Saturday, 20 December 2008


We've been trial fitting some of the furniture and sanitaryware. Richard, who must by now have a near god-like status in the minds of anyone following this blog, will surely be elevated to legendary when you realize he's made the two oak washstands with his own gnarly hands.

Here's the small one for the shower room.....

.....and the big one for the bathroom.

And the throne for when the queen pops round.


Here's a couple of pictures of the plumbing that's going to be hidden inside the dividing wall between the two bathrooms.

The shower where you may notice part of the studwork was ever so slightly on fire when the joint was soldered....

....and the bath.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Blooming heck, a bath deck!

This was yesterday.

Richard was busy with bits and pieces of plumbing and stuff, and I started work on making the bath deck. Some very expensive tiling board is screwed down to the wooden frame.

By this afternoon (having purchased a tile cutter due to the fact that Richard's friend borrowed his, locked it away and went off on holiday, allegedly) there were tiles all around the top of the deck, some on the walls and the holes for the taps were drilled. We've gone for a kind of Roman baths look. (We got a deal on the stone tiles) We'll have to invite some friends over one evening for an orgy.

The first trial fit of the taps reveal just how lush they will look.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Animal grace

Watching Richard plastering is like watching Swan Lake with pink slop.

The shape of things to come

I took this snap in the tile shop this morning, which is very similar to how our bath installation will look. Hopefully by the end of the week.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

More progress

The family bathroom is now all plaster boarded awaiting the attention of Richard's trowel. He came into work yesterday (Saturday) for a few hours, complete with hangover (not his fault, all his naughty friends to blame) which you have to say shows dedication and commitment not usually found in oafish builders.

He had Sunday off though, a day of rest and worship at the alter of San Miguel for Richard. Not me though, I built the framework for the bath deck.

Only made three cock-ups that I counted too... Not bad!

Sun pipe

Holding it delicately at arms length with his hat pulled tightly down over his eyes to protect him from the blinding light transmitted through the sun pipe from the roof, Richard thinks, "Now what do I do, I can't see a blooming thing...."

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Latest progress

Once again, blogfans, I am practically buried under a deluge of stroppy emails from frustrated viewers demanding an update. Highly remiss of me to have kept you all waiting so long.

All the water and heating pipes have been run, and will be
hidden behind skirting and insulation board.

The lobby/dressing room area won't have the full-height sloping ceilings so the
stud wall has been insulated against the cold void which will be behind it.

The dressing room area will be lit during daylight by a sun pipe. That's a highly reflective pipe that links the ceiling with a hole in the roof covered with perspex to let in daylight.

Things are starting to look nice and tidy around the skylights. The ceilings have foam board insulation between the rafters, and are further covered in insulated plasterboard.

The outside walls are covered in that too.

The corner round the hot water tank will be neatly boxed in and the sink will go next to it.

Spot of bother looming for the portholes: I had some bendy board to line the holes with but it was just too short. Need to find another method, so any sensible suggestions are welcome. In fact it's so long since I had a meaningful number of comments on a post, I'll happily accept stupid ones too.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Stripe 2008

The legendary Stripe's 2008 Christmas Disco provided a bumper crop of fancy dress once again.

Richard came as a turkey. There are lots of Richards in Culmstock, this is vegetable Richard. He came as a sunflower last year.

Clockwise from the purple one, its Sally, Richard (the builder), Dave and Paula as Quality streets. Quality fancy dress!

Steve and Di made a disturbingly convincing Shrek and Fiona.

Janine was not well. She must have caught something from one of those urchin school children she works with.

I was Janine's nurse. She was a bad patient and spread her germs all over the place. I kept having to contend with dirty old men trying to get off with me. This one was OK though, he was a sweetie.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Warmer and snugglier

The first piece of insulated plasterboard goes up on the ceiling. It will be like a high security prison for Thermal Units in here. There will be no escape.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Its a helluf a shelf

I think I mentioned we're having a big solid oak shelf in the bathroom. Rich fitted it today. it is built into the fabric of the stud walls so when it is all plastered out, it will have no visible means of support.

For now, it makes a darn fine tool shelf.

Warm and snuggly

This is the first stage of insulating the roof. Three inch insulation board between all the rafters.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


Today Richard occupied himself with work most appropriate. He began construction of the stud walls. A stud building stud walls. Well when you think about it, any wall built by a stud would be a stud wall. Richard's walls are particularly studdy, according to Richard. As for me, I'd rather not think about such things.

The insulation board came too. All the outside walls and ceilings will be covered in this, and hardly an ounce of heat will escape from our new bathrooms.

Monday, 1 December 2008


I've been working on fitting the porthole windows over the weekend and while Richard fits the second skylight today.

First I made a former from bits of scrap wood and nailed it in place from the outside. Then I squidged some render and bits of brick into the gaps from the inside, which I forgot to take a picture of. When that had set, I could take the former off from the outside leaving a lovely round hole for the window frame.

The frame was then wedged in place and all the gaps filled with expanding foam, the greatest building material ever invented.

Here's the window from the outside after I'd sealed the the bare render with watered down paint.

Saturday, 29 November 2008


I'm certain there will be more than one headache to endure on this project, but none so acute as Richard's when he employs his tried and tested technique for making a hole in the roof. He just picks his spot and stands up quickly. You have to admit it's effective.

The reason for the head-banging? We're having a skylight.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Double vision

Like a giant face looking at you. I'd love to paint a huge pair of glasses on it but I don't think Janine will let me.

Eyes and teeth

More toothing out for Richard as he prepares to block up another hideous window...

whilst I got on with making an eye socket for one of two circular windows which will make the outside of the building look like it has a face. Maybe I'll get Richard to build a nose out of bricks.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Now you know what the bricks are for.

The two existing windows are to become non-existing. To this end, Richard is filling the orifice with my nice clean bricks. I've been cleaning up more today. I'm off to Boots in a minute for some more hand cream.

After lunch Richard got serious and put up his scaffold tower.

Toothing out

I never liked this window. By the end of the day, it will be wall. Richard is toothing out the brickwork so that when we block it up it will meld seamlessly with the rest of the wall and be nice and strong. Probably a good idea to replace the lintel while we're about it.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Oak, no joke!

I'll tell you what the bricks are for later. (My lawyers tell me that levels of suspense will be within legal limits.) In the meantime, Richard arrived carrying some big bits of oak this morning. We'll be removing all the tie bars (which tie the roof together so that it doesn't fall down flat under its own weight) and replacing two of them with some beautiful oak ones which will remain exposed in the roofspace. The new oak one is here balanced on the old one. There's a big shelf to go over the bath too.

Never throw anything away

These bricks were rescued from various bits of demolition and archaeology since we moved in. It took me most of the day yesterday to clean them up, and I acquired a big ol' back ache and trawlerman's hands in the process, but it saved me a few quid, which I'll spend on moisturiser now. About another thirty and I'll have enough.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Floored.... with chip board

I've been busy on my own today, finishing laying the chipboard floor on top of the old floor, which was made rather interestingly from bits and pieces of all kinds of materials, of varying sizes and thickness. Large gaps had been filled with... ummm.... white stuff. Don't know what.

A layer of tongue and groove chipboard on top makes it all nice and even, although the word "level" could only be used truthfully in the kind of sentence which goes "It's not level."

Here's the drain for the shower that Richard put in on Friday.

Friday, 21 November 2008


Here he is! The main man!! The dude is back!!!
I feel good now. Rich is my bestest bestest friend and I can see him every day. The fact that I have to pay him to spend time with me says less about me being a sad git and more about him being willing to do anything for money. Here he is just about to make the waste outlet for the shower tray. There was a lot of dust today, and my bogeys are totally black. I didn't want to gross anyone out by posting a picture.... I was tempted though. Oh, and Pat and Bri, great to see you are checking in, hope you are both well!


Yesterday Richard turned up, 2 weeks late but that's pretty good for a builder. We set about ripping the plumbing, sanitary-ware and plaster out.
Goodbye beige plastic bath, how I have loathed thee these past six years and more.
Be gone!!

By evening everything was out, and the plaster was off and bagged up. 25 sacks to be precise, which all went to the dump this morning.