Stop press – gravity still working!

As someone famous used to say, I wanna tell you a story….

A couple of days ago, I might have got a bit chippy with Mike when I found my warmest jumper (which mysteriously had been in the laundry for about 4 weeks) damp on the piano in the library (how ‘Cluedo’ does that sound?!)  We were both puzzled but however it had arrived neatly folded on the piano was nothing to the fact that it was damp, and had thus raised the polish on the piano lid, and it’s not like we have so much nice furniture that we can afford to trash items without due cause.

Anyway, roll on a few days, and we noticed as we tried to make up one of the bedrooms in the Manor for visitors that the bed was wet.  Mike went into the attic to investigate and found a cupboard on the floor above this room which was wet inside, and presumed there was a leak in the roof above this, which did not seem unreasonable given that rain was lashing down at the time.

Today we have come to a new realisation.  We spent the best part of the entire working day laying tiles in the restaurant, as we are now beginning to get quite twitchy about being ready to open in a little over two weeks.  Well, not so much getting twitchy as that the twitchy-ness is really ramping up… so by 4pm we were both very tired.  I had enjoyed a brief tutorial about lunchtime on Facebook from Shaun, so was not perhaps at my most alert.  I was also very wet as I had been using the tile cutter in which the cutter wheel is bathed in water, which then bathed me in water every time I tried to check exactly where the cut line was.  So, in a slight fug, I wended my weary way up the grand staircase and past this particular room.  Fortunately, we normally leave the door to this room propped open as that feeds light onto the landing during the day so as I walked past, I became aware of the sound of running water.  I peered into the room and noticed water was falling from several spots in the ceiling, but I guess it is a sign of our times (or just how wet I was) that I continued past to our bedroom in order to change before investigating further.  When I returned, I noticed the mattress on the bed was completely soaked; several cascades of water were falling onto the carpet; and water was raining over the TV and dvd player on the windowsill.  So I did what any sane woman would do under the circumstances – I went downstairs and called for Mike.

Mike went to have a look.  He followed his previous pattern of checking on the floor above and noticed that the same cupboard was wet, again.  But this time, as the external rain was more of a drizzle than a downpour, he checked more thoroughly.  He noticed a couple of pipes each with a valve (exhibit A below),

Exhibit A - 2 pipes and valves
Exhibit A – 2 pipes and valves

but at the same moment he realised that both times we had found a leak in this room, Gary (who is currently installing a new boiler to supplement our existing provision) had been working on the pipework.  Mike called for Gary who identified the values as air release valves for the central heating system, which were commonly installed in the 1970’s at the high points of such systems, to release any air trapped in the pipes.  As they discussed them, they noticed water was definitely leaking from these into the cupboard.  It turns out that the narrow pipes beyond the valves should have been vented externally to the building all those years ago so that any water flushed out with the rising air was safely expelled to the outside world, but instead these tubes have spent the last 40 years coiled into a neat roll and left in the cupboard.

Having botched a quick fix, they both returned to the bedroom in question to find a section of the ceiling on the floor.

Gap where ceiling should be
Gap where ceiling should be
The curtain pole looks like it was in the way when gravity acted
The curtain pole looks like it was in the way when gravity acted

Oh joy, oh rapture.  Mind you, we had been puzzled when viewing the house that part of that room’s ceiling had clearly been repaired in the past and had the distinct appearance of a repair after a bath has flooded, but we couldn’t work out how that was possible given there was no bath above that room.  Now we know!

And when Mike checked the rest of the house, he noticed a small but significant dribble from the light fitting in the library, which was dripping onto books left on top of the piano, so now we also know how the jumper ruined the polish on the piano.  This is one of those days when working in admin at UEA seems like ampler alternative!

Oh, and in case you are still interested, here is a photo of the patch test, each colour having been painted twice now.  Any opinions welcome.

Better or worse? Better or worse?
Better or worse? Better or worse?

Your advice requested…

So far this week has been dominated by tiling and painting and possibly my least favourite job so far, grouting.

We have painted over part of the restaurant floor with a bitumen product to try to maximise the water-proofing of the concrete floor, which probably was not installed as well as one might have hoped all those years ago.  We have laid a few more tiles and started the not inconsiderable job of grouting between, although this is slightly hampered by the large stack of plasterboard which we are not yet ready to install.  Mike has also fixed the first piece of skirting board…

Grouting-check. Sizing-check. Ceiling first coat (probably can't see it) -check. Skirting board - check. Huge pile of plasterboard in the way - oh yes!
Grouting-check. Sizing-check. Ceiling first coat (probably can’t see it) -check. Skirting board – check. Huge pile of plasterboard in the way – oh yes!  Note the fire door casually taking its ease…

Mike has been finishing off his wiring, and Jason very kindly visited to confirm he is happy with Mike’s work.  This means Mike can now start to baton out the kitchen and store, ready to install the plasterboard above.

What can I say? Walls, with batons.
What can I say? Walls, with batons.

We have also begun analysing the kitchen equipment listed by various suppliers to try to make the most economical purchases, and today I have been in touch with Barclaycard (for credit card machines), our bank (for best terms once we start trading), the licensing office (to record that we have amended the licensed area), waste collection (long story – will let you know the outcome) and so forth – you know, actually starting the business of running a business.

Today, to my delight, I have actually started proper decorating!  I have applied the last of two sizing coats of paint to the newly plastered areas, and have now put one coat of white paint on part of the ceiling, so the room is beginning to look as we hope it will when we open.  But we need your help / opinion / brick bats.  Below is a photo showing one coat only applied of two colours of paint which we need to choose between for the walls.  We realise the colours will change subtly with the second application, but would value your opinion if you already have one, since we both like both colours, recognising the yellow is laryier (is that a real word?) and the peach is quite a bit darker, in a room already quite dark:

Do you prefer the peachy one or the yellow one?
Do you prefer the peachy one or the yellow one?

We have now deliberately put one of the new chairs between them, so that you can see the colours against both the tiled floor and the furniture.  Please would anyone with any taste / any views on these paints let us know which you prefer.

So, which colour goes better with both the floor and the furniture? Can you help?
So, which colour goes better with both the floor and the furniture? Can you help?

I don’t guarantee we will go with your choice as we will likely go with majority opinion, but it might help break a deadlock between Mike and me.

Oh, and in case you are wondering why our progress is not as great as usual, I should say that after waving goodbye to family on Sunday, we welcomed visitors from our previous village on Monday.  Irene and Sally had been over to Wales to enjoy the Llanberis steam railway, and they dropped by to stay on Monday night.  We had a lovely time chatting about mutual friends and were all astonished how soon time passed and they had to leave on Monday.  Unfortunately, the weather was such that Moel Siabod did not make an appearance whilst they were here – a clear sign that they need to return to see the even better view next time!

Pip became 21 yesterday

Our youngest daughter, Philippa, known as Philly or Pip was 21 yesterday, so we have many visitors to the house helping us celebrate.  I hate to say it but, my goodness, don’t the years fly by when you are not paying attention!

This cake just about says it all
This cake just about says it all
Happy Birthday girl and some of her family
Happy Birthday girl (fourth from left) and some of her family

The work summary since Tuesday is pretty routine:

On Wednesday, the weather was relatively dry and I painted the newly rendered walls above the bar, gloss painted the exterior of 11 windows and then began to size the newly plastered walls in the restaurant (or at least those which had already properly dried out).  Mike plastered and skimmed several other walls, and then finished constructing the arch from the restaurant into the kitchen.

This wall will look so much nicer once painted - and should be much more water resistant, which is quite important in Wales
This wall will look so much nicer once painted – and should be much more water resistant, which seems to be quite important in Wales

On Thursday, I sized more walls, and then cut tiles to shape to fill the fiddly bits near the walls, and in the afternoon attended a church meeting in Betws y Coed and did some serious shopping ready for yesterday’s celebrations.  Meanwhile Mike finished wiring the ring mains for the kitchen and restaurant, and put in almost all of the loop for the fire alarm system.

Filling the fiddly bits
Preparing the fiddly bits
Gaps now filled
Gaps now filled

On Friday, Mike and I made a concerted effort to lay more floor tiles, and were agreed by the end that two people working together definitely made more progress than we might have expected.

The dogs enjoy helping us....
The dogs enjoy helping us….
39 boxes of tiles down - only another 25 to go
39 boxes of tiles down – only another 25 to go

Yesterday, Saturday, we spent a lot of time waiting for family to arrive, but of course this being the first Saturday of the school summer holidays, some people have had extremely long, hot and frustrating journeys for which we apologise – after all, it is our fault that Pip’s 21st fell yesterday.  Thanks to all who made it such a memorable day.