Building control say…..yes!

So the good news first – we heard on Wednesday that we now have formal approval of the architects plans for ‘phase two’ of the refurbishments, and should receive the detailed plans tomorrow, with any luck. Of course, the way the wind is blowing today, they may arrive in the next country/country rather than on our doormat, but we look forward to tomorrow anyway.

Monday and Tuesday we spent time trying not to start the work for which we didn’t yet have permission. On Monday this was not difficult as we were in the cafe. On Tuesday, despite the rain, we decided to work outdoors, so whilst Mike dug a trench for the path to the labyrinth,

The mini-digger is earning it's keep yet again...
The mini-digger is earning it’s keep yet again…

which later looked like this, with Adrian’s help

Path edging being installed (to be concreted in place when it stops raining, whenever that might be)
Path edging being installed (to be concreted in place when it stops raining, whenever that might be)

I trimmed the brambles and other growth growing the path side of a low wall, separating our lower garden (!) from the river. Actually to call it a wall is being kind: it is more a random collection of boulders loosely together, but the view from the building is now somewhat improved.
Starting from this...
Starting from this…

...after, and only slightly out of focus (giant soz)
…after, and only slightly out of focus (giant soz)

We also did lots of tedious business stuff which I won’t bore you with, and cut and fitted an order for veneer inlays.

Yesterday I went in search of Seville oranges. I know it is a bit late in the season, but whilst we were on holiday I suddenly realised we hadn’t sourced our supply. I was lucky to find someone in Mochdre (near Llandudno) able to sell us two boxes of oranges, and today Jane and I made our maiden batch of marmalade from Penaeldroch – and very lovely it is too, according to the impartial taste buds of Mike.

Today’s excitement was provided by Storm Doris. Not content with blowing down several trees locally; causing Jane to remain in her car after she arrived for about 10 minutes before she was able to leave her car and get to the house; disconnecting our neighbour’s landline; blowing our large plant pots (including one oak half-barrel) around the car park, it blew down a section of dry stone wall that corrals our neighbours two horses, Woody and Sadie. The emergency party of four set to at about 5.15 p.m., in complete wet weather gear, to rebuild the wall as well as possible before the light left us at around 5.45 p.m. It was great fun and will probably keep the horses contained tonight, but I suspect some of us would benefit from reading up on how to lay dry stone walls before we try that again!

Now I haven’t taken many photos this week, as we haven’t really completed anything photogenic, but I can share with you the snap below of Jasper and Boyd companionably in front of the fire in the closest proximity they have ever managed, we think!

Friends?
Friends?

The wanderers return…

I start with profound apologies for the long gap in postings, a result of Mike and I taking a wonderful 10 day break in sunny Madeira.  We tried to keep it a bit quiet before we left, just in case people rushed to take advantage of our absence and visit the café whilst we were away, which would have added to the workload for Jane, Philly and Hugo…or at least that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!

So I hope this post won’t disappoint, being very little to do with our restoration work and more to do with sharing the delights of a little R&R.  In no particular order, we thought we would show you a small selection of our holiday pics.  To set the scene, we left the UK at stupid-o’clock on an icy morning, and arrived in Madeira around 12 noon to this:

View of the island taken from the car hire building
View of the island taken from the car hire building

and later that afternoon, I withdrew to the shade as I could feel my skin telling me it was too hot, even in early February.  I did warn Mike, who didn’t believe me, but I’m not sure the world is ready for the humorous shot of his legs burnt on one side only.

Carrie cowering on the balcony
Cowering on our apartment balcony

We did a lot of sleeping and reading, with the occasional bit of walking…

The view from the crazy golf course
The view from the crazy golf course

and garden visiting, naturally

Carrie in the Palheiro gardens, admiring the flora...
Carrie in the Palheiro gardens, admiring the flora…

 

...and Mike trying to remember one of the name labels
…and Mike trying to remember one of the name labels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and also

Just for a change, a shot of Mike in the Botanic Gardens of Madeira
Just for a change of activity, a shot of Mike in the Botanic Gardens of Madeira

 

A couple of wrinklies, trying to work out this modern phenomenon of selfies....
A shot of a couple of wrinklies, trying to work out how this modern phenomenon of selfies works….

 

On a more conventional note, I offer you a lovely seascape

View from over Mike's shoulder when we stopped for lunch
View from over Mike’s shoulder when we stopped for lunch

along with a picture of Mike at the restaurant, who marked his latest birthday whilst we were away but doesn’t appear to have suffered unduly

Mike anticipating the arrival of food (it was gone 1pm you know...)
Mike anticipating the arrival of food (it was gone 1pm you know…)

To show it wasn’t all beer and skittles

Also showing the view from our balcony
Showing the view from our balcony on a less sunny day (although this was the afternoon of the day we sat at the restaurant)

 

Anyway, enough of our holiday.

We got back late last Thursday.  On Saturday, we held our second quiz night which we hope was enjoyed by all.  During Friday and Saturday, Mike and I completed laying the slate chippings on the labyrinth, which is now finished, with only the access path to complete:

view of the labyrinth, showing the first small patch of landscape gardening in place
View of the finished labyrinth along with the first small patch of garden landscaping in place

Hope to have more refurbishment news in the next day or so.

Have some fun for Comic Relief, anyone?

It’s Thursday now, and five days have passed since last I wrote…

As the end of January has come and gone, I have spent some time finalising accounts for the month and paying the VAT etc.  Mike, meanwhile, continued to concrete the labyrinth pavers in place.

A part concreted, part filled labyrinth
A part concreted, part filled labyrinth

We have each worked one day as the cook in the café, and will do the same tomorrow and Saturday, which seriously cuts into the time available to work on the building.  But with the time we had at our disposal, Mike has already filled the labyrinth path with slate waste to almost level.  We now await delivery of some slate chippings and then it will be finished!  Of course, we will be adding a path from the drive to the labyrinth in due course, but Rome wasn’t built in one day…

Mike, trying to look nonchalant in front of the camera
Mike, trying to look nonchalant in front of the camera

Meanwhile, I have been removing the wallpaper from two rooms in the extension and throwing out the old carpets.  As a reward for completing this task – all size rooms on floors 1 and 2 of the extension are now cleared out ready for building works to commence (and one bonus room almost cleared out) – I have started on the landscaping around the labyrinth.

So, shall I carry on photographing Mike at work, or continue planting ...?
I know it is raining, but shall I carry on photographing Mike at work, or continue planting …?

All of which has been a sort of displacement activity as we still don’t have drawing for the next phase including the stairwell.  ‘Frustrated’ just doesn’t cover it!  We really will start the next phase proper just as soon as we have the plans, along with the Building regs. approval.  Arggghhh.

On a  slightly different tack, we have decided to do a couple of things for Comic relief.  Anyone interested can soon either pick up our ditloids quiz (which we hope will make you laugh as well as groan when you work out the answers) from the Spar shop in Dolwyddelan for the donation to Red Nose Day of one pound, or will be welcome at Plas on Friday 24th February when proceeds from all cake sales will go to the same charity.

On a more recreational note, last Monday we went to a local auction house, and found a  beautiful 3 piece set of bedroom furniture (a 7′-plus wardrobe/clothes press; a knee hole dressing table; and a 4’6″ wooden bed frame) advertised at a wonderfully reasonable price.  As we were busy on Tuesday, we left a written bid that wasn’t high enough, but we are now even more certain that we will seek out auction furniture when redecorating the Manor rooms in future.

Oh and apologies for the delay in posting – what I thought was a massive computer problems turned out to be us needing to buy more storage for the host site – all done, so now the blog post includes pictures too!