Warming up, cleaning up and drying up

Saturday and Cat is back from Bristol but we are so knackered and utterly fed up with the house that we decide to have a day off house stuff. With so much yet to do and a huge clean up process to begin, we simply don’t know where to start. It is so overwhelming that we can’t deal with it today. Both of us are sore, Cat’s elbow is super painful even with the strapping on it, and my neck, shoulders and back are giving me lots of grief.

Cat has lit the wood burner though to help warm up the house and dry out the walls, so we pop in every couple of hours to add a few logs.

We have moved one of the heaters up into the attic to help dry out the plaster up there.

We had plenty of lime plaster left over so the plasterers put it into sealed buckets for us. This is the top coat which is useful as it is already being bashed around by us all, it is so soft still that the smallest of knocks makes a big dent. It is fairly simple to repair with this though.

Our old grape vine is hanging on, it is very important to us that this is kept, it has been growing up the front of the house for a long time and is very much part of the house, but the difficulty is how. We don’t want to move it as it is bedded into the ground quite deeply (and they don’t much like being moved), but it is now much higher than the ground level so we need to build some sort of structure around it to retain the soil and keep it in place.

We cannot build a wall around it as there isn’t enough space and directly around it is the land drain which we can’t build on top of, so we have come up with the idea of building a container around it with slate flagstones. Three large pieces of slate, fixed together at the corners with a strong resin, so it will look like a large planter, and I have found somewhere in Yorkshire that has some already cut to the exact sizes required. Trouble is they don’t deliver so I will have to go and collect them…

Rather than deal with anything in the house today, Cat heads out to a garden centre to get some compost to pot up our Amaryllis and our Rose, protecting them from the frost.

Sunday and I am (kind of ) refreshed and boosted by Colin who comes over to help start the clean up process. Cat is still exhausted and her elbow is giving her loads of grief so she leaves us to it. We start in Cat’s bedroom which has become a general dumping ground and is still utterly filthy.

Colin has cleaned and hoovered everything and moved all our things into the end ‘clean’ room, and kept all the building things – old timber, new timber, the bathroom items yet to be fitted – in Cat’s bedroom which will likely become the storage room for anything that we don’t want to keep in the damp garage. I have been through every room and almost filled the skip up with everything and anything that is rubbish.

The end ‘clean’ room with all our things.

We haven’t seen the floor of this room in weeks! All neat and tidy and hoovered, so protection goes back down on the floor over the carpet. Thank you Colin!

Dan will possibly be putting the shelves up in the bathroom this week, so we sort through the old elm floorboards that we bought from Wells Reclamation and select ones that will suit. They are big and chunky and will be perfect shelves for towels etc.

Monday morning and no-one arrives, so after I have dried all the windows (this takes an hour as there are so many and they are so wet) I lock up and take Jasper for a spectacular walk in the thick fog and heavy frost.

New wellies! Almost the same colour as our front windows.

I collected the dehumidifier from Oxford and finally got my back fixed by my osteopath in Banbury. It was a very foggy drive and took the whole afternoon.

Back at the house and Colin meets me to carry the dehumidifier out of the car and set it up. I have bought a 15 metre length of hose pipe to attach to the outlet so the water could be decanted straight outside rather than filling up a bucket, and we just needed to raise the height of the unit so we could get a downward fall on the pipe.

The hose pipe gets fed through one of the many holes in the floor in Cat’s bedroom and out through the letterbox.

We have borrowed a large industrial fan from one of our neighbours which should help to circulate the air around, and have it set up next to one of the fan heaters in the doorway between the sitting room and the study. We shall see what difference this makes to the levels of condensation in the morning…

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