ears checked, I visited Llandudno General Hospital for my hearing test.  Modesty prevents me from publishing the results but it would seem that certain people might like to consider whether they do mumble after all….

To Bee Or Not To Bee

So the remainder of this week has been spent removing the old flat roof. Mike has chopped away and repaired most of the rotten joist ends, and then placed a very large tarpaulin over the roof in case of rain, whilst I shoveled the remaining debris into the skip. Meanwhile Adrian and I continued to pressure-wash much of the remaining drive, to remove the evidence that until recently it was buried under hardcore.

Yesterday I ‘stained’ the fence, but I am rather reluctant to mention this since your votes on the colours to use (or not) were, shall we say, rather mixed? We received 2 votes for white; 1 for deep green or blue; 2 for neutral / natural effect; 1 for anything but white; and 1 for a stain rather than a paint. And one of these respondents was prepared to march to get their point across! So we applied a stain called autumn glow or honey blush or similar- but I’m not going to photograph it for a day or two to allow the slightly strident colour a chance to mellow… And today I read lots of paperwork regarding visitor days and spend in Wales, and hotel star grading systems, ready for us to start ordering furniture and so on. Oh, and took delivery of a superb blackcurrant bush looking to relocate – many thanks to the generous donor.

Mike meanwhile trundled off to Bangor University’s farm for his 2-day Bee-keeping course which he has clearly thoroughly enjoyed and has returned with huge enthusiasm for a hive or two in the woodland in due course. Sorry for the blog title, but this is only a day after Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary celebrations!

Step forward everyone with two thumbs up and a bee suit
Step forward everyone with two thumbs up and a bee suit

Interesting moment of the week for me was a visit from the Diagio rep (selling Guinness and Gordon’s Gin among others). We explained that the old bar is no more and that the restaurant will be fully licensed and supply local beers and the kind of drinks a walker might want after a great day in the hills. He gave me a sample of ‘Pimms Cider Cup’ which I hadn’t previously heard of and which I plan to test early next week: here’s hoping it is as delicious as a regular Pimms.