Challenge Anneka!

Cat’s now working full time so it’s over to me to manage both houses and all the trades. It’s been an exhausting week culminating in a crazy Friday when I didn’t even have time for a cup of tea. It was a beautifully sunny morning with an azure sky after a night of heavy rain, so we are very thankful George fitted our old gutters back on the roof earlier in the week.

I opened up the house in my wellies and pyjamas at 7.30am when the plasterers arrived, then got dressed and didn’t stop until the evening, driving around the area collecting orders, shopping and going back and forth to Banbury buying and returning bits of guttering… Roger the roofer was back for the day (with George to assist) to replace the tiles that got broken when the scaffold was removed (an unavoidable consequence of this) and to fit our new guttering before the storms hit tonight…

Synchronised plastering! Mitch and Alan are adding the second ‘float’ coat of lime plaster to the dining room walls today.

The window at the back of the study has insulated plasterboard fitted, then modern plaster added. In the areas with plasterboard, such as underneath the bay windows, lime plaster is not necessary as the walls do not need to ‘breath’ like they do when the plaster is added directly to the stone walls.

Charlie is adding the final top coat of lime plaster to the study walls today, we are very excited about this! The top coat is mixed with a very fine silver sand to make it smooth but with a slight texture.

Alan plastering around the front door reveal in the morning sunshine.

George taking a pile of roof tiles back up the ladders to the roof, again! He has carried these up, then down, then back up again… It does usually rain heavily when he does this so today he is lucky.

Roger replacing the roof tiles that got broken when the scaffold tin roof was taken down. As the roof tiles are so old and made of clay, it doesn’t take much for them to crack and break, thankfully we have loads of tiles left over to repair it with.

That shadow under the landing window is actually wet stone. The old gutter brackets are so bent and loose (hence needing to replace them with longer spikes, see below), the gutter sags in the middle and fills with water which then pours out over the top of the gutter and down the wall. I am very happy this is being replaced today!

My first pick up for the day from Ian Beck, our metalworker in Tysoe. These are the brackets for the guttering but the spikes aren’t long enough for the corner of the roof on the back of the house (where the wall has moved so much). They won’t sit far enough into the wall to be strong enough to hold full gutters without bending… On Monday I asked Ian to fabricate four longer steel spikes for the back of the roof and this morning they were hanging up in his workshop having dried overnight (he hand painted them black last night) ready for me to collect.

Having delivered them to Roger just in time for him to start fitting the brackets, we then went through the guttering and worked out which offset bends were the best fit, so I could return the ones we didn’t need and buy the right ones from Banbury.

The TV aerial man has been and fitted a brand new aerial on our chimney and routed the cable down and into the attic room.

Paul arrives to inspect the issue with the gaps in between the joists on the dormers, work out how to fix it and measure up. He will cut and oil the oak fillets in his workshop this weekend and return on Monday to fit them. What a star, I only called him last night!

While up on the scaffolding we realise that the mortar around the window in the gable end wall has cracked. This is a problem as the rain will get in and rot the window. We contact Tom and he will pop by on Monday and fix this. Once the scaffold is down this window will not be accessible from a ladder.

That sky!

I finally made it to Banbury where I collected: tiling trim and silicon for the shower (ready for the tiler tomorrow); the correct guttering for Roger along with large masonry screws; petrol and new windscreen wipers for my car; a list of necessities from Boots; all the Farrow & Ball paint and lime wash order (the car boot is FILLED with tins of paint); more exterior UV oil for the dormers and front door; Friday beer for the boys and Prosecco for us; veggie samosas for lunch and fresh bread from the farm shop.

I get back to find Roger and George making great progress with the brackets for the guttering. Here Roger is fitting the extra long spikes and brackets where the wall has moved away from the roof. Lord knows how he is going to fit dead straight plastic guttering to this bendy wall!

The bad news is that I need to return to Banbury ASAP to purchase another running outlet for the guttering…

Charlie wanted to leave us with something to make us smile at the end of the week and this certainly has! The top coat of lime plaster in the study is almost finished and it looks beautiful. The finish is smooth with a light texture and the edges are soft and curved. We absolutely love it. Even the colour is beautiful.

Charlie perfecting the finished bevelled edge around the door lintel. Charlie is a grandad yet wears his trousers like a teenager!

A thing of beauty! Look at the curves!

Alan prepping the walls on the landing where the new staircase will go, adding the holes in the plasterboard for the light switches and sockets.

A view we won’t have for long, looking through the gable end window into the stair well and the attic room.

Finally all the gutters are fitted to the brackets, now to work out what to do with the downpipes.

As the ground level will be lowered next week when Tom digs the French drains out front and back, we can’t fit the downpipes now as they need to be cut to size, so we come up with an ingenious Heath Robinson style plan for the new down pipe at the front. The rain water needs to be channelled well away from the house otherwise it could come through the walls again, so we fashion something out of the old down pipe and gutter in the style of a marble-run!

Pete and Bo arrive just as it starts to get dark, to help Roger and George finish the guttering as they are running out of time…

Bo and Roger finishing off by torchlight. Roger has gone above and beyond to get the guttering done in a day, as with everything in this house it was a challenge because the wall is so wonky, so a huge thank you to the roofers!

Me and Cat then go on to collect her Land Rover from the garage, having had a new alternator fitted so she can drive to Bristol for work on Monday. Phew! A successful finish to a challenging day all round! We end it with fish and chips washed down with Prosecco and sherbet dips for pudding. Thanks Colin!


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