brandy by the fire
This time last year I thought I’d be sipping brandy by the fire, throwing a log on it once in a while, tucking into a mince pie and relaxing over a good book.
I didn’t expect to be still working on the house, more to the point I didn’t expect to be teetering on a ladder in the freezing cold, drizzle trickling down my neck trying to find the problem with a hole I’d created in the bathroom wall. The hole in question had been conveniently made when I’d pulled a pipe out of the bathroom floor. It was crazy large enough for a drain but when presented with said drain, well drain wouldn’t go through hole, there must be a problem.
Phone out, camera on I held it up to the hole and squeezed off a barrage of shots. Later inspection of photos revealed nothing but it did reveal that if I was to tackle the hole up the ladder, teetering in the rain with a ten pound SDS drill that I’d be pushing up the daisies pretty soon.
Plan two and I was upstairs removing the shower base I’d carefully constructed some months back. This proved easier than I’d thought and I regretted my ladder excursion as a mistake that could have been avoided. A bit of unscrewing a nod into the sub-floor and quickly the problem became apparent… My walls are very wide, on the inside it looked like a perfectly sized hole, on the outside it was of a similar dimension but in the middle there as a foot-wide bit of stone narrowing the hole to an inch across.
So further to my non-relaxing way of spending my weekend my next hour was spent on my knees with a huge SDS drill blindly drilling into the hole. A brief excursion with an angle grinder resulted in a bit of chipped off stone but it also nearly resulted in some chipped off fingers so I resigned myself to not using said grinder in a narrow gap where I wasn’t privy to what was happening out of sight.
The SDS bucked and rocked, it weighed a ton after just minutes of work, an hour later I was knackered.
The pipe was tried extensively in this time, it just wouldn’t go but persevering paid off in the end and I cheered when it finally went through the gap.
Back to normaility and the bathroom was on the cards so it was out with my sorting hat and sorting out a new workshop to in the main bedroom to cater for the bathroom construction and the tank in the attic. Theraputic or what 🙂 lifting wood up and down stairs, setting up the mitre saw and benching, sorting out some relevant tools, scrap wood into the fire and sawdust and rubbish into the bin, a job I enjoyed doing.
Next job was to start work on the rest of the bathroom again. The drain for the shower was now in place so there was no excuse not to get on with the shower, the sink too was part of the drainage pipe network, I could start on that.
I have found in the past when I take on a new job it takes ages to get motivated. Something familiar isn’t a problem but something like that drain is rather daunting and it takes at least a dozen balled socks, a healthy dose of tool sorting and some letter opening to get me motivated.
So what lay ahead and in store this time… Hardiebacker board.
For some reason I’d decided – even though I’d never tiled before – that I needed to tile onto a surface that would allow superb tile adhesion properties and would not be susceptible to moisture as much as plaster board was. I’d fallen for the internet curse, I’d read too much and found that I must have some Hardiebacker board onto which to tile… I really don’t remember that decision being made but blow me I’d had a large load of said board delivered months back and there it was… looking at me… gesturing me to fix it to the wall as I balled socks and avoided it as much as I humanly could.
First thing was to fix up some architrave to the bathroom door surround. The piece that had been there had been truncated where the old bathroom cupboard had met the door frame and as the cupboard was no longer there I needed a brand new surround for the door.
The next thing to do was to studwork the walls out, the walls left by the removal of the old cupboard were pitted and uneven, I needed to fit a network of timber battens and shims to get an even surface onto which to pin the Hardiebacker board.
This took a few hours, the walls were a disgrace and well out of true, luckily I had a bucket of wooden offcuts next to the fire and this provided an ample source of wooden fillers to even out the walls.
Once done it was onto the Hardiebacker, I’d avoided it enough, the first board was a bit of a disaster but I quickly discovered how to cut and pin it and once that first board had been dismissed and replaced the rest went up a doddle. I don’t know what all the fuss must have been about.
Still not much to show for my work but as I was now happy with the Hardibacker technique hopefully I wouldn’t be procrastinating again.
Anyway further to my day of work I had a new mattress on order and had been waiting all day for it to arrive. I’d ordered it back on a special Cyber Monday mattress deal – go figure – and had been eagerly awaiting its arrival. I’d deliberately been waiting at home for it, normally I’d not be unhappy with it being left around the back of the house but being a large new mattress I was hoping the delivery person would help me up the stairs with it.
Anyway 7pm it eventually arrived, I flagged down the van in the dark and the exhausted driver opened up the tailgate to reveal a rather weedy looking rolled up – what could only be described as a futon at most – mattress. I expressed my disappointment but was reassured with “they really expand mate, don’t worry”.
The driver then told me of how he’d been driving since 3am and this was his last drop-off, he then told me he had to return to Birmingham and when I pointed out that this would take at least three hours he looked rather dismayed, I later regretted not inviting him in for a cuppa, I felt guilty but I think I had been sidetracked by the rather weedy mattress.
Once he’d driven off, I easily manhandled the mattress upstairs and I gingerly opened it with a Stanley knife, the mattress made some disturbing noises and with some coaxing it leapt into life. It was all rather scary but it did become a rather impressive king size mattress… eventually.