Happy Mothers’ Day

Here’s hoping that all mothers (and fathers) have had a lovely day today, and that all their children enjoyed making the day that little bit special. I count myself very lucky that most of our children managed to make it to North Wales for the day, but confess that it wasn’t the most relaxed Mothers’ Day I have enjoyed. Instead, Mike and I shamelessly dragooned our young adults into helping undercoat the woodwork in the floor 2 lobby, painting a couple of ceilings, and moving various items to another floor. After all, the carpets arrive on Thursday…no panic here….

We started to mist coat the floor 2 lobby

Earlier this week, the lobby to floor 2 was skimmed, so once this dried out we began the mist coat painting.

Alex busy painting the edges

Whilst that was drying, we painted the first colour coat onto the walls of the rooms on floor 2 – I wielded the roller, and Alex painted the edges.

Now the first coat is on the walls in the lobby

Bedroom 2 floor 2, with ceiling papered and painted

Shaun has papered the ceilings. People will be walking around on the floor above so we all thought the ceiling needed a little reinforcement. In two rooms, the ceiling paper has now been painted once…

and this papered ceiling awaits the first coat.

…and in one room the paper was installed today so it needs to dry out fully before I paint it tomorrow. We still have a surprising amount to do before Thursday, when painting needs to be finished before the carpets are fitted…

One of our planters is maturing nicely

In between all this frantic busy-ness, we took a moment this afternoon to enjoy the above planter. The Pierises (Pieri?) in the front are clearly enjoying themselves. Mike gave me a couple of Garrya eliptica last year for my birthday present, one of which is in this planter, and it had magnificent tassels all winter. I am hoping that it will put on a bit of a growth spurt this summer, so that it can begin to clothe the walls of the manor.

Smoke from the Siabod fire, visible from Plas

and, if you look carefully, you can see the flames at the crest slightly to the left of the house over the road.

On the less lovely side, the fire that we had reassured some friends was on the far side of Moel Siabod, and thus no danger to us, has crept around to our side. In the picture far above you can see the smoke Mike noticed whilst he was walking the dog. When we went out to photograph this, we could see flames (just about visible in the shot above). The grass fire apparently started near Betws y Coed around 4.15pm on Friday, and it would seem it has burned through the moorland near Llyn Elsi to our side. It was thought it was under control on Saturday, so we have notified the fire brigade to be sure someone knows about this, and let’s hope this is put out soon.

And then there was light…

After last week’s deluge, we have mostly been working inside to give the water time to recede. Those of you who saw the photos of Llanrwst and Maenan on the national news last weekend will know what I am talking about. I understand that the committee have starting discussing what they would do if there are heavy rains when the National Eisteddfod is due to be in Llanrwst this August…

First the priming…

Anyway, back to the mundane. I am still painting the rooms on floor 2…

Look, actual floor!

… whilst Mike is working to complete the electrical circuits on floor 2. Now that the wiring has been embedded in various newly-built walls, we were able to complete the flooring in the hallway. The piece of chipboard above may not look much, but it replaced an undersized piece of plywood that was here for the past year – so that we could work around it as necessary. I cannot tell you how good it feels to be able to walk here without being able to see down to the floor below as you place your foot.

Consumer unit, now partly wired up

As you can see, the consumer unit (the modern fuse box) is partly wired -because the local electrical wholesalers has sold out of connectors just before Mike arrived. As this was being connected up, Mike was trying out all the lights. At first this was fun: a ‘light switch down – lights on; light switch up – lights off’ sort of thing. Then we tried the master bedroom on floor 2 and the lights didn’t obey the commands of the switches. What? What?? What on earth will we do now? (Catastrophise, catastrophise…) Arrrrrrrrrghhhhhh!!!!! Only a slight over-reaction, I think, under the circumstances. We will admit to a slightly uncomfortable moment or two, until Mike worked out which of the many possible cables had been left out of the loop. I am delighted (and mightily relieved) to be able to report we were well illuminated in more ways than one when it all ended well.

I wonder what he has recently sat on…?

Here Mike is filling in the gaps in the wall around the door frames with plasterboard that I had been cutting off-camera. He hopes to be skimming these walls next week. No pressure – carpet will be here the week after…

Doors and all woodwork now undercoated

By yesterday evening, the woodwork on floor 2 has been primed and undercoated. Next week, ceilings and walls can begin to take on some colour

Mike and I will be taking some relaxation during our cafe days today and tomorrow – making Hungarian mushroom soup today, since you asked, and lemon and lime marmalade tomorrow. Yum!

After the wind came the rain

…and in Biblical quantities!

You can just about see through the haze of rain that the river level is rather high,..

…and here you can see that upriver of the bridge, the river has escaped into the field…

…and here the river is thundering through under the bridge.

We particularly like the shot above as it nearly shows how the river level dropped sharply under the bridge. It was as though the water was waiting politely for its friends to manage to get under the bridge…but once through, it was everyone for themselves and away we go, as fast as we can!

One, two, three – stretch…

Back to the refurb. We have been working on the hallway on floor 2, trying to change this from a building site into a series of rooms ready for painting. Here you can see Carrie in her new-normal activity of painting…

Meanwhile, Mike has been boxing in some pipes in the ensuite bathroom on floor 3. He has been avoiding this task for at least the last three weeks, so I want to thank him publicly for getting this done.

And this time, to give a better sense of scale.

This particular bathroom had a bit of a tangle of pipes at this point, so we chose to box them in for safety, as well as for visual appeal. Or perhaps I should say everyone but Mike thought they should be boxed in, and Mike was rather less convinced. So I am very grateful that he has allowed us to persuade him, and I hope to show you the box looking rather less intrusive after it has had its colour adjusted a tad during the week.

Oh, and no pressure, but we have ordered the carpet for the top two floors! This will be delivered and laid on April 4th. And the first of the furniture arrived, flat packed, earlier today. So the clock is genuinely ticking…

Will the wind be so mighty..?

We are having a very windy time up here.

I surrender…

On Monday it was blowy. Tuesday night, it was difficult to sleep as the noise of rattling windows and roof parts was huge, and the ‘bang’ at about 2 a.m. when, we now know, the table above was blown several yards into the fence and overturned: well, I will leave you to imagine that.

River is up…

The river Lledr is well up, and you may have heard that the River Conwy has burst its banks in Llanrwst.

view from the bridge

This is a view of the Lledr taken from the road bridge earlier today.

Mike has been sorting the electrics

On the refurbishment front, Mike has completed the electrics above the ceiling in the main bedroom on floor 2, and was then able to fit the plasterboard to complete the ceiling.

Lola on important branch carrying duties

In the mornings, Mike has been walking Lola on a regular path and she now seems to think her job these days is Chief Stick Walker. She resolutely trots with them a few yards downhill and then parks them, ready to move them another few yards downhill the next day.

Skirting all cut to size…

Today I cut and fit the skirting board to two rooms on floor 2. One lot was glued in place, but the second lot (showing) will be glued tomorrow when the clamps become available. Lola is beginning to learn her supervisory role…

Mike fits the last piece of ceiling to this room

…and Mike completed the ceiling. It feels really good to be working together again after a full week in which I was dedicated to working in the cafe during Jane’s holidays, knowing that before that for weeks we had been on different floors with me painting, and Mike building. We have now decided that we want a chance to work together for a bit…

Sean has joined the team!

…which is why we are delighted to welcome Shaun to Project Plas. Shaun is a friend who works locally as a painter and decorator, who has now taken over painting the final coats on floor 3. When that is finished, he will move to floor 2 by which time we hope Mike and I will be rebuilding floor 1. Or at least that is the plan…

We’re jammin’…

This has been a different style of week.

For the first few days, I continued to undercoat everything that didn’t move on floor 3, to the point where now it only remains to top coat everything before we call in the carpet and furniture. Meanwhile…

Heated towel rail, ready for duty.

…Mike has been fitting the heated towel rail in the en suite bathroom…

… in between fitting the doors into the door surrounds. It is a constant source of amazement to me, the number of ways in which the walls here are not square or true to each other, so it has been no simple task for Mike to trim these to fit!

Progress has been limited, however, because Jane is on holiday so I have been majoring on kitchen duties. This means slower progress on the building, but more on the marmalade making. We have now added Oxford marmalade and Orange & Ginger to the stores, and Mike’s Mum’s Marmalade will be coming off the production line on Monday.

On another topic, Lola (the dog) and Boyd (the cat) continue to try to live together. Lola really, really wants to play. Boyd would like to play, based on how loudly he purrs when Lola is nearby, and on how ineffective he is at padding her away. It seems, though, that neither is quite sure what the rules of the game are, so we get the Mexican Standoff as a regular feature.

You might also notice the box in centre of the picture. Can you guess how successful we have been at training Lola to return her toys to the box at the end of each day?

The end of the beginning…

Steady progress continued this week – but not fast enough for my tastes, obviously! Patience never was one of my virtues.

Is this some new form of exercise regime?

I have been painting floor 3. The ceilings had their second coat of white earlier this week, and so now I have started on the wall colour…

More magnolia, anyone?

…and two rooms are now coated and drying. We are still using power tools in the third room, so I won’t be painting that until I know that all the dust has settled.

Looking more like a bathroom now, I think

The bathrooms now have a coat of vinyl paint on the walls, and await the second coat.

He’s gone camera shy!

Mike meanwhile was finishing a few of the touches necessary on floor 3, in between installing door frames on floor 2. Having taken this shot, I asked Mike to stop mucking around and provide me with a decent photo op…

…so now you can all see the T shirt he got for his birthday.

On a more serious note, I will continue to try to ‘finish’ floor 3 (with occasional input from Mike) whilst he is also installing door frames followed by the doors on floor 2 over the next week or so. So you may well be looking at more painting and door frames in the next post or two!

This week we have ordered the first of the furniture, and I am working on getting quotations for the carpet, so here’s hoping it won’t be too much longer now. We suspect we won’t be open until June (because the stairwell – being also the fire exit – will need to be totally finished before we can open), but let’s just see how it goes….