Wood Piles, Paving and Lost Dinner: Wk 8 – Day One

It’s the start of a new week ….the LAST week (here’s hoping) of this particular set of builders.

There are, of course, more to come. We have the bathroom yet to do which will be led by K and his team, the kitchen to install though by whom we are not yet sure, the worktop to fit by the recycled glass company and a heap of joinery (and I mean that literally with reference to the bundles of unwieldy, reclaimed flooring which have been cluttering up the site for the last two months ) by our carpenter C. Then of course there is the decorating to do by all those RSVPing in the affirmative to the invitation to attend our Painting Party – an idea suggested by a friend.
“It will be fun….give us loads of alcohol and paintbrushes and it will be done in no time….”
I was momentarily tempted but it was her postscript, “…not sure how good it will turn out to be…” which made me question the degree of genius in the idea.

The weekend was spent with me enjoying family and S enjoying not very much at all…..forced as he was to try to put some order to the house which included the re-taming of the flooring bundles. Painstakingly aligned by S into fairly neat layers which served the dual purpose of both acclimatising the maple and making it less obstructive, the wood had been later manhandled by the builders into an unruly mess piled high in the centre of the extension floor. If we had any hope, S said, of convincing C to persevere with its installation the area would need to be cleared and the wood re-stacked. Guiltily I checked in late Sunday afternoon, my tummy full of a delicious roast and my arms full of our animated son. The face smiling back at his wife and daft little boy was whiskered and tired but, he said, he was winning. Images sent via email that night were of a job well done followed by a later, final image. A satisfied but aching man in a bath, accompanied by a well deserved beer.

After what seemed like a slow week, tonights update on progress shows signs of momentum returning for a final push. You may remember the patio stone arrived minutes before we left for the North a week ago and you may also remember, or perhaps I didn’t admit, that we had not seen the stone in the flesh. We were forced instead to make a bold purchase on the strength of a photo, the builders needing the paving, they stressed, onsite last Friday. Today it went down, or rather 80% or so of it did. S’s enthusiastic report that the stone looks ‘fantastic’ has added significance for me following his lukewarm reaction as it arrived on pallets last week. I feared a replay of a story recounted by a friend ….she had woken her husband at 2am to tell him the slate for their kitchen floor, due to be laid the very next day, was the wrong colour. Our distance, in this case, played in my favour as I could avoid a midnight awakening with a similar announcement by putting my phone on silent. However, the S seal of approval, being his home as well as mine (though sometimes you’d be forgiven for forgetting that as you watch me wangle my own way) is an accolade for which I strive and so, whilst photos are not yet forthcoming as, having knocked the brickwork with his boot trying to get photos over the weekend he is under strict instructions from the foreman NOT to venture outside, I too am thrilled.

More good news is that the plastering is almost complete with all of the upstairs now finished and only the mega-stair wall to do. Better news still is that our carpenter, onsite today to lay the subfloor, “is getting on ok”. This report comes via S but originates with the foreman and in so doing is praise indeed. The marmoleum flooring for the Worlds Smallest WC also arrived and was laid. This feels satisfyingly like a double green whammy as the marmoleum itself, being made of linseed and other natural ingredients (read more about it here) is eco friendly plus we managed to get hold of a bargain offcut. The bad news is it apparently makes the WC look even smaller…..more Water Hole than Closet. Its bizarre dimensions do, we feel, give us permission to go a bit bonkers with it so S suggested papering its interior with a digital photograph mural. This may have additional benefits. Last week I was asked by The Technology Director to research flueless extractor fans (I’ve had better requests) and I sent through a few links. Having digested the information and considered the costs and performance (though I’m unsure any were actually flueless) he questioned the real need for one as “it’s only for the odour removing qualities and there won’t be steam as there would be in a bathroom”
“I agree…” I emailed back. “The oxygenating qualities of the forest wallpaper should sort it.”

S is bearing the trial of a damp (from the huge amounts of drying plaster) and inhospitable house in addition to a full working week and management of the builders with very little complaint but I do wonder if the harshness of his environment will have any long term effects on his sanity. Certainly they are having them in the short term. Last night, whilst I sat with my feet up, dinner being made for me, glass of wine poured he was microwaving air for three minutes before discovering his bowl of soup sat cold next to it. Tonight he actually lost his tea (by which, of course, I refer not to PG Tips but to the Northern term for ‘dinner’.) He took it out of the fridge and, putting it down momentarily to look for the architects plans, he couldn’t find it again for quite some time.

It would appear our house might finally be choosing a more conventional substance in which to consume.


The re-stacked, reclaimed flooring (from an old school gym)

The garden before the extension
The garden with a view of the side return extension and the makings of the patio


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