I have wood
I’ve just gingerly sat down in my chair after a pretty hard day working on the house. Seems that my back isn’t what it used to be and I think I might have overdone it all a bit.
Anyway, got up at the crack of dawn again, had a bit of brekkie and set off to pick up the man with the plan, a chap called Alan who was going to do all the drawings for my house.
I’d been put onto Alan through Lee the MD of a company who does the security for our college. He was just what I needed, Lee told me he was a brilliant draughtsman who’d retired and did a bit of work on the side. He was highly regarded, was reasonable and may do my planning for me. A phonecall later and I was booked in to pick him up (I don’t think he fancied the long drive out to the countryside) and we’d see where we went to from there.
Anyway I arrived a half hour early and dutifully sat in the car waiting for the appointed time to come – I have this theory that being early for an appointment can be just as rude as arriving late, very David Niven I am. Anyway with five minutes to go a gentleman tapped on my window and said “are you waiting for me” twas Alan.
I bundled off in the car with him and his briefcase and we got chatting, he was exactly what I needed, that kind of man who’s worked dutifully all his life, knew his subject inside out and was a man of that generation who was out to do the job in the best manner he knew. He was a bit dour in a gentle and funny way, he reminded me of some of the old tradesmen I’d worked with in a painting and decorating college years ago, he was great and quite droll too.
Arriving at my house he got straight on the job, refusing a cup of tea as he said it got in the way of the work.
I explained that I wanted plans for a lintel to knock two rooms into one and that I had a problem with the roof a-frame kingpin and base being supported – or not supported in this case – by a non-supporting wall. After wobbly trip up a set of ladders and some shining of torches in the attic he looked thoughtful. I left him to get on with it and set about some jobs that needed doing around the house while he measured up.
I’d sometimes hear him chatting to me as though I was in the room and I’d pop out to see what he was talking about. One nice bit of information was that my walls were thick, he expressed that my walls were 18 inches deep, I said is that a good thing and he responded that it’s no wonder the house doesn’t get damp… they were thick walls. I felt a bit thick too.
He also picked up on two odd walls, on one side of the wall being proposed to be moved it was a lot thinner (or thicker if you’re a glass full type of person) than the other.
He explained that he’d need to get in touch with the planners to establish if the house was listed or if it was in a conservation zone, but he’d do all that work, work that I didn’t realise had to be done. I was feeling even thicker now.
The plan was two lintels in a T, one resting on the other, the room divider being low enough not to disturb the lovely coving in the living room and the other being placed between the two chimneys to support the room lintel and also provide a header for the French doors I’m hoping to install.
He said he could tackle the roof problem and as it was a repair and he’d not have to apply for planning. A lintel was planned to span the two door frames that were bowing and cracking under the pressure of the roof and extending the lintel to rest on the existing supporting walls. That should fettle it.
All no fuss, all done hugely efficiently and all done in the manner of someone who’d been working in business for years.
Back in the car and I drove him back to Darlington, he got out explaining he had my number and that was it. That’s the way to do business, I think local retired professionals are the way to go.
Not wishing to waste a moment I dropped into the nearest B&Q on the way back and bought a wheelbarrow, £35 of cult wheelbarrow, I’d not wasted my time over breakfast and had researched that it was a Chillington Camden that I needed. A bit of basic Tetris work to stuff it into the back of the car I headed home.
A spot of posh noodles for lunch and I was up and at them again.
The pile of logs in the end garden would not move themselves, actually if I left them there they might just do that – such is the love of logs up here – so I had to move them to an outhouse just in case. The outhouse was primed with a couple of pallets and I set about shifting them with my new lovely wheelbarrow. I’m pretty much a barrow virgin and this was the first I’d every owned, in the past I had used others and had found them mischievous and sometimes they’d been eager to twist out of my grip to spill their contents everywhere. Well the Chillington was gentle with my first time ownership and with it’s slightly underinflated tyres it fair glided across uneven ground and into my outhouse, now the wood store.
Some forty wheelbarrows of logs later, carefully setting them up in a striking rather sculptural pile of timber and I’d finished. I thought nothing more of this till later and standing up suddenly became a little trickier than it had been earlier on in the day.
Steadily for the rest of the day things have gotten a bit more difficult, tidying up deeds and other whatnots I’d got out for Alan became a thing of folklore, so much so was the simple act of bending down.
I’ve now resigned myself to writing up the blog for the day, I think I’ll have a hot bath, fry up a steak and sit down and relax with some TV football and some TV Musketeering.
I hope I feel better in the morning.
Still I’ve got lots done and I’m now on the way to getting the building work started, I’m the proud owner of a fabby wheelbarrow and I have a woodpile in my woodstore.