All play and no work makes for a new style of posting

What a marvellous weekend we have had.  Really wonderful.  The weather has been spectacularly sunny and warm, with just enough breeze to keep us from completely overheating – which is super given we are still in May.  Trees are now in full leaf (while two weeks ago may were far from clothed) and the greenery is really coming on apace.

We have been busy socially.  On Saturday we entertained a party of nine horse riders and on Sunday we catered for a further four.  Today (Monday) I had a lovely chat with a couple who had travelled from the West Midlands and dropped by because they had had heard at home that Plas was closed and who – after I explained our plans and the timetable – promised to come and check us out next year.  Sadly, the family visitors we were expecting had to drop out due to ill health, but we did entertain a secondary school friend of mine who I haven’t seen since the early 1980’s and her husband (Annapurna and Julian), and friend Gill from Bristol is here now until Thursday.  This has meant a lot of discussion of our plans and, more importantly, a great deal of useful feedback and ideas on what we might wish to include in our plans alongside a good deal of gentle ribbing as to whether or not we will be ready in time / will ever finish the project / have bitten off more than is sensible / need to see a mental health specialist.

We spent much of this weekend walking the very local paths with our visitors – thus avoiding the Bank Holiday rushes in the towns and villages – which this afternoon meant a visit to the local alpacas.  Oh, if only we had thought to take a camera or phone with us!  And the only ‘progress’ made this weekend was 4 hours of wallpaper stripping on Saturday and further baby steps towards a new garden bed from me, and the cutting of veneer components for some inlaid fans from Mike.  We plan to return to work tomorrow, reinvigorated from our long weekend, fuelled by our weekend vegetarian diet, and ready to really move things along.

It’s Friday night, so it must be blog o’clock

Yesterday we had a couple of appointments first thing.  Mike met with someone to discuss septic tanks, which has become something of a saga here, and I met with a vacuum cleaner salesman who Mike had met back in January and suggested he call back when we were nearer to opening.  I am not sure which of us had most fun but suffice to say since then I have been checking the availability of quality vacuum cleaners on ebay, and Mike has opened discussions with another potential supplier of effluent handling systems.

Mike then finished the guttering over the bar whilst I made an emergency dash to the shops since we had run out of bananas which, as some of you will know, brings this house to a standstill.  We then did the bravest thing we have done for a while.  We spent the evening listing the jobs necessary before we open the restaurant, and calculating a revised schedule so we could check our estimated opening time.  This required a very steady nerve, and the ability not to mutter one word out of turn which could have set either one of us off into a prolonged sulk.  Luckily, we think it should still be possible to open in July, but now definitely likely to be the closing half of the month.

Today saw us check our new schedule against actual performance.  I worked with Adrian to undercoat the outside of the new windows in the restaurant.  Meanwhile Mike moved the wood burner away from the wall, and began work on repairing the plastered wall which had been badly singed due to the burner being incorrectly sited, and then researching options for a new chimney flue, fire doors and other consumables we need to order, like, yesterday.

Honest guv, only quality products here





And after all this, I turned my hand to a little light gardening as relaxation, as we have several guests this weekend, and I wouldn’t want them to think we have just be lying around the place doing nothing.

Talk of gardens and other things

The past couple of days have seen more steady progress.  Mike has taken a couple of days out of his busy schedule to render the parapet walls above the snug.  Normally, I would have been cracking the whip to get him to undertake jobs in the order they appear on the master schedule (controlling administrator, moi?) but on this occasion, I  agreed with him that the water seeping into the brick work due to lack of render must take priority over minor issues like installing electrics in the kitchen.  They can afford to wait (but not much longer, I hear you cry) and there’s not much point putting electrics in if the rooms will be damp due to rainwater seepage…

So where was I?  Oh yes, Mike has been getting plastered (sorry) and I have been painting.  Having installed new glazing units last week we have a lot of bare wood that now needs priming.  Clearly this is not quite from the bang, crash, wallop school of restoration that we most enjoy, but it appears on the schedule so someone must do it, and as I am the more rules driven of the two of us, my name has ended up on the sheet.  Other recent excitements include:

Yesterday, we had a trip around a local garden that turned out to be absolutely stunning: created in a fold in the hillside so part protected from the winds, and with a stream running through as it descends the valley, it was a wonder to behold.   Rhodos, azaleas, iris, rodgersia, gunnera and other plants I have never been able to grow before in abundance: I am still stunned by and slightly in awe of the sights that unfolded.

We met the new person in post whose job is to try to increase use of the train from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog which runs through Betws-y-Coed and Pont-y-Pant station (approx 250m walk from here).  We talked of us possibly funding a poster in the station advertising our restaurant among other things.

And we went to a very interesting community meeting in Dolwyddelan (currently rather hush hush – will tell you more in a month or two) and then to coffee with some friends who very kindly gave us a Welsh slate fire surround surplus to their requirements but which we believe we can fit in the main house when we get around to revamping it.

Oh, and yesterday we had a visit from a colleague from UEA and her husband.  It was good to catch up on some of the news, although the slightly surprised look on their faces at certain times remind us once again that we have perhaps taken on more here than might have been sensible.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and it will be my turn for undercoating – super.