Friday, 30 November 2007

Taking Shape

A couple of angles showing progress on the shower room. Richard had a bit of a thick head today and got cross with one of his noggins. Still no more limericks.... Surely Mr 8Ball, you can come up with something?

Thursday, 29 November 2007

New Room

Having fitted the floor in the Mezzanine in the morning, Rich started on the stud walls in the afternoon, which will soon become.....

The downstairs shower room! (We illustrators get very sweaty sometimes)

Now it was a slightly disappointing response to yesterdays poetry (well OK, let's call it limerick from now on) competition. Nothing wrong with the quality of entries, they were brilliant. Check them out in the comments, and I even wrote an extra one myself. Trouble was they were all from one person. So how about a few more? Who can think up one about a shower or a bathroom, rising damp or a chocolate suite?

In the Jungle

This morning I was lucky enough to spot this amazing creature in its natural habitat. Approaching an alpha male like this is extremely dangerous, so with extreme caution, I slowly raised the camera, and then made the mistake of using the zoom. He heard the noise and looked round, but thank goodness he'd just had a sandwich so he didn't attack. I was very lucky.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Change of scene, mezzanine....

Today Rich made a whole different kind of mess and several new and novel kinds of noise. There were tools and timber everywhere, and lots of power-sawing and hammering: Very exciting!
He was building the small mezzanine level floor, and it is a level floor, despite the beam being not level. Confused? Anyway, this inspired me to poetry (see below). If anyone comes up with anything better, or worse, please leave it in the comments, and I will decide later if any are worthy of a prize or a medal or something:

There was a young bird called Janine
Who went up to the mezzanine
Hans threw her some soap
'Cos it was his hope
That when she came down she'd be clean

I realize of course that the obvious rhyme would have been "obscene"

Artist's impression

Some sketches of how I hope it will look when finished. Click on the drawing to see it bigger!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

What's that noise?

Nothing to do with the building work but I thought I'd post it anyway because it was cute.

Builder's bum... almost

Almost a classic case of builder's bum here, but thankfully this angle spared viewers a sight which may have aroused inappropriate feelings of lust and passion in some, and severe nausea in others...But Rich is doing splendid work on the floor screed despite his sartorial disarray.
And tomorrow we'll be able to walk on this, and from then on there's no stopping us!

Monday, 26 November 2007

Complaint from viewer

I just received a complaint from a blog viewer that there were no picures of the beautiful J9 on the blog, so lets put that right immediately.Here she is warming her toes by the fire and texting Beckylove. She doesn't tend to mix with the builders too much because of all the bad language, the builders don't like the constant swearing and sexist remarks.

Monday morning

Nothing much to report over the weekend as Richard was busy spending leisure time the scurvy swab (although to be fair he did come in on Sunday to mark the position of the shower room and the height of the floor). The state of my back was improving, helped by the sheer amount of sleep my body was demanding, so I really didn't see much of the weekend at all. But today, I'm actually back on my feet, albeit rather wobbly. But Richard and Jack aren't wobbly, look what they did this morning:
That's the final layer of concrete going in to bring the floor level up to where it should be. With hot water being piped through it, it will act as a giant storage heater and give the room a kind of fundamental, primeval glow.... Uh-oh, when I get poetic it usually means I've had too many pain killers....

Friday, 23 November 2007

Ultra floor-tabulous!

Hi folks! Well, while I am still flat out in bed, Richard has been very busy. Yesterday the concrete
wasn't hard enough (ooh err vicar!) to work on but today Rich went veritably mad. First another layer of damp-proof membrane went down, so no more rising damp with this floor Miss Jones (you'd probably need to be 40+ and British to get that reference).

On top of that went a layer of super efficient insulation board, which I hear they use on space shuttles and moon bases and stuff!

Here's the boards all nicely laid.

Then Richard laid the heating pipes on top of the board, and now it looks so cool that it is a crying shame to cover it in more concrete, which is what's going to happen next.

The end of the pipes even have a cool gismo stuck on which starts vibrating furiously and explodes if it gets too hot, just like on Thunerbirds. So that's it for today I think, but keep those messages of sympathy flooding in, I really appreciate it, especially Simon's.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Floor level rising again

Rich's mate Jack came to help yesterday after I became incapacitated, although here it looks to me like they are just messing about.....
.....hmmmm, maybe they did do some work after all. Perhaps I'll let them off.

World of pain

Hello Blogheads! The bad news is that as you can see, I'm in bed, not helping Richard like I am supposed to be doing. I lasted about 15 minutes yesterday shoveling concrete before... wham! My back went.
So here I am in bed, miserable and frustrated. Had the doctor out twice yesterday, one injection of morphine and 8 hours on the bathroom floor before I finally got into bed with Richard and Janine's help. That wasn't in his job description. They sorted me out a telly so I could watch the England game, and that only added to my pain. The second doctor came out and gave me a load of Vallium so I could get to sleep. I've got people taking pictures of the progress so I'll be posting more stuff soon from my sick bed. Nothing stops the blog!!!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Thwarted cat

Richard started the day by making the biggest and best cat toilet in the world, but.....

....the cat didn't like the look of the blue plastic, even though it went so nicely with Richard's shirt, which simply couldn't have been a co-incidence.....

.... and by this stage she realized it really wasn't going to be her day. Poor pussy.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Inferior headgear

The site inspector was wearing inferior headgear today which he borrowed from Alistair. BTW Alistair, thanks for your help and sorry about slagging off your hat!

Beam me up!

First, the beam is raised as far as we can whilst standing on the floor.....

Then Richard walks up the ladder with one end while me and Alistair heave and shove it into the hole from the other....

Back just a fraction and.....

She's in!!
Thanks to AJ for taking the pictures.

More supplies arrive

Those nice men from Ashmead brought the new floor (or at least the raw materials). This time the traffic jam went out of sight in both directions, but it was raining so hard the camera refused to capture the scene. Richard is currently knocking out the recesses to support the steel beam by hand as I broke his drill.

115 kilos

Its a miserable November Monday morning, and having just clouted my knee on the sharp corner of this 115 kilo steel I beam, I can testify that doing this inflicts a quite ridiculous amount of pain. But spirits are high! Soon the beam will be painted and installed in the gap you can see just above it. Then Richard will start laying the floor with the help of his happy slave (me).

Oh, and by the way, he took the news about his drill rather well. I think he was a bit surprised that it lasted as long as it did.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Health and safety regulations

My son Arne does his daily inspection of progress. He knows he is not allowed on site without wearing his custom designed hand-crafted Norwegian protective headgear, which deflects any falling rubble with amazing efficiency.

Getting plastered

The last of the pesky plaster has to come off the walls. Been putting this off because I hate this job. I am getting well and truly plastered, but the plaster is getting well and truly Wigged. Richard, if you read this, about ten seconds after this photo was taken, your drill packed up. Err.... sorry, I think it might be ever so slightly on the terminal side..... See you tomorrow.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Corner post

Yesterday morning Richard fixed the wall in the corner where all that unwanted daylight was coming in. It now all sits on that ton of concrete I mentioned earlier.

Then in the afternoon he was very noisy and smelly. The noise was definitely due to that machine he's looking at but I'm not so sure about the smell...

Friday, 16 November 2007


As all the electrics have been ripped out, after dark I have to use my stand-up lamp and I also have an amazing dog who is trained to shine his eyes into all the dark corners.

See what I mean?


So far, we've filled Simon's trailer up with rubble three times and counting. Simon is one of those blokes who is great to know. A true Devonian, if you have a problem, he can fix it. Just like the A-Team.

Traffic problems

When the lorry came to deliver the concrete yesterday morning.....

It caused a really good traffic jam.

Shouldn't see daylight here...

Whilst digging out the last bit of the old floor a couple of days ago, we discovered the entire corner of the building was held up by an old culvert which was cut off level with the outside walls. Richard made a hole in it, and the next day filled it with a ton of concrete which he is confident will stop that corner of the house from falling down. Just outside was a drain into which the bath emptied. Or, as it turned out, didn't empty, as the drain was smashed below ground, so all the bathwater was simply soaking away under the corner of the house and creating a large void under the culvert. No wonder that corner was so damp, although if it was just me, it would have been fine as I don't take many baths.


The new opening inside will allow yet more light in and unify the whole space. Upstairs is currently held up by four props.


Richard, Master builder and my main man on the project from now on, was on holiday in Australia for a month before starting work here. As you can see he looks thrilled to be back.
The inside wall also had a big piece taken away. Richard says he's like a vampire and doesn't show up in photos, but he doesn't realize I have a special lens.

Driller Killer

Up until the point where the patio doors were fitted, Arne and I had done all the work ourselves. Here I am working on cracking up the last bit of the concrete floor that was put in by post-Victorian cowboys... I'm sure some of the crud under the floor was horse droppings...

More light

Part of the plan was to take out a section of outside wall and install full height windows and patio doors, allowing light to flood into the workspace, and in the summer I can work with the doors open. Mike the builder has just started by taking out the small window that was there and removing some brickwork. He also did really good shadow puppets.
Mike made a big hole and a big mess....
What a difference a day makes, twenty four little hours.....


Under the brick floor was a hole!