Rolf Harris is the latest in a long line of celebrity kid fiddlers convicted of being child rapists or similar. There could yet be many more to be flushed out from whatever sewer they have been lurking in and it is apparent there are others out and about who have access to better lawyers. Either way it would seem that during the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond, the TV and radio airwaves were infested with pedophiles and other sexual predators who used their celebrity status as a “power” tool in order to perpetrate their crimes. This was largely unbeknownst to the vast majority of us, as we watched, listened, laughed, clapped, sang along and danced as the various stars strutted their stuff.

We lapped it up and knew all the various catch phrases, and “as it ‘appens” we would watch Harris use a big emulsion brush, slapping paint about asking if we “knew what is was yet?”, and of course we never did, when suddenly, with a few more brush strokes, a clever picture of an animal or skyline would emerge.

There was not an inkling among the general public of anything untoward as they laughed along with Stuart Hall at the hapless antics on “It’s a Knockout”.

Although myself and everyone I have asked always considered Saville to be a “bit spooky weird freaky” but the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of us had no idea as to the depth or scale of his depravity.

In the same era when Gary Glitter came over the speakers of the youth club disco, the dance floor would be rammed with us singing along to the choruses of “Rock and Roll and shouting the answer “Oh Yeah!!” when asked if we wanted to be in his gang. If you were a young teenager it was of that time, and we, the average radio listening TV watching punter, had no clue that he and a number of other celebs were finishing their shows and then going on to fuck children.

We had no idea that ‘Peers of the Realm’, MP’s, famous pop stars and their chums were raping kids snatched from children’s homes in an organised pedophile ring, and then using their powerful positions to keep it secret enabling those concerned to continue to live lives with the façade of respectability intact and the rewards that come from that status remaining intact.

One can only hope that the majority of them are bought to justice and punished for their crimes and/or exposed for the sly, duplicitous, shameful, foul perverted scum that they are, (or were when they were alive).

This righteous outrage is all fine and dandy, and well placed, however the big question is “What about us??”
You and me? The punters, the music fans, the adoring trusting, and (as it turns out) gullible general public who were being swept along on this tide of euphoria in this embryonic time of superstar radio DJ.s TV personalities and pop stars ??
Do we have to be punished for not knowing?

Do we have to accept that because we didn’t know, (or notice) anything was wrong, our memories of enjoying the performances and shows, listening to the records, and using the catchphrases of the stars of the time, have now become somewhat sordid, or tainted by association, because many of these celebrities were pedophiles?

Should we feel a prickle of shame or some sort of remorseful complicity because we bought the records, went to the concerts, listened to and watched the shows of these people??

The answer is, of course, NO!!

They are our memories of, what were for the vast majority of us, a wonderful time, full of opportunity, excitement and discovery. The fact that many of the people indirectly involved in those memories turn out to be rather disgusting human beings is not our fault, nor should we feel that our experiences are besmirched because of that.
I have written this because of something I read lately that suggested we all should collectively take some of the blame, to which I say “Fuck off”

You can’t pass retrospective censorship on the soundtrack of your youth just because some of the people involved in that soundtrack are exposed at some stage in the future as sexual predators. We cannot as whole be held culpable and have our memories diminished or spoilt by the actions of a criminally perverted minority.

Of course we don’t have to listen to their songs or voices or watch TV re-runs with them on any more, and an additional inspiration for this blog came the other day when I found a Glitter album in my old vinyl collection. I was caught between putting it on to revisit the time, or smashing it up in disgust.
In the end I did neither, which unlike me is a bit of a of a fence sitters position. On the one hand I don’t want to be a “book burner” and get all pious by destroying his album and pretending he didn’t exist, and on the other I don’t want to be listening to a child rapist strut his stuff.

There is no denying that “Rock and Roll (parts 1&2)” “D’wanna be in My Gang” and “I Didn’t Know I Loved You Till I saw you Rock and Roll” were great pop tracks of their day, or that he was a great performer, but now because of his being convicted of being a child rapist I don’t want to hear his stuff on the radio, or as film soundtracks, or see it on TOTP re-runs, but I can’t stop them cropping up and playing in my mind as a back-track to occasional reminiscences of that time. They were of that time and are part of the memories of that time. Anyone who went to big school from 70 to 75 will know this only too well.

I am annoyed that I feel a twinge of guilt about that which sneaks in and sullies the memory, and so I will be keeping the album because smashing it up wont achieve anything other than to align me with the book-burners, the fucking lunatics that stand outside abortion clinics shouting abuse at women, and people who want to try and pretend it didn’t happen, but I sincerely doubt I will ever play it again.
Love and Peace

Cutting Holes in Tiles

Now some people, (more commonly known as professional tilers and builders) posses the knowledge of how to line up tiles and services in advance so that any holes that need to be drilled in tiles to allow pipes through etc would be as close to the center of a tile as possible.
However there are other people (more commonly known as enthusiastic DIY’ers) who do not are not in possession of this knowledge or if they are can often forget to check forward in advance.
It is these people (such as myself) who then need to buy specialist tools to ensure that a neat at proper looking job can be done.

I was informed by my plumbing guru Simon (who had come to make the wall connections for me (I think the items used are called robbitieres) which is a metal plate that secures to the placo with brass fittings that are attached to the water pipes leaving a female threaded fixing for attaching shower controls taps etc) that Brico marche (& depot) sold a diamond edged tool for exactly the predicament I found myself in. I then followed his instructions and am well chuffed with the results.

1- You line up the center of the holes you need to drill (using the laser is easiest I found and then dry lay the tiles in place (not forgetting the spacers) and make your mark at the center of the required hole. In this photo you can see the metal plate thing and fittings I am on about. You can also see where I had to carve out some placo to move the shower controls and also how the tiles meet in the corner.

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2 So you get yourself a large “wood bit” that is the same or 1mm less than the hole you want to make in the tile.
You select a piece of board (in this case 18mm marine ply) and drill a hole near the edge. This will be your guide.

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You have also purchased on of these puppies, I dont know what they are called bu they are about 40 quid each however I am assured by my plumbing guru that they last for ages and will drill through granite tops marble tops and any tile you care to mention

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So the full kit is a cordless drill fully charged (with spare battery on stand buy, two or three clamps, a one or two inch thick piece of solid insulation, a board with a hole near the edge and a suitable workbench.

Put the insulation down on the workbench
Put the tile on it.
Center the board with the cut hole over the tile, obviously centered on the target area.
Clamp the lot to the bench allowing yourself room to get the drill on the job unhindered.

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Using the drill at speed one start drilling using the guide hole and holding the drill as vertical as you can and not applying too much pressure. My first one broke because I applied to much grunt to the job.
Slowly gently and relentlessly and in less than a minute I was through and look how close to the edge of the tile it is

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Here is number two which clearly demonstrates the need for better prior planning or having the right kit to cut the holes without trashing the tiles or making a pigs ear of it.

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The lesson of the day is 30mm higher and 50mm to the left and I could have had it all in one tile, but I managed to salvage the day anyway.

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It turned out OK in the end
Love and Peace

Plastered and Tiled but not Grouted.

So now on with the tiling of the shower space.
We found some lovely textured (sort of wavey) white porcelain times in a bathroom / tile shop in Vannes. We wanted the white glazed brick sort of thing and they had a shower room set up with exactly the tiles we wanted in it.

I carefully measured using tiles and spacer where three rows would be and then used the lazer to make sure I had a straight line to run from.
I then attached a piece of metal framing to the two walls to act as an anchor, double checked with the lazer and spirit level and then started.

I had already established that the run along the long wall was an exact number of tiles so would be easy enough to do the staggered effect of brickwork.

What I had to do then was work out the sight line as you came into the bathroom of where to start and where to have the cuts on the small wall so they coincided with the long wall.
It is a bit of fannying about but needs to be done to make sure it looks right as your eye is drawn to it.
I think I am right in saying that most pro tilers start where the natural eye-line is drawn to.
Anyway decision made I am using a fairly rapid setting flexible tile adhesive. I will never again use the premix out of a tubs as from personal experience I think they are rubbish, unless of course you are doing a B&Q special and are scrimping on cost of materials. (each to their own on that one)
I find that I get about 40 minutes to an hour of workable adhesive (so dont mix too much) which once you are set up is plenty to do a few rows.
I have used one of the metal serrated edged application tools (not a trowel as some prefer)
The gap spacers are 2mm and I use them the way I have because I dont like putting them in the corners whole, because when they slip behind a tile it is pain to get them back out. It is personal preference and although I use twice as many they are about 2 euros for several hundred so its not breaking the bank.

I have a a couple of the lever type tile cutters and a wet cutter, (sadly a cheap one) but have found for accuracy a new sharp diamond tipped blade in my 4 1/2 inch grinder is the way to go when cutting. Not for all but when it needs to be millimeter perfect then that’s the way to go.

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Here you can see the bottom ones clean (just one of those green scouring pads used dry is ample) and the top awaiting my attention. I make sure I get right into the joints so that when the grout goes in it penetrates right in and there are no grey bits left showing You can also see where I have used the laser to mamke sure I am getting them level and staggered correctly on the way up.

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So now comes the long wall to join in

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To make sure I am getting the levels right and that all the straight lines join up I check with the laser level.

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Now I am getting ready to cut around the plumbing fixtures ion the wall that have been crimped in place and secured ready for the shower fittings.
Nearly made a big mistake here as I had the pipes for the shower coming up the back wall and realised just in time that we would have to go in and turn the water on then duck out of the way while it reached the temperature to avoid getting cold and then to change it you would have to get wet again so changed it to the side wall where you turn on, put your hand out to test, adjust as needed, then get wet. Simple and logical but so easy to get wrong and having lived in hotels for the last 8 days of my leave I can assure you lots of places get it very wrong.

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And there it is done

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It hasn’t been grouted yet and the gaps between the walls and where the tiles meet and where they meet the ceiling and the the glass block wall and the shower tray itself, will be done with flexible silicon joints, not grout.

Now it was case of putting in the main bathroom tiles to complete the picture before we bought the bath back in and plumbed it all together

Before we did the main tiling my nephew Will came over to do some plastering for me. I am not a fan of the taping and jointing method preferring instead to have a proper coat of plaster.
So with scrim tape at the ready and all screws tightened in he set about weaving his plastering magic.

It should be noted at this stage that I have learned many skills during this build and there are some that I have decided I don’t have the time to learn. One of them is how to be a proficient professional standard plasterer. I dont want an “alright” or bodged job, I want it right first time.
Sometimes it is easier and less time consuming to just bring in a pro and IMO this is one of those occasions.

Scrimmed up bathroom walls and ceilings and then some uni-bonding to ease out some curves and depth differences (in my boarding it has to be said

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(you can see where the LED lights have been popped out ready for re fitting later when dry)

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Here is Will at work, the gap with the wires showing will be inside an airing cupboard and will be the conduit for any pipes and wires yet to be run form the thermal store and heating manifolds directly below the bathroom.

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Once we had given it a few days to dry I pressed on with the room tiles

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Next up will be the bath put back into place and the bespoke made basin and wash stand etc.

I will post up shortly how I made the holes in the tiles for the various plumbing bits and drains to go though and it is a mighty but simple bit of kit indeed.

Love and Peace

Bathroom gets some tiles and shower room

Aye Aye landlubbers, Its been a productive leave with rooms actually really taking shape now. It is surprising what some plaster and some tiles can do and how different it feels than having plasterboard and screws on show. It takes away that building site feel.

So we doubled up the marine ply on the bathroom floor so it is now 36mm thick on about 30 centers on the joists below. It is screwed about every 20cms, in other words it isn’t going to move.
After careful measurement of the tray waste hole we drilled down to the room below to make sure that my initial measurements were correct and the the waste unit would miss any joists

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Once satisfied I had to use the jig saw to cut out the odd shaped hiole that would allow the waste unsit to fit beneath the tray and give me enough access fomr below to make sure I could do up the threads. I somehow managed to get the first cut a bit skew whiff but after some head scratching sorted it out. It will never be seen anyway. I used some silicon around the hole to ensure that there would be a d good seal with no chance of it leaking between the tray and the wood, which has been waterproofed as well.

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Looks a bit messy but the silicon spread as we slid the tray into position and the silicon around the sides is also there to prevent any water leakage around the edges.

Here it is in place with me mucking about downstairs

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Now it was in place we could get on with tiling the bathroom floor once we had finsihed the plaster board and popped in the electrics and plumbing ready for tiling later.

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We tried to do as many jobs as we could before we tiled the floor to protect them as best we could.

Here you can see the tiles in place but not finished at the edges yet.

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And here we are making the preparations for the glass block shower wall

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Fist thing with the glass block wall is that you have to create a frame for it to sit in and it was during this process that I found out that the top of the back wall (which holds up the mezzanine deck) was 3 inches out of level with the bottom. so I had to move the bottom of the upright wooden post that made the last part of the frame 3 inches. This meant that I have a 3 inch gap at the bottom but would be flush by the time I reached the top with the blocks. I had forgotten that we had worked out the height of the ceiling yonks ago so that it would take 12 blocks high and thankfully that bit was right and level.

Once we had measured a few times to ensure that the maths was right we secured the upright post that we had sanded and treated ready for its new position. It was originally out of the old roof.

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I used L shaped heavy duty stainless brackets both at the top (two) and then refitted the placo, and one at the bottom on the inside so that when the glass blocks were placed in the brackets would not be on show.

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This is Mrs B’s boot and my hand making the adjustments required

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So all was good and once we had gathered all the equipment close to hand we set about putting up the wall.
We had gone online to Glass Blocks for U a while ago and selected the patterns and colours we liked (well Mrsb has the better eye for colour that I) and she had drawn out a plan for me to follow when placing the blocks.

So here we go

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WARNING the specialist glass block is fantastic at its job but a vicious ba$tard of a thing to get in your eyes and it nearly melts the skin on your fingers. I cannot stress strongly enough that you need eye protection and skin protection when using this stuff as in the space of two days I had two very painful and scarring blobs in my eye that almost rendered me blind for 24 hours. And I wore glasses after that (doh!!!)

The whole kit and kaboodle comes with spacers re-enforcing rods wall and ceiling brackets and there are plenty of instructions on the website of what to do. I also spoke with the help desk and they were fab.
Here you can see the first four rows in and the re-enforcing rods in place both vertical and horizontal every couple of courses

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Ha ha on this one you can see my new heart and anchor tattoo that MrsB and I both have although I didn’t follow the aftercare program with mine so its bled a bit. MrsBs is much more dignified than my old sea dog version.

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Here you can see the spacers that keep it all at right angles and all you have to do is keep it level vertically. it is bit odd to start with but you soon get the hang of it.

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And onwards and upwards

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In this photo you can see the metal rails that are lazer level to start the tiling later in the shower area.

I was doing the setting and leveling and MrsB was floowing on keeping the blocks as clean as possible and tidying up the cement to be ready for the grout that will come later.

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Here you can see the gap at the bottom of the wall where the wall is on the squint. The wall is secured in place by long L brackets every other block as I go up to ensure it is rigid and secure and not flapping about in the breeze. The gap wil be filled later with close cell expanding foam and then will be grouted over. Because the gap is at the bottom it wont really be noticed when the tiling and grouting is complete

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More detail of the gap and the wedges to hold it tight and the pattern starting to take shape. You can see tyhe pattern in the background pinned to the wall.

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Here goes the pink ones and if you notice on the wall you can see a discoloured bit in line with the vertical of the wall. That is a acrylic sealer to protect the placo in the event of any seepage

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MrsB and I getting all arthouse with the camera

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Now we are making progress and the gap is down to less than an inch

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The top line would prove to be the most difficult so I had to let the rest dry for 24 hours before attempting it as I didnt want to upset or disturb what had already been laid
You can see one of the l shaped brackets coming down from the ceiling to hold the thing in place
The white foamy looking stuff on the top left is the sort of expansion stuff the give you to put at the ends

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And there it was done just needing a clean up and tidy up in places

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We fitted some shuttering (held in place by the wood slats) covered in oiled tin foil to act as a stopper for the expandy foam but bits still escaped, however it cleans off quite easily once set and has filled the gap a treat

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Next step after a good cleaning was to start the tiling of the shower bit but before we get onopt that I thought I would show you either a bit of luck or (as I prefer) a fantastic accurate measuring for the amount of tiles to order and skillful tile cutting. This is the only waste we had on the floor tiles and there were plenty of cuts around the edges to do.
I love it when a plan comes together

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Thats the first bit and starting to look a bit more like a room now

Love and Peace

I cant believe its been so long

Aye Aye landlubbers, I trust all is well with you all.
I cant believe it has been so long since I updated the site but I have been at home for 7 weeks and already back on board for one so time just mooches along I guess. Aplogies to those who commented and that I didn’t get round to acknowledging, most unlike me to be tardy like that.
The next installments about the bathroom are following this notice within a day or two.
Thanks for reading and taking an interest in the project and also my ramblings on the other section
Love and Peace