Thursday, 1 May 2008

Let There Be Rooflights!

Yesterday, April 30th, was probably the most exciting day for us since work first started on demolishing the old interior. We couldn't stop grinning. Okay. I know. Not only do they look fantastic both from the outside and in, the amount of daylight they let into the chapel's erstwhile dark interior has to be seen to be believed. And the views . . . I could go on. Back to practicalities; the roof insulation consists of layers of foil and padding and blue plastic which not only shows up brilliantly from way on top of the Chimney Bank - cue loads of May Bank Holiday photos taken by tourists wondering why some blinking idiots want a blue roof - but reminds me of a Christmas turkey being prepared for the oven. The reason, of course, is not just to keep the damp out and warmth in but also to keep the heat out on hot, sunny days, especially in the gallery study, bedrooms and bathrooms which are only inches away from black slate.

You can see the slates that have been removed neatly stacked on the scaffolding walkways. Next week they will all be going back up. Ian reckons that he won't need to buy in any extra because the space taken up for the new lights will more than make up for the small few that were damaged. If more are needed he will use reclaimed slates.

Apart from the roofworkers outside, the place was heaving with men inside -Maurice (Elvis impersonater extraordinaire) and his son, the plumbers, Anthony and Malc, the electricians, plus Carl and his gang, the joiners. The plasterers will return shortly to finish their work once all the pipes and cables have been installed.

Apparently, most of the new windows have been made by Lloyd Webster and his team in their workshop in Malton. Steve (surveyor) has seen them and said they look great. We have made a decision on the finishing oil for the internal and outdoor woodwork. We also had a mini conference to make our final choice of paint colour. The decorator needs to know because he has to paint the ultra-high ceiling before the internal scaffolding comes down. In the end Jon was outvoted - he wanted a dirty stone colour - but with Ian's backing we went for my choice - 'Dorset Cream', a Farrow and Ball colour. I was suspicious when the architects went for this make because it has always seemed to me from reading piles of magazines that there's a certain snob-value to the name (like Aga). But we were told it was the best paint going so we agreed. The decorator however believes that not only can Dulux match the colour but their paint applies more smoothly and is, naturally, much cheaper. I'm happy with that. We can always pretend. But who would want to? I'm with the shaggy dog.

So what's next? The Rooflight Company have still to supply two escape rooflights (building regulations) which will go in the bathrooms. The slates are to go back on, the windows and doors are to be fitted as well as the staircase. Also both the interior and exterior stonework needs to be repointed and treated. And then there are Alan's gorgeous stained glass panes.

It's all looking good. And persistant heavy showers and a cool easterly wind failed to depress us. As Ian said with a grin as we watched work going on in a heavy downpour, 'Fortunes favours the brave.' But it would be good if the rain could give it a rest for even a short while so that the ground can dry out. Then again, the soggy conditions are good for the replanted cedar to establish itself in its new home. Every cloud and all that . . .
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