Blessed St Antony, Patron Saint of Inexperienced Lady Builders

Antony, who is hands-down the biggest contributor of skilled labour to this project, came round and did a big pile of plumbing for me, so that not only do we have running cold water to the house now (albeit from a length of plastic pipe danging from the ceiling) we also have running “hot” water from a tank which may or may not ever get above room temperature depending on whether this heater manages to heat it… jury seems to be out.


Antony spent a couple of half days doing a sterling job with all the pipe-work. I did a bit of fitting copper pipes and was on hand to block leaks when we accidentally started filling the system without having blocked off the drainage point. Oops.


I also got on with insulating above the windows, including finally moving the scaffolding across the gap. Finished that bit today and have started moving around the rest of the roof, so as to make it not silly to heat the place.


Antony, left to his own devices, came up with this amazing maze of copper.


So, having turned on the water and nothing was leaking (the third time) I build a big fire in the masonry heater.


And two or three hours later the bench was toasty warm.


It is now hard to keep from sitting on it all day instead of working.


But I’m going to try to get all the insulation in by next weekend so we can tidy up, get some sofas and a coffee table out and play house in there over Christmas.

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Snow and Ceiling Painting

Beautiful, snowy weekend here, but by buggery it’s cold. 5 or 6 degrees warmer indoors than out, but that’s not much comfort. I spent the day drawing the cartoon for the ceiling painting.


It’s going really well, but my hands and feet were freezing. I had to take a lot of breaks.


I don’t think Alec will be able to paint it until I can heat the place, which I’m currently hoping to be doing by the middle of January.


I heard a rumour it would be a snowy winter, which pleased me greatly. So far so good, as this is more snow than we’ve had in years. More forecast for tomorrow. Feels Christmassy.


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Another major step toward weather-tightness has occurred.


The dream team were back together again, Craig down from Scotland and Ben up from Lincolnshire, with me on baking and handing things to people.


That doesn’t quite do me justice, I did actually do a lot of the proper work as well as the baking and handing of things. Just for the record.


And all the photography, or course.


The usual care was taken with health and safety.


The middle two panes at the bottom will have to wait til I have more money, but will eventually be glass doors for getting out on the gin drinking terrace.


Craig’s cover plates are beautifully finished and expertly installed. MASSIVE thanks to him for sorting all that out. Always a huge pleasure to work with both of these guys.


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Back inside, since it’s just storm after storm around here. Anna and I had previously finished the insulating in the attic…


And since Lisa and Other Anna were kind enough to come down from Edinburgh to visit, we thought we’d conscript them into helping hold up plasterboard while we screwed it in place.


They also helped with measuring and cutting, and we got quite a bit of the stuff up.


One step closer to having that space enclosed, insulated, kind-of-medium-finished and ready to act as our First Room, keeping spirits high while we plod on with the rest.


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Rendering For All We Are Worth

It’s nearly the end of rendering season, and I don’t quite know why I have not got my skates on before now, but what with one thing and another, I am suddenly keen on getting all the rendering done that can be done before it gets too cold. My priorities are a fecking mystery even to me.


Here’s me wetting down the wall, though not enough. Boy, you really have to wet it down a lot it turns out. Otherwise little cracks appear and have to be patched. Sigh. Still, it’s the final coat and it only cracked a tiny bit and I can just fix it. And now that I know, I will wet down the next bits a lot more.


I showed Anna how to do it and we got the whole top bit of the west wall done.


Anna declared it “not a horrible job to do” and is wiling to do it again someday.


Daisy and Andrew came over on Saturday and put in a day on it as well.


Good thing Alec and I had put in a whole day of render making the day before.


In other news, we have a flat driveway again, which is great and a bit of it covered in gravel which is AMAZING.


And Anna has perfected the recipe for Butterbeer. But it’s a secret recipe, so I can’t tell you.



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