Progress update

It’s been a week of steady progress.  This afternoon Mick and I went down and finished clearing out the byre.  The hay might still be on the ground getting steadily wetter, but at least we have somewhere to put it and Ronald, who I’ve been told is one of the best hay makers in the area and lives opposite Ethel’s House, has reassured me that I haven’t lost it yet, I just need to hold my nerve.  The byre looks an awful lot better, anyway.

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I found this under several years of dirt on the floor – hopefully it’s a good omen!

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I also have an update on the two photographs.  I tagged a couple of neighbours on Facebook to see if they had any idea and someone tagged a relative of Ethel’s, who very kindly messaged me with this:

Hello , I believe you have purchased ,my late mothers family home ,used to love going there for my holidays late forties early fifties .the photo of the man you found , is my late maternal grandfather , Hugh MacDonald , he died very young , in his thirties , possibly around 1910 era ( burst appendix ) leaving my granny with three young children ,and pregnant with the fourth , my late uncle Harry .we are not sure who the lady in photograph is , but think it may be my fathers sister Ina . If you find any more photos could be interesting .

So that means one of those photos is possibly over 100 years old – incredible!  I’m going to see if my Photoshop skills are good enough to retouch them, if not I may get it professionally done.  I’d like to get the originals and cleaned-up copies put in one frame to hang in the house.  The Uncle Harry referred to was Ethel’s husband.

Travis Perkins were supposed to deliver the ridge tiles on Wednesday, but rang Pete to say their crane was being inspected, so it would be Thursday.  Turned out there was a fault on the crane, which was fixed on Thursday, but then the lorry came west without our order on it.  They said they’d bring it on Friday, but had to go to Wick first, so Pete hooked up his trailer and went to get it himself.  Of course, it promptly rained, but they did manage to make a start and Mick has been up the scaffolding to get some close-up photos of our beautiful, beautiful roof.

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The chimneys will be re-pointed, but we’re going to leave that stone in-fill detail visible.

In even better news, David managed to give us a day, so we have some studwork going in upstairs.

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I came in like a wrecking ball

So Pete the Roofer stopped by, as promised, and we now know what we’re doing with the roof.  It’s going to be done in 16×8 heavy slate (we have at least one storm that goes over 100mph a year and it’s probably the most exposed house in the village), capped with plain buff ridge tiles.  The velux at the front will be enlarged to the same width as the front door and made to line up with it (it’s slightly off to the right at the moment, which my slightly OCD husband hadn’t noticed until I pointed it out today and it’s now driving him nuts!), similarly the velux at the back will be enlarged and lined up with the bathroom window (ditto!) – although I’ve said that if doing that means it’s not evenly-spaced with the two new ones we’re putting into the other bedrooms, then I’d rather have them evenly spaced across the roof than vertically aligned!

After lunch we got started with the work.  Since the roof is going to get done first, we need to get all that panelling stripped out of the upstairs bedrooms.  This is what we started with:


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And three very enjoyable hours spent with a pry bar and a hammer later….

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Interesting things we’ve discovered today:

  1. That little cupboard (which I am so pleased I’ve been able to keep – the door is safely stowed away for reattaching later) is sitting on top of the house wall.  Everything above the level of its base is the gable end and the depth of the cupboard thinner!
  2. No fireplace 🙁  I was hoping we’d uncover a matching one to the one in the other large bedroom, but sadly not.
  3. There is a BIG wet patch on that wall – literally dripping water, which was slightly concerning, but as we got more of the panelling off we realised it was confined to the centre and a quick look outside confirmed that the harling is fine – so we’re pretty sure that the leak is coming through the chimney, which we’re going to get repointed while they’re up doing the roof anyway.
  4. Where the panelling changes colour to the dark brown in the third picture (there’s a bit of brown door, then about three painted bits of panel, then the darker) is the amount of length we’ve added to the room by taking out the two cupboards.  The mirrored door has been saved to go back on a little box cupboard around the hot water tank.

All in all, a good first day.