Finally an update

Friday December 18th, 2009 |Fiona

Sorry to all those waiting for the latest instalment – we’ve been rather preoccupied the last few weeks. Norman was off for the 3 days mid-week that he usually heads south, so became a workman and instructor to Martin. I’ll start from where I left off…

We spent a huge amount when we went shopping, but all essential and within the budget… still a shock though. Maybe we should have shares in B&Q!! Also went to Tesco – whizzed round there, as we needed to pick up Martin in Shrewsbury. He has proved a great help around the place, and has mastered chopping wood; so that is his standing instruction every day – do some and add to the woodpile, we will need it over the winter.

Also chose carpets for the large and the smaller bedrooms, plus a few other essentials, with delivery on the Saturday. Sadly they decided not to ring us about the fact that what we chose was in limited supply, and that we should order something else – had to wait till Saturday to find that one out! So, delivery will be the following Friday! So, as a change in plan, the carpet out of the middle bedroom which we were going to re-use, we have now put in the smaller bedroom, and changed our order to something they can deliver! We have been working on getting the smaller room ready, as then my Dad can be in there over Christmas.

Also, got a visit from a window supplier for a quote. I almost laughed when he said the price – then they took about 60% off with discounts… Why do they even bother telling you the “list” price? Well, even then it was more than we were prepared to pay, so he was sent away. His boss tried to offer us a little bit more off on a phone call the following day, but even that was still too high. So, the original quote from the builder was looking reasonable, but we have amended to make it hardwood rather than soft, and changed the style a bit – so started creeping up, but at least now we have something to compare it to. Sometimes you have to compromise!

Another rude awakening again, when the delivery of more stones arrived – whereas before it was 7.30am, and I was up and showered, this time I was still in bed – but Norman was already up and about, so was there to greet the guy and show him where to put it – all at 6.45am. Lets hope todays delivery is not so late that I got up early for nothing! Already missed about an hour sleep!

I did my first paper hanging this week. We have papered the wall which I scraped wallpaper from last week – unfortunately the wall was not in good enough nick to just paint – partly because my scoring for the stripper to seep into went through to the paint, but also because the steamer had caused a few problems – and it was a dodgy bit of plaster. Basically it was not a great surface, so we had to use lining paper. The one we found at B&Q was very wide and quite thick, so a bit awkward to cut on the table we bought, and a little bit of a struggle to manoeuvre about, but it looked so much better when the wall was covered. This has now had its first coat of paint yesterday – and I have to say its the most lovely surface to paint on. Much nicer even than freshly applied plaster. So, the guest lounge is beginning to look like a lounge again… well, it will when we’ve freshened the skirting boards and architraves – after the holidays anyway. The doors we probably won’t bother with, as we may be replacing them. I am very pleased with the colour we chose – it’s a dark cream, but has made the room much warmer and brighter, plus shows off the beams a lot more.

The diggers have been very active this week too – the Dutch barn is now cleared of the years of hay which had been accumulating, there is a new trench along the back of the house as an overflow for the stream, plus we now have a ditch along the end field behind the Dutch barn. Also, all the soil from the ditches (including the soakaway) was creating a quagmire behind the big barn, so they have pushed it over into the boggy and wooded area. We still have a load of hardcore from the soakaway which we can use for all sorts of things. Part of the removal of the stuff in the Dutch barn was the concrete bases – they were very oversized! – and Norman and Martin were using the jack hammer/kanga to break it up. (Video and pictures to prove it!) Poor Martin was soon unable to carry on, but Norman persevered – and had more bruises than me for a change! Still, the ground is now level for the gravel to be added – this will become the parking area for the B&B guests.

The drainage has been an issue all along, partly contributed to by the neighbour, but mostly due to the rain we’ve been having. Sadly, its a shame that the ditches around the farm were not maintained, as this is the main problem we have had. At least now we have gone a long way to improving things, but we need to still discuss with our neighbour about getting more done either on his side, or getting his help on our side – he has already called to come and visit, but didn’t come on Norman’s days off.

So so sorry for the delay in updating. Above was done over a week ago, but I meant to add a little more and then publish, but got rather rushed before heading south for the weekend.  Anyway, to continue…

Martin and I blitzed the house before leaving, decorating the smallest room for him on his last night, but also for my Dad’s visit over Christmas. Then we headed south. Definitely seemed strange to come across all that traffic – much more than I have become used to! Suffice to say we enjoyed the weekend – although Norman was the worst for wear on Saturday – too much sauce the night before, so sat supping one pint all evening. Martin and Darren were their usual selves, entertaining and great to hear again – although Martin was suffering with his voice part-way through, he gargled a whisky and seemed to recover enough. We managed to catch up with friends on the Sunday, after we had been shopping for curtains at a secondhand place… great value for fully lined and superb quality fabric. Once cleaned-up and pressed, no-one will know… My “official” birthday – I was travelling back on the day – was on the Monday so went out for dinner with my family, along with a bit of Christmas shopping.

Bringing my Dad back took longer than anticipated – 5 hours from Guildford, but then I was driving his car and we were fully loaded – Norman had been shopping again, all essential things – so needed to empty out for him to bring more of Martin’s gear up here… His car is only a little Colt, but when the seats folded down, we got an amazing amount of stuff in, including his bags for his visit. We will keep his car for a short while until his driving licence issue is resolved, or we decide what vehicle we will get. I am still leaning towards a Land Rover – seems the thing on a remote part of Wales. Have seen one for sale on the side of the road out of Welshpool, so will try to get a look at it…

Builders were back yesterday and today to finish off things – trim in the bathroom, silicone around the showers, replacing roof slates which were broken or missing, build a plinth for our basin… Plumber will now be back on Monday to install our basin and install seats and things. Then we can get on with the decorating of the bathrooms… oh joy!

We have been working to get the big bedroom sorted, with decor for the carpet to be laid, as the bed and wardrobe are going to be delivered on Sunday… There was a saga with that yesterday – the one we ordered was not the one they had in stock, only they didn’t realise that till they went to check it! We could still have it, but they would happily swap it in February when the next installment arrives! Then he rang to say the canopy was missing (it’s a four-poster!), so they could not send it. So, the upshot is they are delivering a 5′ king size in the colour we wanted, but without a mattress! Fortunately we have a 5′ mattress from my old bed which we were planning to chuck, so we will keep for now. Then if we decide we will happily keep the 5′, rather than swap to the 4’6″ we wanted, we will only get the mattress delivered. If we find its a bit cramped, they will swap it and deliver a double! If it had not been for the fact that they already have our table and chairs from a different supplier, who would only deliver locally to Hampshire,  we would have said forget it! Ah well, just another story in the saga of creating Gwaenynog guest house!!!!

So, that’s you up-to-date for now. Will try to get another one done before Christmas – depends on how much work we get done…! (I include my Dad on that – he has been painting window frames for us too!)

Bye for now.