This week has been a quiet one on the building front. This is partly because I went to Cowbridge (slightly to the left of Cardiff) last weekend to go shopping with our daughters; partly because we have pretty much run out of things to do before the plumber comes; and quite possibly mostly because we are both exhausted.
Last Saturday, whilst I was drifting around the shops, Mike and Jane were looking after a walking group who parked in the morning, went walking, and arrived for tea in the afternoon. I believe Mike and Jane coped admirably, but I suspect they might have had to have a quiet sit down afterwards.
We have continued to work on clearing and improving the landscape, and I have potted on many seedlings and planted bulbs out on the hillside which we hope will be remodelled by next Spring, assuming the stairs are in place, enabling us to remove the wooden slope.
Given the stalemate we have reached, we have decided to get away for a few days. We will stay in North Wales so that, should we hear that the plumber is coming, we can whizz back if necessary but otherwise plan to spend a few days doing absolutely nothing, leaving the building in the loving care of Jane and Tom. When we return, we hope that normal service will be resumed!
We are waiting for the plumber who we are expecting any day this week, so continue to find jobs to do that don’t need the pipes to be moved. We have replaced the last of the 6 Velux window panes, so no longer have a view like this from the third floor.
and we have completed various other totally un-glamorous tasks around the property.
Yesterday, we decided we needed a break from indoors, and set out to do some Rhodo bashing. In the photo above, you can see a line of Rhodos around the centre of the shot which are holding up our attempts to clear the view down to the river. In the shot below you may be able to see how steep this bank is, with the river flowing gently at the bottom of the slope.
Here we show the view from the road, so you can see the extent of the Rhodo infestation (hint: most of the green stuff you can see is either ivy or Rhododendron ponticum)
and that remains true further down the river bank, much of which we will need to eradicate over time.
Mike was clipping the top growth away and passing this to me before treating the stumps.
We had hoped that the photo below would show just how much we had achieved, but maybe not! We will try to take a shot from the road tomorrow to show you next time…
This week we have been somewhat distracted by other events – I have had a string of appointments and meetings which took me away from the refurbishment work, so I hope you will understand why progress has been slightly dented as a consequence.
Below you see one of the two Velux windows we have re-glazed.
and this is the view from the window that was previously filled with polycarbonate. We were pleasantly surprised to see just how lovely the view can be, but we noticed that there was something of a damp patch on the floor both before and after re-glazing. We think we have tracked down the problem, and Mike and I will be trying to rectify this in a week or so.
Having almost completed the roof insulation, I have continued to insulate the stairwell, and then fix the insulation in place with chicken wire. The wall below is on floor 3, which means we have almost completed one of the stairwell walls. Yippee!
Having got to the top floor, we would really like to complete the wall at right angles to this, but we still need the plumber to arrive to move some pipes. Mike therefore decided to start building the internal stud walls that will complete floor 3 so that we can work on them whilst waiting:
We may have to move on to something else now, as it is virtually impossible to move 8′ x 4′ plasterboard sheets up to floor 3 at the moment, which requires us to walk up a very steep, very narrow set of attic stairs, until the stairwell is complete and the new staircase in place. I’m sure we will be able to find something else to do if we look hard enough…
In the meantime, I have been using some of my spare time to create a fundraising sheet in aid of BBC Children in Need. If you are fond of Dingbats and live locally, pop into the church, the Spar or Plas Penaeldroch and your quiz sheet is available for a small financial donation to the charity. If you are more distant and would like to join in, please just drop us an email and we will see what we can do!
What a long time it seems to be since I last wrote, which might be because I have a lot of photos to share.
Having made suggestions to Mike for a year or so, we have finally parked some of our bigger tools in somewhere dry. Clearly, we were spoiled in Norfolk – when it hardly ever rained – and left large tools outside all year, but we have now parked many of them in the single storey end of the building. When we found that Mike couldn’t un-freeze the gear box on the sit-on mower, we both agreed that that would have to stay outside a little longer, as we didn’t have time to offer the full service on moving day.
Once that was completed, I returned to cutting and fitting the between-the-rafters insulation on floor 3. Whilst this is not the most cerebral of jobs, it has the advantage that I can leave it and return at will, and also don’t need Mike’s help, so it is a great in-fill job in several senses of the word.
As you can see, it is coming along nicely.
Whilst much of this was happening, Mike was in the cafe as Jane had a few days holiday last week. We also have another distraction from work in that (Uncle) Tim has dropped by to stay for a week or so, and so we have been doing the entertaining thing as well.
Today, we decided it was time to start the next big task. The six Velux windows on the third floor were all in pretty poor condition – one broken into several pieces, one housed a polycarbonate replacement; and the remainder were fogged up. We had purchased the replacement glazing some months ago, but had not been entirely successful understanding the instructions. The Scandinavian images no doubt mean something to someone, but we still be questions. We checked on YouTube and saw several people replacing windows, and today – yes, today – we decided to give it a go, which might have had something to do with there being an additional pair of hands at our disposal whilst Tim is around…
So Mike and Tim worked to release the pane from the frame and happily wrestled it into submission onto the work bench, where the pit-stop team removed the restraints, cleaned the sides with meths, removed and replaced the glass, and generally reassembled the window.
We then had to replace the window in the frame which is only very slightly wider than the window. This took a surprising number of attempts as the window had to be put through the frame on a diagonal and then pulled back square, but by this time most of the weight of the window is hanging out of the frame and became very difficult to control.
Eventually we found a way to get the weight in the right place and slip the tongue and groove fitment back together so that the window could be secured in place,
and then we experienced that delightful moment of knowing the task had been completed without us releasing it by mistake and allowing it to plummet 3 floors and shatter into a gazillion pieces.
Once we had it in place, we stopped for coffee and then returned to check that the window was still in place.
After coffee we replaced one of the larger windows, and after lunch we re-glazed the polycarbonate window and have now half finished this task. Here’s hoping next time I can show you further evidence of progress!