Putting my foot in it…somewhat sideways

The last two weeks have been a tale in three parts. The first is the new carpet, which arrived somewhat unexpectedly one day last week. Mike and I had about an hour to clear the area and lift the old carpet as we had mislaid the note telling us when the carpet was due to arrive!

The carpet fitters installed the underlay whilst Mike did some last minute repairs to the floor (as I was out at a meeting), and Lola kept a (somewhat reluctant) eye on proceedings.

The hall carpet now matches that on the stairs…

…and the downstairs ‘old’ hall is finally all in one livery.

The second story is that our wonderful children and partners all popped over for the weekend so we could spend a little time together. Tom and Kate were the first to arrive so we three decided to have a quick walk up Moel Siabod before the weather deteriorated.

As you can see, it was rainy / misty for much of the way, so we decided to turn around a few hundred yards short of the summit as the conditions were poor and worsening. Sadly, I still managed to misjudge a step; my foot slid on a wet piece of rock and by the time I had stopped moving, one leg was folded hard back at the knee and I had landed with that leg at a strange angle to the other leg. At this point, I was shown what amazingly sensible and able folk Tom and Kate are: they totally took charge and fully supported me as I hobbled back down the hill.

Tom finished the walk with me, after we packed Kate off to run and get the car. It was such a relief to sit down, and even more of a relief to take off my shoes when we got back to Plas. Below you can see how discoloured the ankle was, but the pictures don’t really do justice to the extent of the swelling.

Nonetheless, we had a lovely couple of days with the younger generation (and brother Mike, who took this pic).

Fortunately (if I can really call it that), it is half term this week, so we are not on building duties. Now, several days later, I can hop up and down stairs safely but slowly. Serving breakfasts is no problem as we are on the level, but when it comes to room changes, I can change the beds providing Mike brings me the towels and sheets which keeps my stair traffic to a minimum. Five days later, we are looking like this:

It is bruising, not dirt…honestly!

I still can’t get my shoes on so am in crocs, but hope to be moving on any day now.

To end on a lighter note, please see below a beautifu sunset from last week, captured for posterity by our neighbour, Wendy.

This north Wales lark isn’t too bad, you know. More on building works next week, I hope.

We have honey…

We have been meaning to harvest the honey for some weeks now, but last week we finally had some time and good weather in the same window of opportunity. We still have one hive, but it has done us proud. I was operating the spinner whilst Mike…

…cut the wax caps off the cells before putting them in the spinner. He brought one full super into the kitchen and left one or two combs outside to await our attention but we don’t think he thought this through enough because when we went to collect them…

…his ladies had beaten us to it and reclaimed their honey!!

The super only had couple of combs left hanging waiting for us, but there were an awful lot of bees busy reclaiming their honey, so Mike decided discretion was the better approach, and left them to it! Mind you, when Mike later nipped down to collect his tools and replace the stone on the top of the hive, the bees popped out to give him what for and he sustained quite a few stings since he hadn’t bothered putting his suit on. You learn something really useful every day…

This week, Niall has installed the new threshold under the new front door. Above you can see how it looks as you arrive and…

…here you can see the view as you leave.

Whilst all this was happening, we have been ordering supplies and trying to organise machinery to start underpinning the next phase, of which more (I hope) next week.

Back to work we went…

We are now in October, things have lightened up with the accommodation, and between weekends we are able to return to the building project. Before I show you our progress, let me remind you that we are in part tarting the building up ready for a wedding party to be held here next September. Having spent time in Kew recently, we visited a local plant nursery and bought the plants you see below which are looking good at this time of year, ready to put them in the garden soon.

One of the ‘wedding’ jobs was to replace the door below which sits in the place where the original front door lived. So we started by removing the panelling…

…and then the door itself, with its surround…

…after which we removed the bench seats from inside the porch…

…which enabled us to clear away the carpet in the porch so we could find the floor level, ready to install the new door, lovingly made by Niall.

Of course, it will be less draughty once we have fitted the glass, but we are told our order may take a while to fulfil as there are problems getting hold of glass at the moment.

We decided – on our wedding anniversary – to visit Bodnant gardens, to see if that would give us any more design ideas. So much colour still in Bodnant, so plenty of things to think about…

…but our river looks a little more ‘thundering’ than this picturesque flow…

…but I still managed to find a few essential supplies in their garden shop.

When we got back, we realised there was quite a lot of vibration noise that we couldn’t understand or locate, so we went to walk the dog, and found they were working on the railway…

… we assume the noise was digging holes to take the additional rivets to keep it safe for a few hundred years more!

Then it was on to the next project. You may recall from last time that we had pulled the panelling off the wall, and then we took a week or two to look at it and decide what to do next. As the stonework is covered in soot and sticky residue, and as the carpet will be arriving before Christmas (we hope!), we have decided to hide it all behind plaster having carefully taken measurements so we can revisit this in about 5 years time when we properly redecorate this part of the house.

First, we extended the wooden frame…

…and then started adding plasterboard.

The last piece slipped in a treat…

…and now we just need to organise some plaster to cover it. Did you notice, by the way, that Mike can use the camera, to clarify that I do some of the work too! In the short term, we will slot an electric fire here so that it looks more finished.

You may notice we are currently doing ‘wedding preparation’ jobs, which also enable us to wait for the plans for the next phase to arrive. We still have to decide whether next week is more wedding jobs or will we bite the bullet and start the underpinning….?