Howzat!

For a refurbishment blog, this post will definitely be an anomaly.
I wanted to take this opportunity to explain why we have made very little progress to show you over the past 5 days.
On Saturday afternoon, we drove to Cardiff for what is rapidly becoming the annual get-together of our family. Our ‘children’ are now living in different locations across England, so once a year we try to venture out to watch an England cricket match, as an excuse to congregate. We have previously visited Leeds (Headingly) and Chester-le-Street (Durham) grounds, but following a couple of re-locations, this year we ventured to Cardiff.
Sunday afternoon saw us at the SSE SWALEC Stadium to watch England v South Africa in the final of their three 20-20 competitions. Below is a shot of our offspring with some of their partners

The next generation with a random couple of old fogeys

Then we have Mike’s brother and his family
The North Yorkshire contingent of the Whites

and then this chap, however he is:
The photographer of the younger generation, caught on camera himself

We were also joined by Damian’s and Hugo’s parents, and I believe a great time was had by all, but I apologise that photos were not available for all who attended.
My own personal favourite moment highlighted just how out of touch with the modern world I feel sometimes. Charley took a shot of Mike with our ‘baby’, Philly, and then sent it to some hashtag thingy, and the next thing we knew, the photo was displayed on the big screen for all to see – except for Philly, who had chosen that moment to disappear below for a quick loo trip!
What a shame Phil didn’t get to see this!

I hope to be able to report back on more restoration works in a few days, but can confirm if we can’t get hold of the designer in the next couple of days, we might just go off piste and just build something, as time is not on our side…on second thoughts…

Macaron, anyone?

We now have some very useful intelligence to add to our file for planning purposes. We found on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, when we had glorious cloud-free skies, a relative lack of wind, and unseasonably hot temperatures, people were not walking the hills around Pont y Pant. The road was quite deserted (even after allowing for the day on which there was a road accident in Blaenau Ffestiniog) and nothing appeared to be moving. We saw neither locals nor visitors in any number – we were expecting to hear duelling banjos at any moment. For us, the knowledge that the long term weather forecast is for a cool damp July suddenly becomes very cheering!

With this in mind, Jane has been expanding her repertoire in preparation for offering afternoon teas, to include treats currently not listed here. If you fancy trying a chocolate macaron,
you know where to come…

Jane’s first macarons, ready for tasting

Mike and I are diligently working through the painting jobs whilst the dry weather holds

Progressing the painting…

but had to turn to indoor jobs on Thursday when the heavens opened for a hearty drizzle

Mike’s latest re-glazing project

I still managed to find five minutes to work on my garden.

View from floor 2 towards the rear of the building

Whilst painting windows on floor 2, I sneaked a peak at the view – which may help explain why I have been obsessing about rhodo roots. Back in April, this hillside was covered with dead rhodos, rubbish and scrub. Here’s hoping we can all agree this now has the potential to form a more pleasing view from the suites of rooms we are creating/ upgrading.

So sorry there is still no news on the staircase. We will continue to press for the drawings to be progressed next week, but are now off to Dolwyddelan carnival whilst Jane holds the fort…

The Great Get Together

On Sunday we took a break from the restoration work to enjoy the company of local people over some food and drink. We you can see, we prepared a table

We set the scene…

We hung the jolly penants which our daughter Philly had very kindly run up for us
The bunting was up

We had hung the hanging baskets and Mike had tended to their hydration needs
The floral decorations are up

and then we completely forgot to take any photos once people began arriving!
So rather than show you, I will try to paint a very brief word picture for you. People began arriving around quarter to two, bringing food and drink to share. Mike and I got busy making the teas and coffees that people wisely requested on such a hot day; Jane very kindly helped scour our kitchen for crockery, cutlery and containers requested; and a couple of young ladies very kindly reorganised the contents of the dolls house to create a more homely feel. Several groups broke off for a quick tour of the building, and it all broke up around four. After the guests had left, we found that the cleaning up had almost all been done for us, for which we are very grateful. It was super to have a chance to chat with so many people and celebrate all that we had in common, and we hope they felt the same.

And now, back to the day job. I have finished the edging to ‘define’ the lawn on the slope behind the cafe. This should help Mike and Adrian to mow the lawn regularly without giving my plants a short back and sides, as has happened with worrying regularity over the past year.

New edging for the ‘lawn’

Both Mike and I have been working on the windows on floor 2 where we have now stripped and removed the panes from the left hand windows, and now re-glazed two areas :
The windows are coming on

We have had some company whilst working on these second floor windows. The side windows over the cafe run very close to just under the eaves, and a couple of house martins have (understandably) not been happy with us working so close to their nest. We have been very careful to only appear at the window for short periods, but have felt vaguely guilty about interrupting their privacy, so I for one will be glad to move on.

Also, Osian has been up to help us again. We set him to work removing rhodo roots (what else?) at the start of a narrow path running along the rocky outcrop high over the river:

A tree moved to the bonfire site, collateral damage when a rhodo root was levered off the rock

Cleared of stumps (some visible in the foreground), ready for us to clean down

We are waiting to hear from others regarding the staircase, but in the meantime Mike has been fitting the insulation

mike

Insulation being installed, behind the chicken wire to prevent sagging

With the weather set fair for this week, I imagine we will continue to work on windows… but will let you know more on Friday!