Our magnificent project has moved forwards apace this week, with only the smallest of obstacles delaying our progress.
You see below the new trimmer in place, ready for the first flight of stairs from floor 1 to floor 2 to rest against the front of the structure (bottom of picture). Once in place, we cut the stairs to size in the two places necessary and then offered them up to the trimmer . . . only to find that the landing ‘extension’ which Mike built the day before he went down with the ‘flu was too small! Cue lots of measuring, reading of plans and scratching of heads. We eventually realised that the first flight of stairs on floor 1 comprises 5 steps, whilst the similar flight on floor 0 has 6 steps, so the landing extension needed to be about 250mm longer than we had built.
Next step – you can see below that we have removed the landing ‘extension’ floorboards, after which Mike had to dismantle parts of the substructure before rebuilding a bigger version. This required us first to cut away the old floor (on the left hand side of the picture below) to give us room to work – which did then leave an uncomfortably large hole in the floor for us to work around.
Most of the time, I was helping Mike, cutting bits, holding bits, fetching bits, getting the tea, insisting we read the plans – all the regular trainee deputy under-builder tasks. When I was released from these duties, I took my energy and any frustrations out on the wall you can see below, which in the fullness of time will form a doorway into an en suite bathroom…
…and when I got bored with that, I returned to helping the Master as he lovingly re-crafted the landing ‘extension’. Below you can see much of the substructure, including the noggins for increased rigidity….
…and further below you see it again with various angle brackets, flat screw plates and enormous bolts in place, with just a little bit of fiddling still to do before the floor boards can be fitted. As this was happening on a day when we knew I would be needed on task for about 15 minutes in the hour, and as it was forecast to be a dry day, we lit the bonfire at the top of the hill behind us.
For some months, the site had been full of partly burned Rhododendron stumps along with random heaps of gardening detritus, onto which we carried out all the old floor boards we have raised recently along with various wooden materials we had removed which were impregnated with the distinct scent of rodent. Being a well organised and conscientious worker, obviously I took a picture before I lit the match – it must have got lost somewhere in the processing routine (or perhaps I just forgot…) but I hope you are impressed that the 4 black objects towards the right of the shot are all that remains of this massive pile, and if these stumps continue to smoulder there may be even less tomorrow. Once it all cools down and I have dug away the worst of the ashes, if all goes to plan, this will be a planted area by the summer.
Back indoors, Mike had finished cutting and fitting the floorboards to the landing extension so tomorrow we hope to fit the next flight of stairs in place. Once he had finished this, Mike started plastering the area that I stripped of wallpaper earlier in the week, so that it should be dry when we come to fit the third flight of stairs next week.
Tomorrow we will continue with the stairs, unless of course the cafe gets really busy what with the school Easter holidays being imminent, in which case Mike might lose his trainee deputy under-builder every now and then – but I’m sure he can cope.