Words of Wisdom

I read this recently and wanted to post it as a reminder to people who want to renovate or build,  but always have to choose the cheapest stuff, and the cheapest option. It is not always the best way to go and could well end up costing you more in the long run or end up with a result that is piss poor compared to what it could have been with a little less penny pinching.
I understand if money is really tight but if that is that case go for second hand quality rather than new cheap. 


There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey. 
It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. 
When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. 
The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can’t be done. 
If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.
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You’ve got some FRONT

After much deliberation we decided on getting bespoke hardwood windows made for the front. One of the main reasons was that none of the windows were the same size and we wanted to harmonise the look of the front .
Our carpenter Mick, who has been involved in three of the major “WOW factor” works in the house so far measured them up and used his mates workshop in the UK to fabricate them in the traditional style 

Front of the house started like this when we bought it 

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and then after the roof was done with the dipped dormas looked like this 

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and then with the stonework complete and joined up looked like this 

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MrsB had always loved the kitchen door and wanted a new one made in exact replica. I always said that if we had a new door made wouldn’t it be better to have one without all the gaps and rotten wood. I wanted there to be a bit more glass in it because the kitchen is a tad dark (as these old places so often are), however MrsB was adamant and we commissioned Mick to make the door, which to be fair he had said he would really like to do on several occasions through the build. 
When you have a gifted, artistic carpenter who understands your vision it does make life easier. He first produced tis doorway as the new portal between the kitchen and lounge after aphone call with MrsB when I was at sea and he said he had an idea that we would probably like. She ssiad go for it and this was what he produced.

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Then when we were discussing the stairs he said that to use some of the old beams we had taken out of the kitchen would make a stunning set of stairs and given the go ahead and with me as his eager assistant he hand crafted these beauties
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So as you can imagine we were expecting something pretty good and both of us just happened to be hovering about up near the front when his van arrived loaded with the windows and door.

Here we are unloading 

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Here is the kitchen window and one of the dipped dorma windows 

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Here is the new door being fitted with me doing a special yoga pose 

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And here it is in situ form various angles

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And from the inside

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And some detail work
It is double rebated with draught exclusion fitted. The outside will be painted and the inside oiled once all the pegs are in place. 
The windows are hardwood they will first receive a double coat of “aluminum hardwood primer”, then two coats of exterior undercoat (each one sanded after drying) and finally two top coats of exterior gloss. You will have to wait for the finished colour shots as that wont happen until May 

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So next in went the kitchen window and the studio window. 

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There was then a little bit of jiggery pokery to get the dipped dormas in place

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And then there they were

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So now it was a case of fitting the balconies we had a local blacksmith/artist make to measure a couple of years ago 

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And then we had to work on the peddys above the dormas to neaten them up and weather proof it. This is all done in 30mm thick oak feathered by hand and fitted bespoke to each peddy.

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And the finished result is this

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As I type MrsB has completed the stonework under the little window to blend it is. The green door is going to have a bigger higher window opening cut into it with a double fan light above to match the one above the kitchen door. I will obviously pop up a photo when that is done 
It has taken a little time and I still have the galvanise down pipes to do and sort out the land in front of the house and do the painting but as you can imagine MrsB and myself are as chuffed as nuts because we have come from this 

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And with plenty of mutual imagination, agreement, disagreement, hard work, positive energy, love and the inspiration help of a gifted carpenter it now looks like this

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Stand by for the next episode

Harry Chuffer

I mentioned earlier about anew addition to the Bentley family and here it is. 
We are now the very proud owners of a 1959 Renault D22

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Ok OK It might need a little tlc and a respray etc (its original colour would have been orange and we will probably return it to its former glory) however as this thread shows we have a tendency to buy old relics and breath new life into them. 
On the now named “Harry Chuffer” the hydraulics work, the pto works, it sparks up first time and it is a 3 cylinder Deutz (I think) air cooled diesel so pretty much indestructible.
I think you can tell by my smile that I am already besotted and even though she is very slightly reluctant to admit it, so is MrsB

Harry Chuffer

I mentioned earlier about anew addition to the Bentley family and here it is. 
We are now the very proud owners of a 1959 Renault D22

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Ok OK It might need a little tlc and a respray etc (its original colour would have been orange and we will probably return it to its former glory) however as this thread shows we have a tendency to buy old relics and breath new life into them. 
On the now named “Harry Chuffer” the hydraulics work, the pto works, it sparks up first time and it is a 3 cylinder Deutz (I think) air cooled diesel so pretty much indestructible.
I think you can tell by my smile that I am already besotted and even though she is very slightly reluctant to admit it, so is MrsB

Singapore and Bankok with the Bentleys

We had a good laugh in Singapore, Bankok and Singapore again in late January.
Earlier in the year I had casually mentioned to MrsB that I would probably be paying off in Singapore in late Jan and would she fancy a week there for some winter sunshine.
I had forgotten all about the conversation but luckily MrsB remembered just before Christmas so as I was on board and in that neck of the woods I thought I would organise a special trip.
I booked her on Singapore Airlines flight that leaves Heathrow at 11am and arrives Singapore at 7.30am and is my favourite flight down.
I was there all grins and cuddles when she arrived and whisked her off by MRT to our first destination.
We spent the first few days in one of our favourites The Berjaya Hotel in Duxton Road which is just on the edge of Chinatown. It is 5 mins walk form Tagon Pagur MRT station.

It is old school colonial inside and the staff are lovely and friendly. It might be a bit overpriced for what it is but then again this is Singapore and many things are.
The great bit, apart for its great location, is that you are just across the road from JJ’s where the band Heritage play most nights. Absolutely awesome if you like your music form the era of Jethro Tull, Stones, Doors, Zepplin, Hendrix, Alman Bros, etc. The guitarists is a magician, the bassist sublime, the drummer rock steady, and the lead singer, fiddle, and harmonica  player is wonderfully enigmatic and skillful. Just one of those things you have to do when in Singapore is get to JJ’s on Duxton Road and see them play. It is a bit of a girly bar with hostesses trying to get you to buy them drinks but if you make it plain that you are there for the band they leave you alone.

Being an absolutely shit tourist (I cant see the point of wandering about looking at stuff) I decided to make the effort for MrsB as this was to be her “winter sunshine” holiday and I didn’t think it fair for me to be dragging about all grumpy and obstructive and just wanting to bar hop as is my normal “waiting around” mode. So I decided to be more accommodating on the “grockle”  front and organised a schedule that was mainly “nature” based, bearing in mind we were going to have two nights in that heaving mass of people known as Bankok later.
After I picked MrsB up from Changi and back to the hotel I suggested a short walk into an oasis of calm in the city called Pearls Hill. It was gentle and peaceful park with the hubbub of the city going on all around us. Later in the day we meandered about looking for a new pair of walking flip flops or sandals for MrsB and came across some of the more crazy aspects of street adornment up near Somerset MRT.  After finding the required footwear we had a couple of G&Ts in No5 Emerald hill which is a glorious bit of old school Singapore bar life with the peanut shells on the floor and mad snake in liquor drinks available.

The next day we had a lazy start and then caught the MRT to have a wander around (and lunch in) the massive and free botanical gardens.
We came across this massive open air concert hall with some bloke singing away (really badly) making everyone laugh at his efforts, but the sound quality was superb.
MrsB was rather taken with the young maid painting under the parasol between the two statues

After a lovely lunch and lazy afternoon stroll around this quite awesome place we slowly made our way back into town towards the hotel but we stopped at a bar nearby and began chatting and laughing away ten to the dozen and after several G&Ts and pints and a snack the time was cracking on  and we were well on the way to being “pissed right up” so we carried on and ended up in JJ’s to see the band Heritage and staggered to our room some time after 2am and slept the lovely sleep of the gin, beer and fine music infused.
We had no plans until 1.30pm the next day and when we awoke we were both surprisingly chipper so we had a hearty if not late breakfast and waited the bus to come and get us for the days events the first of which was a trip to Jarong Bird Park.
What an amazing place and what incredible diversity of birds they have on show and how very close you can get to them. Sadly we have managed to lose some of the photos however the flamingos did make it onto the memory card. All I can suggest is that you go yourselves, and walk about as opposed to the silly train thing. A remarkable place.

 After three hours there our driver turned up and took us to the terminus where we were transferred onto another bus ready for the “Night Zoo Safari”. At this point I have to say that I am not a fan of zoos as I can’t bear to see the cages, however pootling along on this little road train in the dark going past habitat enclosures with no visible bars as such was fascinating. The hyena’s lions tiger rhino and other exotic creatures going about there nocturnal business under special lighting that meant they didn’t see you. I know it was still a zoo and I know that they were still captive, but it did seem “a better option” .
So after passing within in a few feet sometimes of these amazing predator animals we were somewhat shocked when the only danger came with on mad buffalo thing that decided to charge at the train. There were a few squeals of discontent and fear (many of them from me)  when that big horned fucker came running at the back of the train where MrsB and I were sat. No photos of that either as we were too busy working out where to run to or who to clamber over and trample on to get away.

The next day we had to be up to catch the flight to Bankok so we had a relatively early night and made our way to the Hotel Muse in Bankok. What a fine establishment that was and we were more than happy with the corner double aspect room giving us great views over the city.
The first thing was to get our kit off (and trunks on)  and get up to the infinity pool they had. Although it was in great spot the “infinity” bit was rather spoilt by glass screens. A sort of infinity pool for wusses really, however it was nice to just lay about have a G&T or two and later treat ourselves to a great and romantic dressed up dinner on the rooftop terrace bar.
MrsB will give me hard time for putting up these pics because she said the bed is unmade??? but hopefully you get the idea of the place. Quite whacky having a window into the bathroom

 
Actually looking at the photos it doesn’t do the room or the hotel much justice at all. It was all marble and dark wood and very comfy and a lot more roomy that the photos show.

Anyway next day we were off for a Tuk Tuk ride down to the flower and food market area next to the River of Kings fantastic hubble bubble of commerce and people going about there daily lives

Here is a young made chopping ginger

Here is Ginger

We had a good old wander about and also took in a riverboat ride through the canals and backwaters of Bankok. We took another Tuk Tuk back to the hotel.
Now on the subject of Tuk Tuks, they look great fun and sound whacky and are as much part of the landscape as the local faces but they are a fucking useless way to see the city of you are over 5 feet tall, because if you are all you can see is the side of the canopy as you trundle along. You have to lean outside to see anything which adds to the already considerable danger you are in by being in one of these flimsy death traps in the first place. However a visit to Bankok would not be complete without one so after our ride back to the hotel and chocking on the traffic fumes all conveniently at head height in a tuk tuk we arrived back at the hotel.
We changed to go out to place we had been recommended  called “Asiatique” (with a name like that we should have known)  which as it turned out was a bum steer and was basically a contrived Thai village and market that wasnt very authentic or interesting at all.
A bit like Darling Harbour isn’t really Australia, if you get my drift.

It probably didn’t help that on the river boat trip to get there Mrs B decides to tell this enormous Yarpie (south african) that if he insisted on smoking his cigar in front of her (we were sat behind and the smoke was blowing over us and the rest of the boat) then she would probably vomit over him.
I really did think it was going to kick off, or to be more precise, that I was going to get kicked to bits leaping in to defend any slights to her honour, (as gallant as ever that’s me) as this bloke was a mountain,  however he just grunted and carried on being south african (“I have a riiiight to smooke laady”) and with MrsB s telling him that she also had the right to vomit on him she retreated to the back of the boat to cool down for the last few minutes of the journey. It would have been worth the hassle if the place was worth it.
We had a wander round becoming more disappointed by the minute and jumped in another Tuk Tuk and went back to a restaurant near the hotel and eat there (very nice too) and had a couple of jars and hit the hay ready for the return to Singapore the next day.

We took a detour to look at mount Fuji in Japan as you can clearly see here with MrsB looking at the view. No camera trickery or blue screen technology there then (arf arf)

We were heading to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel one of the new world iconic buildings which looks like this as you approach

I became all arty here and caught it in the middle of the Singapore Eye, fuck me I will be up for a photo journalist of the year award at this rate

It is an impressive building and the reason why we were going to stay there was that unless you were a guest of the hotel you couldn’t use the infinity pool and having seen it two years ago when we went up for cocktails  we just had to have a go in it.

Everything about the Marina Bay is classy from the guys who take your cases from the cab to the little string orchestra playing in the reception in Tower One

As we alighted the lift on floor 27 and made our way towards the room this is the view that greeted us outside the door to the room.

 AS MrsB was getting her breath back form that little vista I ws in like Flynn and had to admit myself that it was an impressive space. 80 square meters with a windowed balcony all along one wall. A huge bathroom with massive walk in shower and the bath in a stunning position looking out over the city. A very large bed and mega sofa and comfy chairs, wardrobes walk in dressing room etc MrsB just had to stand and take it all in while I admit to running about like a mad dog shouting “hey look at this, Oh wow look at this, Hey there is beer in the fridge, oh gosh I think I will just go and stand in this huge space over here” etc etc.

Here is the view taken in three shots from the balcony

And of course the bath with MrsB in it

This is us looking out from the corridor one evening

Basically it was a plush gaff and we reveled in the luxury it afforded.
The infinity pool is just one of those experiences that if you can ever get the chance to do I would heartily recommend it. A bizarre yet exhilarating experience. I will let the photos do the talking.

   

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On our last night we had dinner in a great restaurant on Clarke quay that specialises in wonderful steaks form around the world and the next day we meandered about and made our way up to Changi Airport about 8 hours before the flight.
I was on a three pool quest and had ticked off the Bankok and Singapore infinity and now all that was left was the Changi Airport “airside” pool. Terminal 1/2 for those of you not in the know.
If you are ever on stop over make sure you have your trunks and go for a free swim although they will hire you a towel and robe. Changio Airport is magnificent and you can pootle about between terminals effortlessly and check out the Butterfly garden, the Cactus garden and bar, Sunflower garden, free cinema Koy carp lakes, swimming pool. If you get knackered, as MrsB was, they have sleeping terminals in the Rainforest Lounge at terminal one and food halls and great shopping and all in all just a great place to spend a few hours.
So here is me (not the fat bloke on the right but the one in the water)  in the airside pool enjoying a dip before our flight back to the UK and a hectic schedule.

We had a fun and laughter and love filled time that was a tonic to both of us and barely spent a minute apart and loved every second of the whole adventure.

This is what happened next.

Depart Singapore 0030 on 01 Feb

Arrive Heathrow 0740 on 01 Feb (flight time 13 hours)

Collect hire car Heathrow 0820 on 01 Feb 
Drive to Dorchester arrive 1030 on 01 Feb and hand over the hire car. 
Get car hire people to drive us to the lorry hire place Dorset Vehicle Rentals and go through the process of hiring the truck.

Leave Dorchester in truck at 1100 and drive to Bridport.

Leave MrsB at her mothers at 1130 and drive to builders merchants.

Load up the insulation finish at 1200 and drive to MrsB’s mothers. 

Arrive at 1210 and have a coffee and commence loading the lorry with the rest of our stuff and also load my pick up truck with my sons stuff who is leaving to live in London.

Finish loading and set off for Portsmouth ferry port at 1615 in the lorry with MrsB and our dog Minnie.

Arrive ferry port at 1815 and go through the freight processing and get sent to the queue to board.
Boarded by 1940.
Had a shower changed and then up to the A la carte restaurant for a big dinner and some nice wine. We were both back in our cabin and fast asleep by 2230. 

Arrive St Malo at 0830 and disembark at 0840.

Arrive at house after a detour for groceries and coffee at 1030.
Get the house opened up and make sure the sheds are habitable and that elec and water all good.

Get the truck stuck in the mud trying to turn around and spend an hour digging it out and making a gravel path for it. :roll: :twisted: :twisted: 

Unload truck and stow the stuff in the house.

At 1730 leave MrsB and Minnie in the sheds and drive to Caen

Depart on 2300 to Portsmouth

Arrive Portsmouth at 0645 03 Feb. Disembark and drive truck to Dorchester. 

Arrive Dorchester at 9.00 and leave truck in Hire compound.

Son arrives in my pick up truck from London after moving his stuff there. I drop him back to the train station and then drive on to Bridport, where I arrive at about 1030 with intention of having lunch with an old mate after making sure that mother in law’s garages are all clean and tidy. 

Stop at Bridport filling station and fill up the pick up truck ready for the afternoons journey back to the ferry port.

Travel half a mile after filling up and the pick up truck breaks down. 
Call my good mate Scruff who is our family mechanic (as well as many other families I might add: (I dont want you to get the impression we are posh and have our own mechanic on a retainer, arf arf)  who suggests I take off the filler cap and see what I can smell. 

Ahhhhrrrrgggghhhhhh it is fucking petrol I smell and my truck is a fucking diesel. 
Tit snot and arse wipe.  
It was all going so well!!!! 
Oh woe is me!!!

Anyway after having a small tantrum with myself for being so stupid and it being a Sunday so no-one being available to pump it out for me had to call RAC and they came and organised the “pump out company” to come and get me and do the deed. 

So at 410 pounds lighter in the wallet (that’s 70 quid for the initial top up with petrol, 255 quid to get it pumped out and another 85 quid to fill it up with diesel) I then drove back to Portsmouth for the 2030 crossing to St Malo on 3rd Feb.

Arrived back at home at 1030 on the 4th, had a coffee changed into working gear and started on installing the insulation.

My Little Puppy Dust masks

I was playing with my lego bricks when I had a thought about the insulation 

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I forgot to mention how you cut the thick stuff (125mm) as a knife is no use at all. 
I use a normal general saw which does it a treat, but you must mark it well either side and then make sure you are sawing to the lines on either side. 
You also need to cut in the beveled angle where it meets the ridge beam. This prevents any gaps for the warm to dash out of although any gaps you cant plug using off cuts you can use a bit of expanding foam if you are careful with it.
Just use a normal angle measure, that any carpenter would use, and then apply it to the edge you want to go to the ridge beam. Use the edge of the board as one line and then make your angled cut line and follow it with the saw, keeping level with the end of the board. ???? Hang on 
Reading through that I can see that I will need to do some photos when I get back home and post them in explaining it better. 

There is not much mess although you need to clean off the cuts with a stiff brush as the dust can be a pain when positioning the slabs. 
The dust can stick in your throat a bit and give a dry cough so I would strongly advise wearing a dust mask when cutting and installing the thick bits, as well as something to keep the worst of it out of your eyes.

The dust mask modeled below from the “my little puppy” range proved adequate. 

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The little Bog Window

We had to sort out this small window space to the upper right of the bright green door as it is for the downstairs toilet/shower room. I haven’t sorted out the door frames yet so was unsure what to do with it but as the carpenter was coming to fit the new main windows I thought if I had it prepared he would be able to install it very quickly.
What was important was that it fitted seamlessly into the façade, so we decided on a small wood pillar which was an off cut of the one form the other side of the door.
I cut a rebate into the back to act as a reveal.
Before 
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And after
 
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(you can see Richard (the thermal store) in the background) 

We didn’t really need to get a bespoke window for this little opening as it will hardly ever be seen and is only about the size of one pane of glass of the main windows. WE came across a 45 euro job in Castorama and took it home to receive “the treatment”.
First I sanded off a load of that orange guff. Then gave it three coats of xylophone followed by a coat of wood preserver, followed by a two coats of wood primer (5 coats on the end grains) Once fitted it will receive two more undercoats and at least two top coats which should protect it from most major disasters. (can you see my braces under my belt?) 
I haven’t posted the pic of the window in place yet as that will come with the story of all the other windows going in which will follow this.

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Installing Insulation whilst insulated from the cold

So here we go 
Having unloaded the Quinn Therm (same stuff as Celotex/Kingspan) into the master bedroom for storage it looked like this and nearly filled what is a bloody big room. 

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We decided to start insulating up in the top of the mezzanine which is over the bathroom and opens out onto the office.
We cleared the bathroom floor and set up a cutting station there. 
The chosen item for cutting was a “Green River” deck knife with a stainless steel blade that was very well sharpened.
The other equipment need was a 2 meter straight edge and an easy to see tape measure.

Due to the space we were to work in and positioning of the Purlins we decided to do the 30mm (between chevron) insulation in 1200mm lengths. We went up into the space and measured between the chevrons. One measure for the top and one at 1200mm down. The chevrons were laid with 40mm centers so the gap between them was usually about 360mm. although it could be several mm difference over the 1200mm.
Cutting them 2mm oversize was the idea so that they fit into the gap firmly, neatly, with no air gaps and stayed in place with friction.
Once we have half a dozen to cut we went down and laid the straight edge over the sheet to be cut. Made our marks and then knelt on to the straight edge and made the cut. 

Here is MrsB demonstrating the technique.

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You don’t have to cut all the way through as once you have gone over halfway it will break neatly along that line as long as the line is the full width of the board. Then just stand the board on its side bend it along the cut and then just cut through the silver foil form the other side and “voila” there is your ready to install board. 

This is where they had to go and as I mentioned earlier it leaves a 33mm gap behind the insulation and the membrane to allow for airflow and therefore no condensation problems 

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First few bits in

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These bits have been put in at the bottom first as it was easier to pup the top bits in over the top so they slipped up into the gap in the ridge and then we could bosh the bottom ones up to meet and get a good join ready for taping 

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Here is the trimming process in action making sure you get a tight snug seal. We cut the bits a little oversize then cut a taper into the board. Then you fit it in and apply a bit pressure and lines made by the chevron will show you where to trim the rest from. Simple and effective.

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Here we are coming to the edge so I have insulated over the gable and then cut a piece of 30mm so that when I put the big stuff up under the chevrons it fits against the gable as snug as you like and allows for no draughts or gaps.

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Here are a few more bits further down the roof into the office and hopefully show the taping and how important it is to get into every gap, as fiddly as it can be. 

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Here is a close up of the thick stuff on next to the Velux. 
You can see the counter batten holding the big bits up (at 30mm centers) and how tight and snug it is to the insulation around the velux itself.

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And this is what it looks like when you have cut and fitted 
the big stuff over the top and counter battened ready for the placo to go on. 

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Here we are making a start in the master bedroom using the tower scaffold to get it into place

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You can see the air gap between the Insulation and the membrane and you can see my foil sandwich

that is to prevent draughts from the gable end.  

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This is what it looks like when it is all taped up and ready to take the big stuff

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And here you can clearly see the taping which is important to stop draughts. 

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At the outer gable I have used multi foil with taped edges and two layers thick stapled to the outer slate holding chevrons and then I cut a piece of 30mm and laid it against that so that when I slide a big piece in against it, it forms a secure draught fee seal. You cant see that detail on here but it is there.

This is what it looks like after the first big piece goes up and if you look at the gable you can see some of my extra insulation there

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The odd sized piece is basically the first one up to hold it in place while I get the proper batten ready and put in. 
We have marked the purlins in line with the middle of the chevrons so we know that when we drill through we will always find one. We then have a piece of wood with 30mm marks so that it makes lining up the screws easy.
The batten is offered up plain then marked, predrilled and countersunk. Finally it is offered up again and in go the 180mm screws which tighten everything up. 

At the moment we have done about a third of the roof and yet used half the material so I will have to get some more over here later but as spring and summer approach the insulation will be rainy day job. That said we will have to get on with it as we will have plenty of visitors coming soon :shock: :lol: :lol: .

The Logistics of Insulation

The Logistics of Insulation.

So after much searching, and asking and taking of advice, and the dismissal of some advice we finally arrived at a consensus that would give us the amount of insulation we considered ample to keep us warm in the winter. I was going to add ‘cool in the summer” as well however as we are in Brittany and even though the summers can get very warm it is not so important an issue. :) 

Our roof sandwich starting from the top is this
Slate (man made composite with 25 year colour guarantee and from the ground looks like the real thing)
The slate is hooked onto batten that is 20mm by 15mm (approx)
The batten is nailed over a plastic membrane.
The membrane sits on chevrons that are 63mm deep
The chevrons sit on purlins.

The insulation we decided on was the Celotex / Kingspan style of stuff which is a polyisocyanurate frigid foam which has silver foil on each side, and that as far as I can tell gives the best thermal protection you can get depending on the thickness chosen.

The method was to put in 30mm between the rafters and then suspend 125 below the rafters counter battened at 30mm centers to take the plaster board later.
The screws I would need would be 180mm which allows plenty of penetration into the chevron. 

So now it was all down to where to buy it and being in France it made sense to try and buy it here. 
There is a product called Recticel which is the same stuff however I couldn’t find a supplier that would do the thicknesses I needed or the size panels I wanted as the Recticel seemed to only come in 60 by 60 sheets, and I soon became rather disillusioned with the whole process and the prices being quoted so I had a chat with my mate in the builders merchants back in Bridport Dorset who came up with a very reasonable figure which came in at 40 sheets (2400 mx 1200) of 125mm thick and 40 sheets of 30mm thick at 2450 quids. 
So, why only 40 sheets and how do we go about getting it there?
40 sheets gives and area of 115 meters and my roof is bigger than that however the biggest truck I can hire and drive is a 7.5 tonne box truck with tail lift. I also needed to pick up the last few bits of household stuff that we had stored in mother in laws garages so with the maths all done the most I could buy was 40 sheets of each and that volume together with the other stuff was enough to fill the truck.

Now comes the timing:-
I was due to finish on the ship around 23rd Jan but in a moment of weakness (or probably guilt) I had said to Mrs B that for her winter sunshine this year how about a week in Singapore with perhaps a visit to some other Asian city during that time. 
I had forgotten this conversation (conveniently) however MrsB had full memory of it and was insisting on me honouring the deal. :shock: 8) :lol: 
So I met MrsB off the plane in Singapore at 0700 on the 24th Jan, we had 3 nights in the Berjaya Hotel on the edge of China Town and then on 27th we flew up to Bankok and stayed in the rather lovely Muse hotel for two nights and then back to Singapore for 2 nights in the Marina Bay Sands Hotel so that we could have a dip in the infinity pool. (at this juncture I have to say that it was worth every penny and we had a fantastic week but the infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands really should be on ones list of things to do ) 

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This was view from bathroom

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and from lounge

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Anyway once our fun and frolics were over it went something like this.

Depart Singapore 0030 on 01 Feb

Arrive Heathrow 0740 on 01 Feb (flight time 13 hours)

Collect hire car Heathrow 0820 on 01 Feb 
Drive to Dorchester arrive 1030 on 01 Feb and hand over the hire car. 
Get car hire people to drive us to the lorry hire place Dorset Vehicle Rentals and go through the process of hiring the truck.

Leave Dorchester in truck at 1100 and drive to Bridport.

Leave MrsB at her mothers at 1130 and drive to builders merchants.

Load up the insulation finish at 1200 and drive to MrsB’s mothers. 

Arrive at 1210 and have a coffee and commence loading the lorry with the rest of our stuff and also load my pick up truck with my sons stuff who is leaving to live in London.

Finish loading and set off for Portsmouth ferry port at 1615 in the lorry with MrsB and our dog Minnie.

Arrive ferry port at 1815 and go through the freight processing and get sent to the queue to board.
Boarded by 1940.
Had a shower changed and then up to the A la carte restaurant for a big dinner and some nice wine. We were both back in our cabin and fast asleep by 2230. 

Arrive St Malo at 0830 and disembark at 0840.

Arrive at house after a detour for groceries and coffee at 1030.
Get the house opened up and make sure the sheds are habitable and that elec and water all good.

Get the truck stuck in the mud trying to turn around and spend an hour digging it out and making a gravel path for it. :roll: :twisted: :twisted: 

Unload truck and stow the stuff in the house.

At 1730 leave MrsB and Minnie in the sheds and drive to Caen

Depart on 2300 to Portsmouth

Arrive Portsmouth at 0645 03 Feb. Disembark and drive truck to Dorchester. 

Arrive Dorchester at 9.00 and leave truck in Hire compound.

Son arrives in my pick up truck from London after moving his stuff there. I drop him back to the train station and then drive on to Bridport, where I arrive at about 1030 with intention of having lunch with an old mate after making sure that mother in law’s garages are all clean and tidy. 

Stop at Bridport filling station and fill up the pick up truck ready for the afternoons journey back to the ferry port.

Travel half a mile after filling up and the pick up truck breaks down. 
Call a good mate who is a mechanic who suggests I take off the filler cap and see what I can smell. 

Ahhhhrrrrgggghhhhhh it is fu@king petrol and my truck is a diesel. It was all goingt so well!!!! Oh woe is me!!!

Anyway after having a small tantrum with myself for being so stupid and it being a sunday so no-one being available to pump it out for me had to call RAC and they came and organised the “pump out company” to come and get me and do the deed. 

So at 410 pounds lighter in the wallet (that’s 70 quid for the initial top up with petrol, 255 quid to get it pumped out and another 85 quid to fill it up with diesel) I then drove back to Portsmouth for the 2030 crossing to St Malo on 3rd Feb.

Arrived back at home at 1030 on the 4th, had a coffee changed into working gear and started on installing the insulation.

Given the cost of the insulation, the hire lorry, the three ferry crossings, the cock up with the fuel, I still saved over 1500 quid on the cheapest quote I could get in France.
I don’t understand why and maybe with more research work I may have found a cheaper source here but after being confronted with “we don’t do that size” and “cant deliver by then” and other minor irritants I decided to vote with my feet and get it in the UK. 
Simple maths really.

Next installment is the fitting of the stuff

Great leave

Aye Aye M’beauties
Just arrived bcack on board where we are being bounced about in shit weather conditions off the coast of Vietnam, about 200 miles south south east of Vung Tao.
It is like trying to fall asleep in caravan being towed across a ploughed field with evey few minutes someone throwing a brick at the side of the caravan. The seas are only abpout 4 to 6 meters with 28 knots of wind however it is uncomfortable and slightly annoying, but it wont last for ever as we only have about another week of it and we will be off to the Thai side of the Gulf of Thailand to start our next job where we expect much nicer weather. Cant even get up on the Heli deck for a walk as with the motion and the wind it is just a non starter. likewise using the treadmill in the gym is a no go due to the motion. (well thats my excuse for the week and I am sticking to it.
Had a fantastic leave starting with Mrs b joining me for a week in Singapore (with a two day jaunt up to Bankok) which also included a two night stay in the magnificent Marina Bay Sands Hotel Singapore.
What a gaff that is and the infinity pool is quite spectacular. I will post some pics later.
\Once back home we got stuck into the insulation of the roof and also the newly made windows for the front of the house arrived and were fitted along with the new kitchen door.
We even managed to get the balconies up and it has transformed the front.
It was massive wrench leaving this time with Mrs B ensconced in the sheds with the daffs out in full bloom and the number of birds increasing each day.

I will write more of the whole leave a little later and will update the building blog accordingly with pictures. We also have a new addition to the family which we are both thrilled about (possibly me more than MrsB) and will post a pic of that event as well.
Cheers
 Bentley