Demolition Carrie came to call

We hope you are all keeping well and making the best use of whatever time is at your disposal.

Last time, we left you with the tantalising shot showing a small hole in one of the walls taken from within the old larder…

… whilst this one is taken standing in the anteroom to what was the ladies, and the hole is now a little larger.

Just a little tap with the sledgehammer…

…and the jobs nearly finished! One more decent swing at it and…

… we got to this stage, where I couldn’t knock anything else over because the rubble was holding the wall up. Several trips with the wheelbarrows soon sorted that problem out and…

…the next thing I knew, the wall was gone.

A little bit of judicious tidying up and then it was time for something else.

Whilst I was destroying one room, Mike was forming another. The walls in the gents-to-be are all now in place, and after this picture was taken, Mike flowed a self-levelling screed over the floor which should dry well over the weekend and be ready for our next work session.

So after a lot of tidying up, and cutting logs (because the forecast indicated a cold weekend), we have had a weekend off. Yes, I know – how weird are we?! We will need to practise this time-off business more as we have both been rubbish at it!

Tomorrow we will be having a chat to prioritise work, given that it will be very difficult to buy consummables now. Luckily, we still have quite a lot of destruction to do…

Lockdown plus 1: progressing smoothly.

How quickly everything has changed. Shortly after my last post, the instruction to stay at home if at all possible was broadcast, which altered so much for all of us. Here’s hoping you are coping well. We managed one brief foray for food yesterday, and we have divided the dog walks so that Mike takes Lola out in the morning and I take her out in the evening to ensure we each only take the one exercise permitted. If Lola is lucky Phil will take her out as well, which is helping to distract Lola from the lack of visitors these days.

In an effort to take our minds off these difficult times, we continue with the building work (whilst we still have supplies) and I am hoping to post more pictures, sharing our stress reduction regime…

Mike has continued to focus on creating the new gents facilities. Two walls are now plasterboarded and today we finished one further wall.

My task yesterday and today was to empty the shelves above, and then destroy them.

I removed lots of tiles, smashed up the shelves, and then investigated the structure of the back wall of the larder. Turns out it was originally lath and plaster – so I stopped trashing it since we will need to replaster this wall in due course. Next, having removed the tiles, I had to try to break through the wall on the left, which turned out not to be stud partition as we had hoped, but a brick wall. I pestered Mike to start breaking through, just in case the building was going to fall on my head…

…which he managed with great aplomb. Tomorrow’s job for me will be to extend this hole to pretty much remove this entire wall, which currently separates the anteroom to the ladies from the larder.

Meanwhile my ‘treading water’ job – the task I work on whilst I am on standby to help Mike – was to widen this doorway into the ladies. The gap needs to become wide enough for two doorways, so first we needed to strip away infill walls which were put in 40 years ago to turn a window into a doorway.

When I removed the door and bashed through the plasterboard behind the tiles, we found this brick pillar, which just had to go.

It took a little while to loosen the top layers, but soon I was well into my stride and the pillar…

…learned who was boss.

The doorward is now considerably wider than it was, but I still have to remove more on the left hand side to re-establish the original window enclosure dimensions. Once we have recovered the original void, we will be better able to work out exactly where we need to place the new lintel, and what else can be/needs to be bashed away at that point.

If all of this leaves you feeling exhausted, join the club! After we stopped this afternoon I sat on the sofa… and the next thing I knew, Mike was waking me up to take my turn walking the dog. Maybe I’ll need to take it a little easier tomorrow… but it’s so useful to be making this terrible mess at a time when we don’t need to worry about anyone needing access to the facilities…

Working towards finding the new normal

We hope that you are all managing as well as can be hoped at the moment. In these worrying times it is astonishing how quickly our lives have been completely changed -and we presume the same for you. We have been working, for years, to get our guest accommodation open – but we never imagined that just before our first season was due to really get going, we would be closed down! Its funny to reflect that earlier this month we were tentatively proud of the burgeoning list of bookings…a mere two weeks later and the booking calendar is looking exceptionally thin.

Our grateful thanks, though, to all of our customers for their loyalty whilst we were open, and their understanding at this time.

Enough of this – we have our health and we have our family – somewhere out there – and the delights of communicating via electronic media – whatever did we do before mobile phones?

Back to Jack – we tried offering takeaway food over the weekend but there was no demand here . We suspect everyone here was climbing the mountains, judging by the local news. With the cafe fully closed, and with no one wanting to stay in the suites, Mike and I are having a day off today before returning to the building works tomorrow. With that in mind…

Once Mike had removed the toilets from the ‘old’ ladies, we studied the floor carefully and decided it had to go. Mike got out the Kanga to break it up and Phil asked if she could have a go…

… and she took to it like a duck to water. Once Phil and Mike had broken up the floor, we cleared out and prepared to start making good.

I stopped cutting up the waste wood into kindling and Mike and I put studding into two new infill stud walls, one to fill the doorway into the back stairs and one to fill the archway into the anteroom to the ‘old’ ladies.

Above you can see we then plasterboarded the stud walls (here between the toilets and the anteroom). Once that was finished, Mike got out the trusted dob-and-dab to attach the plasterboard to the walls from which we had removed the tiles. As this removal had made the surface of some pretty rough walls even rougher, we used quite a lot of dob-and-dab. In case you are wondering, the grey material to the left in this photo is the plasterboard, cut and ready to install as soon as the glue has been spread evenly (but slightly stuck as we tried to move it past the light fitting).

On Mothers’ day, we declared a day off for me. So obvs, I chose to spend it in the garden. The weather here has been gloriously sunny for the last few days, albeit very cold overnight. Below you can see a thicket of cornus stems mixed with hazel and other tree branches, which I have been itching to hack into for the last two or three years. Armed with secateurs and a pruning saw, we went in and razed it all to the ground.

You can see how my re-directed destructive streak was being satisfied, and the hope is that next winter, we will have a line of bright red stems to replace that unruly woodiness.

Next week’s pictures might be slightly less lovely since the work we have in line is visually relatively dull, so apologies now.

Having said that, we will soon be putting in a new lintel into the back wall of the manor, which will require us to prop walls up with Acros to ensure the whole building doesn’t fall down – maybe the photos will be more exciting then? We also hope to hear about our planning application for the next phases in a few weeks, so I will let you know as soon as we hear anything on those.

In the meantime, please remember the 2 metre rule and we look forward to sharing more news soon.