4 weeks today…

…is when the stair carpets arrive. I’m not sure we will be fully ready, but here’s what we have been doing in preparation.

Just a few bits to finish before we paint.

Mike has been re-establishing the floor, as we need this in place before we can fit the skirting boards.

We seem to have mislaid our mirrors….

For those old enough to remember, Mike suddenly randomly decided to be Harry Worth today. How we laughed…

Plumbing, anyone?

…but when you can see the spaghetti junction above, and realise Mike has to cut through some pipes and reconnect elsewhere, so that other pipes can be reconnected and…sorry, am I boring you? But I can sympathise with Mike when he needs a bit of distraction every now and then.

More of the floor back in place – which is a great relief to me as I have been wondering how we were going to do this ever since we cut through the floor to locate the pipes about two years ago. Every time we stepped on it, it has flexed and bowed…but now Mike has waved his magic hands over it and all is rigid and reassuringly stable again.

Back to painting…

The latest batch of intumescent paint arrived yesterday, so today I returned to my natural stance with paint brush in hand and spindles before me, starting at the top of the stairs…

…stopping at floor 0

…and ending at the bottom before stopping for cafe duty.

See – no gaps

Meanwhile, Mike continues to fill the gaps in the floor. As you can see, we know how to have fun here!

As we have only 4 weeks to go, we reviewed the schedule earlier this evening – which might have been a mistake as we have slightly more work to do than days available for it, but I’m sure we can work something out between now and then…

Well, it’s the first time that has happened…

For those of you who are counting, it is now 4 weeks and 5 days until the stair carpet, along with carpet for the first floor, arrives. We are still wading through building tasks to try to finish all the walls and so forth, which are kind of necessary before we can complete the finishing touches.

Mike, getting plastered, again…

First, Mike plastered the ceiling (and later the walls) of the last of the bathrooms, whilst I was painting the first colour coat on the stairwell betweens floors 1 and 2.

After I had painted that, I was invited to clean out the room (shown below) so that Mike could start plastering the ceiling and walls. Well, that was fun – not least because we are running out of ‘spare’ space to put things…

Just a bit of tidying up to do

…whilst Mike continued plastering, just in a different location.

…still plastering…

I took the opportunity to continue painting, this time in the main bathroom…

More painting for me.

… so that Mike can fit the sink and loo, and towel rail, in place when he has a spare moment.

Kilroy says “wot, no cakes?”

The weirdest experience this week, though, has to be the selling out of cakes. We have been selling Jane’s delicious cakes for about 30 months now, and have never run out before. Yesterday, I was manning the cafe at the end of the day, and still had 3 cakes represented on the counter, and a total of 5 slices of cake to offer. Normally, this would have been sufficient. At about 4.30pm a couple arrived, closely followed by their two friends, and a few moments later another couple walked in. I took the order from the first couple, which included 2 slices of cakes. The second couple ordered the last remaining slice of one of the cakes. Before I had time to do anything, the third couple ordered two slices of cake. Imagine my momentary panic – how can I tell them the previous people had ordered that cake… but miraculously, the two slices they had ordered happened to be the last two remaining un-ordered slices. So I was able to provide what everyone needed… and then we had three empty domes. It’s the first time this has happened since we opened.

Anyway, back to the building. MIke still plastering, me still painting…

Poor Mike is still plastering
…whilst I am still painting…

…and Jane, bless her cotton socks, has been baking. All cakes had been sold by 5.10pm yesterday: all three domes back in action by 1pm today. In fact, the third cake hadn’t even hit the counter before we had sold two portions. The chocolate and mint cake is, after all, a very tasty proposition!

Once again, we have cake!

We still have plenty to do, but are hoping – if the weather continues fair tomorrow – that I might get some respite from the painting tomorrow whilst I help in our busy cafe. Well, I can dream, can’t I…?

Five weeks, 2 days and counting…

…until the carpets arrive. The culmination of two and a half years of work is now almost in sight…

Walls around bath now part tiled

This week, we tiled behind the bath when, to our astonishment, we found we had run out of tiles! A quick break in proceedings to order more tiles – which, of course, are not available locally so we have to wait for delivery later this week – and then we turned our attention to the floor tiles…

The last of the floors (for now) being tiled

In between cutting the fiddly bits for the edges, I found myself looking around to try to assess how much more work we have to do. Carpets arrive on 24th July, and yet we have walls that still look like this.

Still a few bits and bobs to do…

Even worse, we have floors as above – you can just see the ‘double’ floor which we have had to cut through. In places, we still need to refinish the ‘lower’ floor which is then covered in builders sand (preserved in the bin liners you can see lying around) before the ‘real’ floor is finished on top, since the sand is a very good baffle against sound transmission.

The hallway-in-waiting#

In the hall, you can see walls and floors that still need a little attention.

Laid, and ready for grouting

On a brighter note, the floor is now tiled and, whilst the glue dried, we worked on the ceiling in the adjacent room.

We are still working on the ceiling of bedroom 1

We put more insulation in place and plaster boarded after Mike had fitted the wiring for the fire alarm system.

Finishing touch for the stairs

This last is my personal favourite from this week. I spent much of this week painting the stairwell and spindles between floors 1 and 2, so things are gently coming to completion. We have put fireboard under the stairs, but this left us with a rough plaster board ‘edge’ to disguise. Here you can see how we have finished over the joint with a piece of beading which I think has done the job nicely. Only a few coats of intumescent paint and then all will be ready for Building Control to consider and, hopefully, sign off!

Is this love?

My apologies for putting our laundry arrangements on display, but one of the real delights of this week has been watching Lola (on the right) begin to come to terms with Boyd (on the table) having the upper hand. Lola is incredibly insistent that she would really like Boyd to play with her. Boyd, on the other hand, is unbelievably restrained when he bats Lola away. Claws are rarely seen, so we suspect both parties are having a good time. Given how Boyd used to pester Jasper, our previous dog, to play, we can’t help feeling there is some karmic rebalancing underway in Plas at the moment.