As we finish one staircase, another must bite the dust

Last weekend was really cold here.  I mean really, really cold – quite a shock after the lovely warm autumn we had been enjoying until then…

Moel Siabod put on its winter coat temporarily last week

We began to complete a few of the last elements needing to be completed in our new handrail.  In particular, we needed to encase the little landing on floor 1 – but it wasn’t immediately obvious how.

Part of floor one landing awaiting its railings

So we took a few measurements, chewed a few pencil ends, and popped in a few additional newel posts…

Some new newel posts in place

…and then fit top and bottom rails, followed by spindles, to make this last little piece secure.

Now add some spindles

And now for a little distraction, if you will forgive me.  Some folk in Dolwyddelan have conducted the necessary research to find out where those who served in World War 1 lived and what happened to them, and have written up brief histories for each, whilst others have knitted some poppies.  As you can see, two sons of the house served and details are posted on our front fence for a week or two.

Something for the historians

Back to the building (as Mike can often hear me call).  Below is a photo of the difficult corner on floor 3, which we have now finished to our satisfaction, bar the coats of plaster to be added soon.

The awkward corner

Earlier today, I asked Alex to take a photo of my back – but I realise I didn’t give him quite enough instruction.  I know it looks like I might be standing in the dunce corner, but actually I am holding a wrecking bar and trying to work out where I would get most purchase.

The reason I wanted to include the photo is – we have had a busy couple of days with regard to showing folk around the building.  On Tuesday, we met an utterly charming couple from Sweden who enjoyed being shown around.  They were also thrilled to see that my overalls come from Väderstad – their home town!

This shot needs some explaining…

And yesterday afternoon, whilst Mike was visiting our son Tom (temporarily in hospital in Harrogate, having his broken heel (ouch!) seen to), my cousin Anthony and wife Debbie dropped by on their holiday from Cambridgeshire for a quick look around.  As Anthony has spent his working life in building work, it was a shame they missed Mike and the detailed technical details, but I hope my broad brush description was sufficient for them.

Today Mike plastered a wall on floor 3…

Mike returns to his other love, plastering

…whilst I began to demolish the short flight of stairs that used to bring people into the three floors above the cafe.   These stairs cannot remain, as it is not possible to fit stairs with the currently required width, tread and riser dimensions into the space available – and as any stairs here would run into the fire-rated stairwell, the regulations would have to be met.  If you keep an eye on the blog over the next few weeks, you will see what we plan to replace these with – but in the short term, we need them out.  We were relaxed about this space during the summer, but when the weather turned cold last weekend we suddenly realised that a bitingly cold wind was howling through the voids at the bottom of these stairs.  We suspect this comes through the roof void over the long corridor, which we know is not insulated, so we will remove the stairs and almost immediately insulate the space, before any cold weather returns.

…whilst I return to my other love, demolition

We set Alex to work on floor 2 with the new wallpaper stripper to remove the last of the wood chip…

Alex removing some wood chip paper

…whilst Mike moved to more plastering on floor 2.

Mike now on floor 2

I should warn you that for the next few weeks I might be featuring lots of plastering photos – sorry.  But the clock is now on…we have set ourselves the challenge, we hope, of  completing floor 2, ideally by the end of this month (or certainly the month after), and that means a lot of plastering so – you have been warned!

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