We’re building again!

Happy New Year everybody! I know we have all put the decorations away for the year now, but I just wanted to show you our ‘staircase’ Christmas tree. Each year since we arrived in 2015, we have cut down a ‘weed’ tree (usually Hemlock) from the grounds and used this to fill the space between the banisters. This year, we had run out of Hemlock and hadn’t realised until after we cut down whatever species this tree is, it was considerably heavier than Hemlock. It took three people to get this tree upright, so you might like a last look at it in all its glory, before we get down to business.

…and you are only looking at the top half!

We had a gratifyingly busy Christmas, thanks for asking. The cafe was busier than we had expected; the suites of rooms were really very busy; and all of our children managed to be here for some of the holiday, so we were kept very busy and are now looking forward to having a break later this month.

Carrie, with wrecking bar in hand, naturally!

Now that Jane is back in the cafe, we can return to the building work – or should I say the destruction…? We removed the slates back in December, so now its time to take up the battening and felt, fit the second layer of insulation and then replace the waterproof barrier followed by the battens.

Here you can see Mike tackling the edge of the roof. (Don’t worry about the cable you can see. This is part of the satellite cabling which had been casually slung all around the exterior of the building before we arrived and which we are slowly removing.) As we removed the lead soakers from the side, large chunks of the render fell away as well, so we have a little additional job to complete in due course…

Once the battening and felt had been lifted, we added one layer of insulation to balance on top of the layer we installed before Christmas, from the inside. You can probably see from the droplets on the insulation that it was raining pretty hard whilst we worked – but we must keep going if we are to finish sometime this decade….

Once the insulation was in place, we put in the new roofing membrance followed by the battens, which at least gave us somewhere to kneel. Or at least Mike did. I struggled with the problem that has been reported in Caroline Perez Criado’s brilliant book (Invisible Women) exposing how items like work overalls are made for the data-typical man, not for women. My lovely (men’s) overalls have failed me. I usually wear them with the excess length rolled up at the ankles, but when I added the knee pads, they protected my lower shins admirably!

The light was failing by 4pm, and heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow, so we have replaced the some of the tarpaulins and will be working inside tomorrow – but it does feel good to be back in harness. Here’s hoping the progress continues next week.

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