Cafe open again so back to work, slackers…

We opened the cafe again this Saturday, with the new coats of paint in place and the boiled linseed oil on the pillars still not quite dry. It’s good to know that the few problems we had noticed have now been well addressed and we can focus again on the accommodation.

Mike has continued to work on the floor 2 en suite. Here you can see the floor has been tiled.


Over the weekend, Mike installed the toilet and wash basin, noting the shower has to wait a little longer because the wall tiles should be delivered tomorrow afternoon, and these need to go in first.

Who would think that avocado suites might come back in fashion?

Today, Mike installed the shower tray, and then moved on to tiling the back wall -using the tiles we had in stock…

Mike on his knees – a relatively rare sighting

…so of course, just before we got to the ceiling we ran out of tile adhesive!

We will pick up some adhesive tomorrow when Mike is on his travels, whilst I will be running the cafe.

Hmm – I can see how this might looking confusing to the disinterested observer

My task today was to block up an old doorway in what will become the lobby of the floor 2 suite of rooms. The stud wall you can see is in a redundant doorway that used to lead into a ‘stand alone’ toilet which we will be incorporating into a bathroom. This bathroom will have two access doors, both elsewhere, so this gap has to go. Above, you can see I have put the studs and noggins in place…

Nearly there now

The view above is taken from the other side which Alex has been insulating and later this week I will add the plywood and plasterboard. We look forward to showing you more progress, we hope, later this week!

Productivity is falling…

We had a very restful week off last week. For Mike the biggest pleasure was reading the paper during the day and having more time to spend with Lola. For me the greatest delight was not having to get up until I felt like it! The bonus for us both was that we could select a destination and go there together, which is usually very tricky with one of us tending to remain in Plas in case as extra pair of hands are needed in the cafe.

As a result, despite trying to relax, last week we took a couple of trips to begin looking at furniture for the rooms, of which more details will no doubt emerge in the near future.

This week we are back at work. Mike is continuing to progress our plans, whilst I am giving the cafe a refreshing coat of paint. But before I detail that

The element from the cafe oven…

…and a close up of the burnt out bit.

The cafe oven has been giving Jane a bad time for a week or two, and it wasn’t clear whether it was the thermostat or the element that had become faulty. Mike deserves a medal for his patience throughout multiple phone calls to the manufacturer, plus the delivery of two irrelevant parts – from Italy, obviously – before we finally received the new element and were able to get scone production back up to normal. It’s lucky that the cooker has two ovens, so Jane was able to cope in the interim.

Anyway, back to the main plot. Mike has built the housing for the waste pipe in the floor 2 en suite bathroom, which you can see in early stages above, and yesterday plastered the ceiling before laying the plywood floor this morning.

Unfortunately, as I was repainting the ceiling in the cafe, I came across a section of old plastering which we had ‘saved’ when refurbishing the cafe, but which had worked itself loose. As I started to paint it, large chunks rained down on me. I called Mike to check how he wanted me to proceed…

…which resulted in Mike levering large chunks off with a scraper. His afternoon’s work was then rearranged so he could re-plaster the patch – as you can see…

The race is now on for me to incorporate painting over this repair in time for us to reopen the cafe on Saturday. Challenge accepted.

I will try to blog on Friday night so you can satisfy your curiosity in good time as to whether we meet the deadline!

The really good news, though, is that we believe that the beginning of the end is now in sight. We still need to liaise with our architect over some details, and need Building Control to give the go ahead once we have fitted the fire doors etc., but with fair winds and a following sea, we hope to have these suites ready by late Spring. we feel the pressure of the clock ticking, but want to share this expectation with you so that you can understand if I start getting a bit tense about our progress…

New boots and…

We started off the year well. Mike has an outrageous cold – he is very productive, poor soul – so we have started gently by noticing that his work boots were looking a little shabby…

Old boots, purchased ca. 2014

Mike’s new boots (only slightly out of focus

…so we splashed out on a new pair.

Plumbing installation under way

Mike is now working on putting the plumbing in place for the en suite bathroom on floor 2. This seems to involve a lot of mumbling and tutting and pottering around looking for things – so much so that yesterday, I spent a couple of hours working with Alex to move all tools and consumables into one bedroom on floor 1, to try to limit the time Mike spends trying to work out where he left things.

…But where was Kilroy?

You can see here that Alex does occasionally get distracted whilst working – I saw this dust graffito a few weeks ago. But I was slightly surprised to see that someone obviously noticed this during the Christmas tours, and that other people are now joining in on the jollity stakes.

Sitting room floor 2

and bedroom 1 floor 2

I have returned to my very favourite occupation – painting. I shouldn’t be sarcastic – actually, I did manage a few hours outside working on the landscape earlier this week, and it was very satisfying to see how easily the bramble roots can be pulled off rock at this time of year. Today, whilst I put the 40% mist coat on two rooms in floor 2, Alex continued working on the landscaping.

It’s amazing how a building site seems to become a room when the painting begins.

One slightly late Christmas present

Before I go, I thought you might like to see our youngest, Philly, in her new jumper. This was intended as her Christmas present but, as she had been managing a country pub/restaurant in Kent until the New Year, she didn’t get to us until earlier this year. The jumper was only a day or too late but I think I got away with it.

Mike instructing Alex on oiling the slate pillars

As we start the final lap in preparing the rooms, our eyes have re-turned to the ground floor which contains many slate-faced pillars. A couple of years ago, we purchased some slate oil which we understand should rejuvenate the finish somewhat. Here you can see Mike instructing Alex on the task. It’s a good job this isn’t smell-o-vision – we now do this work late in the afternoon, after the cafe is shut, to give time for the solvent to dissipate before customers return the next day!

FYI, Mike and I are taking next week off. It will be something of a stay-cation, but we thought we had better sit down for a day or two before we fall down, what with Mike still trying to get over his cold and all. So please don’t be surprised if the next blog isn’t for another 10 days or so…