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….

Lots of white painting for the Whites

This week, I have been mostly painting – no, really – and Mike has been doing the things he hates by which I mean he has been doing the little fiddly bits, the finishing off.

See the stained window surround…

So I have been priming and undercoating the surrounds for the Velux windows..

…which now look a little whiter.

Then, because I had the primer and undercoat on the go, I started to undercoat the skirting boards and architrave…

Skirting now undercoated.

…but it might be quite difficult for you to see. There is plenty more still to do, but at least we have started!

Nearly a bathroom.


Meanwhile Mike has installed the loo and sink, and is now finishing the door construction for this bathroom on floor 2.

We had a visit from the building inspector last week, which went very well. His only ‘negative’ comment was to note that one door on this bathroom needs to be a fire door. Fortunately, he mentioned this before we had started to work on it, so are happy to confirm that we will be ordering an additional fire door for this purpose!

That’s floored us!

The refurbishment continues apace. We had a day ‘off’ last week to do lots of administrative jobs that had piled up, and then put our shoulders back to the many wheels. We finished plaster boarding the floor 2 bathroom, and then Mike added the skim coats…

See the supervisor sneaking out for a crafty drink…

…under the watchful eye of Boyd, the cat. Below you can see that the ceiling was busy drying, along with the walls. Mike had also finished creating the frame to support the bath…

Plastering complete – for this room, anyway!

…and as soon as this was dry, we moved on to tiling the floor.

Just the last little bits to fill in now…

When this dries, we will be able to install the loo, hand basin, and heated towel rail and then move on to something else.

Which bit counts as the ceiling?

Whilst Mike was gluing the fiddly bits I had cut into place, I retired to the third floor and put the first full strength coat of white paint onto the ceilings. It shouldn’t be long now before I can start putting the colour onto the walls…if I can just decide whether the sloping bit is ceiling or wall.

This week, we received an electronic copy of the architect’s plans for the next phases of the refurbishment. Even though Mike and I have talked through our ideas a time or two, I was completely floored when I saw the scale of works envisaged. Only minor things. For instance, on the attic floor of the manor, we had discussed changing the height of the roof valley, to create room – so I thought – for a sitting room and bedroom for us. The architect has found room to draw us a sitting room, kitchen, and 3 bedrooms – and these subtle differences were throughout!

After a couple of days of blind panic, I have started to calculate (a) how long will this project now take us (b) and how much will it cost, to help me see whether this is the way to go – but I can see even now that – if we get permission and go ahead with this – it will make the building even more beautiful than it is now or ever was.

We have requested a set of hard copy plans to pore over and will be putting these up for people to see in due course, to give us time to just let things settle before deciding if they are what we want. Exciting times!

Team White on tap

We continue to work on refurbishing floor 2, specifically on making the main bathroom for that floor.

The floor is almost finished


Mike grew a few inches today – perhaps he ate his spinach?


With the floor now down, Mike and I constructed a box (above) to surround the down pipe…

The new bath, almost ready for use…

…and after that was done, we lined the area around the bath with plywood, ready to install the tiles.

It fills and everything

We checked that the bath was functional… always so satisfying when you turn on the tap and the system works as it should…

Carrie struggled to reach across the full width so chose an alternative strategy…

…and then cut and fit plywood for the floor, which will also be tiled.

Insulating around the down pipe to try to keep the noise down.


As you can see above, we filled the waste pipe box (above) with insulation…

Mike tiling the wall around the bath

…and then we tiled around the bath. If I say so myself, Team White does make a swift job of it these days – Mike tiles, and I cut and pass him the various tiles in sequence.

Ta da!!

You can see here that we have cut away arcs in two tiles, ready for the vent tube and housing to be fitted, when the correct vent arrives.

We had to stop at this stage today as it was time to host Panad a Sgwrs in the cafe, after which I was distracted from work by chatting to some of our customers… shocking behaviour, I know, but very interesting.

We thought we might take tomorrow off… so who knows what the sitch might be when I next write!

We have a new supervisor..!

We are still working through the refurbishment, and hope to be still on target to have some rooms nearly ready for this Easter.

Can you guess who has been painting? Yes, it’s me, here mist coating the wall next to the tiled shower surround, for the en suite on floor 2.

Just check out that concentration -anyone would think I had got the hang of it by now!


Meanwhile, Mike was working on the other bathroom on floor 2. The state of the flooring suggests to us that there has been more than one flood from this bathroom so, having spent the last couple of days sorting out the plumbing, Mike set to lifting the old floorboards…

Hmm, I think it still needs a little tlc…

…and replacing them with new level boards. We put the insulating mat back between joists…

Floor nearly renewed…

…and in between periods of holding things for Mike, I moved on to bedroom 1 floor 2 with the Mist Coat Express.

Still concentrating… and such a flattering outfit, don’t you think!
Notches have all been cut out of the last floorboard…

After Mike had tweaked the last floorboard to fit, I gave him a hand to install it – and as you can see, Lola came to give us the benefit of her opinion.

Mike appears to be praying to the local god of ‘oh dear, I think I might have done too much today ‘

By the time we got to the end of today, it is possible we had overdone it a tad. I got to leave slightly early, as I have my theology meeting tonight (Genesis 1-3, since you ask) and still had to finish my Welsh homework before class tomorrow. I find it rather irritating that, despite leaving school several decades ago, I still find myself doing my homework the night before I have to hand it in. I had hoped I would have got better at critical path scheduling in the intervening years…

We plan to continue majoring on floor 2 bathroom activities next week and then move on (I hope) to something more exciting. Here’s hoping you can bear the tension…

Baby, it’s cold outside…and inside…

Man, it has been cold this week. I am typing with my finger-less gloves on as the alternative is too terrible to contemplate. I so look forward to us opening the rooms, when it will make economic sense to heat more of the building…

The view as you leave via Plas front door last Tuesday.

On the other hand, as ever, the countryside here looks fab under a soft coating of snow, which has persisted all week.

Doorway now fully insulated and ready for finishing



In an attempt to avoid freezing, we have had to continue working. Here you can see that we have finished insulating the stud wall which will close an old doorway on floor 2 – and you can see the new supervisor checking out the work-person-ship.

Meanwhile, Mike was installing the newly arrived half-glazed fire doors. On each floor, we will install one of these fire doors as the access from the stairwell, so that people in the suites of rooms can check that their exit is safe before entering the stairwell.

We have a new superviser…

Lola was checking out Mike’s work here, as well. Notice that there are now two fire rated ‘front’ doors – one fully glazed, closest to the stairs, and one wooden door beyond that.

Whilst this was going on, Alex and I were still finishing our door closure programme.

Alex in action…

With the door frame in place, Mike cut rebates to fit the door hinges…

Mike installing the hinges (and yes, it was that cold!)

and, having fitted the hinges, it was a three-person job to hang the door – Mike on the drill; Alex holding the door in place; and your’s truly ensuring the hinges were correctly aligned before Mike screwed them in place.

Now the door can be hung

Another task this week – which was rather timely given how fantastically COLD it has been here – was to insulate the loft space above floor 3. Below you can see the space, after we have cleared out the old floorboards, paint cans, and mysterious shelving which we think indicated that previous occupants had intended to grow things in this space which they probably didn’t want people knowing about….

The loft – after all suspicious items had been removed

All we needed was a few rolls of this…

Insulation rolls

…and then we had a fully insulated space – especially one day later, after all of the fibres had had time to fluff up.

It looks like an alien world now…

Today, I finished encasing the new fire door surround with fire-resistant plasterboard….

Don’t let the relaxed attitude mislead you – this is totally skilled input, you know…

…and then Mike and I finished tiling the shower surround, once the pallet of tiles had been delivered.

Mike finishing off the shower tiling


We then turned our attention to the other bathroom on floor 2. Having removed two old toilets, it was my job to remove the old tiles and plasterboard, ready for plywood installation next week.

Carrie removes the old plasterboard, ready for the plywood to be installed.

As usual, we will now be working Sunday and Monday in the cafe. Why not tune in next week to find out just what we have been getting up to.