Christmas happened. We ate food.
Above is Christmas Eve’s dosa and dhal and potato masala. Very traditional. Below is Christmas day’s roast chicken.
Jack likes the masonry heater.
At some point Anna made a really good mousaka.
We went and stayed with Bob and Jen for a week and played computer games and generally did not think about building. That was heavenly.
Heidi and Mike came to visit for the first time in years and because they are wonderful, they helped us empty the huge carload of dry logs I’d gone to fetch that morning. Heidi also gave me the biggest haul of booty from her pottery showroom, as she was having a clear-out, so I’m the proud owner of a number of wonderful new things. They are just the greatest people.
Among us all we managed to move and stack the firewood in, like, half an hour.
So basically my state of mind right now is like, friends are amazing. Building houses is just shit. It’s so shit. I can’t believe people do this more than once. But friends are amazing.
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.
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.
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.
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.