They are now stairing us in the face!

What a fantastic weekend!  I don’t know about you but here, from Saturday morning through to Monday evening, we had the most glorious weather.  We know we live in a beautiful part of the world but we still enjoy seeing how fab it looks when you can see clearly, without a veil of rain between us and the view…

Enough with the padding.  I know that what you really want to know is – how are the stairs progressing?  So without further ado…

on Friday, I studied Welsh for the morning (specifically the past perfect- wedi) whilst Mike mowed the lawn – so that all would look at its best in the sunshine – and then fit plywood to the third floor wall of the staircase.  After lunch, Dick arrived and between us we hauled the new trimmer into position…

Trimmer in place, still wearing the moving strap

Siting the trimmer was quite tricky as one end had to be fitted into a joist hanger that was situate below some copper pipes which could only be flexed an inch or two.  We fed the trimmer below the pipes but the far end had to be raised several feet during installation as the trimmer was only 20mm shorter than the space between the two walls between which it sits.  You can imagine the tension as we worked to feed the trimmer under the pipes whilst gently ‘lifting’ the copper pipes to enable us to feed the far end of the trimmer into position – but after a few minutes of ‘to you… to me’ hilarity we were delighted when it suddenly dropped perfectly into the joist hanger at one end, and cleared the wall to sit on its rest at the other end.

Checking it is level…

Here we see Mike and Dick looking admiringly at their handiwork and adjusting the precise position of the trimmer to ensure it is exactly where it needs to be to accept the stairs.

Stairs finally on their destination floor

Now, with trimmer fixed, we need to fit the stairs.  They had previously rested on floor 2 so first task was to haul them up through the gap you see above onto floor 3.  Each time we have done this, it has been my job to anchor the rope whilst Dick and Mike manhandled the stairs into position – which is why my image doesn’t get recorded…it’s fine, I don’t mind that no-one knows I am a part of the build team… that is ever the lot of the deputy apprentice trainee junior under-builder…

Back to the plot.  Next we fit the top newel post as this will sit tight against the trimmer.  We stood and chatted whilst the PVA glue dried, and then…

Newel post attached

…I was back in position at the end of the rope to take the weight of the stairs whilst Dick eased them forwards until the bottom stair gently descended to its final location…

Stairs now ready to be lowered into position

…and met Mike who had returned to floor 2 to receive the stairs and ease the lug at the end into the slot on the higher of the two newel posts you see below.

Bottom of the stairs now in position, and Mike busy locking the lug on the stairs into the newel post

Once this was fixed we jiggled the stairs until the top sat firmly against the trimmer and then (whisper it quietly) Mike walked up the stairs and screwed them into position.

…and his name was Bingo!

So, pause here for a moment.  This is the completion of many months of effort.  We see here stairs that now travel from floor 0 just outside the cafe all the way up to floor 3.  Fair enough it is not a comfortable exercise to climb them at the moment: many bits of floor have been left in place for us to use over the next few weeks, so the headroom is only about 30cm in some places – but they are at last all in place!!!  On Friday evening we had a minor celebration (a really nice hot cup of tea) to remind ourselves that there may still be much to do, but an important milestone has now been reached.

Now the wall of studs above the stairs have been covered in plywood and fire-resistant plaster board (the Karabina in shot was the fixing through which the rope passed when we raised the stairs).

On Saturday Mike put the plasterboard over the plywood so middle of next week we should be ready to skim this wall.  I meanwhile was front of house in the cafe on a very pleasantly busy day.

Mike and I staffed the cafe on Sunday and Monday when, as ever, we met some lovely people travelling through the area, and today, as a break from building work (and before the forecast rain arrives) we finished removing the building rubble from the front flower bed and replanted it.  Obviously this meant many of the seeds and cuttings I had propagated last autumn were included in the planting, so I had even more plant pots to wash and dry…

The front flower bed has been completely ‘refreshed’

Tomorrow we plan to return to the building works, but I hope that the smugness from having installed all of the stairs will remain for several days to come.

 

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