The builders are finished
Things are starting to come together now, the builders are finished their work, there may be a spot of work to do when I get started on downstairs but basically the fabric of the building is secure and all the major jobs have been finished off.
So what’s been done, well the garage is now finished, the roof was started last week and in double time the roof was off, the beams were in, the OSB was nailed to the frames and the rather wonderfully done felt was installed. The builders have been brilliant throughout, Ray, Wayne and Damon (grandfather, father, son) have been on the money all the way through and a pleasure to work with. Their work has been excellent, they’ve stayed in touch and they’ve not done anything along the lines of “well, that’s how we thought you’d want it done”.
I’ve suffered in the past from some pretty barmy things, jobs that have been completed in a manner to keep costs and times down when no-one has been in touch but basically the rote of “well, that’s how we thought you’d want it done” is trotted out to explain something that they’d actually given little thought to.
The builders have been amazing, one little Laurel and Hardy moment, but I think it’s quite funny more than it being a problem.
Basically the chimney in the living room was giving problems, whenever the fire was lit downstairs it would fill one of the upstairs bedrooms with smoke, not good at all. Anyhow we agreed a price and the guys got on with it, what though had seemed a simple exercise in re-pointing the chimney became a massive exercise as whenever a hole was patched the smoke would seep out of another hole. This went on till they had to open the chimney in the attic and even remove one of the fireplaces in another bedroom as the problem moved from one room to another. I was even roped in and had to do a switcheroo on all the paraphernalia in box room to allow access to floorboards. Anyway it got to the point when they found that a chimney had not been cleaned properly and it just needed a little gentle persuasion. They cleared it as much as they could and then employed an old farmers’ method of chimney clearing, dropping a big brick down the chimney attached to a cargo strap.
Ray the grandfather was working in the living room, his job was to screen the fireplace and out of the corner of his eye he noticed someone liberating a cargo strap and working his way up a ladder. Next thing there was a terrific clattering and the room was filled with soot. Ray said he was completely black, the only colour being the whites of his eyes, he had a quiet word with the brick-dropper who swore he’d heard him shout to let it go. I doubt it would have been that quiet though.
Ray apologised, the room was cleared up and that’s that, I thought it was worth it for the comic tale telling by Ray, who does a good line in white wallaby tales if you might remember.
I found though that night that everything I touched would get my hands black. On closer inspection they’d probably done a really good job in getting the thick of the soot out but it was everywhere. Cue the next day, still sporting a hangover from being out till three in the morning clubbing the previous night (not usual for me, it was my works end of year exhibition) I had to tackle the job of clearing out the room. It was a bit of a nightmare, everything had to be hovered, all the chair covers had to be washed, soot was everywhere, it was so bad that every then minutes I had to wash my hands as they’d get black and anything clean I touched would have to be re-done. Not fun at all, but still I’m not complaining, the room needed a bit of a facelift and the chimney no longer seeps smoke.
Anyway along with this and the garage roof the gable end has now been repointed, the guttering has been cleared and replaced with nice square profile guttering for the full length of the front of the house. This has been done really nicely with regularly spaced ties making it look much tidier and obviously more efficient at getting water off the roof in an ordered fashion.
The soffits have been done excellently, they could have just patched the bits that needed to be done but they’ve gone the full hog and done both gable soffits for the full length of both pitches of the roof. They used the rather good plastic ridged soffits too that don’t need any maintenance and the ridging makes them look very attractive. From ground level you’d never notice that they’re not wood.
The door frames upstairs have all been squared up after being rather warped by the roof bearing down on them.
The fascia of the garage was even done too and the garage looks excellent now.
Finally the door reveals for the French doors have been patched and plastered, they have a wonderfully curvy turn to them now and look great. They’ll be murder to add skirting to, but hey they look great.
I know I’ve waxed lyrical about how good they’ve been but here’s an example of the lengths they’ll go to. On the first day of starting on the garage roof they stripped all the timber and removed it off site. Being a timber junky – it’s great to burn or make odd and sods out of – I sent a gentle text to Ray that if they didn’t need the timber then could they leave it for me for firewood. Anyway the next day on returning from work there was a big pile of scrap timber, Ray had not emptied his wagon the night before and simply returned with it and unloaded it for me. What a good set of blokes.
Anyway we settled up on Saturday and I made sure to tell Ray that it had been a pleasure working with him.
My daughter even won a little princess pageant in a local village on Saturday as Rapunzel, she was fair made up by the whole thing.
Further proof too that things are coming together.
I even got on the blower that evening to have a word with Sky about the ridiculous idea of compensation for my murderous months of not having broadband. Their idea to compensate for months of 0.5Mb/sec service, a month of no service at all and four days off work to meet invisible engineers was a £7 discount for three months. They came around and offered me a new Sky 2TB HD box, for £49 with a £49 refund (the lovely girl on the end of the phone wasn’t authorised to give a box but was authorised to give refunds) and free fitting, although I do have to pay £11 for having multi-room service.
I only have one TV too J perhaps a good excuse to get a big TV…. Oooo it’s the world cup next week too.