Sunday 20 February – AMPle Things to Do

I didn’t post a blog last week as I didn’t think that there had been so much progress to update and, again, certainly nothing that made for attractive pictures.  I’m not sure there is much different this week!

Pascal has continued to work in Granary although, as is the nature of what he’s doing, there aren’t too many things that make for interesting pictures, as is evidenced by this one of the channels Pascal has cut out on the ground floor for the cabling!

Granary re-wiring in progress

He has now got to a point that he cannot progress without other work being done so we can progress with other tasks.  Thankfully, with what he has done we have power back in the house, so we have light to do those other things.  Tomorrow, we have someone coming to line the chimney and make it bird-proof so we don’t have anything nesting in it as we did last spring!

We also hope to have our plumber start with the pipework for the bathroom and kitchen.  We aren’t changing too much so, hopefully, it won’t take too long and we can then start to rebuild – and that might take a bit of time!

One of the improvements Pascal has made is to remove the various cable conduits at the rear of the building which were never very attractive.  The main fuse board is next to the window and the easiest way to get cables from there to things outside, such as the heat pump compressor, was down the wall in a protective tube.  With the work we’re having done, Pascal has moved these inside and has used the old soil pipe to get them outside.  As the new bathroom will have a slightly different configuration the pipe would have been redundant.

We have also finally removed the old vent pipe which would have been necessary when the house had a septic tank.  Being on mains drains now this too could be lost.  Small things but they have made a big difference.  What will also make a big difference is a car charging plug we have had installed as we expect to have more guests with electric vehicles stay with us in the future.

Our carpenter came last week and has made a start on the woodwork.  He has repaired 2 of the floor joists which had become extremely rotten, but these will need to tidied up as part of the redecoration.  He has made a start repairing the shower room floor from beneath and has a little more to do before I can replace the ceiling.  Sadly, we have also discovered a number of the other ceiling beams on the ground floor need a bit of TLC so hopefully he will be back soon for these.

Thankfully, we haven’t been impacted by the recent storms that have caused so much damage in the UK – we hope you have avoided the worse too.  While we have had some wet and blustery days we have also had a number of dry and sunny spells which has allowed me to continue the clearing on the north talus I started a couple of weeks ago.

In our first couple of years we tidied up the back drive and I built a couple of new walls and planted lots of hedging.  Since then, we have only really maintained one side and not done much to the other, so the bramble and sycamore had taken over again – on both sides of the bank.

Having cleared through, I was pleased to see that the yew and holly we planted had survived although had not grow too much.  Hopefully, having removed the competing weeds they should grow rather quicker now!

Clearing the weeds is only the first step.  There are a number of trees on top of the talus that we want to fell and eventually, as I have done at the other end of the talus, I will reduce the height of the bank, grade it to be a little less steep.    The bank currently contains lots of slate and rocks that I will put to good use in another big project which I really hope to start in the autumn, or I can use it to rebuild some of the wall on the track side as it has collapsed in a couple of places.

One of the best things in the last couple of weeks was we were dog-sitting for some friends who had popped back to the UK as they were unable to do so at Christmas.  They were kind enough to look after our 2 boys when we took our holiday last year, and we were very happy to return the favour when they were away as they have a springer spaniel too.  He’s called Beau and the three of them are becoming good friends!

Next week will be more of the same I suspect but I will be really pleased to get the plumbing work started in Granary as that is another key change and will allow me to progress more.