One swallow did not a nest make – or, if so, not where we could see it…

Well, we are tired, but if I could get out of my chair, I would be doing a happy dance – if I knew how to do one (our ballroom dance classes a few years ago didn’t run to such things) to reflect how good it feels to nearly be watertight in at least one room.

The weather over the past 3 days has been very kind to us as it allowed the roof to dry out enabling us to proceed.  Since our last post, we have bandaged the joints, laid the fibreglass mat and covered it with resin, sanded the result and then applied the top coat complete with added Welsh slate chippings to make the resulting surface non-slip.  Wednesday was mostly spent preparing through removal of render (Mike) and shopping for bits (Carrie).

Joins have been bandaged; preparing for mat
Joins have been bandaged; preparing for mat

The hardest day was definitely yesterday as we laid the glass fibre mat, because once we started using the catalysed resin, there could be only limited breaks until we finished the job.  We started the bandaging around 10am, and finished laying the main bed around 4.30pm, when we had to clean up to go and cast our vote!  The evening was pretty quiet and mainly spent sitting silently.  Today Mike top-coated the floor whilst I cleaned and sanded the stairs that approach the roof.

Mike now top coating over the resined mat - nearly finished!
Mike now top coating over the resined mat – nearly finished!

Of course we haven’t quite finished yet, oh no.  Tomorrow we will – but, I will leave this for the next posting.

I realise some of you may be reading this and thinking we are slacking, so in our defence I should let you know that during the schedule gaps this week – such as times when we needed to wait for things to go off, or when Mike wanted the deck to himself for a messy job and I was brutally asked to leave the area – and not wishing to be thought a jibber, I have also added some plants to the rock ‘garden’ behind the long corridor; painted a small run of fence and a couple of wooden planters; and planted an area behind the bar with herbs in pots.

Sadly, our swallows have changed their mind and moved to the other side of our window, which means we cannot see them as they fly in.  Oh well, maybe next year.  But we do seem to have a lot of birds flirting with the eaves so who knows what may happen.

Strange bee-haviour

Following our last post we have been informed, by a trainee clinical psychologist no less, that “Bees are not a child substitute” (H.Edwards-Heathcote, personal correspondence, 2016) and we wish to offer our sincere apologies if we have mislead anyone in this regard.  But it did make us laugh….and I should let you know that Mike has now ordered the hives, so we still hope they arrive before the nucs.

Today has been a very good day – it feels like we have finally turned a corner and begun to make real progress.  We have had a mostly dry day and thus been able to make significant advances on the roof.  Our local weather forecast gave us a 5% chance of precipitation but luckily we hadn’t quite finished removing the tarpaulin before the rain started.  An hour later, the rain slackened and we were able to begin exterior work and by lunch time had removed the tarp.  This afternoon we began to fit the various profiled edge pieces that we are assured will make this flat roof totally waterproof with an estimated life span of 50 years, which suits us just fine, and if the weather holds we are on target to complete the roof this Thursday.

Yesterday, being a Bank Holiday, we decided to treat ourselves to a day off.  We had a quick trip to the local plant nursery in Dolwyddelan where I couldn’t resist buying some alpines so that I can start planting the rock face just behind the glazed corridor between the restaurant and the existing kitchen.  I attach a photo in the hope that any readers experienced in gardening in rock pockets might advise on possible ways to proceed.

Our rock, south facing, very little soil and plenty of rain - what can our garden grow?
Our rock, south facing, very little soil and plenty of rain – what can our garden grow?

We also ordered a few large hanging baskets for delivery next month, to decorate the front of the house once the restaurant opens.  And we made up the final two outside benches as I think we found the stress of not actually doing anything too difficult to bear!

On Sunday we met up with Jane, who is going to cook in the restaurant, to make sure she is happy with the progress of the refurbishment.  Given that this put me in the ‘food’ zone, I then spent Sunday evening completing a draft our our “Safer Food Better Business” documents which we will need to make available to officials visiting when we are ready to open, and even managed to create a draft cleaning schedule.  In the meantime, Mike had tried to sell the surplus paving blocks on ebay, but despite having lots of watchers, had no offers.  So instead, Mike arranged for them to be advertised on the village website which proved to be extremely effective…all 9,000 claimed in less than half an hour – and over the next few days, they should all be disappearing, which is great news as an item on our ever-lengthening ‘to do’ list is to start cleaning the front ready for July.

But the highlight was finding, as we retired last night, that two birds (possibly swifts, or maybe swallows) are building a nest just outside our bedroom window.   We are sleeping in the turret bedroom, which has five large sash windows forming roughly a semicircle, and the birds have chosen to build the nest at the top of the wall between two windows which means we will be able to see all their comings and goings over the next few weeks.  Brilliant!