Sloping off and skimming on

After spending Monday in the cafe, we had a very exciting day on Tuesday when 19 people arrived for breakfast, all at the same time!  On the same morning, we had booked a visit from our architectural designer to firm up the details for the plans we need to send for approval before we begin the next phase early next year, we hope.  All in all, quite a busy morning yesterday.  In the afternoon, we finally found time to ice the wedding cake we are making for our daughter’s wedding this weekend, so no pressure there then…

Today I finally started on a job I have been looking forward to for some months now.  Those who have visited the cafe will know that the slope shown below cuts across a view of the rock side from within the cafe, visually cutting the landscape in half and hiding much of the garden.  I am keen to remove the slope to improve this view, but we had to wait until we no longer needed it as the fire exit from the rooms above the cafe.

Removing the artificial grass from the slope

After Building Control visited last week, we now know that the staircase will meet approval once finished, so I expect to be removing the slope pretty soon.  I started by removing the layer of artificial grass on the slope, which we assume was an anti-slip device.  I cut the ‘grass’ into slices and have removed it, to allow the timber below to dry out, so Mike can chainsaw this into fire-sized pieces before next winter.

A bare slope, ready for demolition

Mike meanwhile continued bravely with his plastering.  You might have thought he would have had enough of this by now, especially after icing the wedding cake, but no – he continues to enjoy this task (which is lucky, really, as there are plenty more walls to plaster here).  Below you can see one wall of the sitting room on floor 3…

More photographs of plastered walls

… and below is the facing wall, also plastered.  In this lounge, only the sloping wall you see on the right hand of the photo remains to be plastered, so it shouldn’t be long before we are working on the final bedroom on this floor.  Oh, be still my beating heart!

…and even more photographs of plastered walls.

If this seems like thin pickings, please may I remind you that it is 26 degrees here at the moment.  Twenty six degrees!  Trying to work in the garden is tricky as the sun is just so hot and airless.  Trying to work on the third floor is difficult as it is so hot and stuffy.  Don’t get me wrong – it is lovely to have hot, dry weather, but 26 degrees!!  I mean, does our planet have no sense of what is reasonable?  Answers on the back of a post card please to….



This Lola is not a show girl

The hot weather is continuing here, but we have normally ignored this in order to carry on with the internal refurbishments.  However, this week I have cracked and done some landscaping, because the wind has changed!

I feel like I am washing my dirty laundry in public…

You see above the view from the upper level to the lower level by the river, where you may notice some trees and branches laying in the pathway.

…by showing how much junk there is on site….

Above, you can see some of the Rhododendron ponticum cut last year and left to dry out, ready for burning.  However, off-shot to the right are our beehives and we cannot normally burn the waste here as the smoke would usually blow straight towards the hives.  Fortunately, over the last week, the wind has changed direction so we have had a day or two when we could burn without fear of upsetting our little critters.  We have managed, having cleared the branches away, to remove a lot of the old cans / bottles / plastic / tyres etc to a proper receptacle for such rubbish.

…but not for much longer!

We have quite a volume of waste clippings in stacks waiting to be burned, so this might not be the only bonfire we have whilst the wind remains in a favourable direction.

See how the smoke is not blowing towards me

I have to tell you – it is hot enough here without the fire and having to wear the overalls, but we are bravely soldiering on.  In fact, I may have soldiered on too far.  On Friday, I stoked the fire by dragging branches onto it after spending all morning walking with my welsh class.  On Saturday,  my energy had obviously packed up and run away for the day.  You might be able to see that when Mike collected our new dog on Saturday, I couldn’t quite find the energy to get out of the chair and you may also notice I was wearing a winter weight jumper, and was still cold!  In this heat!!

Lola has arrived


Lola’s Facebook mug shot

She is a very pretty girl, though.  About 8 months old, and we are her second home, so let’s hope she settles in well.  She and the cat have already had a brief encounter so we will have to hope those two can agree to disagree peacefully.

One wall (really three surfaces) now plastered

What about the refurbishments, I hear you cry?  Mike has continued to plasterboard and then skim and is now working on the lounge on floor 3.  Here we see he has plastered one wall…

and one ceiling plastered too

…and here was can see the ceiling has also been plastered.  We are kind of guessing you might have seen plenty of photos of this kind by now, but hope to be posting something slightly more thrilling at some point.

The perfect cover up…

Just e brief posting today, since this week’s progress has mostly been of the non-exciting and non-photogenic form.  We have moved lots of waste around, swept and vacuumed, and cleared space.  I have dismantled a couple of old sofas and moved them down from the attic floor – all of this to create more storage space.  And not always successfully – the second, longer sofa was stuck for a surprising length of time at the bottom of some steep steps as I had underestimated the dimensions.

Today’s work was worth a photo or two, though.  You can see below one of the en suite bathroom walls which, for some reason unknown to us, was modified at some time to look like a stencil.  This wouldn’t have mattered so much except it is a structural wall.  It is on the top floor, but even so…

Not entirely sure what was going on here…

To rescue the situation we have overlaid a new plywood layer to stiffen the building and also hide the original horror.

…but we can’t see it now…

Obviously, all my own work!  A final coat of plasterboard will then be required, before Mike fires up his plastering trowel and gets skimming.

…and even less now.

But I hope we can all agree it looks a bit more like a building site now, less like a demolition site.