Between the rock and the glass places…

As we approach the Bank Holiday weekend, Mike and I are gearing up for a few more days of hard work – we hope. We have ‘Jabberwocky’ playing in the cafe tomorrow night, so also need to get ready to boogie the night away, remembering that our last music night was great fun. Meanwhile, a short recap of the last three days pretty much reads as: Mike has been remodelling the windows whilst I remodel the rock face.

Mike first. He has been replacing the glass, first in the second set of patio doors leading onto the balcony, and then in room 7 which is just above the cafe.

These 'windows' were reasonably sound....
These ‘windows’ were reasonably sound….

whilst these windows were pretty poor - indeed the entire sill has had to be cut away and replaced
whilst these windows were pretty poor – Mike removed the entire sill and has replaced it with his own version. Can you see him yet?

I have been working mostly on the landscaping. You may recall a previous shot:

Some rock exposure now achieved, but still plenty of 'stuff' to remove
Showing that rock exposure has begun

With the help of Osian, we set to on Wednesday and managed to make quite a difference. Between the two of us, we removed several dodgy saplings, and levered off quite a collection of rhodo stumps. These stumps are of seriously impressive dimension. Over the past who-knows-how-many years, the rhodos have layered and seeded such that there is a huge network of roots and stumps all growing close to the rock face, all interlinked, and requiring a lot of welly to move them.

Just trying to find the best point of purchase against which to lever this stuff off the rock
Just trying to find the best point of purchase against which to lever this stuff off the rock

but see the difference it has made.
but see the difference it is making.

This last photo is not as clear as I would have liked, but you can see a massive piece of rhodo root (upside down, on right hand side) that we have levered off, leaving a new section of rock exposed. It took three of us the best part of a couple of hours to shift this. The breeze block in shot was intended to give a sense of scale, but I am not convinced it will cause you to be sufficiently impressed when you see it – it was huge!

We were all careful to keep our toes out of the way as this one slid off.
We were all careful to keep our toes out of the way as this one slid off.

The rest of the time has been spent on regular life; burning the huge pile of roots, branches and leaves we have moved; and filling the skip which arrived yesterday and which is already full with broken glass and yet more mattresses.

Windows into our world

I start with apologies regarding the last post. We had written an update on 20th April, but didn’t notice we hadn’t posted it live until someone (thanks, Charley) asked when the next post would appear. So today, even though we are posting the day after our previous post appeared, the news covers the last five days.
Last Friday and Saturday saw us working on one of the sets of balcony doors

Evidence that the sun does shine, even in Snowdonia
Evidence that the sun does shine, even in Snowdonia

Carrie removing the old paint before Mike re-glazed the door
Carrie removing the old paint before Mike re-glazes the door

Mike helped me to clear the jungle which had been growing on the rock which ‘overlooks’ the long corridor. He got quite an ow-ie when he was using his superior strength, and the mattock, to break old rhodo roots off a rock. The momentum pushed his finger up against an old branch and it was then trapped by the hammer handle. It is healing well, but there were a few choice words said at the time.

The rock face, without the weeds, old rhodos and brambles, and assorted bottles, tins, cutlery ...
Part of the rock face, without the weeds, old rhodos and brambles, and assorted bottles, tins, cutlery, cups, glasses …

but, were we could, leaving the moss, ferns and other desirable plants in place
but, where we could, leaving the moss, ferns and other desirable plants in place

On Sunday and Monday, we were both working in the cafe most of the day, but I snuck a few moments for further clearing of the rock face, my reward – I was told – for calculating and submitting the VAT return.

Some rock exposure now achieved, but still plenty of 'stuff' to remove
Some rock exposure now achieved, but still plenty of ‘stuff’ to remove

Last night, our sleep was somewhat disturbed by the hail showers, and we woke to see Moel Siabod and our cars clothed in white. During the day we had further hail showers, but we continued with the stripping and re-glazing schedule. I only took a few minutes out to clear part of the slope of dense brambles which were beginning to obscure the platform outside the doors we are working on, to help it look slightly less neglected.
I forgot to take a 'before' picture but I assure you it was a tangle of bramble, dead rhodo, leaves and assorted household waste.
I forgot to take a ‘before’ picture but I assure you this was a tangle of bramble, dead rhodo, leaves and assorted household waste.

All we need to do now is work out what sort of plants to put in to stabilise the soil and brighten things up – and find the time to put them in. Dim problem!

Making progress again

This post composed 20th April:
Mike and I have spent the week so far mostly on two different projects.
Mike has been sensible and stayed with the programme of replacing the double glazing units. He has progressed to the second room on the first floor and removed all the glass from one window

look: no glass!
look: no glass!

and later removed one panel from the french windows to the balcony. As the builders merchants delivered the glazing panels yesterday, he was also able to re-glaze this final section today.
Mike tells me all of this went according to plan, except that as he was removing the fixed panel in the window shown above, after he had removed the putty, he was gently easing the units out, when at the very last moment he spotted that the exterior pane of glass was no longer linked to the interior pane and so, with irritating inevitability, it fell and smashed- rather spectacularly – on landing on the rock eight feet below. I believe the clean up probably took longer than the original job….

Meanwhile, after I restarted my painting marathon with a simple door prime, I continued to clear rhodo stumps from rock that will be overlooked by the new suites of rooms. Yesterday and today I moved to the area that can be seen from the long corridor and have begun grubbing up stumps. This might be more accurately described as trimming stumps with secateurs and/or loppers, and then whacking at the stumps with mattock and/or axe until some parts could be levered off, and then continuing until it finally breaks into sufficient pieces that it can be removed.

View from long corridor of rhodos and general scrub
View from long corridor of rhodos and general scrub

Roughly the same area, but now with the evergreen removed and some of the scrub cleared
Roughly the same area, but now with the evergreen removed and some of the scrub cleared

The tree having a rest after its exciting trip down hill
The tree having a rest after its exciting trip downhill

It doesn’t look much yet, but I am hoping that over the next few days this area will be fit to be photographed, but there are still many rhodo stumps to remove, along with a great deal of litter, building rubble and soil, between now and then.
Our other news is that Mike has put aside his chain saw envy and invited some guys to help him process the trees. You may recall that last year, some chaps appeared to fell four trees which were fouling the power lines. They had some very powerful chain saws. Mike invited them at the time to let us know if they ever had any spare time, and yesterday was our lucky day. In one afternoon they reduced the 4 felled trees, plus one other, to slices which we can now manoeuvre reasonably easily.
Now we just have to work out how to get it from here to the building!
Now we just have to work out how to get it from here to the building over some very rough terrain!