I took a break from the plastering today and decided to work on the staircase instead, which meant getting these two out.
And putting the dodgy-looking mask on.
I have no idea what John Angie painted the paneling with, but it’s vaguely rubbery when heated and really doesn’t want to come off. It’s taken me two sheets of 60 grit on the big sander to get this far. I was going to paint the whole thing a matt chalk white, but thinking about it, this is the hall, and our doggy guests are going to walk straight in here and have a good shake if it’s raining – so I think I’ll paint the vertical boards and the inside panel of the stair side green to match the front door, then the bannisters and the frame around the stair side panel can be white. Should show up splatter marks less, and I’ll make sure I do the front wall and inside the front door with kitchen and bathroom paint, so it’s wipeable!
You can see where the woodworm have had a good old munch under the paint. No active ones, thank goodness. This will take a little bit of wood filler to smooth out.
In other news, I finished plastering the north bedroom yesterday. Those little dormer windows that I was insistent we opened up so you could stand in them, have 13 separate joints to plaster alone!
Finances-wise, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the mortgage lender says we can have the mortgage. The bad news is that we can only do it if we take the commercial holiday one on the same day and use the cash released to pay off the 0% cards immediately? Why? Well, when their underwriters looked at the residential application they realised that we were going to own three houses, but neither of the two holiday lets were currently bringing in any income. They use set figures for each category on their affordability calculator and they took the decision to triple the lines for council tax and utilities (which I could argue is mildly unfair because two of them will be empty, but there you go) and that brought us down on the unaffordable side again while we still have the credit cards.
Of course, Ethel’s isn’t mortgageable yet because (a) it’s still sitting on croft land and (b) it doesn’t have a kitchen or bathroom. Brian at SGRPID tells me that I should work on three to six months for the sale of the land to complete, and Mick’s taking the first two weeks of July off work so we can blitz the house ready for David to come back and lay the floor and install the kitchen, but the seller is now very nervous about timescales because her decrofting took 14 months and she understandably doesn’t want to wait that long. I’ve spent the past few days talking to bridging loan companies and brokers, but of the ones that will consider Scotland at all, absolutely none of them will consider a house this far north, so I’m just going to have to cross my fingers and keep hassling the various solicitors.
The other solution would be to pay the cards off, which we could do from savings, but then we wouldn’t have a deposit without mortgaging Ethel’s, so we’re in the same fix. I did vaguely think about trying to crowdfund paying off the cards by advance selling weeks, but given our quote from the agency was under £15,000 for Ethel’s and we need nearly £50,000, it’s a bit of a non-starter – and I don’t think the agency would be very pleased if I told them all the prime weeks for the next two years were sold!
Finally, we’ve been keeping up with our crofting duties. Stuart has been up on the hill and cut our peats for us – they look like very ancient library books!
And there are a lot of them.
They’re all laid flat for drying one side now, and when we’ve had a few weeks of sun and wind, we’ll go back up and put them all into a herringbone pattern or stand them up into Stonehenge-type formation to get the other side dry. They’re pretty big – each slab is about 3 inches thick and just under A3 paper-size. And they’re HEAVY!
The night before last we got the first big weather-dependent job of the summer done and now have some much cooler ladies 🙂 Just haymaking to go and then I can stop worrying about the forecast for another year.