Exterior finished

I was down at the house for sunrise this morning, because I wanted to see what the newly-finished front elevation looked like at first light.  The aim was to have a soft white that wouldn’t dazzle the other people living at that end of the village, and I think we’ve got it about right:

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And in one of those ‘yes, we have been making progress’ pictures, here’s the original estate agent’s picture and one of the above from nearly the same angle:


The total cost of the new roof, windows, door, guttering and paint is about £22,000 *gulp* but it has made a huge, huge difference and I’m over the moon with how it’s turned out.

Today I have David in finishing the living room gable end framing and then hopefully starting on the front walls and my little window seats, and Dougie now has the wiring spec for the underfloor heating from Derek, so is starting on that and will also be drilling the holes in the wall needed for wiring up the outside floodlights.  We had a chat about the kitchen – when he measured it out, it turns out the existing hot and cold feeds for the sink would need to be moved in our current kitchen layout, but if I put in a full-sized 600mm dishwasher instead of a slimline 450mm one, they’re in the right place.  However, that means I either need to have a slimline fridge freezer (which I don’t think would be a good idea, given that the nearest supermarket is a 52-mile round trip!) or move the fridge freezer to the corner by the window.  Happily it will fit in that corner and Dougie says wiring it there will be no problem, so that’s what I’m doing.  My homework for the day is to call Colin Chessor in Thurso and arrange for a reel of shotgun cable for Dougie to put the satellite dish cabling into the living room and all the bedrooms.

Lift off!

I have actual people working on site 😀  It’s no longer just me, Mick and the dog, proper professionals are now getting to grips with my house (and one of them has told us we’ve saved a considerable sum of money by doing everything we’ve done so far by ourselves, which is good).

Dougie the electrician has been here two days this week and has removed all the old cabling, sockets, switches and the fuse box:

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He’s taken up the floorboards upstairs to run the new cabling underneath:

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And he casually mentioned that he’d need a plan of where I wanted all my light switches and sockets to go.  Not something I’d actually got round to thinking about, so last night I scribbled it all out on some rough paper, showed it to Mick who made a couple of suggestions, and then this morning made a clean copy, photocopied it and went up to the house to present it to Dougie with the comment of, ‘Please tell me where I’ve been an idiot.’

Fortunately he thought it all looked sensible and made some suggestions of his own, namely an optical smoke alarm for the living room (where the burner will be), a heat alarm for the kitchen, and he’ll run two shotgun cables from where the satellite dish will come into the house up to a splitter in the attic, so two screens in the house can watch two different things if required (there’s no reception for a standard TV aerial here, the only way to get any television is satellite).  The new fuse box and meter is going on the landing in the corner and we’ll probably put a slim run of cupboards along there to hide it, as the roof is too low for that space to be walked in anyway.

We are currently down a roofer, poor James has succumbed to the lurgy going round locally, but Pete and Connor have been here putting up scaffolding and today, since it was wet and windy, picking out the north gable end wall inside.  It is now looking almost certain that we won’t be able to open up that big kitchen fireplace 🙁  Pete’s insurance company will give him an extension on his policy to cover it, but they want £2,000 (yes, that’s right TWO THOUSAND POUNDS!!) to insure against it collapsing and that’s before we take into consideration what Pete’s annual premium would go up by if it did actually all fall down.  He’s asked them to review their figures and should get a reply from them tomorrow, but sadly it does look like it’s game over for the fireplace.  Never mind, the smaller one in the living room is still lovely, just not quite as dramatic!

One thing I believe very strongly is that anyone kind enough to come all the way out here and do a job for me deserves looking after while they’re here, so there’s now a box down the road with a kettle, mugs, spoons, tea, coffee, sugar, a Thermos with milk in, squash and some home baking.  This week it’s been my chocolate brownies, which Pete has had before and likes:


(Each of those little squares – and they’re about two bites – is around 250 calories, they’re totally sinful and completely worth it!).  I asked what they’d like next week and Pete, who’s from the south east, was reminiscing about Kentish Apple Cake.  Now, I’ve only found two recipes for it on the internet and neither of them sounds like his version, because they have chunks of apple stirred throughout the cake and Pete’s one has all the apple in a layer in the middle, so it’s going to be a bit experimental.  I may have to put bowls and spoons in the box on Monday!