How green is our valley?

Whilst we were dismantling a bathroom earlier this week, we met what we presume was an (interesting) repair.  You may be able to see below that a piece of plywood is in place behind the shower controls, and this had been tiled just slightly proud of the other tiles.  Nice!  At least the tiles they used matched those already in place – we can assure you that this was not normal in this building.  The board behind the tiles was also worryingly black – our guess is that something has been leaking slightly for a few years….

An interesting repair

During the last few days Mike and I have taken a half day off, when we visited a series of garden centres to appease my need to get some fresh air occasionally.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Mike has worked out how to line up the frame of the fire door below with the structural wall we need to put in at 90 degrees to the back wall of the stairwell (towards the right hand side of the photo).

Door frame being reinforced …

To recap – the fire door was put in before the architect amended the plans to include a structural wall here.  We therefore have had to create a structural wall to the camera side of the fire door as it leads into the long corridor.  Below you can see we have now added plasterboard, plywood, and studs to create a strong structure, with a wooden lintel above, ready for us to install the rest of the structural wall above. more fortified

Earlier today, Mike and I installed studs above this doorway, followed by plywood stiffening, so that the wall extends through floor 1 and tomorrow we will begin to extend this wall onto floor 2.

Whilst we did this, we had someone working on the wilderness behind the building.  The first two photos below give an idea of the cover on the rock behind the premises – generally Rhododendron ponticum along with bramble and the occasional hemlock along with other random plants.




We have employed someone to come along and remove the Rhododendron top growth (ready for us to stem-inject the stump) and any hemlock, and you can see in the two photos below the net result.

In this shot, you can still see the smoke drifting across from the bonfire.  You also see part of the wonderfully decorative (!?!) fire escape which we can radically amend once the fire-rated staircase is installed.  My apologies that these photos (taken in diminishing light this afternoon) do not really capture the enormity of the task of clearing these rock faces, nor how much progress has been made, but we hope they do convey that we still have much work to do here!


But it does feel really good that we are continuing to slowly inroads on this hillside.  Perhaps the photo above shows the most important element of this clearance: before this afternoon, we had no clear idea of the lay of the land, as it was not possible to see through the layer of Rhodo leaves to the land below.  Now we can see that the slope is relatively gentle and continuous, so once we have raked the loose debris away, it should be possible to mark a walking path and then plant shrubs into the remaining land/rock, in order that we can – in the medium to long term – create a gently undulating planted space that could be walked through fairly confidently without customers risking life and limb – once we have managed to kill off the persistent weeds.




2 thoughts on “How green is our valley?

  1. Happy New Year!
    you both seem to be keeping well and cracking on with the renovations. We’ve all had the flu and chest infections and ended up staying at home for New Year, instead of going up to Scotland. Every one we know has been ll.
    The cleared land is looking good too. Getting rid of the rhodi etc is really opening it up isn’t it?
    Take care

    1. Dear Kim
      I am so sorry to read that you have all been poorly. The bugs this year certainly seem to be horrors – Jane had over a week off with the flu-y thing, but (touching wood here) we have managed to avoid it to date. Rhodo clearance going well so far, but hugely excited that the pipes might be moving tomorrow! also off to a Welsh food fair, so hopefully we will get ideas for new menu items before you call again! All the best to all, Carrie

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