Well yesterday was a bit busy J
Had one of those awful mornings at work, something went a tiny bit wrong, someone overreacted as that person is always inclined to then bullied some of the tech’s and flounced off to create mayhem elsewhere. Not good, we spent the rest of the morning fixing the problem, I spent time gnashing my teeth and then picking up the pieces of the damage that one person had done.
Anyway despite this I still had some time of my own to take and I’d already booked the afternoon off and as I had an appointment with Andrew the heating engineer I left the college at 1:30 and headed up to the hills.
I arrived to find the builder Ray and his grandson Damon sat on my step having a fag between jobs. Got chatting with them and it wasn’t until they pointed it out that I noticed that Andrew the arborist had been over and chopped down all the trees around my drain cover. There was a big healthy pile of logs there, my branches – the ones I’d cut down – hadn’t been chipped though and my other pile of large tree bits didn’t look as though they’d been logged. Still I had expected a lot for the money I was paying and I wasn’t unhappy to find that the job hadn’t been done in its entirety, I was just really glad to see those trees down. Again I must re-iterate, I really do like trees, however these were big, far too near to the house, extremely too close to a large drain inspection cover – that probably led to a big drain – and they’d destroyed the concrete paths surrounding the house. I expected they were destroying my drains as well as potentially damaging the foundations, so they had to come down. So with a clear conscience I ordered their lopping, knowing that it was better for everything in the long run and knowing that I’d be planting more trees in the future but in more sensible spots.
Anyway I had a long chat with Ray as Damon busied himself with tidying up the site and Ray pointed me to a couple of extra potential problems. He took me around to the gable of the house and pointed out that the guttering had eaten away at the wooden detailing around the top of the house the barge boards. I was aware of this, but what I hadn’t noticed – obvious when it was pointed out – that the walls were soaking and it was actually eating into the stonework with chunks missing and the pointing going too. This needed doing so I asked Ray to come up with a quote to remedy this and to remedy the other bits of boarding on the ends of the roof that had gone a bit rotten too.
He also told me that when it had rained the other day water had seeped into the bay windows in the living room where he was working. Everyone locally had referred to this, saying that Rita the previous owner had spent oodles trying to get this fixed and that it might still be a problem. I however had thought it had been resolved when I’d discovered the cheap UPVC windows above the bay had not been cracking shut properly. I trust Ray though and if he says they’re leaking, then they’re leaking. I think Ray is quite the roofer too and he took me through what he thought was wrong with the lead flashing, he told me it needed removing and refitting, he also pointed out the other bay’s flashing was felt rather than the preferred lead, he said that doing that would be expensive. I asked him for a quotation on the new lead flashing and the lead flashing removal and refitting.
We had a wander through the house to see what had been done, the now redundant second door to the joined rooms had been removed and plastered over and the new loft hatch had been fitted into the upstairs corridor. The hatch was a necessity as the existing one was going to be made inaccessible due to the thermal store being fitted to the store room where it was about to be fitted.
The door frames despite having the roof jacked up and supported with a weighty steel – that was now plastered over too – were still very warped, so I asked for a quotation on getting those sorted out too, Ray felt that this might be a job and a half as the frames abutted stud walls and this could get tricky. Anyway I’ll play it by ear till I see the quotes.
We had a look outside too to figure out how he was going to disguise the I-beam above the French Windows from the outside. He offered a method where they faked up the render/stone/bricks to look like stone or just a very plain render/stone/brick finish. I thought that the faked up system would be best but Ray said in his best Kevin McCloud style that it was best not to try to dolly it up and it was better to show the true history and progression of builds on the house, keep it honest. I could see his wisdom, I knew he was right so I asked him to pursue that angle. I must admit that I’ve not a clue how it will look though, I trust Ray’s wisdom on this one.
Anyway Ray and I had a bit of a chat about lung conditions and Wallabies and just as he was leaving, Andrew arrived to talk heating systems.
I was a little worried that Andrew hadn’t got his head around my thermal store conundrum but a few print out and a quick gleg at my iPad and we were back on track. We wandered around picking up various things, such as where I wanted it, the fact that I needed the boiler off the floor, lots of odds and sods and just as he was about to have his own private tour the arborist arrived.
I had a chat with Andrew the arborist, paid him in full the amount we’d agreed this was despite him not doing all the work, but as I said I was asking a lot and I was being cheeky. I know I can hear you all out there saying he agreed to a verbal contract and all, by hey I don’t care, you should cut your cloth as you find it and trees too. Anyway Andrew tried to sell me an “as new” chainsaw and I said that if I had a chainsaw you could probably count the amount of weeks I had left to live on the few fingers I’d have left after my first chainsawing. I said I’d consider it when I was next drunk as it’s the kinda stupid thing I’d agree to when I was squiffy… however on a more sensible note I did think it might be worth doing if he’d give me chainsawing training.
Not too sure if it’s a good deal at £120 for a chainsaw, it’s not a thing I’ve ever bought before and with my reckless nature it might be a terrible idea.
Anyway we chatted about him having to lose a stone for a skydiving charity jump he was doing, I offered personal training for £120 and he left threatening to appear again soon with a chainsaw J Is that a good thing?
Anyway I headed back into the house to find Andrew now with two other colleagues, they quickly thrashed through the tasks to hand. John and electrician said something about nothing being unassailable and he could turn his hand to anything, this warmed me to him and once he was free I had him touring around the house looking at the other electrical work that needed to be done. He said he’d start with a new fuse box and get a quote over to me via Andrew, so that sounded the ticket. Anyway they left £1,340 richer as I gave Andrew the deposit so he could get all the bits he needed without worrying that I’d renege on the deal.
Anyway that was quite the full afternoon, I rounded it off with a trip to Simpson’s fuel to get 45 more litres of heating oil, I had vowed not to get any more till my tank was secure, but trust me even in spring it was getting too depressing to wake up each day in a freezing cold house and spend the rest of the day there too. The fire wasn’t great, it really only got one room warm and the gassing of the upstairs bedroom didn’t help matters much.
Got back, filled up oil, took back empties, bled the system of air bubbles and fired up the boiler. Got my washing organised, lit the front room fire and Izzi and Anna came over for a quick visit. Izzi made some funny observations about the builders, to her not only had they put lots of holes in my house but now they’d been throwing mud around in it (the piles of plaster here and there). She offered to help me clean it all up, I said that we’d have to wait a while till they’d finished. I must seem crazy to her that I keep inviting these people into my home who like to destroy it and have mud fights J
Anna rubber stamped her approval of John the electrician saying he was another jewel of a tradesman, so I will be knocking at his door pretty soon.
Anyway they left and I got on with more jobs, the washing up had backed up for a week so I got that done. The washing was finished, my work gear for a working weekend and a night over at my folks was organised. I sorted out the balance of payment I needed to settle up with Ray, it was tight and I only had a tenner once I’d stuffed it into a bulging envelope. I did a little work on the computer with little success, I realigned the CCTV camera over the oil tank so that there was a better view and I moved the door and woodwork that had come from the house to a dryer spot in the garage. That might not sound much but all told and throwing in some boiled eggs it took me to 12:30 to get all that done.
Made my bed in the living room and had a well-deserved sleep to get up at 6:30 the next day for work.
Life is good, but hey the house is now cracking along.