19th Oct: Fluffy Stuff and Sandblasting

Oh Lordy, the bit I was dreading, it’s time for the fluffy stuff. Now I know most people would think that ladies very much like to spend on interiors and scatter cushions, I can’t really say I’m that bothered. It’s not that I don’t like nice things, it’s just that choosing things like bricks, render finishes and finding good value products for not too much money, seems like far more fun. Give me a builders yard over a curtain shop anyday.

Stu’s gone off fishing for the next week, and tasked me with giving him a list for Phase 2 – that includes interior finish. Yikes. He also reckons we’ll be in need of the sanitary ware in about four weeks’ time. Double yikes. Normally, I’d leave it ‘til the last minute but I don’t want to have to ‘just make do’ so am going shopping. Thank god for the dongle. It means I can do it all on the internet 😉 Actually, that’s not strictly true because the last thing I want is an uncomfy bath – we made that mistake last time. I reckon I’m going to whittle down the choices and then go and try toilets and baths out for size.

Basically, we’ve got two bathrooms going in the house – one in the old cottage, overlooking the garden, and one in the new part, an ensuite for our bedroom. Old = chintz and chandeliers, new = sleek, shiny and simple.

Richard wants a copper bath. So there I am, working like a dog to keep within the budget and shave some costs along the way and Mr Meaden wants a copper bath. Righto. And he doesn’t want cheap showers either. I dragged him to a renovation show last year and had had a good poke round the Matki shower units. I remember logging them at the time as they seemed like good value – although a bit more expensive than the High St stuff, at least the sliding doors actually slid, the doors closed with a solid thunk and nothing fell off when I starting trying to shake it to pieces. I’m every salesmans’ dream, me 😉 I have a Matki brochure coming anyday now so I’ll let you know what we decide.

I popped into Bathstore for some ideas the other day, and was completely ignored while shaking doors and lifting lids (I didn’t get in the baths though), it confirmed exactly why I won’t be going back in there. Not a single customer, three staff and no-one even asked if they could help…

Dejected, perhaps it was the woolly hat, I got back online and did some research (thanks to pistonheads homes and diy section – probably the best renovation/diy/self-build forum around, ironically on a car site), so now have a list of brands to start work with.

I did find an utterly beautiful bath made from recycled brake discs but it’s a bit rich at £5000. Actually, it’d be a bit rich at £1500 too. Still, I’ve got a few options up my sleeves and they do involve copper. God, Richard Meaden, you’re a lucky man!

Just another hole in the wall

So our lovely Helifix team are coming next weekend, but while Stu’s off in his fishing hut somewhere near the borders, Julian is coming back for a couple of days to help Paul put the first floor in. That’ll change the whole thing again! The last few days have been about fixing holes, and making some more holes. Stu’s been working one end of the house, blocking up the old ‘chimney’ (actually, it’s just a hole where someone knocked a few stones out to let the smoke run), Dependapaul has been at the other, knocking out the fireplace. If we didn’t knock it out, it would have only fallen down. The consensus is to rebuild in reclaimed brick with an old oak lintel and, if we don’t like it, render over it. The original had stone on one side and brick on the other. We could’ve rebuilt it in stone and left it exposed but then I hate that, and didn’t want the house looking like an 80’s theme pub (er, sorry if you’ve got exposed stone in your house)…

Wilson, the ginger beer tin, really is an integral part of the build now

The little cupboard has been bricked up too (the one you could light through when we took the corner out). Inside, is the Ginger Beer tin. The Ginger Beer tin has been with us all on the entire journey – a bit like Tom Hanks’ Wilson, if you like. It sat on the stairs for about two months and has survived everything from the roof being taken off to the floor being dug out a subsequently concreted. For some bizarre reason, none of us had the heart to throw it away, Stu decided to brick him in so that one day, he’ll be rediscovered, along with a few empty beer bottles, a packet of Stu’s baccy and some other odds and sods. What a sentimental bunch we are. And all over a tin can.

Beam before

Also, Graham finally turned up yesterday to give the old beams a sandblast.

Good outfit. Could catch on

Having got the truck stuck in the mud (it poured and poured, we didn’t flood, or float to The Wash in the ‘van) he gave the old solid beams a light going over. They look fabulous. There’s a couple of knarly bits that Stu will no doubt magic away, but once we’ve given any remaining woodworm and beetles some chemical warfare, we’ll simply give them a good waxing and leave them in a totally natural state.

Bit of wax and it’ll come up a treat

Lovely. I was hoping he’d still be stuck late in the evening and would have to leave the machinery overnight. The sandblasting looked, well, a blast. I could have done the entire Stephen King bungie by seven this morning 😉

We’ve finally got a date for the SIPS panels – 5th November. And it should take about a week to go up. I have to say, communication from the SIPS fabricators hasn’t been great. I think they’ve been too interested in keep the tv company sweet, rather than the people who are paying them. Still, we’ll wait and see what develops. As long as they turn up on time and do a good job then that’s clearly all we can ask for. Replying to emails would also be good although I did get a response from yesterday (which is how I know they’re coming on 5th), which is a first…

Anyway, can’t stop. Rich is in bed still, no doubt with the new purchase (a lovely electric blanket) but I, Emma, have a stable block to build with bricks and mortar. I’ll let you know how that develops. Suspect I’ll need a bath by the end of the day so will have to book in at Jimbillybob and Loo’s. If I drop enough hints, they may even invite us for dinner 😉



2 responses to “19th Oct: Fluffy Stuff and Sandblasting

  1. Every Friday I wait in hope there might be a mention of your infamous cake day, but still nothing.

    Oh, and real taps – be careful with anything fanciful – make sure they’re not too monstrously huge for their bath/wash basin… I know someone who made this mistake in the past!

    This week I have mostly baked Cardamon Cake, Peanut Butter Cup-Cakes & Coconut & Jam Slices.

    Much love, Gretch.

    • Oh today I had the house bitch (aka Richard) cooking us all sausage sandwiches, followed by a cheeky Battenburg. I was too busy laying bricks for the stables 😉 Didn’t get many done, but where’s the rush. Mmm, come and visit us with homemade cake. I guess they taste divine made with homemade eggs… No coconut affairs though 😉 x

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