Towering over it all…

As I had predicted when I last wrote, the weather has been fantastic here in North Wales over the past week. Monday through to Friday, pretty much unbroken sunshine, and building heat so that by Friday it was so hot….but then you know we red-heads have very poor tolerance for the burning heat of the British sun!
Anyway, Mike and Osian put the tower together on Monday on the balcony/flat roof we rebuilt last year. Here’s hoping it can take the weight! I stripped the woodwork and then removed and replaced the right hand window pane. The tower was then dismantled and rebuilt a few feet further to the left, and I began the same process with the 4-paned window you can see me working on. These four are now all re-glazed and part primed. We have had thunderstorms and rain yesterday, so it may be a few days before I can restart this particular activity.

It's wonderful, the illusion of safety you get on one of these towers . . .
It’s wonderful, the illusion of safety you get on one of these towers . . .
Mike is fitting the beading.  See Mike measure carefully.  Clever Mike.
Mike is fitting the beading. See Mike measure carefully. Clever Mike.

Meanwhile, Mike has continued to build and destroy stud walls. The rationale is that he is putting up two new stud walls, at right angles, to form the back and left hand side of the new staircase. So far, he has completed the walls for the ground floor, floor one, and much of floor two. The plywood sheets arrived this week and so, after the Bank Holiday, we will be attaching the plywood to the stud wall, noting that the wall needs to be fire rated when complete so this is all trickier and more exacting than might be obvious at first glance.

View from behind the new stud wall, showing  where Mike has removed an old avocado sink and associated plumbing
View from behind the new stud wall, showing where Mike has removed an old avocado sink and associated plumbing

We have also done many ‘normal’ tasks in preparation for the weekend and visitors from Suffolk next week – things like mowing the lawn and strimming the rougher areas; pulling up vast quantities of rose bay willow herb stalks before they flower; going to a ‘Betws y Coed and District Tourist Association’ meeting; visiting the local pottery to select mugs to put into the suites of rooms when they are ready; going shopping (!); and studying Welsh.

We are looking forward to a busy weekend in the cafe as Jane is having this weekend off. As usual, we are quite enjoying working together, especially when the cafe gets busy.
We are also preparing for the Great Get Together which we are hosting on 18th June. If you haven’t heard of this, it is a national organisation encouraging communities to get together once a year to celebrate what we have in common, rather than that which divides us. This year, they have a special focus, remembering the MP Jo Cox. If you wish to join us to share food with others, please feel free. If it is too far for you to travel, check your local press – there will almost certainly be another event local to you!

Your invitation to the Great Get Together
Your invitation to the Great Get Together

Best foot forward….

When I returned from my travels on Thursday, I wanted to do something that would make a difference, so Mike helped me with digging up a few more rhodo roots.
You can see here the scale of the problem with one root that we have managed to get balanced vaguely into the wheelbarrow, even though most of it is above not in it:

Mike in characteristic working stance
Mike in characteristic working stance

and here, where we have stored approx one quarter of the stumps we have lifted to date on this bonfire site. Unfortunately, I am not convinced that this photo captures the size of the problem as well as I would have hoped.
Carrie in casual pose over the current bonfire heap of rhodo stumps
Carrie in casual pose over the current bonfire heap of rhodo stumps

Mike is a happy bunny these days, as we have now received both the detailed architect plans, and the engineers drawings for the new staircase. We have calculated what supplies we need to buy and also where to store them, so that we can approach the building in a logical sequence (or shall we just continue to do it in the order Mike fancies?)

Mike has begun to construct the stud wall which will be the back of the new staircase
Mike has begun to construct the stud wall which will form the back of the new staircase

This wall needs to continue up through the building, so we have started knocking down existing walls which are in the way.

Wall which separated rooms 17 and 18 on floor 2
Wall which separated rooms 17 and 18 on floor 2
Wall in room 17, recorded for posterity
Wall in room 17, recorded for posterity
Wall, what wall?
Wall… what wall?

Oh, that old thing - Mike has removed it
Oh, that old thing – we have removed it

We have also continued to work on the landscaping, mostly because we are both keen to remove the railings which are such an eyesore. To remind you:
View from cafe of the fire exit slope
View from cafe of the fire exit slope

...now in a bit more detail...
…now in a bit more detail…
Slope and rock face, now mostly cleared of rhodo
Slope and rock face, now mostly cleared of rhodo

We started to remove the railings as it made it easier for us to move the large rhodo roots

Beginning to dismantle the railings
Beginning to dismantle the railings

but we took this to new limits last Friday, as shown below:

More details of the view
View from the cafe now the railings have gone
Slope, now that railings are removed
Slope, now that railings are removed

The only other important project news is that Carrie sustained an owie this week. In a momentary lapse of concentration, she overbalanced whilst swinging the lump hammer at a particularly recalcitrant bit of wall and put out a foot to stabilise – but unfortunately, trod on a newly exposed nail on the footplate of the stud wall. Nothing that a bit of sticking plaster won’t cure, but Mike’s first aid training and bedside manner were much appreciated!
Next week is due to be dryer, so I suspect I might have to return to painting duties….

Quick update on the river…

Things have been steady on the refurbishment since I last wrote, since we have been committed to working in the cafe. (All together – aahhhh) As I will be away from Plas for a couple of days, I thought I would drop you a quick line so that you can see two important developments:

1. Mike and I have started to cut through the first floor, to make space for the stairway

Looking up at the ceiling in the old entrance lobby to the bar
Looking up at the ceiling in the old entrance lobby to the bar

Once we have cut the next slot, we will be able to put the stud work in, ready to start the stairwell proper.

2. We had a wet day yesterday – would you like to see what one day’s rain can do to the water level in the Lledr:

After the dry months....
After the dry months….
...and one day's rain later
…and one day’s rain later