Dec 14th: The Frozen Wastes

Where does the time go? I must be getting old because every morning when I get up, I wonder what happened to yesterday. I’m pleased to report that everything down the ‘Billy is swinging along at a rather rapid pace. So rapid, that I barely have the light to take some photos of what’s been going on – and when I do, I never get the setting on the camera right so the photos are largely blurry 😉 Still, Rich has been knocking around for the last few days so managed to distract himself from work and take some progress pics for our 40-odd thousand viewers. How I wished I’d charged you all a quid…

First things first, some of you may have noticed it’s been a little chilly of late. So chilly that there’s ice on the inside of the windows, we’ve bought John Lewis out of fleeces, the water’s frozen solid and we’ve been wearing the same clothes all week. Nice. Worse still, a couple of mornings ago, the Turdis froze up. Like, the chemicals in the Turdis, which means that the flushing mechanism (which was, in its working capacity, somewhere near useless) is now rendered completely pointless. I promised the ups and downs of living in the ‘van and I can assure you this is one of the downs, alongside the frost on the seat. Good job Jimbillybob and Loo live nearby, we have been availing ourselves of their facilities = total luxury 😉 Being generous souls, they’ve offered to put us up more than once during the winter but I fear that if we bolt at the first sight of frost, we won’t be back here until the house is finished!

Nah, seriously, aside from the expense of using Evian to wash up and the frozen crapper, it’s still above freezing, almost toasty,  in the ‘van – crikey, we haven’t even sported the Oneseys yet. Anyway, it’s all part of the adventure. That’s what we keep telling ourselves anyway…

Take some bits of reed

Take some bits of reed

And so to the house, the gorgeous, house. And it does look gorgeous, better than I could have even imagined. Thatchers Richard, Sean and Joey Essex finished the job yesterday, we’re all sorry to see them go but what a roof they’ve left behind. Wowsers, if anyone questioned whether we should have put thatch on the roof, then they’ll have to ask themselves whether they’re sane of mind.

Add Richard, Sean and Joey Essex

Add Richard, Sean and Joey Essex

It’s taken the team just over two weeks to get the whole job done and dusted. I think over that time, there were only a couple of hours interrupted by the rain. The cold didn’t stop play, it seems that Richard is impervious – I think I saw him wearing just a t-shirt at one point. Crazy fool.

Do this

Do this

They really are consummate professionals. Like Stu, I’d say they were artists of their trade. Nothing’s rushed, everything is considered and the ridge – we took a bit of time (about ten minutes) deciding which pattern to go for, looks absolutely fabulous. But then I would say that… I think in this instance, I’ll let the photos do the talking, I’m genuinely speechless!

And this

And this

And this

And this

Get this. The big reveal will come when we drop the scaffold. And when it stops raining ;)

Get this. The big reveal will come when we drop the scaffold. And when it stops raining 😉

In other news, Stu has been beavering away on the SIPS roof. I’m absolutely thrilled with the way that’s looking. Although with 60 tiles per meter, a load of cuts to do around the Velux’s and no DependaPaul to help as he’s busy beavering inside, I don’t think Stu will be sorry to have it done, especially the North side, which can be a little parky!

Stu, on the north side. We're waiting til spring and he'll thaw out...

Stu, on the north side. We’re waiting til spring and he’ll thaw out…

Stu and Thatcher Richard were having a bit of a mutual appreciation club going on. More than a couple of times a day, they’d each get off their respective roofs to check progress from a distance, and pop round the other side to admire each other’s work. Stu was a bit sad yesterday when the thatchers left, not least because everyone got on and worked as part of a team. That’s the way we like to roll down on the ‘Billy… Still, the housewarming’s gearing up to be a monster.

Apparently, there's some order in these wires.

Apparently, there’s some order in these wires.

Just because all this work’s going on on the outside, doesn’t mean things have drawn to halt inside. No, indeedy. Gary and Geoffo have been busy doing the first fix electricals and, happily, I think Gary has asked most of his questions now. I did avoid him on a couple of occasions. It’s quite taxing trying to work out lights, switches and socket locations. Not to mention the fancy schmancy LED feature lights we’ve got in a few of the rooms. A guy called Guy from EcoLed rocked up to talk us through some options so I think we’re back on track. How Gary can make sense of the spaghetti hanging from the ceilings I’ll never know. I don’t think electrickery is a career I’d ever consider, I don’t have the organisation, or the logic for it.

If in doubt with regards to sockets (apparently you can never have enough) I went for the scattergun approach. A visit from lovely friend Chris P confirmed it when he walked in the living room and said ‘Do you think you’ve got enough sockets?’ I think he was joking… Chris and the Crown Jules are coming to stay in the ‘van before Crimbo as they wanted the full on Meaden Project experience. Plenty of booze is what’s required, and a poo before they get here.

Very festive, the frozen wastelands

Very festive, the frozen wastelands

We were also blessed this week from a flying visit from my olds. The first time my Mum stepped out the car – back in Feb, she and Big B were too scared to go upstairs as they deemed it dangerous. ‘Bleak’ was the most positive comment she could muster. This week, though, it was all change. Having been schmoozed with a coffee and a chocolate Hob Nob, I think the Billy-charm is finally getting through! They’ve gone back to Switzerland and will be having dinner with Jimbob and Looloo (who are over in Verbier at a very posh place). While we’ve been eating Hob Nobs, and using their house as a hotel, they have a driver, staff and Michelin starred chef to call upon for their daily sustenance. How the other half live. But, and it’s a big but, they don’t have the Crimbo lights experience that Rich surprised me with – we sent them a video of the ‘turning on’ but you haven’t really lived until you sat in the Turdis, on a frosty seat, wind blowing through the vents and those twinkly festive lights shining on you. Long may it continue 😉


PS Forgot to add, Stu the meeja whore is in The Sunday Times this weekend. He really does get around these days. Expect his prices to double next year!


2 responses to “Dec 14th: The Frozen Wastes

  1. More pics of house! Looking really good now, the thatched roof looks incredible even in the little pics here.

    Did you go for the brown plug sockets in the end?

    • I’m still waiting for the switches to turn up! Only been two weeks. I still like the brown though, just maybe not for the kitchen.

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