Friday, 11 July 2008

Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

I wasn't naive enough to think that progress would be steady and sure but I don't think we were prepared for the amount of problems that are beginning to emerge as we near the end of the project. That's not to say that progress isn't being made. It is. As can be seen the garage continues to take shape and we're very pleased with it. The conservatory people have finally corrected their big mis-measuring fiasco and are now back and everything seems to fit. But it's all a lot slower than we'd thought. What the photo doesn't show is that there's no glass yet so it's still open to the elements and until that happens the underfloor heating can't go in. And until that goes in, we can't lay the stone flags. The small digger Ian needs to finish levelling off the garden, patio and driveway is out of order so he's having to wait for it to be fixed.

But all these niggles pale into insignificance in comparison with the continuing saga of the staircase. More mismeasuring has been discovered, this time on the architects' original plans (which is frankly unnaceptable and we expect them to pay the extra costs) which means that the first short flight of stairs before it turns onto a quarter landing needs to be widened otherwise the newel post on the turn would be smack bang in front of a window with nowhere to fix it. Never mind that it would look ridiculous. That has now been sorted out but Norton Joinery who are making the staircase in their workshop can't continue until they have a sample of the ironwork balusters so they can accurately drill the holes required for their fitting. We hadn't appreciated that Flaxton Forge who were chosen to supply them don't actually make them. They normally use a foundry in London but when they finally placed the order, found the London foundry had doubled their price since they first quoted over a year ago. As this was unacceptable to us, they had to find another foundry, this one in Hull but they can't supply the necessary sample for another three weeks. Without this, work can't proceed on the staircase and without it, it's making life difficult for those sub-contractors who need to get materials up to the first floor. (It's not much fun getting a cast-iron bath up a ladder.) Why Flaxton Forge left it so long before instructing the foundry is beyond us. If they'd started a couple of months ago there would have been no delay and maybe the London forge's prices would not have been raised.

Our latest visit was the longest in a long while because we arrived at 9.30am and left at 6pm. The early start was so we could meet Peter Silk on site to measure the windows and discuss fabric with us in situ. That didn't quite go according to plan when we realised that the fabric we had all agreed on was not right with the stained glass. (not to mention the newel post problem which also affected the way the curtain would hang. Back to the drawing-board until the rest of the glass is fitted -next week?) and then we can get a better idea of a colour match. However, we did decide on the bedroom curtain fabric.

It was also frustrating to see boarded-up windows where windows already fitted are having to be removed one by one and taken back to the workshop to have the correct glass fitted. Peter still hasn't got the pond liner he'd oredered much to his annoyance so there's no progress there. The oil tank has arrived and looks larger than we'd imagined - and uglier but Peter says he can grow creeper over it to disguise its green plastic industrial look. On the plus side the door frames have arrived and also the back door which looks fab. The kitchen people also start work on site next week. They are also fitting all the cupboards, my new desk and all the study cupboards and my pride and joy - the fitted floor-to-ceiling bookcase in the breakfast kitchen area.

Still, mustn't grumble. It was a beautiful day and Rosedale Abbey was a picture. The roses are all out behiond the cottage walls and the collective scent was breathtaking. (Note to self. Get plenty of fragrant cottage garden shrub-roses.) Ian is still confident that we'll be in by the end of September but when things go wrong and progress is so slow it's hard to imagine. I am finding it so very difficult to be patient. I want to be there NOW!
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