Saturday, 17 March 2012

Howling At The Moon

He’s thrown the dummy out of the digger!  I blame the full moon, seriously.  The LGB has been a PITA!  And I am not talking Greek bread.  I am talking Pain In The Backside (polite version).  The full moon really does have an effect on him.  It is the only time we come close to arguing.  Back me up on this Mary & Alan; you have seen him under the influence of the full moon.  Well you saw his backside in the light of a full moon!  His hirsute appearance should have been a warning.  It wasn't beard growth; the LGB was under a lycanthropic affliction, a werewolf to you and I.

Let me expand on this........... Tuesday we collected the beautiful oak that we had sized and cut at a local saw-mill.  We are both really pleased with them.  Obviously it is green oak so it will get 'shakes', open and crack, but this all just adds to the character.  These will be used as the lintels over the windows and doors in the single storey part of the house which is the kitchen/breakfast/family room. 

As the oak lintels were too heavy for us to lift Daisy the digger was put to use.  The first one the LGB put up with the forks on the digger.  No problem there.  The second one he had to hang from the digger bucket with slings and manoeuvre it into place because this door was not accessible with the forks.  All cushty so far.  The third one the LGB decided to do with the slings again.  I am not sure what stick he miss-hit but the oak beam swung through the air like a trapeze artist.  Naturally I was somewhat alarmed and as I didn't want to become part of the circus act being catapulted through the air on the end of an oak log or worse, decapitated I became a little cautious.  A lecture quickly followed the flying dummy!  I was 'given wrong' for being a scaredy cat.  The beam wasn't going to fall on me or fall to the ground, I should have more faith in him, blah, blah, blah!!  The last beam, the largest he put up with the forks and thankfully with no problem.
Beams safely in position
Beams in situ and ring beam concreted

Thankfully his little tantrums don't last long - certainly not as long as my silent treatment!

The blip aside.  We are really chuffed with the oak beams.  I would never have believed I could get so excited about wood, but I love it – the smell, the feel, how it ages.  I wish I was clever enough to be able to make beautiful things out of it.  Before we put them up I sanded them and as I want to keep them looking as natural as possible I thought I would just put a coat of wax on them.  Job done except what I thought was wax was actually polish, but no harm done.
The bungalow

The little French neighbour commented that we were nearly ready for the roof.  She was very shocked when I said we had another floor to build yet, she thought it was a bungalow.  I half wish it was!  I am not looking forward to putting on the roof.  I have managed to help on two barn roofs and the garage roof but they were not two storeys up.  I am not sure I will be much use on the house roof.  The company who are making the roof trusses came out to do a final measure.

When we went to go home the truck wouldn’t start because I had left the lights on!   Craig to the rescue with a jump-start!

Since then we have concreted and put reinforcing metal down the windows, doors and corners of the building.  We have also concreted and put more reinforcing metal around the ring beam and done another couple of coats of bitumen, all jobs that you can't actually see the results of the hard labour, but satisfying for us none the less. 

Our eviction date draws nigh.  Little by little we are moving things over to La Serve.   We are still pondering the dilemma of showering when we are in the caravan.  A season ticket to the swimming baths is looking like the favourite solution!
Next full moon April 6th.  Schedule day off.  Buy some garlic (works for vampires).

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Hot Pants

On Monday, the first day back after our break, I spent the morning cracking ice and sweeping it out of the 'house'.  It was still too cold to do any building work so we cut logs, tidied the garage and went to check on a little job Brendan is doing.

I was well dressed as usual to fight the cold.  I had on four tops and four layers down below.  A pair of knickers, long johns, track suit bottoms and a pair of hot pants! They are not literally 'hot' pants - they are called 'hot pants'.  My friend Jacqui gave me a pair that were too big for her!  The last time I wore hot-pants I was about 11 years old, they were maroon and had a bib - these are nothing like that!  They are made of neoprene and the instructions tell you to weigh and measure yourself, wear them for a fortnight and see the results. There is one result I know for sure - after a fortnight they will be minging!!

So I am on site dressed like a surf-dude living in the hope of reducing the footprint of my rear extension.  So watch this space.  The little wafts around my ankles aren't the spring breezes coming from the South and the little whisper of air on the nape of my neck isn't Brendan getting romantic it's just a baffled fart finally finding an exit route from my neoprene knickers!

Here we have them, only I look like the Michelin man in mine!  Not for long though!

We have ordered the roofs.  The roof for the single storey part of the house should be with us mid-March.  No pressure.

After much nagging from Brendan telling me that I have to decide where things are going in the kitchen I have had planks of wood on trestles to set out a kitchen and a pallet for a table .  I think I have made some decisions.  The main decision being that the ergnomical triangle has no place in my kitchen. The big fridge-freezer was the thing that was the problem, but I have now decided to put it in the utility room and get a little fridge for the kitchen.  Sorted!

My kitchen table in situ

The run of kitchen units - use your imagination!

Saturday 25th Feb   
What a glorious day!  And I don't mean the fact that Wales have just beaten England at rugby!   I supppose I should also mention Newcastle won today and Sunderland were slaughtered.  (What a big grin you have Brendan!).   I have been working today in a short sleeved T-shirt.  The cranes have been flying over heading North, one of my favourite sights.  The skies are blue.  Happy days!!  That said, today I have felt absolutely shattered and it was a short day (had to get home to watch the rugby).  However, I now have 2 window openings and a wall up to ceiling height.  It is all fiddly work at the moment, with door and window openings and having to make lintels over them which of course takes time. 

Spring is on its way - the cranes flying North

Friday 2nd March
  We now have 13 window and door openings and we are up to ceiling height in the main house and almost there in the kitchen.  We have ordered the oak lintels for the openings in the kitchen.  I painted two sides of the main house with bitumen, a couple more coats to go.  The other side is still too damp to paint.
Keeping Brendan well supplied 
Openings at the back of the house

Window openings on the gable end
The camera was not charged on Friday so I don't have the most up to date photos of how far on the build is.  I will get some tomorrow and upload them soon.

I can't believe at the start of this post I was wearing multiple layers and today it was 20 plus degrees and I was in a vest top.  This amazing change in the weather has  forced me to to peel of a few layers which means I have abandoned my 'hot pants', my oh so very, very hot pants!