Now in Firebreak Lockdown…

…there is next to nothing to do in terms of changing rooms or laundry, so we can dedicate ourselves to building.

I will start with the thing that has been holding us up. Below you see one of the foul waste pipes running through the ladies loos. The two marked crosses show the highest and lowest limits of the height of a junction we need to feed into the pipe – but because the pipe is curved, this is not a simple matter. Cue several phone calls with different builders merchants and a range of suggestions on how we should sort this out. Having eliminated a few of these, we are now on what we hope is the final version. We now need to dig up the floor around the base, which is a shame as we had already laid the tiles on the floor about 6 inches from where we need to excavate.

One day when we were working, Mike suddenly squeaked in alarm, thinking something was attacking his finger. When he removed his gloves, we found that he had finally managed to wear out his wedding ring. Many years ago he was closing a fire door with a powerfull closer and his ring was caught on the handle which pulled his hand violently backwards, which pinched a crease in the ring. Presumably this is the point that failed, and the ends were then nipping Mike’s skin in the gap. So whilst we were in town, having a fitting for our new glasses, he selected a new ring made of tungsten, which we hope will prove a little more robust – I mean, the first ring only lasted 33 years!

Other than tiling the floor, we have been at work at the top of the ‘old’ stairs, where there is a doorway that gave access to the rooms which are now the suites, and which is now blocked off. To make this a useful space, we are turning it into a store cupboard. You can see below we have put in the stud work and insulating mat…

…and then finished it off with fireboard. I then removed the glazing from the door, which we will replace with wood in a week or so.

On Monday, the first day of our Firebreak lockdown, we declared a day off as we went to the big city to collect our new glasses. I know that we are supposed to stay home unless shopping for food or other essential activities, but we decided being able to see where we were aiming the saw was pretty important…

We can confirm it is wonderful to be able to see fine details again, and that this is only about the 10th selfie we have ever taken..

We had a violent thunderstorm early Sunday morning which left the local area without electricity for about 20 hours, most houses in Pont y Pant without a functioning IT router, and no mobile phone signal for a couple of days. Tuesday and Wednesday saw us busy preparing firewood, because we have used a lot of logs over the last month, and the weather forecast is for torrential rain for four days starting tomorrow.

We have managed to convert the ash tree which was blown over about 3 years ago into quite a heap of logs and hope they will warm us well this winter. Whilst cutting the logs, I noticed the wonderful colours on a beech tree…

…isn’t nature fantastic – the brown leaves at the tips of the branches, with yellow below, and leaves still green at the base. What a combination! Now I hope you will excuse me as I stop and recover from the days exertions with the axe, and hope to be writing more soon.

Well, that should work…

You may recall that last time, I explained we had installed a doorframe at a slightly different dimension than the one required.

If you have really good eyesight, you might notice that there is a glue line in the frame (right hand piece of wood) above. To solve our rather capacious problem, we trimmed and planed a piece of solid wood and glued it in place to block in the excess space. We then hung the door, and will at some point add a new door jamb which will fully correct our mistake. That took a couple of hours extra work, but it saved pulling down a stud wall and breaking the frame apart, so we feel we got off pretty lightly.

Next we filled some patches in the floor to bring them level, ready for tiling…

…and then we started preparing to create the ladies loos. The space earmarked for this room currently has only half a ceiling, so we started by adding studwork to the walls and then extended the wooden frame of the existing ceiling.

In the shot above, you can see a small portion of the existing ceiling and our new frame reaching completion.

Whilst the building work steadily progressed, we decided to have a day out in Llandudno. Here you see the pier as the afternoon sun faded away following a lovely sunny day, and below you see the real reason for our jaunt…

We knew it had been a while since we last had our eyes tested, but now we know why we have been struggling to read the subtitles on the tv, and possibly also the instructions for some procedures… Mike’s new bins are a lot stronger than his last…

…and mine should be considerably more effective than my current ones.

During lockdown, we have started a new working pattern, giving ourselves Saturday off and then spending time together in the garden on Sundays. This week’s task was to remove a tree just behind the labyrinth which had blown over a couple of years ago. You may be able to see the main trunk behind Mike’s back, and one of the main limbs between Mike and Dick above.

Here you can see that the tree has gone, better revealing the rockface behind. I will shortly be working out quite how to fill the gap, ensuring the rock behind is not obscured, noting it may well involve the shrubs in my hands!

As we finished chopping the tree into tiny pieces, we turned to go in and I took this snap. Doesn’t the Lledr vally look fabulous at this time of year!

Now what shall we do?

We are part way through our second week of building work, which I thought I would share with you tonight.

We started our travails by putting in the door frame for the accessible toilet. We checked and double checked the figures, but you will find out later on that this was not our finest moment. Having put the door frame in, we needed to accurately site the dividing wall so we did the measuring and …

…then needed to fix a length of 3″ x 2″ on the ceiling – but unfortunately the timbers holding up the ceiling were running the wrong way! So I was passed my demolishion hat and told to locate some joists, and of course I obliged. Having found the joists and added some noggins, we began putting in the stud partition wall, but then encountered problem number 1.

The existing foul down pipe, that will end up within the stud partition wall, is bent at the bottom. We need to link the accessible toilet outflow into this, but can’t use a standard fixing due to the bend. We ordered a special fixing last week, but still await it’s arrival – which means we can’t finish the wall.

Sorry about the blur – but you can see above that most of the wall has been built, and below that we had to prep for plastering the slate wall just inside the doorway.

Meanwhile, work has continued on the external stairs, with Niall fitting the hand rail (which Mike is holding whilst some welding takes place).

…and over the weekend we had lovely weather so have added a few plants as we continue to improve the landscaping.

Now we are awaiting delivery of a few items, so decided to move to fitting the accessible toilet door. You might notice the slightly puzzled look on Mike’s face when he found that the dimensions were not what they needed to be. Having moved the (very heavy) door to be fitted, we check-measured the width of the door frame and found to our horror that the frame was wider than the door. Much head-scratching followed, until we realised that we had made the wrong aperture the right size! (For anyone still interested, we had set the door jambs at the required distance, where we should have set the rebated parts behind the jambs to that distance. Having castigated ourselves roundly, we then wondered if perhaps we hadn’t taken enough time off before returning to the building work….any appropriate excuse might make up feel a little less silly.

Cue end of today, and of this blog. Since we have already built the stud wall next to this frame, it isn’t sensible to try to resize the frame, so tomorrow we will fudge the problem, of which more details next time.

We are anxiously waiting to know (as are our booked guests) whether we are allowed to open this weekend, but fully expect this not to be permitted. I just hope we are told sooner than later…