An expensive day

Last-minute emergency pre-Christmas shopping is supposed to be things like stuffing balls, sprouts and bacon, isn’t it?  Not what I bought today which included:

  • A multifuel stove (plus fitting kit and flexible flue liner)
  • Paint for priming the plasterboard and panelling and some of the colours (we need to have another look at the small bedroom, the living room and the kitchen after the sample pots didn’t quite turn out like the catalogue colours)
  • 17 litres of ready-mixed skim (for me to fill in all the screw heads on the plasterboard and the joins that can’t be taped)
  • More wood for framing

It just struck me the other day that Derek was probably going to want to put the stove in BEFORE he laid the underfloor heating in that room and so I’d better get a shift on and order it.  Fortunately Stovesareus had what I wanted in stock and should be delivering a Stovax Stockton 3 on 5th January.  Small, traditional-looking, and capable of burning peat – perfect for a croft house.

In other news, we had a fairly strong southerly with rain in it overnight, i.e. perfect conditions for testing out the chimney sealant, and I’m happy to say it passed with flying colours – dry as a bone in there this morning 🙂  If it comes through the rest of this week the same way, I think we can safely say we’ve solved the issue.  Fingers crossed.

Edit on Thursday 22nd:  I can add 72 x 4.8m lengths of lining boards to the above list now, as David sent me a text to say he’d picked them up from Rembrand on Monday and would cut them all down to size at home before coming and fitting them for us next week, but I needed to call Rembrand and pay for them.  One swift phone call later and I’m a smidge over £400 lighter, bringing me to about £1,500 in two days – not bad going!!  I think the next two to three weeks are really going to see a huge shift from building site back towards inhabitable house.

A good week’s work

Mick and I have been cracking on with more panelling removal and we’re making slow but steady progress.  Pete the Roofer was going to bring David the Joiner round for a look this week, but Pete’s wife (who works with Mick) passed on a message that David has the lurgy that’s going round (or man-flu, as she put it!), so hopefully he’ll be recovered soon and able to come round and size the place up.

One of the nice things about spring starting to spring is that flowers are popping up all over the place outside:

156 armadale - outside 2 156 armadale - outside 1

Inside, we’ve depanelled the dormer window in bedroom two and found this – I think the initials may stand for Harry Macdonald, Ethel’s husband’s uncle (if I remember correctly), who left the house to her husband.  (EDIT:  Thanks to my friend Elizabeth, it may also be Hughie Mackay, her mother’s cousin, a joiner who worked on a lot of the houses in the village.)

156 armadale - bedroom two - 8

It’s amazing how much more space there is with the panelling taken out of the top of the dormer window alcove – that thin piece of wood was only to fix the panelling to, so hopefully we can leave it open and maybe put a small armchair in there for a quiet reading spot.

156 armadale - bedroom two - 7

One unwelcome find in this room (and it’s not very clear on the picture, but trust me, it’s there) was woodworm.  Lots of it.  On all the roof beams on the west-facing roof.  It’s live as well, a bit of sawdust came out of the holes when I banged the beams with a hammer, so that’ll all have to be soaked with treatment stuff.

156 armadale - bedroom two - 6

It was when I was working in this room and Mick was working in the little bedroom next door that we realised we could hear each other so clearly that we could have a conversation in normal voices, despite being in separate rooms.  As our target holiday guest is a family with young to teenage children, we thought that Mum and Dad might not appreciate the lack of soundproofing at bedtime (for any number of reasons!), so we stripped off some of the panelling on the internal walls to see what was inside.  Answer?  Sweet nothing – that wood is the back of the panelling on the other side, so we can’t take down both sides or we’ll remove all the internal walls!

156 armadale - bedroom two - 5

The only other thing we’ve done this week is break into the living room fireplace – Mick has done a great job and it looks like it’s been filled in with concrete and bricks, so we should be able to enlarge it for the woodburner fairly easily.

156 armadale - living room - 2

The jigsaw puzzle

It’s struck me today that project managing this is a little bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle.  You find the odd piece or two that go together and gradually you work out how it all fits together.

The heating engineer came round this afternoon and delivered the good news that (a) the boiler is a combi boiler and (b) it’s in pretty good shape and doesn’t need replacing.  Hooray!  The hot water feed from it hasn’t been connected up, seems that Ethel and John simply used the Rayburn and the hot water cylinder upstairs, which means that’s a closed circuit and we can simply disconnect it from the header tank, drain it and take it all out.  Does mean I have to find another use for my saved mirrored door, but I’m glad of the extra space in the bedroom.

So I’m starting to piece the timetable together like a logic problem.  Pete is replacing the roof and needs the joiner (who’s the only major trade I’ve not yet spoken to) to enlarge the existing Veluxes and cut the new ones, which will depend on us having stripped the panelling in the relevant areas.  He’ll also need the stonework person to patch the harling into the spots where the fascia boards are being removed, who’ll also need to patch up the spot where the electrician is moving the mains power cable.  The electrician needs to work with the joiner if any cabling needs running up the new studwork behind the plasterboard.  The heating engineer needs to put the underfloor heating down and install the woodburner and hearth before the joiner lays the wood floors.  The joiner is the one we’re going to need the most flexibility from, I think, in terms of popping back and forth.  Fortunately he’s the one who lives closest!