More finishing touches

In our glorious / ludicrous refurbishment, we are at that stage where we are still continuing to finish all those niggling little jobs that seemed to get shuffled to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list.

We have replaced the railings on this external balcony area so it is now safe to walk on, and guests will be able to use it to walk out of their room, across the platform and off onto the rock behind the building (after we have moved some junk out of the way).

Look – no more consumer unit on display

Mike and Alex have been working hard to build the cupboards to contain the electrical consumer unit on each floor, which will look so much better after a lick of paint…

The floor is finally almost level

Above you see where a wall used to separate the entrance corridor from the bar: if you look carefully, you can see the feint outline from a line of bricks which we had to chip away at to bring them below the general floor level.

Having done this, Mike and Alex flowed some floor-leveling compound over the area and then spent a fun afternoon chasing it around so that, when it set, it was roughly where we needed it to give a pretty-nearly level floor. The readings from multiple spirit levels before we did this showed that the floor was – and I am using a very specific technical term here – all over the place. Now it is still pretty corrugated, but it will shortly be under carpet, and in an area that people should not be walking in, so we hope this problem will soon be firmly out of sight.

The gap between the stairs and the slate have finally been plugged…
… on both of the first two flights of stairs

Before the carpets went down, we finished off most of the edges of the stairs – but the gap between the stairs and the slate wall features proved more challenging. Mike recently had a light-bulb moment and, once the glue has dried, and after Shaun does his magic with paint and brushes, we are hoping this will shortly all look as smart as the rest of the staircase.

We continue to greet new and really interesting guests to stay in our lovely new rooms, and also to work with hospitality platforms to advertise them well. I will soon be enjoying an extended numerical break (as our accounting Year End is next Monday) but I understand Mike plans to carry on with the floor 1 platforms before we can turn to the next phase…

Back on track!

Hiya. I am pleased to report that I am feeling considerably better now, and hope to be back to what passes for normal in the next week or so. Mike is continuing to work like a trojan to pick up any slack and keep all the plates spinning, so here’s hoping he doesn’t succumb to some lurgy any day soon.

We are delighted to report that we have been busy hosts. In particular, this last weekend, all three suites were booked out to group raising funds for stroke rehabilitation by climbing Snowdon. We had an absolute blast cooking for them, and we believe they must have enjoyed themselves as they have rebooked for next year.

I am also pleased to report that we have started, with baby steps, to return to the refurbishment work.

The long corridor.

At the lower energy level, I have worked with Gill and Alex to empty the cabinets that used to line the right hand wall of this corridor so that we could remove the cabinets. The settles which used to sit on the left hand side have also been moved, so that we can become familiar with this empty space, before we start knocking doorways through and generally relocating the toilet facilities.

But this is getting ahead of ourselves. The toilet refurb is the next phase of work, and various people are -rightly- pushing us to ensure that we fully complete the last phase before starting the next.

The exterior platform for floor 2

Which takes us to the external platforms. Both floor 2 and floor 1 have access doors to platforms which were previously part of the external fire escape, and both of them need ‘sorting out’ before we can advertise them as features of the suites.

Alex sanded and painted this platform a week or so ago, and today all three of us worked to use an angle grinder to remove unnecessary metal parts (Mike); remove the old woodwork and remove rubbish from the site (me); and prepare the underside for painting (Alex).

Mike with angle grinder going…
Yes, I know it looks pretty rubbish but…

As you can see, there is still a little work to do – but by the end of today we had put the first coat of paint onto all the metal, and hope by end of play tomorrow that much of the railings will be back in place.

Me, back in overalls, and clinging on…

This shot shows me painting the metal uprights whilst clutching onto the structure: it is surprising how having no safety rails makes the ground look so much further away.

I don’t think these stairs are fit for purpose…

And later on this, let’s face it, glorious afternoon, Alex and I set about pulling these stairs apart. In future, we will have two independent platforms without connecting stairs so they just had to go.

It feels really good to be back making progress on the building, and I look forward to showing you more next time. It might be slightly thin pickings though – I have to drive Phil (our youngest) to Cambridge Uni over the weekend, which will leave Mike to look after quite a lot of guests – I’ll let you know next time how we all got on.

Nothing much to report

I feel I need to apologise for the lack of news.

This is due, in part, to us spending quite a lot of the last couple of weeks trying to connect to the booking systems of various hotel room search sites.

We have also spent time doing some of the niggly little things we hadn’t quite wrapped up before we opened.

But also, I have been on the sick list. Ahhh. Yes, I know – we are usually staggeringly lucky, enjoying robust good health. On the jounrney back from visiting Teddy, I thought something might be wrong and nipped to the GP who prescribed antibacterials. Sadly, the first lot didn’t do the business, and the second set gave me terrible nausea and vomiting. A mercy dash to the local hospital last Saturday night (yes, not the best time to chose, we know) brought a changed prescription and a slow improvement.

I am sorry to sound a bit of a drip, but I am still feeling rather washed out, so I hope you will understand if it is a little while before we have too much to report.

Lola tried to keep Alex’s efforts under control

The only photo this time is of Alex, trimming the top off a line of bricks that mark where an old wall used to be. Once this proudness has been removed, we will flow some self-levelling cement over the area, ready for the carpet which will be with us soon.

On a more positive note, Mike has been working like a trooper, looking after our many guests. It is wonderful to find that word is getting out and we have had many super guests over the last couple of weeks (or at least so I am told).

Here’s hoping things are a bit more energetic wherever you are!

Well, what a surprise!

Our ongoing refurbishment is semi-stalled at present, as we are working on raising the profile of Plas and the suites of rooms now available.

One approach has been our new leaflet…

My, what super bedrooms we seem to have…

Another has been continuing to be welcoming to all comers…

I wonder which one is the top dog here?

… such as these adorable canines in the cafe.

We have had several parties to stay in the rooms who have been delightful, and in at least one case saying goodbye was like waving off firm family friends at the end of their three night stay.

And we finally got to say Hi in person to little Eddie…

Proud dad and grandad (make that Taid)
and no, I can’t remember what on earth Mike had said to make me laugh.

And Mike, obviously, has continued to work like a demon on the first floor, which still has a few minor adjustments before it is ready for use…

No, the real surprise this week was when I was sitting watching the box about 9.30pm on Saturday when I heard a noise which I thought was Mike trying to take a book out of the bookshelf, causing all the books to fall. Mike, in our kitchen, heard a noise making him think a rushing wind was passing through the lounge – so we both moved quick sharp to where the other was, only to find we hadn’t done/seen anything….at which point we noticed the thick pall of dust in the entrance hall , which currently doubles as our library.

One less-than-sound ceiling

Imagine our surprise when we pushed through the fog and saw a large chunk of ceiling on the floor, with small building rubble covering a wide area, and the occasional drip from the hole in the ceiling…

Luckily, most of the books survived relatively unscathed
but they might be a bit dusty…

A little head scratching followed, and then we realised that a joint where the water main feeds into the toilet in one of the bedrooms in the (as yet un-refurbished) Manor has obviously been dripping for a while, and the weight of water had finally won over.

I have been trying to be very zen and look for the good in this. Firstly, neither Mike nor I were hurt, thankfully – not even when we were standing in the library looking at the devastation and another chunk of ceiling fell down! Secondly, much of what the ceiling landed on is fine – its just a shame we had had so much stored here to keep it out of the way of the newly opened rooms. And thirdly, at least we were both concerned that the other might have been hurt: it would have been far worse had we been indifferent on that score!

Oh well, just one more thing on the extensive to-do list- of which more in the next edition.