The window seat and kitchen surface framework

Aye Aye Landlubbers

IN this picture you can see the remains of what once was a window seat, that sadly was lost to the ravages of time.
It was always our intention to replace the seat and after some planning and chin rubbing and some invaluable input from nephew Will we decided to do a box seat that would hold the gas cylinders for the hob as it is easy to vent it outside.

The bits and pieces you can see in thsio picture are as follows from the top down starting on the right

The old bit of wood in the wall that used to be the seat
The covered copper pipe which will take the gas round to the hob
The first (connected) and the second of two x 40mm pipes which take fresh air around behind work area to the wood burning range boiler (to stop it sucking air in through all the cracks elsewhere)
The emergency drain for the wood burning range boiler
The emergency cold water feed (blue) to wood burning range (to prevent overheat in event of prolonged power cut)
The grey one in the middle goes off to the left and is the drain for the sink.

Here it is all tidied up a bit and with the emergency drain and air connected and the water pipe getting in the friggin way.

They all go round the back of this “leveling” wall and here you can see where the electric comes though for the fan oven and the elec for the hob lighter

Here you can see the emergency cold water and drain for the wood burner and the air feed just poking round the back of the up rights for the fireplace

Once the pipes were in place behind the small block wall Will set about getting a level framework onto the island and then onto the other work surfaces.

Some more leveling and choosing of old wood to be the uprights

And there it was done with top of 18mm marine ply. We are sending the tops away as templates to have stainless steel tops with overhang and splash backs made to measure a then bonded to it.

and here with the cut out for the gas Hob. The bits of chevron you can see are where the splash-backs start upwards.

Here are few stages of the window seat under construction which utilised the half section of the original back door of the house that has been serving as the dunny door for the last 5 years. Beautiful old oak with the original patina of paint just rubbed down

So it is coming along and thank-you nephew Will for creating a beautiful feature in the room and for sharing your ideas and expertise with us.

Love and Peace

Progress in the kitchen

So the time has come to up the ante in the kitchen.
We have already fixed in the island and sink placement and so it was time to fit in the framework for the worktops, run the air feed for the range/boiler, get the walls rendered where required, get the floors in for the various appliances that are to be fitted, restore the seat under the window, run the gas line for the hob, run the cold water feed emergency cooler and drain for the range boiler, and generally prep it up for finishing touches.

First off was to get some render on the walls.
This is first coat lime render and sticks to the recipe we have used throughout for first coat render made of 1 x Lime 3 X sharp sand, 1 x sieved torchis (cob) and a liberal dose of yak hair.
The first coat can afford to be the consistency of double cream (not extra thick) and you apply by first using an air hose (easiest method) to blow out any loose material, and then give the area a good spray of water. Once the wall is nice and wet you sort of chuck the stuff at the wall.
I have the mix in a wheel barrow next to me so I can scoop up what I need then work it up on the hawk. It takes a while to get your wrist action right (I suppose working on ships for years does have some advantages) but once you have your technique sorted you can really get a move on and cover large areas quite quickly.
I use a plasterers trowel (the long oblong one) and get a decent lump on my hawk, work it up a bit (by lifting it and dropping it on the hawk to get rid of any excess air) and then using the end of the trowel flick it at the wall using fist sized lumps. This means you get good penetration of any large holes and all the cracks.
You just choose one area and keep at it until you have done about 5 to 10 minutes worth and have a good area covered (up to 1m2)
Then get a half hawk load, work it up and pushing really firmly smear it on over what you have done.
You have to use quite a bit of force to get it to run smooth but just do one or at most two runs of the trowel with each extra load you put up. If you spend too long fannying about with it you will worry it off the wall and have to start again.
If what you have done comes off when you apply the smoothing coat just bide your time and leave it longer before you apply the smoothing coat.
This is whats known as the scratch coat so don’t much about with it too much at this time as long as it is on the wall and following the contours you want then its fine. After it has been on the wall about an hour or more you can go over it with a wet trowel just to tidy it up and fill in any gaps or missing bits you need.
Here is after the chucking process and the first smearing in one section

and here is some more early work

You can really build it up to cover all sorts of stuff underneath but make sure you take photos so you know where it all is

This lot was tidied up and secured to the wall by using some plastic bash in tabs made for the job. The bit of plastic piping you can see is going to be for the feed and return 16mm copper tube to two lengths of “Thermaskirt” ( that will be along the cold wall on the other side of the kitchen (it backs onto a garage is insulated but could just do witha small heat source there for any really cold snaps) I am miffed that they will be seen, but it was one of those things that we forgot to consider at the time when we laid the floor.

Now here it is all done up with the “scratch” as well,. The scratch coat is what gives a key for the next smoother coat to grip to.
You achieve the effect by either spending money buying a scratching tool OR you get a 20 cm length of 4 x 2 and then make some drill holes to stop it splitting and then hammer half a dozen nails through it. Then you mark up what you have done going in about 3 to 5 mm depending on how deep your first coat is. Bast to do this last thing before you knock off or first thing in the morning as it will still be workable then.
(also not that all the wood beams and uprights etc have all been masked and covered where possible as Lime mortar is a bastard for staining wood black if you let it get on and it penetrates deep as well.

This is the rest of the scratch coat on leaving stone revealed in the places where we want it

and here with daughters dog in the middle of the room wanting me to chuck the ball again

Mrs B has taken ion the task of this rooms render and the results so far are looking good. The areas in the pictures above are now ready (once dried for a few days or better still weeks) for the smoother top coat that is the same mix but doesn’t have the hair in it (opinions vary on this but I prefer the top coat without hair) which Mrs B will be starting in the next week or so.

Here you can see how we are trying to build in a transition between new and old materials in way that enables them to sit comfortably with each other. Once all the wood is oiled up and the render lime washed etc we think it will be a very welcoming warm and comfortable kitchen.

Love and Peace


At first I thought it was alright but…

Aye Aye Landlubbers
It would seem that Mr Russel Brand has been causing a bit of a stir with his “revolution”.
Its a new booky wook by all accounts, and from the bits I have read it has some excellent, articulate rhetoric which one has come to expect from Mr Brand, but he has (it seems to me) stopped short of reaching a proper conclusion when he calls on the young and dissatisfied not to vote.

He seems to have had a bit of a recent transformation from “ex junkie-shagartist-comedian-film-bloke” to a bit of a revolutionary thinker and although I cant fault the sentiment in his reasoning, (and enjoy his “trews” podcasts (google it) his call to arms, through people not voting, shows a bit of stunted development in his journey of academic and politicalised learning.

I believe Mr Brands considerable and commendable communication skills would be better employed encouraging young people take part in the democracy so hard fought for by so many over the years.

We all know (or should know) the tories are trouser stuffing scum doing all they can to further disenfranchise the working man, and we all know that the appalling Nu labor abomination were just tories with red ties, and the less said about the vacuous lib dems and the gormless jingoistic ukip the better.

We also know (or should know) that between labour and tory over the last 40 years they have created the “fuck you I’m alright Jack” mentality that infests the society of the UK like a soul sucking virus, along with the now so called (and much vilified and easily blamed for the UK’s woes) “underclass” of lifelong benefit claimants.

We know (as has been proven in the last 4 years) that the lib dems will suck the rancid cock of either of them if it means they can get their noses in the trough for a while and we all know (or should know) that the ghastly ukip are a bunch of turncoat, jingoistic chancers and political pygmies, with unfortunately a superb PR team who have actually managed to get them inordinate amounts of airtime for what are basically are at best one trick ponies.

Tragically for UK politics they (ukip) are getting enough airtime to have actually convinced some of the more gullible members of the public (who if they spent a few minutes thinking about it for themselves, would surely or at least should know better) that they would be a good alternative to the others!!!
Come on for fucks sake, use you brains and check out “who” is funding this tosh and more importantly try to work out “why” they are funding it. It is a con trick to sell you the same shit with yet a different coloured cover.

However there are alternatives that are worth voting for, such as well meaning independents, and to some degree the Greens, if only they could manage to drop the crusty-hippy-shit image they trail around, although I know they are trying it is proving to be a very difficult hand-wovem, tie-dyed, hemp blanket to shrug off. Of course they don’t have all the policies to solve all the ailments of the UK but they do have ideas that would solve some of them, and that’s not a bad place to start. At least it is a start.

You cant make change happen if you do nothing, and it will takes years, decades even to achieve any meaningful change but please Russel Brand don’t ask young people turn their backs on the democratic process in the vain attempt it will make change happen, because all you will do is give the foul bane of toryism a massive hard on and make their goal of returning the populace to serfdom that much easier and quicker to achieve.

The Alabama Three made great song where they wrote “Mao said Revolution comes through the barrel of a gun” but dont for one minuite listen to the nhotgheads that think this is an option in today’s society in the UK or the states etc, for the simple reason that 99.9% of any effective weaponry is owned by the governments paid protectors, ie the police and army, and they would not hesitate for one second to unleash live rounds on the street if they thought that the size and ferocity of the protest was such that it might unseat them from their lofty roosts.
Plus the fact of look what happens when people are left alone for a few days to run riot!!! what do they do???
They start looting and burning their own neighbourhood. That’s how fucking dense and dumbed down and consumer-junkie vast tracts of our societies psyche’ have become.

The next few years are absolutely crucial for peopel to get politicised if for no other reason that in my hopefully 30 years left I dont want to die knowing that this generation of youth will be remembered as the generation that threw away what few tattered shreds of freedom and human rights we still have and that uor forefathers and ancestors fomr all walks of life fought so hard to obtain.
Selfish of me I know but I am an idealist therefore I hope, nay! I “expect”, better.

Don’t forget that in order to make a change you have to be in a position to be able to effect that change and the best way to do that is by getting stuck right into the current mechanism and changing it from within.
If lots of the star struck fans of Mr Brand take him up on his wobbly incomplete conclusion that “not to vote” is the way forward you will quickly find that it is in fact a massive step backwards as far as your liberty and rights as individuals go.

I write this a someone who has shunned voting since 1997 (and have argued against it myself until quite recently) because it seemed that all I had were three different coloured sacks of shit to choose from, that when you opened them up were just full of the exactly the same shit. As the expression goes you cant polish a turd, but you can put glitter on it which has been proven time and time again over the last few decades by politicians on all sides of the house.
I have reached the conclusion that I have been wrong not to vote, (thanks Mr Brand, your revolution has stirred me back to the ballot box) because refusing to vote not only dismisses, with one idle petulant wave of the hand, the untold sacrifices people went through for me to have it in the first place, but my non-vote is one step closer to the finishing line for some corporate sponsored tory hell bent on shoving yet more of the nations assets into his and his chums back pocket at the expense of all others. And that disgusting blight and fetter on society has to be stopped.

Love and Peace

(ps I welcome any comments on my bloggs as long as they are addressing the message as opposed to just taking petty pot shots at the messenger)

The Shed Room gets its skin

Theis is the story of the “ShedRoom” as it has always been known because it is mainly wood clad on the inside in homage to the sheds (YeeHaw and Shed One) which have been home for the last 7 years.
It is the dorma room we created when we rebuilt the back of the house which looked originally like this

So knock the back down and put in the bottom of the framework for the Shed Room

Then up goes the internal framework within the roof

Nearly done but you can see the framework

Here with the roof on in winter 2009

then with the cladding on the outside

With some paint on the windows

With the eyebrow windows in.

From the outside – in, it came into being like this I wiont bnoitehr with any chat just show you the development of the room. The frame timbers are 100mm x 100mm the outer cladding is Douglas Fir 22mm as is the interior cladding.

Inside time to get the floor joists in and then the floorboards down

Inside after the floorboards looking through to the front of the house.

The ceiling insulation (150mm Celotex) on and the wall insulation (7omm celotex with a 35 layer foil insulation over that)

Then a leap forward to putting the plaster on

Then get daughter Pearl on the painting job

Waiting for downstairs fire flue to come through

Mega lampshade

Then get the floor sorted

Then get it really sorted

And now apart form some therma skirt for the heating and the corner edges for the timber walls and a couple of small patches (oh and the flue to finish) the jobs a goodd’un.

Love and peace

Getting ready for plaster.

Aye Aye landlubbers, Now as far asi can gather the way the French do plaster boarding is that they stick up some metal railings and screw the plasterboard to that and then tape & joint, then paint it. Some people like that method and some prefer the stud wall approach which is my own favourite so thats how I have done all the walls that have needed plasterboarding. Also I prefer a coat of plaster (A “scim” is I believe the correct term) as opposed to the taping and jointing and because I dont have the time to learn the plastering skill myself (you have to pick the skill syou have time to learn and although I am fairly handy with the hawk and trowel when lime rendering I aint so hot on the plaster) my nephew has been across to get us started.

Before he came we have under the guiding hand of our electrician tidied up what was a pile of multi coloured spagetti in the corner of the kitchen into the fuse board and distribution board for the communications.

Here is the underfloor stuff tidied

here is the upstairs down stuff

and here is the near finished article

Basically we are still on the temporary supply but the electrics are all over the house via the main fuse board so we have attached the temporary supply to that temporarily. I think that makes sense.

So it was time to get the scrim tape and edging out in prepearation of plastering.
We did the bathroom first her eis the wall under the velux all scrimmed up and ready to roll.

The next are a sequence of the walls and ceiling being completed

Here is Will plying his “old” trade as he is a wooden boat builder now (watch out for pics later on his next visit to show off his carpentry skills)

Its all angles and edges and this is one of the reasons why I decided it was one of the skills it was better to bring a top pro in rather than have a go at myself. With that amount of angular work it wood always look like I had “tried to do it myself” and considering the finished result we are aiming for that just inst good enough.

So all coming together and really starting to look like the real deal now
as you can see with the “near finished article after painting form daugher Pearl and grouting by MrsB

And here is the nearly finished article

So just the airing cupboard to build, the wooden shelf on the ledge above the bath to fit and the towel rail to plumb in and the plumbing to connect and the drainage to connect and the jobs a goodun!!

Front of House

WEll at last we have put some paint on the kitchen door and the main windows. We have still managed to miss the small bog window and also the studio door (the one on the left) isn’t the one that will be there for long nor is it the right colour but we are getting there.

Look at that shiny bell

So here are the before and after shots

Starting to look a bit more like it

and it should be noted that all the front of house stonework, garden walls, window design, painting (Pearl) and the nice touches were done and designed by MrsB.

Love and Peace

Onwards and upwards with the bathroom

After finishing off most of the tiling and grouting (apart form sikaflexing in the top of the shower tiles) MrsB and daughter P set about painting and tidying up the bathroom to bring it to about 80% finished.
Just the airing cupboard to build,
the top of the shower tiles to sikaflex in,
VMC suctions to put in,
radiator / tower rail to go in,
and of course the taps and drains.
So perhaps 75% finished is closer to the truth.
Either way you can get a feel for it now and if all goes to plan MrsB will be enjoying her first bath in late November.

Well happy with the shower cubicle which measures 2 meters by 1.15 and the shower head will be in the middle of the LEDs above the drain.

One word of warning here is that double check when you start the bathroom build where you want your shower taps to be.!!! We always planned on one of those big round headed “rain showers” but in my haste to get the walls up and insulated I forgot to put the pipes in the right place and they were coming up the back wall.
That meant you would have to reach in and turn it on and end up with a cold blast of water on your arm or head every time you used the shower, which would begin to mightily piss you off after one or two times.
Luckily I remembered in the nick of time and with a quick take down of some plasterboard and re-positioning of the pipes you now stand in the dry turn on the taps, check temp is OK, then get stuck in.
Much more civilised.
You can see the holes in the wall on the left on the above photo.

So this is what it looks like where the bath and sink will go (sink to the left)

A bit more of the floor.

Some glass block detail

And here it all is with the bath painted the right colour although still a little bit out of position and the basin arrangement in place but not plumbed in.

We are as the saying goes “rather chuffed” with it and look forward to being yet more chuffed when we get the plumbing attached and working.
Love and peace