Our quiet weekend before the final push …

We have deliberately had a quiet weekend to try to let our energy reserves recover a little, since we estimate we have about 2 weeks work remaining before the cafe restaurant could be opened.

On Friday, Mike focused on the wiring of the electrical sockets whilst I finished painting the store and started mist painting the kitchen.  In the evening, Tom cooked us a barbecue to celebrate his 25th birthday, and my sister Annie and brother in law Ian arrived for the weekend.

Saturday saw Mike continue to wire up the new consumer unit whilst I started putting the acrylic finish on the kitchen walls and mist coated the lobby.

We then spent Sunday showing the area to Annie and Ian before having a snooze-y day today.  We did have some warm sunshine over the last few days and both Phil and Tom took some photos for us, some of which we show here.

The new lawn and planters on the approach to the restaurant are beginning to look more established
The new lawn and planters on the approach to the restaurant are beginning to look more established

 

 

Shame it was so bright - something tells me we will need to take this shot again!
Shame it was so bright – something tells me we will need to take this shot again!

 

 

 

Even more than normal, we are full of (coffee) beans…

I do apologise for the delay in posting this blog. I have been a little bit poorly. Ahhhh. Is that the smallest violin in the world that I can hear playing your sad song for me?
Sunday was our normal quiet day. I had a quick doze after church and then returned to the church flower festival to dispense tea and coffee along with (I hope) bright conversation. I was delighted to be collected after my stint by Tom, who had – unbeknown to me – returned to Penaeldroch after completing his contract at the summer activity centre in Devon.

Monday was something of a red letter day, as we took delivery of our new, all fizzing, all steaming coffee machine.

So shiny, so lovely...
So shiny, so lovely…

Just in case the first picture wasn't gorgeous enough for you...
Just in case the first picture wasn’t gorgeous enough for you…

Camille from Brodies trained three of us in the secret arts of barista-ship which we look forward to practising once we are open. Whilst we focused on learning these new skills, Mike plastered half of the kitchen, and Phil and Mel cleaned out a couple of the chillers.
Tuesday saw Mike plastering again, whilst I painted a couple of mist coats in the store. In the afternoon, I drove Tom to Porthmadog for some shopping and to show him the breathtaking views that this journey reveals, given that we had glorious weather so could for once enjoy the vistas.
Yesterday, my poorly day, saw me supervising Tom moving the office furniture from the base of the stairwell into the sitting room (as this meant I could sit down if/when necessaary). When we arrived last December, we ‘dropped’ the office in the hall on about day 3 so that the desk would be opposite a wood burner which we hoped would result in a reasonable temperature in which to work – but how wrong we were! So we have moved the desk, computer and other items into the tower window in the sitting room (with my back to the view, naturally, to aid concentration) so that during the winter it will benefit from the warmth in the only room we are likely to heat well. Of course, we will need to take evasive action due to leaks when rain is blown through gaps in the pointing over the winter, but we can plan for this eventuality nearer the time.

The seat of power
The seat of power

So whilst Mike was plastering the lobby ceiling, I was filing, organising, and disposing of large quantities of documentation. And Tim dropped by for a surprise visit. He said it was because he was travelling to Chester and had a sudden urge for a cup-a-soup, but I harbour suspicions that he just wanted to check we hadn’t dropped the quality ball since he left a couple of weeks ago… Oh, and my very grateful thanks to Paul who returned my laptop having undone the mess I had made some weeks ago – truly a man of great talent when it comes to IT problems.

Today, I tried to take things easy in my phased return to work.

Gently does it (return to work, that is, not paint)
Gently does it (return to work, that is, not paint)

Mike spent the day plastering the walls in the lobby,

The lobby, now plastered, so nearly ready for the finishing touches
The lobby, now plastered, so nearly ready for the finishing touches
whilst I did minor repairs, painted the store ceiling, and then painted the walls with an anti-bacterial acrylic resin based coating. Something tells me we will both be happy bunnies when the plastering and painting for this restaurant is over!

First coats complete
First coats complete

We also had three horse riders today from Germany, quizzing me about the Brexit vote. Happy days.

Extra, extra – high drama whilst I was writing the blog!!

The last few days have been plaster boarding and cleaning ones.
By end of play today, Saturday, almost every nook and cranny that needs to be has been plaster boarded.

Kitchen, boarded, ready for plastering
Kitchen, boarded, ready for plastering

(There are about 3 minor exceptions, as we have temporarily run out of board….) Phil has now scraped clean and polished all of the windows in the restaurant, cleaned much of the floor, and cleaned out one of the old chillers. She has also painted out the ‘Plas Hall Pub Sky’ sign (which seems too well attached for us to risk taking it down), much to our relief, and has assembled more tables and chairs (see photo far below).

Old sign, ready for new text
Old sign, ready for new text

Jane has been working on recipes including sample paninis, and helping with other tasks. I have been driving around for supplies, cutting and fitting plaster board and taping joints’ and also clearing out the long corridor with Jane. Mike has been batoning and boarding.

So how exactly are we going to install the plasterboard here???
So how exactly are we going to install the plasterboard here???

On the more exciting side, we have taken delivery of the ventilator hood for the kitchen, the stand for the coffee machine (for which Mike has completed the electrical and plumbing install), and the antibacterial paints for the kitchen.

One ventilator hood, for the  use of.  Installation instructions there were none but apparently, one just drills a few holes through!
One ventilator hood, for the use of. Installation instructions there were none but apparently, one just drills a few holes through!

And yesterday, I took the available taste police with me (aka Jane and Philly) and we purchased some crockery, cutlery and storage containers, ready for the next phase. Which is as good an excuse as any for another shot or two of the emerging restaurant…
More tables, a little crockery...
More tables, a little crockery…

.... if only you could see what was behind the camera!
…. if only you could see what was behind the camera!

Looking at tasks still to complete (plaster kitchen and lobby; paint kitchen, store and lobby; fit floor edging and paint floor; fit extractor hood and vent; connect electrics and get signed off; call in fire alarm components and get sign off; decide lobby flooring; install kitchen equipment; clean) it look increasingly like we will miss the Bank Holiday weekend, but here’s hoping we will be open soon-ish!

So what was the extra, extra bit? I had written to here, and was just fitting in the photos, when I noticed things had gone kind of quiet in the kitchen. Mike had been preparing chilli pasta with salad for our dinner (since we have an unofficial split of evening work between cooking, and blogging/doing accounts/assorted other documentary-type tasks). When I had finished inserting photos, I pottered through to find Mike and Phil studiously staring at the meal. Turns out, Mike had tried to prise the lid off the saucepan using a ceramic knife, and he had heard the tip break off. Searching found no sign of the missing portion so the delicious meal has had to hit the (food waste) bin and frozen chips and fish cakes are now being prepared. Of course we realise that the minute the food hits the bin, we will probably find the knife fragment somewhere unrelated, but you know what sticklers we are for Health and Safety!

So close we can almost taste it…

I am very pleased to be able to tell you that we are making progress now at a much improved rate. Yes, I know we had hoped to open this week, but it really is looking like it won’t be too long now.
On Monday, I did a lot of painting, both of woodwork, ceiling and walls. Mike plastered part of the kitchen and batoned the remainder of the kitchen. Given that this was the first sunny day for a very long time, we also took some photos of views ready for our web pages.

Approach to the restaurant area from car park
Approach to the restaurant area from car park

Phil arrived in the early evening, having volunteered to come and give us a hand for a few days.
So on Tuesday, we put Phil to work with the weedkiller to make a start on the paved driveway, and also move a heap of slate from one place to a less obtrusive place. Meanwhile, Mike moved from batoning to plumbing, whilst I painted more places. Mel arrived to weed the front flower bed and the area outside the restaurant.
And today, Jane our cook started and began by selecting recipes and making lists of things we need.

Jane, Carrie and Mike lean nonchalontly on the fence, with Siabod behind
Jane, Carrie and Mike lean nonchalantly on the fence, with Siabod behind

We have taken down one of the banner signs across the building advertising sky sports, and Phil has over-painted the other one. I finished painting and helped Mike cut and fit plasterboard in the kitchen.
The most enjoyable half hour, though, was spent with Phil mocking up some tables (after we had scrubbed the floor) so that we could see how near the restaurant is to completion!

Lovely view of the rock face
Lovely view of the rock face

Table for 2, sir?
Table for 2, sir?

Twiddly bits

I have left a bit of a gap since the last blog in the hope that we will do something exciting to write about – but sadly, this plan has not quite worked. On top of which, we are now on the finishing twiddly details in many areas, and it never ceases to amaze how they always seem to take longer than expected.
On Wednesday, Mike plastered the store ceiling and one wall, whilst Tim painted some of the restaurant ceiling and wall, and I finished the grouting.

The rolling reverend (retired)
The rolling reverend (retired)

On Thursday, Tim left (and has been much missed following his departure), leaving mike to plaster and me to plasterboard and fit skirting boards. We had a super break in the evening having been invited out to drinks which was a very agreeable break from routine.

The store, before plastering
The store, with one wall plastered

On Friday, I travelled to Porthmadog to see a bank manager and do the weekly grocery shop whilst Mike did more plastering, and on return I gloss painted various windows.
Saturday saw Mike plastering and me painting – plus ca change, eh?

Walls painted, check.  Tiles grouted, check.  Windows glossed, check.  Skirting boards - they belong somewhere else...
Walls painted, check. Tiles grouted, check. Windows glossed, check. Skirting boards – they belong somewhere else…

We had friends Suzanne and Andy to visit on Saturday. Suzanne and I worked together a few years ago, when we were both about 19, so the years fell away as we chatted and we were sad to see them leave today, Sunday. We have had a very low key day today, to help us recover our energies for the final push, as it were. And the weather forecast tells us we can pretty much all look forward to warm and sunny weather for the next 3 days or so, so from a rather grey Wales, here’s hoping!

And the cat helped too…

Many of you may notice that, at long last, we are having our main web pages created. Our apologies that the site may look rather weird for a time, especially as we are still working on the building, so have limited time to create the necessary superb photos. Grateful thanks to Steph for all she is doing for us. And to Chris from over the road, for supplying this photo…

Plas Penaeldroch, as seen from over the road
Plas Penaeldroch, as seen from over the road

Progress continues. On Friday, Tim and I snuck out for a few hours in the morning to visit Ffin y Parc, a local art gallery and coffee stop which we much appreciated. We then returned to Plas rested and motivated for the painting and grouting which was our lot, whilst Mike continued to baton out the kitchen and then fit the new wall lights.

I'm sure I put that vital gadget somewhere here....
‘I’m sure I put that vital gadget somewhere here’….

Batoning continued on Saturday, but I had a reprieve from the grouting as we finally had a day of dry weather, so I glossed one set of window frames.
On Sunday we motored to Bodnant gardens after church, which gave me some super ideas on how to improve the landscape here, noting it may be a day or two before I get around to doing anything about them.

Yesterday, Monday, all three of us worked together to plaster board the kitchen store. There were several comedic moments as we worked to move to the ‘left a bit, right a bit’ with pieces of plasterboard held up on a selection of brooms, but we seemed to get there (or thereabouts) in the end.

At last, we are making progress....
‘At last, we are making progress’….

And today, whilst Mike has finished some twiddly bits (putting up skirting boards, placing orders and preparing for plastering tomorrow), Tim has completed further painting of ceilings and walls and then heroically cleaned the cover over the old bar extractor hood whilst I continued to grout.

Nearly ready to plaster - and the supervisor agrees too...
‘Nearly ready to plaster – and the supervisor agrees too’…
It is surprising just how much grouting is needed on about 60 square metres of wavy-edged tiles, but I will finish one of these days. And today, Boyd (our cat) obviously felt I needed some careful supervision on the task as he leapt up to give me the stern eye!

Left a bit, right a bit woman - get on with it!
‘Left a bit, right a bit human – get on with it!’

Plastered, Laid and Board

Progress on the restaurant over the past few days has been pleasing.  Tim has motored away, painting another section of ceiling white along with several additional walls now covered in mist coat followed by yellow (or I should say ‘Lemon Ice’?)

Great job Tim...
Great job Tim…
looking good (if slightly untidy)
looking good (if slightly untidy)

Mike has plastered the remaining section of wall, we have laid the last of the tiles in the restaurant and grouted a few more tiles, and also put up the first of the new wall lights.

Last of the floor tiles in place
Last of the floor tiles in place
Kimmy the labrador pup
Kimmy the labrador pup

Di, Brian, Emma and Kimmy left yesterday having experienced a few rather wet days in North Wales.  Photo of Kimmy below (sorry Di, Brian and Emma, we don’t appear to have taken any photos of you!)

Today we finished the priming and undercoating of several sections of skirting board, and then we all worked together to finish the battening and then plasterboard the kitchen store.  This has been something of an exhilarating day as we had to work out how to do certain things as we went along, but I hope you will agree that it is beginning to look like a room.

Mike putting up the plasterboard with Tim
Mike putting up the plasterboard with Tim
we have even put in the insulation
We have even put in the insulation
Mike making his bid for entry into the Builders calendar 2017
Mike making his bid for entry into the Builders’ calendar 2017

We have also spent quite a bit of time producing new text for the web pages (still in draft, but I hope soon to appear) and completing a formal application to vary the premises license, made necessary by the alterations we have made to the layout of the ground floor.

And we have, sensibly but with no little regret, taken the definite decision to delay the opening by a week as we recognise we simply cannot rely on plaster drying out or the weather permitting gloss painting at the moment and think delaying by 7 days should improve our chances.  So we now hope to open w/c 22nd August, but will keep you informed!

Is the end nigh?

Life has been a little less hectic since I last wrote, thank goodness.

Based on feedback, and also on comment regarding the appearance of the room, we have begun to paint the restaurant in the ‘Lemon Ice’ paint.  On the less decorative elements, Mike has installed a door liner between the kitchen and the store room, fitted a great deal of skirting board, and I have applied weedkiller to about a quarter of the drive.

Lemon meringue pie, anyone?
Lemon meringue pie, anyone?

We have had a lovely weekend with Uncle Tim and also Di, Brian, Emma and Kimmy the labrador puppy, all of whom arrived on Saturday.

Today we had the bonus of Tim to help us, and have made huge strides in the painting, whilst Mike has beavered away finishing a lot of preparatory work before we (ideally) finish the plastering tomorrow, and (hopefully) the tile laying on Wednesday.  When Adrian arrived to help, the four of us really were making changes in short order.

Preparing the floor for the tile laying
Preparing the floor for the tile laying
The wall behind the stove has been washed with sugar soap, not that we can really see any difference!
The wall behind the stove has been washed with sugar soap, not that we can really see any difference!

On the business side, we have received our Barclaycard transaction machine, so are ready to trade via fantastic plastic.  The balance of the furniture has arrived; we have an installation date for the phone lines and additional broadband; and I have made a few purchases at the Cash and Carry, ready for opening.

Anxious, us, with only 12 working days before opening and about 25 days work to get through? Well, only a little bit!