Happy New Year…and new lintels!

My first post in 2024 – so I’ll start with a quick recap…

We are re-building a 1970s extension to the 1880’s hunting lodge at Plas Penaeldroch. Three old block and slate walls remain and the new front wall will be of timber construction. We are currently putting floor joists in to stiffen the structure, and also to give us somewhere to put a tarpaulin to create some shelter from the gentle refreshing rain that is an almost daily delight at the moment.

We now have two sections almost complete, and only another six sections to complete.

Since I last posted, we have enjoyed Christmas with our children. To be strictly accurate, we held our celebrations on 29th December when all four children and their families were here, and it was delightful to have fun together and enjoy a present exchange or two. We also had a wonderful surprise when we opened a parcel from our Ukrainian friends as these sheepskins will keep us much warmer this winter!! There were many positives over the holiday and also one or two negatives this year. The pipe tail from the kitchen water heater split, showering hot water over a wide area. The boiler packed up, requiring a call out and lots of faffing about to resolve. And whilst we were all waiting for the third thing to go wrong, a supercell thunderstorm arrived. After about 15 minutes of lightening flashes and thunder claps, there was an enormous BANG…

…that encourages us all to get up to try to find what had happened. As we walked from the sitting room, we found shards of glass all over the corridor and stairwell, and noticed that the large window in the stairwell was mostly missing – although intriguingly the unbelievably elegant vase on the windowsill was completely unaffected.

The (thick Victorian) glass fragments were everywhere, and indeed one of the shards cut a deep grove into the handrail on the stairs. Cue a very long session for Pips and me picking up the glass fragments; PIps and Will on the vacuum cleaner; and Mike and Tom replacing the glass with a plywood panel.

We were very lucky that beside the mess and the gouge taken from the handrail, there was minimal other damage, although one painting (see above) that was waiting to be put up on the wall now needs a replacement piece of glass…

…but given how tricky it is to access the window, we count it a big win that no-one was hurt whilst we blocked off the window void…

…although I’m not sure Will and Pips agree with me…

…and the dogs were all giving us the hard stare the next morning (that’s Lola, Morgan, Freddie and Bodhi in case you don’t know them all by heart).

We had guests in for some of the holiday, and had a day off once all the guests had departed, but then it was back to building work. This week, we replaced the concrete lintels over the two ‘wooden’ doorways with wooden lintels, so we are now almost ready to get back to progressing the building.

Next week we will start by adding braces to the steels as they unnerved us slightly by beginning to sway around during the onslaught of storms just before Christmas. We have a cunning plan to stop this…

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