I worry sometimes that my blog may give the impression that I am not always 100% behind Mike’s mad endeavours here at Plas. To counter this, at least in part, I am including a shot of him admiring our handiwork on the top rock behind the building. You may notice that although you can clearly see we haven’t raked up all the rubbish yet, there is rather less Rhododendron ponticum in the picture than was evident last week.
The shot below shows that, having cleared most of the ‘top’ land, we are beginning to make inroads on the slope down to the river. (In the shot below, if you look really really hard, you can see the river about one third down on the very left hand side.) When we first arrived, we were advised by Rhydian from the National Park forestry division to clear the top first, and then work down hill, so it is a major success story as far as I am concerned that we are now entering phase 2! However, clearing from the top down does mean we have to cut and then throw clippings up hill, so we may adapt to clearing strips from the bottom up, if you see what I mean, enabling us to throw the combustible waste downhill.
Now, this week marks a very important turning point for us. I am sure Mike won’t mind my saying this (not least as he will proof-read this before it is published)! It was clear last autumn that he really did not want to realign the pipework for the extension, as this is (a) quite a major task and (b) has the potential to upset the cafe operations if not done in a timely fashion. Yes, he is happy to do plumbing work, but this particular plumbing feeds water to and from the cafe, and so will need to be operated on, ideally, out of cafe hours and it is this time constraint that was the step too far.
However, the Universe has intervened by not providing us with a plumber for over 3 months now.
So yes, finally, Mike has decided to own this task and take it on….
You can see in the shot above that the ‘old’ pipes are still supported by wooden cross pieces, whilst Mike’s shiny new pipe is fixed just to the left of the joist, on shiny new brass clips.
To confirm, we have a new pipe fitted to the left of the joist (slightly to the left of the light fitting). This has been cut to size, and will need to be soldered together next week, before Mike cuts and drains the existing pipework and rejoins those pipes to his shiny new ones, which will be about 2 feet to the left of their current position and thus will not be in the way when we go to fit the trimmer for the stairs and floor 1 landing.
Whilst Mike has been sucking through his teeth, and working with just the tip of his tongue showing (a sure sign of total concentration), we have also been taking delivery of insulation board and pipes, stored pro tem in the library. I have also been cleaning out the shed which the previous owner used for his chicken coop, but that was so grim that I haven’t taken any photos. I cleared out the old straw and we moved the chicken ‘hutches’ only to find that the roof is leaking, the floor is rotten in places under where the coops used to be, and so my plan to rescue this place for storage looks to have bitten the dust. No worries – I found plenty to keep me occupied, putting insulation mat into various internal walls.
We will be in the cafe for the next two days, making more marmalade from the Seville oranges we purchased last Tuesday, so perhaps by middle next week we will have more building progress to report.