We are such fungi to be around…

The end of last week was quite wet here, so we continued to major on internal jobs – except last Saturday, when a collective brainstorm saw Mike, Tim and I rushing around the building effecting temporary repairs on a number of roof leaks.  Some had been relatively minor and existed for a while whilst others were more recent and caused more concern.  No photos available (as one faulty roof slate tends to look much like another) but I am thrilled to report that the leaks into the the old kitchen, the long corridor, and the cafe bay by the fire are all now no more!

Flushed with this success, Mike decided to complete a piece of floor 2 which has been missing for about the last year.  The picture below shows a step ladder standing on the floor 1 landing, visible from the floor 2 landing where the old stairs used to emerge on floor 2.  It was only a little job: Mike just had to line the wall with plywood and fire-resistant plasterboard; then fit joist hangers; then fit recycled joists to hangers; then add floorboards.

The hole in the floor, about to be dealt with

Meanwhile I have been faffing about outside, primping, trying the make the place look a little more orderly in the area round the chalet.  In an area where firewood had previously been stacked, we found this delightful fruiting body…

Not mush room for plants left here (boom boom)

…which we show again so you can see how this life form looks ready to bid for international domination – and I know collies are smart, but I’m not sure they are that smart.

Now with Lola to provide a sense of scale

Mike has persevered, and we can now safely show people around floor 2.

Floor now in place
Mike, practising his dance moves…

Today, Mike has also started to install the new shower tray into the floor 3 bathroom – now that we have received the one that should actually fit…

The site soon to host a shower tray

…and I have been making hay whilst the sun shone.  Yes, we have had a couple of dry days, and the forecast for this week looks dry, so I am focused on painting the external front wall before the winter is with us.  I spent today putting the first coat of sealer onto the external front wall, using scaffolding towers and ladders as appropriate to reach all parts.  At 3pm I swap for my indoor job, serving in the cafe until 5pm.  As you can see, Mike snuck in at about 4.45pm to find me catching up on the world news, as filtered through the inside of my eye lids.

Can you see the matchsticks propping my eyes open?

Here’s hoping someone will have the camera to hand during the rest of the week to catch just how much better the building should look in a day or so!


The wet and wind hasn’t floored us…

OK – I think it had better be confession time.  We don’t appear to have many photos from the last four days, and I realise this is because I have got a bit side tracked.  Next weekend, we have a party of Dutch friends and some family coming over to stay, and the Dutch friends have yet to see our project in the flesh.  Given that we have lived here for two and a half years now, as I looked around to consider all the places we will be showing them, I thought it was time for something of a tidy up.  It seems we have a house where the waves wash items to the edge of rooms, or desks, or cabinets, where they become seriously becalmed unless I bring the Spring cleaning mode into play.  Here’s hoping they don’t notice and just think we normally live in our newly ordered manner.

As you can guess, this cleaning is not an activity deserving of photographs, so I hope you will take it as read that I have been busy on unmentionable duties.  Meanwhile Mike has continued with the rebuild and below you can see the second bathroom on floor 3 ready for fitting out.

Before we began…

Mike started by finishing the chipboard floor, and then laying the 12mm plywood floor over this.

Putting in the second floor to support the tiles

Once in place, he mixed the cement and began laying the tiles which I was carefully passing to him, just out of shot.

…Mike laying the tiles…

Then whilst I nipped out to a committee meeting of the local tourism association, Mike continued to lay the awkward tiles around the edge.

I really must get this man a new belt…

Once the tiles were all laid, Mike grouted the floor and then couldn’t work on it for hours….

Ready for the porcelain to be fitted…

Yesterday I made my first test batch of teacakes.  I tried two different recipes and invited customers to trial them.  The feedback was very encouraging and helpful, and I will be trying the amended recipes in a day or so.  As it happens, we had additional customers yesterday as the strong winds brought down a tree across the A470 which brought a few people into the cafe whilst they waited for operatives with chainsaws to clear the road.  Today was very windy and also very wet – we had a party of cyclists in for lunch, and you should have seen the colour of the water after we wiped down the chairs!

Today I nipped to the wholesalers and then returned to fit insulation whilst Mike fitted the loo and sink into the bathroom.  Tomorrow Mike will be having a well deserved day off, whilst I return to Welsh classes.  I know I want to go; I know I enjoy learning the language; but there is something about the summer break and the rustiness this brings on which makes it particularly difficult to return to classes in September without feeling that your brain has atrophied over the summer…


Let’s hear it for the Mountember eventers

In our exhausting world, both Mike and I need to learn to take more down time.  The main problem is, every time we agree to do so, we still find something irresistibly interesting about doing the next task, whatever it might be.  I am delighted to report that Lola obviously doesn’t share our problem…

Someone seems to have made themselves at home

Last Thursday and Friday, I have spent a little more time in the garden, weeding beds I laid out last year.  I have been sort of avoiding them, as we planted lots out in April, at a distance from the building that made it impractical to try to water them during the 6 very hot, dry weeks we had in June and July.  It is great to find that far more of these plants have survived than I had hoped, but I’m not going to share any photos with you at this stage – I still need to do a lot more weeding before I am ready to be that rash!

One of the unexpected pleasures of our current lifestyle is that we get to meet some really interesting people in the cafe.  Today, we cooked breakfast for 10 wonderful people, all of whom are ‘walking for stroke survivors’.

Mike in his knitting-pattern-modelling stance (circa 1974)

As you can see below, they have a pressing /punishing schedule.  We hope that the Penaeldroch breakfast fuelled them all the way up Snowdon (assuming the weather permitted this, as it has been a bit wet here today).  We packed them off with a selection of Jane’s yummy flapjacks as our contribution to their selfless endeavour, and hope that they filled a gap after all that walking.

Even the dog is walking off in disgust due to this stance…

On the refurbishment front, the second bathroom is coming on apace.  Whilst I spent yesterday gardening and then off to a meeting followed by shopping in Porthmadoc, Mike made a start on plastering the bathroom. Tomorrow he hopes to continue with the plastering whilst I find something else to occupy me.  I say this as, although I would love to continue with the gardening, the weather forecast makes it look like I would be blown into the river if I tried, so perhaps I will look for an indoor job.

The ceiling, one wall, and the window reveals have been plastered

We have also had a couple of visits from friends of long standing this week (noting most are younger than we are).  Firstly Jeanine and Lucy from Newmarket popped by during their stay in Ruthin, and yesterday Sally and Trevor who we know via UEA dropped by as they returned from Ireland.  It was such a shame that I had to dash off, but it is really good to be able to keep in touch in this way, and we look forward to anyone else who fancies dropping by to visit.

The other thing I need to move on is the front facade.  We finished pressure-washing the old, flaky paint off on Friday, but now need to wait for the render to dry out.  Unfortunately, it is not ready yet, and as it is likely to get very rained on on Tuesday, it may be another week before we can finish this off.

The front face…

Fortunately, I usually find there are one or two things to keep me busy, whatever weather conditions we are enjoying.  Here’s hoping some of them are worthy of photographs.