What a damp squib!

While we continue our refurbishment work, there are occasionally jobs which we both anticipate with glee. One of these is getting rid of Rocky using a method recommended by a near neighbour. Here you see rocky (next to a garden tool to give some scale)…

…and here are some holes drilled into it with a 25mm bit, which we then filled with our magic compound, of which more in a minute.

Last week we returned to working in the gents-to-be and laid the floor tiles…

…right up to where we expect to put a box contining the foul pipework.

While we waited for the cement to harden, Mike plastered beneath the windows in the ‘cloister’ wall whilst I re-catalogued our (by now quite extensive) collection of consumable bits and bobs into the Welsh dresser at the far end of the corridor.

The weather here recently has been hot and dry, like the rest of the UK, so we thought it was time to let you see the river again. Calling it a river is quite generous at the moment – it is more a trickle with the very occasional fish in it…

…but Boyd, the cat, has been loving the heat!

On Monday, we started building the retaining wall to separate the oil tank from the surrounding soil. Whilst digging out the gas cylinder, we uncovered these concrete blocks, so in the spirit of reduce/reuse/recycle have decided to make use of them…

…and whilst Mike worked on that wall, I was building this very amateur slate-dry-wall thingummy on the opposite side. I have only ‘started’ as we need to use the digger to level out the path surface, after which I will make sure the slates reach up to that new height, whatever it might be.

Towards the end of the day on Monday, the walls were looking like this…

…so on Tuesday we decided we deserved a treat. As the qualified chemist amongst us, I got to mix up the ‘non-explosive demolition agent’ we have purchased to break up Rocky. If I am looking a bit harrassed, it might be that the full goggles, PVC gauntlets and overalls were a bit much because even at 5pm yesterday the temperature was in the high 20’s.

Mike had drilled seven holes in two planes so that we could test the strength of the rock and work out the best approach to destroying it. We put the ‘non-explosive’ compound into the holes at about 5.30 yesterday, and were rather disappointed to see this morning that we had generated just one crack!

The paperwork does say it might take up to 48 hours to work, so…

…we returned to the gents-to-be and fitted the loo and waste pipe, the splash-back tiles, and measured the spaces for the two sinks. We also checked rocky again…

…and were really disappointed that all that effort has flaked only a tiny piece of rock away – but perhaps more will happen in the next 24 hours.

Next time, we might try a different orientation of holes, but we will wait a couple of days because it is finally raining! The garden badly needed some rain, and with any luck this will revive the new lawn seedlings. Sadly, here, most of my gardening takes place far too far away from the building to allow us to water with a hose. Here’s hoping next time we will have more, and better, news of our demolition work next time.

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