More building work, and more…

We have made a lot of progress over the last week or so, but it isn’t particularly easy to show it. Below is a photo taken at the beginning of the week…

…and further below is one from the end of the week! If you count carefully you will notice there are a lot more joists in place. I’ll bet that makes your heart sing! Having said that, it was only as we approached the end of work today that I noticed, from the flat roof of the adjacent building…

…that you now get a good sense of the scale of what we are building.

The other big news this week is that we have trimmed back the roof you see below. This roof will be glazed in the final building, but it currently overlaps the space in which we must build a new wall, so…

…we cut about 60cm away from the right hand edge of the roof below in order that the block wall you see centrally blow can be built a little higher.

This required us to clear some rubbish out of the roof space, insulate a couple of water pipes, and then replace the temporary insulation we have in place until we return to properly finish this roof much later this year. Or possibly next year, depending on our energy levels!! Before I sign off this week, I just want to share the wonderful news that our son Will and his wonderful wife Lucy have presented us with…

…a wonderful grandson, George. Welcome George and congratulations to the happy parents.

No time to rest though – we are stopping for a day or two to look after our guests, and will be building again early next week.

More building news, and a piano, too!

You may recall from last time that we are putting in the floor joists to help our refurbishment project gain some rigidity. Here we are installing the joists that will sit on the block wall at the back of the building on the right hand side…

…whereas here you can see the rear left hand side, where there was a very unorthodox arrangement above one window. In fact, below you can see…

…there were significant gaps and voids in the block wall that had been built above the original (solid) slate walls…

…and we were not happy leaving these in place. So, we dismantled the walls above the window, revealing an old metal support as well as a very strange ‘lintel’ over the window comprising three narrow lintels effectively bricked together by cementing a double line of bricks over the joins.

Below you can see the lintels and bricks part way through the removal process…

…and here we are gently lifting out the concrete lintels, one by one, using our block-and-tackle.

Once the lintel had gone, we removed the glass and the old window frame…and could then begin rebuilding to modern standards.

Having rebuilt the tops of the two walls, we installed a catnic lintel…

…and then blocked over the lintel whilst also installing the damppoof membrane. Having got this far, we moved on to the far more satisfying job of constructing the last section of the central wall!

When these sections were ready to install, we person-handled them into position and used many screws to secure them in place. On our next working day, we will return to putting joists in place on the left-hand ‘suite-to-be’.

In other news: do you remember one of the windows was blown out in a storm over Christmas? When we went to measure the window to replace the glass we found that the frame was too rotten to support a repair. Since we will need several consecutive dry days in which to replace the frame and then the glass, we instead commissioned Debbie to paint a dragon which is now proudly installed until the summer.

We also thought you might like to see these lovely narcissi which are growing along the banks of the Lledr river at the moment…

…and perhaps also our newly acquired baby grand piano? We have been very lucky to acquire this instrument which had become surplus to requirements to its previous owner, and it now sits happily in the turret window. When we have some spare time (?!?), it will need some repair work and a complete re-polish but fortunately our many years in the veneering business means we are pretty sure we know how to do this, when the time is right!

I must stop now as we will be busy being hospitable this (half-term) weekend, and will return when we have more news…

The wettest winter on record…and we are still building!

I’m not sure if the casual reader would understand my excitement, but the line of blocks you see above marks the beginning of a truly thrilling phase for me. At last, it is warm enough (without risk of frost) for us to do block work again. We have put in the last line of blocks over this lintel, which brings us to the height of the joist hangers…which is when we will stop building block walls (below) and change to timber walls (above) the floor level.

As we complete sections of the ‘ground floor’ walls between the steels, we then switch to fitting the joist hangers and joists in each section. Here you can see the latest section is complete…

…and here can see that we now have three out of eight sections fitted with joists. Yippee!

For me the real advantage of this stage is we finally tidy up the ‘wonky’ top line of the walls, so it looks less like a half-demolished structure, and more like a half-built one, which is surprisingly important at this roughly half-way stage through our Plas rebuild journey.

To the extreme left below, you can see the wooden lintel (I know – we couldn’t believe it either) that used to be above a window…

…and once we had removed it, we realised it really was a lovely piece of timber, perhaps 4m long, so will refrain from cutting it into firewood and hope to find another use for it anyday now.

After a bit of faffing around and ensuring engineering bricks were in place, we fitted the replacement catnic lintel at the correct height for the door which will be going under the lintel eventually…

…and then knocked off for the day. The forecast had been dry for today when we checked it last night, but the weather turns out to have been wet…really wet… and really quite windy. Hopefully if you look closely in the puddle behind Mike you can see the surface being blown about by the howling gale!!

No worries – tomorrow is another day with, hopefully, weather more suitable for building.