Unbelievably, it’s exactly a year today that we got the keys to Ethel’s. That was the day we confidently expected to be welcoming our first guests when we got back from holiday in October – how wrong can you get?? Right now, I’m crossing everything very hard that we might just get our first visitors this summer!
Mick has spent most of the day down there putting up the kitchen ceiling, so Dougie can now fit the ceiling lights in the kitchen and bathroom, and Derek has said he’ll be here on Wednesday to finish installing the heating. Assuming he does get it all done in one day, I can then ask David to reserve us a few days in a fortnight’s time to get the downstairs floor laid and install the kitchen.
Once Mick was back to dog-sit (our young collie is going through a phase of eating things he shouldn’t when left unsupervised during the day), I went down the road to get to grips with my new toy.
Appropriate gear was donned (this is SUCH a good look for me….)
After a couple of false starts before I worked out I could turn the speed down a bit (I’m sure the small chunks it took out of the rail will buff out), I got to grips with it. The sanding reel seems best for the spindles, but the little flapper disc has done a great job on the groove in the bannister. Unlike the random orbital sander I was using before, I do have to remember to sand with the grain using this.
With potential heating next week, I also needed to check we had some heating oil. No glass level on the tank, so I found a stick and we appear to have about 4 inches left. I should be okay to leave ordering until April. One annoying thing is that the main filling hole is padlocked and none of the keys we have seem to fit it – either that or it’s rusted shut. I think the tankers can fill it using the smaller one, but they’re not keen on doing it because it slows them down. The little spike thing with the wire appears to be some sort of wireless level-checking device, called a Watchman, made by Kingspan Environmental. I’ll contact them and see if it’s possible to get it working, as I’m guessing Ethel and John never used it.
The final job down there for the day was to feed the ladies, who were most unimpressed at me being late.
It was a beautiful evening – dare we hope that there’s a touch of spring in the air? This was taken on the way back up towards Ethel’s from the sheep field on the point.
Progress has been slow over the last fortnight. David hasn’t been able to get to us for the past couple of weeks, but hopefully will manage a couple of days next week, as Dougie now has a reel of shotgun cable, ordered for him by Colin Chessor (who’ll be doing the satellite dish installation in due course) and is going to be running it into the living room and bedrooms next week.
Mick has spent a day down there today and we now have an insulated living room and the living room ceiling is plasterboarded. By the time I went down to feed the sheep (who moved back to the fields around the house yesterday) it was too dark for photos.
On the finance and admin side, I got round to catching up on entering all my invoices and spends into my spreadsheet – we are now £35,000 into the budget *gulp*. What I’m pleased about is that the majority of that money, all bar a couple of thousand, has been spent with local companies and tradespeople. I do try to spend within the local economy where I can. I’ve also ordered the correct Ordnance Survey map extract needed for the decrofting application, which arrived on Friday and is sitting in a tube on my desk ready for me to break out the colour pencils. Since it cost me £19, I think the first thing to do is ask Mick to make several copies of it for me to practice on! (My scanner doesn’t do A3). Given I was sorting sheep out on the area in front of the house yesterday (we managed to pick up a few extras coming down the village!), I’m only going to apply to decroft the bit of ground the house sits on and a tiny bit behind it for a small garden – as long as I draw the map accurately, it should go through with no problems, as I’m not applying to decroft any areas that would restrict access to the rest of the croft.
We’ve made some pretty good progress this week. Dougie has now got about as far as he can with the electrics until the studwall goes in, but we now have all the cables coming down the walls to where the sockets and switches will be, and they’re all neatly bundled up where the fusebox will be moved to on the landing.
As we had a bit of bad weather earlier in the week, I asked Pete and the guys to take the kitchen and bathroom ceilings down – Mick strained his back over the weekend so we weren’t able to do it ourselves and I didn’t want it to hold Dougie up. They found the kitchen ceiling was painted, so at some point it must have just been open to the floorboards above. I’m very wary about going upstairs now though, as I don’t want to fall through Dougie’s cable runs!
We did have our first on-site accident though – a dropped crowbar whilst taking down the bathroom ceiling unfortunately bounced the wrong way off the stepladder and took out the sink.
Never mind, it wasn’t a particularly pretty basin, I’m almost pleased to have a good excuse for replacing it! The bathroom ceiling is nothing to write home about and will be covered up with plasterboard once Dougie has done his stuff.
Today is Mick’s birthday and fittingly we had a very, very large delivery – all the Quinn Therm insulation and my flooring 🙂 It took up most of the Rembrand lorry on its weekly trip west!
Amazingly we just about managed to squeeze it all into the living room. In theory, once David and Dougie have gone through upstairs, we can fit the 100mm stuff into the rafters, which will free up enough space for them to work in the living room. In theory…!
We’ve had a pretty good day for weather today, which means the roof has made great progress.
Fingers crossed we can get hold of David for next week, otherwise we’re going to grind to a halt again, but for now we’re moving forwards at pace.
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