Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Renovation project - chasing wood worms

Renovation project - chasing wood worms

We are still working out what to do with the stairs, we have bought a selection of stains and varnishes and need to find one that will make the new wood look like the old wood and ensure that the damaged bits are not obvious.

We have also got to cover all of the wood worm holes. There is no live wood worm or rot in the stairs and they have been treated a number of times. I did have a little scare when John had the nerve to suggest that we just replace the stairs, this would’ve meant that I had spent days on my hands and knees scrubbing years of dirt and grime for nothing again!!! (I still remember the old kitchen floor!!!!).

There are a number of ways to fill and cover wood worm holes, we learnt on the internet that you could use shoe polish but the traditional way of filling holes is by using beeswax/French polishing wax (this is like a specialist brown crayon) or brown linseed putty.

We get the putty and it is a case of going over every spindle and stair and rubbing the putty into every little teeny tiny hole, this is such a fun job!!!!!! But once finished (this is my Blue Peter moment, here is one I made earlier!) it has filled every hole, it has also taken us a couple of days to complete but we are ready for staining the stairs.

filling wood worm holes in old stairs

We spend a another day testing out different colours, and don’t actually find one that we both like, John mixes different combinations and I get angry as how the hell will he remember the mixes as he has made so many?

We decide to live with a couple of mixes, until we both say no! Then we find a bit of left over stain from the floors upstairs and it is almost perfect, we are both happy, but there is only a little bit left.

This stain is a shops own brand so we set off to buy it and you may add your own swear words here, they have none, and the brand has changed, which also means the colour has changed! The colour we wanted was chene moyen, the shop has approximately 7 different brands of stain and varnish in this colour and they are all different! Why can you be allowed to sell a colour that is completely different if it has the same name!
But we find a different stain and decide to try this, it must’ve been fate, this colour is perfect and it goes on so easily, thank goodness they didn’t have what we really wanted.

The stairs are fully stained and varnished and look amazing, the new wood is also stained and varnished and looks the same as the stairs! The wood worm holes cannot be seen and we have a set of stairs.

This has taken the best part of a week to complete but the result is worth it. Whilst we were doing it, it was one of the worst jobs, as we were spending so much time on it and there was no visible result. This is one of the things that you have to get used too. You can work for hours every day and see no change, then you do one more little bit and the change is unbelievable.

I now get my house proud head on and shout every time that dust goes on to my lovely new stairs, the fact that the house is still covered in dust is not the point; I want my lovely new stairs to look like lovely new stairs!!!!!!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Renovation Project - more work on the stairs

Renovation Project - more work on the stairs

The sofas are cleared away again, we are going to have to move and cover them every day until the work in the living room is completed.

Today we are going to carry on working on the stairs, we have decided to plasterboard the side of the stairs that is facing the living room, this will still allow the stairs to appear open but will stop all of the heat from the fire from just escaping up the stairs, we have also not found another way of making the area safe and stopping any small children from falling through the hole.

John secures the plaster board and plasters the joints and once it has a coat of paint it looks like this is how it should always have been. We have said many times to be flexible with what you want to do, as the house will tell you what it needs, and this house definitely needed to have this bit of stairs blocked.

I spend the day sanding and wire wooling the stairs ready for varnishing (though we still have no idea what colour we are going to stain them!).

We have noticed though, that there are many wood worm holes on the spindles and the stair treads, these had been hidden by the dirt and old vinyl that covered the stairs. This now gives us a new problem to solve, but that will be tomorrows problem as tonight we have pulled out our sofa’s again and are settled down in front of the fire.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Renovation project - the Clampets are on the move again!!!!!!

Renovation project - the Clampets are on the move again!!!!!!

Today is the day, I think today is almost on a par with having or first indoor toilet, I am so excited! We are going to collect the new suites.

We decided that it would be easier to hire a van and go and collect the last of the big items from the building merchant at the same time.

The local InterMarche, hires vans and these are fantastic value, the sign on the side of the vans states to hire from 12 euro’s (we have not yet found this one!) but for half a day it is only 25 euro’s plus diesel.

I really want to ask Theresa to come and hire it for us, as to be honest my head is hurting, I have been doing really well with my French, but I think this may b a little out of my league!

John insists it’s not, which I think is bloody good of him, seeing as how he will just have to stand there and throw an odd word in every now and again.

We eventually manage, this was the hardest thing I have done so far and it included having to write things down every so often so we could fully understand each other.

The other thing we realised was, that whilst the van is really good value during the week, there are weekend rates!

Where we were expecting to pay 25 Euros’ we are now having to pay 75, and we only get to keep it for another couple of hours!

One thing we learnt quite early is that if you want anything in France; always have the morning, because due to the lunch times the morning lasts till 2pm! (But this is Saturday and they don’t close for lunch on a Saturday!)

Hiring the van only takes about 30 minutes because we were prepared, we took photocopies of all our documents, this saves so much time, as the laid back feel covers everything in this part of France and there is no hurry if the staff have to take your documents and photocopy them for you!

We head off and collect our suites, I am wondering how they will fit through the door (this really is a small house!) my question is answered as the bloke opens the bedroom window! They are passed through and loaded on to the van, we are then invited in for a coffee, we accept and pass a pleasant half hour chatting (yes, it’s another French chat, I’m getting really good at this now!)

Next it is off to pick up our new windows and all of the wood for the new roof on our little barn, the van is loaded to the limit, I sort of feel sorry for our Volvo, it has carried everything so far and now we have the last lot we have forsaken it, I really hope it doesn’t realise and get jealous and decide to pack up to teach us a lesson!

We have also been told about a scrap yard near to the builders merchant, we have tried to visit once but it is only open once a week on a Saturday, we arrive and realise that it is only open once a week on a Saturday afternoon! How do these places survive?

We come back and don’t look like the Clampets for once, the van is unloaded, as we still have it for a few hours we decide to try and clear the garden, 

we manage to fill the van and only remove one pile of garden debris, we consider doing another, but we are knackered and our new settees are beckoning so we take the van back, grab a shower and that night we set out the settees and for the first time since being here, we are sat in front of the fire in comfort, I could so get used to this!

Top tips
  • If you need to hire a van, do it on a week day not a weekend
  • Take copies of all your documents (this is a tip for anything in France, always have a copy of your birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport, driving license and anything else you can think of!)
  • Don’t try to hire a van if you are knackered (it’s not a happy experience!)
  • Don’t let your car know you have traded it in!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Renovation Project - Painting new plaster

Renovation Project - Painting new plaster

It’s a big day, we are going to view the suites, we have the sat nav at the ready and set off, it feels strange driving towards the residential area of Morlaix and not the building merchants.

We find it as we drive past and as it is on a small road we take a small detour around some back streets and come back to it again.

The house looks tiny, but as we are invited in, it is like a tardis, (think Dr Who) it is absolutely amazing the guy has pretty much rebuilt it and it is so modern, then we see the suites, they are just what we wanted and they look like new, hooray we have found our new suites.

We arrange to collect them tomorrow morning as we will need to hire a van, and no, neither of them speak English!

When we get back to the house we make a start on painting the walls in the living room, now we are going to have a suite we don’t want white paint splashing on them!

We first use a primer coat of paint, this is a coat of emulsion that is watered down, this seals the new plaster and prevents the paint from peeling, which can happen if you use a thick coat and haven’t removed all of the dust. You can buy a specialised undercoat paint, but this is just spending lots of money on a watered down version of your paint (doesn’t make much sense really does it?)

We both have our own jobs through this aspect, John rollers the walls and the ceiling and I knock in, this is like cutting in but you do not need to take as much care, as the walls and ceiling are both going to be white.
The ceiling above the windows is a lot harder and requires much more care as the lintels will remain wood, this is where it is called cutting in (and this takes much longer).

If you have to do this and get the job of cutting in, it will look like you have done bugger all, as it takes around the same amount of time to cut in as it does to roller all of the ceiling and walls!

Because it is so thin it doesn’t take very long to dry and we can add the second coat. I have to pop to the shop part way through the second coat and when I walk in the house the difference is unbelievable, we are really getting a living room and tomorrow we will actually be able to sit down in comfort. It’s at moments like these, that, if my life was a musical, we would now burst into song, and all of the chorus dancers would spring in to view, singing and dancing along to there’s no business like show business, I know it’s not really a house song, but it does let you know how I feel, (I bet you couldn’t help singing the first two lines then could you?)

The day is over the world is a happy place and we’re off to bed, see you in the morning.

Top tips
  • Always use a primer coat on new plaster
  • Beware expensive primer coats
  • Know your musicals

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Renovation Project - Ooh la la, I am becoming French!!!!!!!

Renovation Project - Ooh la la, I am becoming French!!!!!!!

We have good news on the suites, also quite scary and nerve-wracking!! I received a call from a French woman, I do my normal, I’m sorry but I only speak a little bit of French blurb, when I catch the word canap├ęs, this is the French word for sofa, she has rang me, oh fantastic, oh bugger, she doesn’t speak English (yes I know I have been here for over a year, but somehow I still assume that everyone will speak English).

I am speaking to her on the phone and I understand most of what is being said, but better still I am actually replying and she understands me!!!!!!!

OMG I am having my first French phone call, there are bits that are very difficult and I have to ask her to wait a minute while I busily type in to Google translate, but these are only little bits, I manage to arrange a time and date to view them but then disaster strikes, no matter how she says the name of her road, I cannot get it, I am also not able to spell it as I have not fully got my head around the French alphabet. Eventually I give up and ask if I can call her back when I have a friend who can speak more fluently than I can; luckily this is not a problem.

I pop to Sheila’s and of course I interrupt them just as they are putting dinner on the table, maybe I should’ve called first but I was so excited!

Sheila is as helpful as ever and makes the call, I am in between being excited about my new suite and cringing as I am stopping somebody from having dinner, I do make the offer of calling back, but I think it may not of seemed a genuine offer, can’t think why, maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was hopping around like a demented toddler with excitement?

My call had been successful and I had arranged everything correctly other than the name of the road, so we now have this and we are going to visit on Friday.

I am buoyed on by the success of my phone call and get very brave and decide to visit the Mairie with all of our completed planning permission documents (yes I even completed them myself!).

At the Mairie the receptionist speaks no English either (again why am I shocked, I don’t live in England!!!!!!!) and she says I can have an appointment next week, I try to say that it is urgent and I will be very quick, luckily the door opens and the planning officer finishes a meeting and agrees to see me once she realises I am only dropping documents off.

We go through them and the only mistake I have made is by missing one signature, I am so impressed, I am becoming French (OK I still sound like a sat nav, but at least now it is a sat nav that can be understood!).

I think after the upset of the travel fiasco, I now feel really good again, I am becoming French!!!!!!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Renovation Project - The 'G' word!

Renovation Project - The 'G' word!

The travel arrangements are all sorted, I am getting back to the UK to celebrate the baby’s first birthday, now that all the panic is over, it suddenly hits me, OMG I am so old!!!!!!!! 

Once the baby hits one, she is no longer a baby and I then have an official granddaughter, I am that age!!!!! 

Still not quite ready to be called granny yet, so we have opted for meme (also one of the easiest first words for a baby to say, but obviously that had nothing to do with it!). I also find out I am not alone, I have just read a funny magazine article about the ‘G’ word, there is a whole generation of us that love being the ‘G’ word, we’re just not ready to be called it, however I have a feeling that whatever Monika I choose, I am probably going to be called ‘Frenchie’ as this is how my daughter refers to me. (This may be a bit embarrassing when the baby is older and she shouts it in the street in France, but hey toddlers are cute whatever they do!)

Well time to crack on with the work, now that I am not semi hysterical all day. We now have to finish plastering the living room, the pointing is all done and John has to now make the plaster board look like it was the original wall.

This is no easy task, but he manages to round off all of the edges and I finally get the plastering I always wanted, it isn’t perfect and as smooth as glass (this still upsets John as it goes against everything he trained for) but it looks amazing, you really wouldn’t believe it is new.

Fire place before
fire place after
The new side to the stairs is finished and once it is dried it is ready for painting (well once it is all sanded down) this is yet another of those horrible jobs and we use the new electric sander to finish off, we had to buy a new sander as electric sanders do not like sanding plaster and our old one died, it put up a good fight and for a while it would work if you hit it in the right place, but eventually it could take no more and whirred its final whir.

I have also been very brave, I have looked on le boncoin (this is an advertising site in France for almost anything, a bit like the ads section in the newspaper) and found the perfect suite, it is the one we missed in IKEA, 2 small brown leather 2 seater settee’s, I e-mail a message and just hope they have not been sold and that the sellers can speak English as I had to leave my telephone number, keep your fingers crossed for us! 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Renovation Project - Am I the worlds worst mother or worlds worst grandmother?????

Renovation Project - Am I the worlds worst mother or worlds worst grandmother?????

The day starts well, the pointing continues and it is starting to look good, by the end of the day we have finished the fire and the window wall.

The day is not good overall though as my daughter rang and said she could not get flights over. It is my baby granddaughters first birthday in a few weeks and they were due to come over for a few days to celebrate.

The flights from our most local airport stop on November 5th for some reason, last year they flew all year round, so the flights are not good for her and her job, so I say that I will fly over for a few days instead, but there are no more flights this way either, what am I going to do?

What I do is get very upset, I already feel like the world’s worst mother at times, now I am going to go for the title of world’s worst grandmother as well, what an honour!!!

I no longer care about the walls or that there is light at the end of the tunnel as Ryan air have just extinguished that light, the tunnel is starting to look very dark. When we first moved here there were flights from Brest to Manchester, these stopped early on, but the Dinard to East Midlands were a 2nd option, now we don’t have these.

How the hell can I miss my only daughters, only baby’s first birthday, what the hell am I doing here.
Poor John has to put up with me crying and says no matter what I need to find a way back. I spend most of the day looking at different options and all of them are going to cost the best part of £300 to go back for a few days, we don’t have that much money to spare, but then I feel even worse as how can I put a price on my granddaughter, I have already left them and now I don’t want to spend money on them. I am a horrible person, I cry lots more.

My daughter says not to worry as we will be visiting for Christmas, but this is not the point, I want to be there for the birthday, I don’t want to be her only granny that does not turn up for her birthday.

We decide that happiness is more important than money and if the worst comes to the worst we can find work somewhere, I have to go back.

I have it worked out, I have a ferry booked to Plymouth, a bus form Plymouth to Bristol, a lift from Bristol to Gloucester and I will meet her in Gloucester and she will drive me back to her home town.

The journey will take a long time, but it is worth it. We had not planned on the transport stopping, but this is something you must be aware of, what will you do if the transport routes change? If you are like me you will cry a lot, but you will find a way.

I let my daughter know that I have managed to sort it out and she is so happy (I knew she was just being nice when she said it doesn’t matter!).

This whole process took a few days, these were not good days!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Renovation Project - Pointing old stone walls and visitors from the blog

Renovation Project - Pointing old stone walls and visitors from the blog

The stairs are being left alone for a while now as we need to decide on the colour and varnish we are going to use. So the next big job is pointing the walls, again I get the dirty horrible job, I still have distant memories of my old career, dressing up and driving all over the UK with my laptop and having people answering my questions, I was so important once upon a time, if some of these people could see me know, I am sure that they would not believe I am the same person, but as I say these are now distant memories and I am back in my scruffy work clothes raking out an old wall.

It takes a couple of days to rake the walls completely; we have the wall around the windows and the wall around the fire place to do.

To point a wall correctly the old mortar has to be chipped away with a pick making sure that all bits are removed. Once it is removed John makes a plaster mix and puts it in place, this looks so easy it is almost like the kiddy painting kits as you have to keep in between the lines, but as I say it looks easy until I have a go, then you find out that it isn’t easy at all!

You have to get the mix in between the stones before it goes off, every gap has to be filled and if any goes on to the stone it has to be removed.

So we spend a few days raking the stones, and then scrubbing them with a wire brush to get all of it off and bring the stones up to standard then adding the new plaster mix to make them look good.

As John starts I look at it and my heart sinks, it looks dreadful, OMG I can’t believe how bad it actually looks. There are big old stones and we have almost glow in the dark white plaster between them!!!
I give up and have to say how bad it looks, John then tells me this is how he felt when he did the walls in the bathroom and I wasn’t there. It turns out that when it goes on it looks very white, but once it dries and is finished it does go a bit darker and looks completely different, we’ll have to wait and see, but I do feel a bit better.

Whilst we are doing this job we have some visitors arranged, this is a family that have been following the blog and got in touch to say that they are visiting France, so a quick visit would be wonderful.

John is a bit freaked out at the fact that I talk to people around the world and arrange to meet them, and his usual comment is what if they are mad axe men, but as I point out the people we have met have been wonderful so far, we did go to stay with some people in Bergerac and that was wonderful, so he feels a bit easier, personally I never actually worry, I just think that it is amazing that you can meet people so easily that have common interests, it is a little bit like hitch hiking and travelling 25 years ago, lots of people did it and you met loads of new people, but this was a time before fear and crazy people (or just before crazy people were so widely reported and I was too young to have fear!!!!!)

The family arrive and they are so nice, we spend a couple of hours chatting and have a tour of the house and are told that the photos on the blog do not do the house justice.

As they are leaving we arrange to visit them next year as they have a house in a different part of France, so again it was a fantastic experience and good friends are in the making.

When I started the blog it was mainly to keep a record of what we were doing and keep family updated back in the UK, but it has turned into something much bigger and I love that people from all over the world get in touch and visit.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A guest post from Trend Direct UK

A guest post from Trend Direct UK

Essential Items for Every Tool Box
Most of us start to accumulate tools from a fairly young age – a screwdriver to access sealed battery compartments, an Allen key left over from some flat pack furniture and a steel tape measure are all prized possessions to imaginative youngsters. However, the creation of a proper toolbox requires a little more thought and preparation and there are some tools that every tool box must have!

Claw Hammer
The claw hammer is a DIYer's friend! Useful for putting in nails and removing them when necessary, there are few jobs that go a little smoother with the presence of a good claw hammer. Weigh the hammer in your hand before you buy it, making sure that it is balanced and easy to control, rather than head heavy which can lead to poor results. Most claw hammers are 16 ounces in weight, which is perfect for most uses.

Screwdrivers: Flat and Star (Phillips)
A comprehensive selection of both types of screwdriver in graduated sizes is a must in any tool box. They will help you to tackle many types of tasks, and having a full range of sizes will ensure that you always have the right tool for the job. A good modern alternative is to invest in an electric screwdriver with the various attachments.

Steel Tape
A measuring tape is a must for any type of job that requires precision. Invest in a good quality tape to ensure that the markings are accurate.

Spirit Level
Like a tape measure a spirit level is essential for making sure that you install shelves exactly level and ready to use.

Crescent Wrench
A crescent wrench is widely adjustable, meaning that it can be like having fifty spanners in one! It is tremendously useful for tightening or loosening bolts. If your job is going to entail a great number of nuts and bolts you may want to invest in a socket wrench as well, but for day to day tasks a crescent wrench is enough.

Pliers: Long-Nose And Short-Nose
If you can, purchase short-nosed pliers with a vice grip. The vice grip works to hold your work steady and in position while you use both hands elsewhere – much like the sorely needed third hand. Pliers come with other useful features such as integral wire cutters and wire strippers, so choose the right ones for your needs.

Utility Knife
A small sharp knife with replaceable blades is essential and useful for so many tasks – snipping through cable ties and strapping, slicing vacuum-sealed plastic, cutting through cardboard and even helping to finish off small surfaces. Buy a good quality sturdy knife and invest in strong blades that will not rust.

Cordless Drill
Finally, a drill is an essential and versatile piece of equipment. With the right attachments your drill can, as well as making holes, sandpaper wooden projects and act as a screwdriver. Cordless drills are best, as that removes the lengthy cable winding over the floor. Modern cordless drills have a good strong battery that will last for the duration of the job.

With these few tools there is little that cannot be accomplished by a determined handyman. At Trend Direct UK we pride ourselves on providing a full range of high quality tools, sure to delight the hearts of even the most discerning builder, artisan or hobbyist. Give us a call to discuss your needs, or go online to see the full range of products available – you won’t be sorry that you did.

Disclaimer: This is a featured post

Monday, 4 November 2013

Renovation Project - The stairs are nearly finished

Renovation Project - The stairs are nearly finished 

The kitchen is in and last night I made dinner with such ease, though it was really strange to go into different cupboards to get what we needed. We have also got a lot more kitchen items, one of our new friends has left to go back to the UK and we have taken a box load of kitchen items that she no longer required.
I have cooking utensils (still no knives and forks but hey you can’t have everything!)

We are now going to leave the kitchen for a while and go back to the stairs, I have scraped them all and cleaned the old varnish off with wire wool, this was such a dirty horrible job but at least it is now finished.

The stairs are not in as good condition as we had hoped they would be and there had been a lot of woodworm damage.

The newel post is beyond repair and part of the rake leading to the newel post will need to be replaced.
The side of the stairs that John made is still not fully secure, we had an old oak beam that we had intended to put into place to secure it but unfortunately there is too much rot in it, John makes a trip to a timber merchant that we have been told about and returns with a new beam, he has also bought a new newel post as well.

We have great fun fitting the oak beam, john has measured where it needs to go in the ceiling and cut a square out of the plaster board, next we have to manoeuvre the beam into place. We hold it on a slant then John has to wedge it in to the hole as I push it from the bottom (this is so big and heavy!!!!!) and reminds me of the old push me, pull me story.

It goes in, still very slanted but it is in place, John now has to shuffle it in to place, it works, the beam is in, the ceiling isn’t damaged and the beam looks fantastic. John secures it to the floor and then secures the new side to the beam, I love it, it makes the entire room look so different.

The newel post is far too big and needs to be cut to size; John also has to chamfer the edge (now there’s a word of the day! This is where the edge is bevelled so that it matches the other parts of the stair case).

Once this is in, the bottom bit of the rake has to be removed, John splices a new piece into place this will mean once it is varnished you will not see where the repair has taken place,

The stairs are all fully treated with a preventative and preservative treatment, if any of those bloody worms are still there, they’re not now!!!!!!

The stairs just need a stain and coat of varnish now, we did have a discussion about how much they should be sanded as John wanted them to look like new, I do not, I want them to look like the original stairs and as though they have been there for a couple of hundred years.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Renovation Project - A recycled kitchen in an old French house

Renovation Project - A recycled kitchen in an old French house

Today we have more fun with hinges, we are ready to put the kitchen doors on, oh the excitement is crackling in the house, I’m sure we could actually charge the electrics off it, this may not seem much to you, but the idea of having doors on kitchen cupboards currently ranks up there with finding an outside toilet when we first moved in. We will have food that I don’t have to worry, about what has dropped into it and plates that can be used without having to wash them first, but my happy dreams will not build them, it’s time to work.

I know exactly what I want, I want old style hinges that can be seen on the outside of the doors with old style catches, I have never actually seen these anywhere other than in my head, but we will find them.
I have also decided that I want metal doors on the sink unit to match the steel in the room, plus I am a bit worried that the kitchen may be a bit too wooden.

We have already been to the local builders merchant and bought some normal hinges (again we have found out that there are left and right sided hinges, that cannot be simply turned around, as they are drop on hinges)
We take a trip to Brest which is an hour away as they have an IKEA, and hopefully they will have the metal doors in stock, I found them on line. A tip for shopping in IKEA, if you are buying kitchen items, you have to order them at the kitchen bit, you do not go down to the racks to pick them up. But I did get to test my French by asking for assistance, I was quite impressed and thought that my French is getting very good, until the lad said that he had a little English and then proceeded to speak perfect English, the French idea of a little English is very different to mine! We also found out that you have to order them and have them delivered!!!!!!!! 

Really wished we knew that before we set off!!!!!

The doors are lined up and fitted (this sounds so simple, I’ll not add all of the swearing and cursing that was involved in trying to get them perfectly lined up and finding out about the hinges).

I am so happy with the result, we finally have a kitchen, it’s still not finished yet, but it is getting there.

The best bit is that it is totally recycled, the wood had been the walls between the 2 bedrooms and after scraping it was perfect, it still needs to be fully treated, as we are treating all the wood in the house just to be on the safe side and it will need varnishing or waxing to finish it off, but as I said we can now have dirt free food!!!!!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Renovation Project - we have a vestibule

Renovation Project - we have a vestibule

Yesterday disappeared in a haze of rubbish food, bad TV and dozing on the bed, I am so getting too old for hangovers, somehow they seem to last for days now rather than a couple of hours in the morning, I wish I could say I am never drinking again but I am a truthful person and I know as soon as I forget how horrible I felt I will probably do it all over again. I wonder at one point I will be mature enough to not actually do it again, somehow I think this maybe many years in the future!

We now have to make up for lost time and because I still feel a bit rough I am not in the best of moods as I feel that we have wasted precious time, I am back to scraping the stairs, this is not what I need today, but they need to get finished.

John is making a start on building our vestibule, this will make such a big difference to the warmth in the house, winter is already approaching and the memories of last year, freezing and wearing woolly hats in the house is not holding any appeal.

We have had one wall built for some time, so it is a case of making a frame for the door; the door is the one that had been between the living room and the kitchen. We have loved this door from the beginning and it was always going to be used somewhere in the house.

The frame goes up and the door is attached, not straight away as we realise that the hinges are on the wrong side of the door, the hinges are removed and changed over, the wood is filled with wood filler (this means that once it is painted you will not be able to see where the old hinges had been).

The vestibule is built, the door is attached and we can stop for the day feeling better than when we had started, we have something to show for our hard work.