Christmas is a coming…

It took two of us to drag the hemlock up the hill for the old stairwell but, as you can see, the tree for the dining room is a relative lightweight, easily transported by the hired help.  More of this later.

And the hunter home from the hill

We spent most of the weekend in the cafe, where trade has been really quite quiet since the snow arrived.  As it is all gone now, we will ensure we leave enough time in the schedule for the catering, but are carrying on regardless with the building work at the moment.


Here you see the third floor where we need to extend the stiffening wall from the stairwell wall to create a hall wall in floor 3.  First we put in the base and top plates, then the ‘four be twos’


and then the noggins to stiffen it all.  After that,  we popped down to floor 2 to put in bracing pieces before we cut the joists.  Yes, 5 of the floor joists have now been cut through, and I will let you know in a day or two what happens next!

Photo of stairwell tree, taken from below (to try to get it all in the shot)

On a more festive note, the larger of the felled hemlocks can be seen above, partly decorated ready for the festive season.  And below you can see our second hemlock which we have placed strategically at the front of the house, as we suddenly realised a couple of days ago that all of our festive items were towards the rear of the house, and we suspect people were beginning to think we were not open.  We are hoping that the lights from this tree will be visible as people drive up…

Dining room tree

Oh, and we took Jasper to the vets yesterday.  He had had a wart above one eye for a year or so that wasn’t bothering him (although it bothered lots of people who thought it was a tick) but a few days ago he knocked it off and it kept weeping.  Every time it stopped, Jasper would knock the scab off, and we were back to weeping.  When Mike took him to the vets and received a list of possible alternative treatments, he decided that a ruff was just the fashion statement Jasper needed for the next ten days, but I’m not so sure that the dog agrees…

Guess who’s been to the vets recently

Snow news is good news? (sorry)

It has been snowing in North Wales.  To give you an idea of the scale…

Last Sunday morning, and the snow was still falling
Plas, looking rather ‘cleaner’ than usual
The up-river view from the bridge
To show that Christmas has come to the cafe
and Moel Siabod was looking glorious in the morning sun on Wednesday

Now I have got the pretty pictures out of the way, I will return to the work, as I can tell I have not managed to distract you.

On Sunday, I worked in the cafe whilst Mike continued to fit the joist hangers and then put the joists back in place to form floor 2.  Mike was quite busy but, oddly enough, with snow thick on the ground the cafe was pretty quiet for the top end of the week.  Some of you may know that we are just off the A470 which had been well gritted, but the minor road across the river bridge and up the steep slope to Plas was not so well tended, so we can quite understand people avoiding it.

The joists are being replaced at 90 degrees to the original joists.  On Tuesday, I had another destructive day (quelle surprise) as we removed the sanitary ware from an en suite, and I then removed all the remaining tiles, frames and so forth.

Woman in her element with wrecking bar…
…and now its all gone!

On Wednesday we needed our heads for heights.  We blocked off a redundant doorway, finished the joists for floor 2 and on Thursday we finished fitting the floor over the joists, created the stud wall to the bathroom and then advanced to floor 3…

Floor 2 taking shape
The stud work for the bathroom wall is complete
Floor on floor 3 being prepared for the new partition wall

…where we have to lift floorboards in order that we can continue our new stud wall from floors 1 and 2 up onto floor 3.

Felling the Christmas tree for the old stairwell

In the afternoon, we cut down two hemlocks (which we have been asked to remove from the grounds as they are regarded as weed species here) to serve as Christmas trees.  One has been lashed in place in the old stairwell and the second will be positioned in the dining room so that it can be seen from the front of the property.  So there’s only a little bit of decorating for me still to do then…?!?

Onwards and upwards!

We have made quite pleasing progress this week; or perhaps I should just say we are pleased with the progress -whether there is wider approval will remain to be seen.

To the left, stud wall into en suite. to the right, stiffening wall with centre panels removed, ready for demolition
See- no wall!

On Wednesday, we cut through and removed the stiffening plywood wall on floor 1, and then took delivery of the new studs and plywood ready to rebuild.  I managed the building work just fine, but moving 10 sheets of 8′ x 4′ of 12mm ply across an exposed spot and against the freezing wind nearly did for me, even if Mike was doing his share of the heavy lifting!

Perhaps you can see the extent of the destruction best here…
Moving out the sand from under the floor

On Thursday, we removed the floor, along with the builders sand which has been incorporated between floors – we assume for soundproofing.  We cut through the sub-floor to reveal a joist sitting on top of the steel girder, which is what we had been looking for.  As great good fortune would have it, the building inspector called round at lunch time and was able to look at the joist and agree a slightly off-plan solution with Mike.  In short, we will rest the new wall on a second joist bolted to the joist sitting on the steel, rather than having to remove this and go back to the steel.  (Non-building fraternity, feel free to ignore the last sentence).  Mike was justifiably proud that the inspector was content with all of the work we have done so far…

There is a steel down there somewhere…
Here we are blocking up the old doorway into the (now defunct) en suite
The new stud walls going up…

After my Welsh class on Friday, during which Mike had installed the new joist and bolted it in place, we started to rebuild the stiffening walls in their new locations.  The snow started to fall in the morning and whilst the landscape looked pretty, the roads stayed fairly clear.  However, late in the afternoon the snow began to settle on the roads, and the journey to Llanrwst for blood-doning was really rather slippery.  We thought this mornings view of Moel Siabod was worth a shot, though.

Siabod, under a dusting of snow
For those who want proof of the snowfall here…

Today we have continued the rebuild, and now have a new stud wall in place, lined with both plywood and fire-proof plasterboard, so tomorrow (if the snow is still settled and therefore people are less likely to be travelling to the cafe) we will start to fit the joist hangers and re-fit floor 2, this time with joists running in a different direction.

The new walls on floors 1 and 2, now ply faced, and photo taken before the plasterboard was fitted

I hope this is all clear.  To check, we will be offering a test to check comprehension any day now… but I must stop now and prepare for the deluge of snow expected any minute, which has Mike dancing with excited anticipation..