Monday, 9 June 2008

Major progress (and problems)

A lot has been happening recently, not all of it positive. The first hitch was entirely self-inflicted. As reported below we chose Dorset Cream as our default paint shade with which Robin set to with his trusty roller and applied two coats to the high ceiling - because once the internal scaffolding came down and the floor and staircase installed he wouldn't be able to reach it. We then changed our minds. Or rather, Peter Silk (soft-furnishings man) told us it would be far too yellow once applied everywhere and would clash with everything else and restrict our choices of curtains, upholstery and even our pictures and lamps etc. He suggested Farrow & Ball off-white, which is in fact a sort of soft grey. We agreed, although we still didn't cave in to his insistence on Farrow & Ball paint. Fortunately, Robin was able to rush back and redo it so now that's done and the scaffolding is down. Phew . . .

Another job that had to be done before the scaffolding was removed was the installation of the stained glass to the round window. (Why do I always think 'Play School' when I write that?) And doesn't it look great? (As does the newly cleaned, repointed and sealed wall.) The photo doesn't begin to do justice to the details in the glass and we have yet to see it when the midday sun shines through it and casts kaleidoscopic colours on the walls and floors below. Still we're both thrilled to bits and can't wait for the full glory to be revealed when the four front windows and the semi-circular piece above the door is completed.

The next set-back was the windows. We had specifically ordered Pilkington's self-cleaning glass on the outside of the double-glazed units and found that not only was the glass NOT Pilkington's but it wasn't self-cleaning either. Apparently the company whose job it is to order the glass and fit to the frames didn't read the specification. Duh! As a compromise we are sticking with their choice of glass manufacturer (Saint Gobain) but are insisting they take out all the outer glass and install the self-cleaning variety. This means a two week delay but at least the expense will be theirs. (Although no doubt we'll end up paying for the time it's taken our surveyor to sort out the mess.)

Meanwhile, Ian and his team are doing us proud. Their attention to detail as they remove the grotty old pointing and repoint and clean the stonework has to be seen to be believed. But even they have been held up, not by human incompetence, but by the joys of spring. There's a jackdaw's nest in the chimney so they can't repoint that yet and blue-tits are nesting in a crack in the back wall. This needs filling up but will have to wait until the very chirrupy babies are fledged and gone. (Ian advises that we put a nest box or two on the pine tree for the future as blue tits like to nest in the same place.)

The new oak windows look magnificent as does the work the joiners are doing to line the rooflights.

The sun is shining, the earth is drying and Peter has at last been able to dig out the new pond. Once that's done he can line it and get cracking with landscaping.

The works are providing an extra attraction to the visitors who descend on the village now the weather has turned. There isn't a car that doesn't slow down to gawp and nobody walks past without stopping to point and remark favourably. And everyone in the village seems to be pleaed we are to be permanent residents and not weekenders or holiday cottage owners.
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