The Bathroom

Aye Aye landlubbers, I have to say we are fairly chuffed with how the bathroom has turned out in terms of being close to our combined vision.
Our requirements were firstly from MrsB
Luxurious bath
Beautiful fittings
Warm opulent feel to the space
Not cramped
Plenty of natural light and targeted other light
The slight zany edge with a bit of “wow” factor
A room to enjoy being in not just functional

and then from me

A shower big enough for two
That two of us could fit in the shower
That MrsB could luxuriate in the bath with a massive supply of hot water
That the shower was powerful and controllable and could easily fit two people in
That the fittings were top quality and that the light was good be it natural or artificial
That is warm and the towels would be warm when you both exited the shower. (ha ha )

So if you go back in time on the this blog you wil see the photos of when we first laid out the bathroom floor and then put the walls in and then worked on the layout.
Here is a pictoral story of start to finish of the bathroom.

Early days with my son Zak and I putting in the joists and floor. The bathroom is to the left of where he is sat and the final measurements are 3.5 meters by 3.5 meters.

Up goes the first bit of 18mm marine ply which we ended up doubling up so we have 36mm of marine ply on the floor cross laid to prevent any movement

Here it is before the stud walls went up

It is mad to look at that and know it is 3.5 x 3.5

So then the Velux was in studwork was in the insulation was in and the plasterboard up

If you notice in this one I had to cut out some of the plasterboard already fitted so that the shower pipes and controls were not in a place where you would get wet turning them on.

Then in goes the shower tray

Of course not forgetting to get yourself trapped

Drain and water feed for the sink and electrics for the sink mirror lights

more plasterboarding and insulation

Floor tiles down and now comes the shower glass block wall

You can see the “in shower” ceiling LED lights

on with the block wall

then on with the shower wall tiles

Then get some plaster on

Then get some wall tiles on

Then get daughter Pearl in for some painting

get the big wonky shelf in place

Then fit in the shower gubbins and the bath stuff and the sink bits

And finally after years of waiting let MrsB loose with the finishing touches.

And that my hearties is the bathroom as good as finished. There is probably just one question poised on your lips “How well do two people fit in that shower?”, well let me tell you that a gentleman never tells.

It is fair to say that MrsB and I am well chuffed with the end result and it is the first room we have completely completed.

Love and Peace

Plumbing Parts a Plenty

So the stoves in place the solar panels are on the roof the bath taps and shower are all in situation so all one needs to do now is connect all the bits to Richard (the thermal store).
The bits include a large expansion ballon, a 300 liter domestic hot water tank with twin solar coils and an immersion slot, domestic hot water manifold, domestic cold water manifold, underfloor heating manifold and pump, Ladomat valve/pump on back of warmsler range
circulation and control unit for the solar panels, circulation pump and manifolds for other central heating parts such as therma skirt and bathroom radiator.

Here is a small selection of some of the parts before we started

And that lot was only a fraction of it and so I can heartily recommend using a buyer when you have major project. I used TEKNOS ENERGIES SARL who worked with the designer (Rick) and compiled the main list of components required. WE still had to make several trips to the plumbers merchant but that is to be expected in a project like this.
Andrew (from Teknos) is an avid fan of alternative energy and has been on the fringes of our project since day one and it was he who introduced me to Rick who finally pulled all the parts together.
It is pretty apparent that Richard is nearly twice as big as it needs to be for house our size but us purchasing that model was as result of flawed advice at the start. Nothing wrong with having a thermal store as they make perfect sense but the bigger they are the bigger the appliances you need to run them.
What we don’t want is fucking great ugly log burner in the lounge that would have to be run every day as well as the warmsler to really “charge” up the size thermal store we have. We are looking for something a bit more aesthetically pleasing than a huge black high kilowatt (25+) burner in front of our picture window. It doesnt help that I only installed 22mm copper pipe that leads under the floor to the lounge and the warmsler which is one of those easy to make mistakes when you are years ahead of fitting any stoves and are nota professional plumber or builder. It is a minor irritation but one lives and learns.
What we will probably do is drop down a size with the thermal store (to either 1400 liters or 1000 liters) in this house later this year before the autumn and install Richard into the 2nd project with a gasification wood boiler.
Fitting one of those magnificently efficient ways of burning wood (up to 98% efficiency) into here now (which would only have to be loaded and burned once every couple of days to charge Richard) is not really justifiable considering it is only MrsB and I 95% of the time and half of that time I am at sea.
The system we have (albeit with a smaller thermal store) when fully tuned and set up is easy as peasy to run with it basically being “put logs on fire and hot water and heating comes out of the other end”.
During the summer when you have no fires the solar array is more than adequate to provide all hot water needs. Apart from humping the logs the whole thing runs automatically with thermostat controlled pumps and circulation and the reheating and redirection of excess heat into the thermal store to be used later when required.
I guess it is bit pricey to set up with all the equipment to purchase but now is the time to do it while I am still earning as my pension provision is poor I don’t want to be face with huge energy bills once retired and with this the only bill I will have is one for wood.

Some people would prefer to have the money in the bank and pay year in year out for ever increasing energy costs whereas I prefer to have the hardware installed now with the prospect of very small bills by comparison from now on and in the future. I am well chuffed that from now on every time the sun shines we are receiving energy in the form of hot water, and likewise every time we burn a log not only does it warm the room or cook a pie or heat the kettle it also gets stored for later use in the underfloor heating or radiators in the night. I would rather have that than concern myself that some thieving asshole banker might lose all my money or that I will have to be at the mercy of the power companies and profit led pricing policies.

I may have already mentioned it but number two project is being designed and built completely off gird so whoever buys it will never have utility bill

Here is the warmsler with its gubbins all fitted at the back

Here is richard the thermal store getting dressed up, fist with the solar panels and controller connected

And then more and more bits added

Here on the back wall you can see the domestic hot and cold water manifolds so you can isolate any specific hot or cold water supply to change out an item or add new etc

Hee is the two loops of underfloor heating complete with pump and thermostat however I am going to plum in a bypass to thermostat as it doesn’t seem to let the water through hot enough to really give the floor some warmth. It is still early days and there are many tweaks to perform such as fitting a time to the electric immersion element that is in Richard so that if we decide to bugger off for a week or three we can let the electric give the tank a quick squirt of heat in the night and then the UFH in the lounge should be just enough to prevent freezing through the house should cold snap prevail in our absence.

This one shows the domestic hot water manifolds more clearly and on the ceiling you can see the first of the central heating manifolds that operate the therma skirt towel rail and more to be added as we go along.

It all probably looks complicated and bit of a mess but when we have finished plumbing in all the bits the tanks will be enclosed in their own room with a couple of big porthole style windows giving it a ships engine room feel.

This has been a far more expensive plumbing heating set up than I first imagined and some would say that it would be easier to just have very basic system without all the whistle and bells, and there maybe some merit to that viewpoint, however I wanted to reduce our dependency on the energy companies and solar water heating does that, likewise so does having a wood fueled heating system, so does having a thermal store to hold onto that energy that otherwise would be wasted and use it later in the night to maintain warmth to the house.
The Warmsler is a mighty beast and we will learn to drive it properly however it isn’t powerful enough to fully charge the thermal store on its own and we dont want a bloody great big ugly wood burner in the backtofront room in front of the big window preferring something more aesthetically pleasing as opposed to huge kilowatt effective. With that in mind we will probably retrofit a wood fueled gasificatiopn boiler in the utility room that would need to be filled with logs (about a wheelborrow full) and lit once every couple of days to make sure that the thermal store is really charged with heat and leaving the Warmsler in the kitchen to be more cooking and ambient heat and top up for the thermal store. The log burner in the backtofront room would be just for when we used that room although it wold have back boiler and send some heat to the thermal store every time it was lit.

I have learned many valuable lessons from this and they will be heeded in project two for instance the entire downstairs will be UFH and there will be heating built into any interior walls I have to construct.
I would go for the same size Thermal store but get a wood fueled gasification boiler big enough to charge it fully from day one and I would site it either outside or near the door to the utility room so wood transport is easy.
That would also enable the stove for the kitchen not to be the sole or main source of heat.
I would purpose build the area for this lot to go in with ease of access in mind and I would make sure I pre-laid and pre-insulated all runs of pipe work for domestic hot water and any upstairs central heating.

OK that’s it for a while until I get home and start in the next round of filling in the gaps.

I welcome any comments or questions on what we have done so far

Love and peace

Kitchen Worktops

We designed the kitchen cooking area to be much like a ships galley, where most things are on hand and easily accessible and the cooking area / sink etc are all just a step or two away from each other. We wanted plenty of available worktop preparation area both around the cooker and also between the cooker and the sink, our other design feature is that we wanted open accessible shelving for foodstuffs, herbs and spices and gadgets/ equipment etc.
The island was designed with the installation of an under the counter commercial style stainless steel fridge that is about twice the size of a normal under the counter domestic fridge. That has been installed and is running well. The only issue with it is that it is deep so we are searching for the right sized plastic type baskets to make access / storage and segregation easier.

We opted for an under-counter electric fan oven/ grill because all the (bottled) gas ovens we have used have been pretty shite and difficult to vary or maintain temperature. I took the advice of some pro chefs/cook we know who said “gas range and electric oven” was the way to go.
Where the oven is to be situated means that when the door was open it would block access in and out of the galley area but then we found a rather natty little number by Neff that the door opens and then slides under the oven. We are well chuffed with it and it is easy to operate. That said there are several functions and as all our ovens before this have been On or Off and temp setting having range of features to play with is great but we will have to learn how to get the best out of each cooking procedure. Luckily it has an extensive and easy to understand instruction booklet.

Door shut

and door open which just slides underneath Tra La

We selected a 5 ring gas (bottled) hob with the one large ring on the side so you can still get pots on all the others. WE chose Neff again as it had excellent reviews and ticked all the right boxes boxes for us in terms of size, appearance and quality.

The work tops themselves took us a couple of years of um-ing and ahh-ing and looking at different types and styles and comparing our own experience with others. Due to its durability and easy to clean functionality (and is regular feature in any seriouis commercial professional kitchen I had always leaned towards stainless steel, although MrsB, quite rightly, was concerned that it may look too industrial and out of place in a country cottage kitchen. As we explored and researched other different ones (granite wood re-constituted stone, melamine, etc etc we slowly but surely eliminated all other contenders and came back to stainless but we wanted bespoke tops with splash backs and over-hangs.
It took some time to find the right fabricator but finally settle on Complete Catering Contracts ( based in Hastings. They were helpful beyond the call of duty and kept in good contact and produced the goods on time (a day ahead of schedule)
The tops themselves were well made and fitted well and we are very happy with the result
What we did was to build the framework for the kitchen tops and then fit 18mm marine ply tops. WE cut out exact;y where the hob hole was to go and used 4 x 2 wood attached to the surface where the splash backs were to bend up against.

Here is the carcass

here with the marine ply top cut to size with hob hole and the 4 x 2 inm place for the splash back positions. You can see the island template made as well

Then it just needed some liaising with Complete catering and soem notes written on the templates

Then pack them off with the courier (in Brittany I use the Red Van Man who is superb.

Then off they went across the sea to return three weeks later and with a bit of “you lift and I’ll grunt” No your way” No my way” and a mad dash by MrsB not to be in the photo they were in place.

Get the kettle on

We still have the finishing to do around the edge of the splash-backs and the til;ing to do on the walls of the island and various other bits and pieces but now they are in place we are rather chuffed with how good they look and how the overall dynamic will be when all the finishing touches are put in place.

Love and Peace

The Stairway Window

The plan has always been to have an internal window on the halfway platform of the stairs where they go up in the lounge and past the old doorway into the kitchen, with the idea being to nick light from each room and share it to each room as the day changes.
It is single piece of laminated toughened 8mm glass and works a treat and wqe are well chuffed with the end result

Looking through from the kitchen (being scrutinised by Minnie) you can see the wine rack which is about 30 clay land drain pipes short of completion (Mr Hymas can you source any more?)

Here are couple of detail shots of the lovely old chunky oak that make up the supports.

That’s another long awaited job complete in the touches and features that go to make up Chez Bentley

Love and peace

A Separate Bog Is A Must.

Aye Aye M’hearties,
I cant be doing with a bog in the bathroom, never understood it and never liked it.
Of course when they started cramming more and more houses (or investment opportunities as they became known) into smaller and smaller footprints in the desperate scramble for profit as opposed to building proper, usable, livable, family homes people began to accept the bog crammed in to a corner of the bathroom.
There is nothing worse for anyone when deciding to have luxurious bath or refreshing shower only to walk into the bathroom and be confronted by the hideous odour of someone inconsiderate bastard’s food ghosts lingering in the air.
It is uncivilised, uncouth and uncalled for, especially if you have the space to create a separate small room specifically for the evacuation of bowels and bladders.
I have seen pictures of recent renovations where despite an apparent abundance of space they have still mindlessly shoved the kharzy in with the bath and shower, when for want of bit of forethought and better planning they wouldn’t have to shower or bath engulfed in the stench of someone else’s shite, nor would they have to postpone their eagerly awaited cleansing process whilst the air becomes breathable again.

I just wanted to get that off my chest before I showed you the rather natty old school cistern we have bought for the upstairs bog and the genuine old school (and I mean genuine old “school” as in like they used to be at school) bog.

here is the cistern in polished steel genuine article with new parts to make it work smoothly

Once sited in place we work out the beds and stuff and make template in plastic to required length etc and they also replicate it in the brass or copper gush pipe. It will look marvelous.

Now a good mate of ours on a renovation in the UK found a toilet that wa designed to have no seat but I found it a bit slippery and occasionally cold and I remember thinking that it would be great to find one of those bogs with the wooden half bits like they used to have at school where there is no need for a seat and no cold shock when you sit down.
Well joy of joys because Mongers ( they of the art deco tap fame, also had that style of bog in stock along with the polished steel cisterns.

Happy days I will update when they are fitted in place and give a detailed and graphic description of resting your bum cheeks on a bit of warm teak before discharging ballast.

Arf arf


The Bathroom is functioning

Ahoy! There M’hearties,
The bathroom sprang to life as well this time home.

Here is the shower gubbins in place with just one chrome 90 bend short of perfection

It is a fair torrential downpour of a shower and well worth the wait for it to come on line. Those of you who marveled at and reveled in the experience of the simplicity yet effectiveness of the “shed shower” will be in awe of the new Bentley shower. It is mighty and the attachment part is like setting off a fire hose.
here are some detail shots

Then comes the bath with its refurbished 1930 art-deco hexagonal taps and shower head and a very happy MrsB in the first bath
I found the taps in a brilliant site called Mongers ( absolutel;y lovel;y chap that runs it and they have some amazing stuff for sale.

some detail shots

Then there is the very efficient Oxford radiator and towel rail from Victoria Plumbing, Stands about 1500 high and produces loads of heat.

Then there is the sink unit in place with its more madern tap set up. Will get better pics of that once the plumbing kit has been stashed away ha ha

So there it is so far with just the airing cupboard to build and some tiddyvating to do and we are in business.

Love and peace

The Modern Marvel of Therma-Skirt

Aye Aye Landlubbers
“Therma-Skirt!!!” I hear you ask, “what could it possibly be?”
Well it is the same size as, and looks exactly like skirting board, but it is in fact a radiator that works as low as 35 to 45 degrees that goes all round the room at floor level gently delivering its heat to the entire room.
No more fannying about with gert big ugly (or even pretty) radiators clogging up wall and floor space, because this stuff is all round the room and you can have furniture against it without blocking the majority of the heat.
It ain’t cheap but it is very very good at what it does and because it works at a much lower temperature than normal central heating there are energy cost savings to be made.
Fitting is a doddle
First of all apply a line of heat reflective insulation tape.

Then make a level line at the appropriate height and screw in the securing clips

and then clip on the Therma-Skirt making sure to use the push fit corner connectors

You choose where it comes into the room via the piping and it just push fits together. The corner finish is “OK’, perhaps not as nice as mitered skirting but not really noticeable after a while. It comes with a coloured rubber grommet sealing thing for the top to get neat finish with the wall and there is a cable run beneath it so you can retro fit electric or speaker cables should you so wish.

This is a section side on, with the plastic protective coat half peeled off. You can see the two oval tubes (16mm) that the water runs round.

and in this one you can see how it clips on to the clips you put on the wall.

and here is the cable run that clips or slides in and has already proved useful (again you can see the peel off protective coating)

All in all we are well chuffed with it and our only complaint would be that when it first comes on it does “crack” a bit but then again so do some radiators. It is bit pricey but the way it delivers the heat makes it worth while in my opinion and we will be fitting some other bits where some discreet heat may be required but we don’t want the bulk of a radiator. (oh!! and we have a bit of straight level wall to put it on ha ha )

Love and peace

How the back has changed.

Well M’hearties, it all started 8 years ago and round the back looked like this

But we had a vision so at the end of 2008 it looked like this

By the end of 2009 it looked like this and we called this the “slumdog millionaire phase”

And by 2010 it looked like this, whihc we called the “Swiss chalet stage”

Then came the windows upstairs and the downstairs ones as well

and in the eyebrows

That is how it has been for a couple of years now and this is what it looked like when we cleared the space in anticipation of the window/door delivery.

so imagine our excitement as the lorry turned up carrying the new window and door

Then it was case of carrying them round the back

We had already cut in the air feed channel for the fire that will eventually go in the lounge and also laid wood effect tiles as a threshold for the window/door to sit on.
This took a bit of tweaking to get the concrete base level

So then it was case of edging the framework into position however a few days before we had decided to check the measurements against the hole to discover with some horror that we had ordered it 10 cms to wide for the gap. Despite measuring it 10 timers and double checking we had done it correctly during the ordering process a 6 was mistaken for a 5 and there it was.
Luckily we have over 200mm of oak uprights to play with and the multi talented saviour of my leave “Andrew” used a chain saw to cut a channel out of the back of the oak frame so the metal window frame would slot straight in. WE chose powder coated aluminium frame as it is at the back of the house and has a 3.8 meter span under an oak beam which is bound to saga bit. WE are hoping that the metal uprights will help support that beam. WE have decided that as a belt and braces approach we will probably fit a couple of ornate steel upright columns to stand in-front of the made window uprights to act as extra support for the beam above although we are not 100% sure we need it. (watch this space)

Framework in place

There it is with the windows in although this photo doesn’t do it justice as it has a couple of acro-props in place just as a safety measure at this time but it gives you an idea, the key thing is that we are now secure and weather proof for the first time.

More to follow shortly
Love and Peace

What’s in The Box???

Oh I say I wonder what it could be in these two large packages

Well that’s right!!!


It is the Warmsler 1100 in Burnt Sienna ready for fitting into its new pride of place in the kitchen. First we had to make level plinth on the granite fire site. WE did this by knocking up some temporaray shuttering and using a concrete mix then a self leveling screed / tile glue mix as the top level coat.
The plastic pipe you can see sticking out is the direct air feed from outside to keep the draughts down inside. Once it has dried we fitted a piece of zinc over the top to prevent the surface fomr chipping or gouging when we slid the 250 KG + stove into position

There it is in place (with a temp emergency overflow in red)

We have bit of fine tuning to do on the flue thermostat and lot of learning to do on how to drive it properly and how cook on it but it is already a most warmly (geddit??) welcome addition to the Bentley household.

Next Installment is another significant leap forward in the renovation and that is the fitting of the big back windows and doors.

Love and peace

Fitting the Solar Panels and Why.

Aye Aye land lubbers, I will start off the next round of installments with a simple statement that you are free to argue with if you so wish, “No house with a south facing roof should be without solar panels for heating water” to add to that statement “No new house (south facing roof) should be allowed to be built without solar panels for water”.
OK! so there is the expense (not huge) of fitting them initially but after that approx 75% of your hot water needs for the year are covered. Heating water is the most expensive thing we do so it makes sense to me to have it for free once you have installed the kit.
There are of course the naysayers who whine on about payback periods and other such rubbish and who seem to operate under the short term thinking delusion that it is better to keep the money in the bank and use it to pay for oil or electric or gas to heat the water.
I call it short term delusion because electric oil and gas are only going to ever become more expensive whereas the sun will always shine enough to provide plenty of hot water.
The other argument people use is that if you sell your house other people will get the benefit of the panels, all I can say is that if making a profit on everything you do is how your mind works and what taints your regard to the well being of future generations, then best you keep your precious money in the bank. That said if you think that creating and hoarding wealth is more important than the environment then try holding your breath while you count your money. So speaks someone who works in the industry of exploiting oil and gas so I see how they operate and what damage they do and how they manipulate the market conditions to suit their profit sheet so I also see how something as simple and affordable as solar water chips away at their power.
Ahhhh I’m glad I have unloaded that because I have heard varying degrees of complete bollocks from some quarters justifying their decision not to install solar when the benefits are so obvious, or it could just be me justifying our decision to fit solar as we believe it is worth the effort and cost long term.
So enough of my tree hugging hippy rhetoric lets get cracking with the process of fitting them.
The type we were recommended to choose by our designer were the evacuated tube type. Basically it is a thin sealed copper tube slightly fatter at one end (about as thick as your thumb and about 10cms long) with water in it. Thie tube is inside a black glass tube, which is in side a clear glass tube and between the two is a vacuum. The suns rays (infrared I think) pass through the vacumm and heat up the black glass tube which in turn heats up the copper tube sending all the heat to the fat end which is placed in a heat collector and which takes the heat and transfers it via pipeline to your hot water tank. The vacuum between the black glass and the clear glass prevents any radiant heat form escaping.

They look like this and are 1.85 meters long and about 7 to 8 cms thick. ( I will verify dimensions later)

To give you an idea Andrew from Tecknos (the excellent company who acted as our buying agent and who introduced me to the system designer who put together our heating system) delivered the tubes and collectors to us, and as a demonstration suggested we take one from the box and stand outside with it while we had a coffee. The tube was cold as was the copper end you can see in the photos and yet after 15 minutes standing outside holding the tube by hand in a bit of watery December sunshine the copper end was too hot to touch.

I assumed that large swathes of the roof had to be de-tiled in order to fit the frame but it couldn’t have been easier as the framework that supports the collectors and tubes it is held to the chevrons by 6 stainless steel straps that require two tiles to be lifted for each strap and then re-laid over the strap.

Here you can see a collector with the stainless straps on top of it, each of the collectors holds 30 tubes giving me a nominal kilowattage of 15 to 20 KW I think although I will have to check my figures on that.

With abit of careful lining up the stainless straps are installed and the collector hung from them. Then the rest of the frame is built in place and it is ready to receive the tubes. Here you can see me in my sling almost fizzling on the spot with frustration about not being able to be up the ladder with the guys. Luckily for me two very able, competent and skillful blokes (Micheal and Andrew) were on hand to help and I would suggest that three people does make the fitting of the tubes less risky (in terms of damage to the tubes) and much quicker.

So here we are with both collectors in place

Here is the first tube going in,

It simply slides into a rubber grommet in the collector with the fat copper end sitting snug against the internal heat collector.
It is a bit fiddly slipping the first couple in until you get the feel of it and a rhythm going, but once you get the hang of lubricating properly while getting the position correct, before you know it you are plunging them in to the hilt in a festival of double entendres and schoolboy giggles.

And they they are in place with the copper pipe and sensors all connected and insulated and then covered in protective silver tape.

The internal workings are to follow after the story of the Warmsler 1100 arrival in the Bentley family

Love and Peace

Big Day

Aye Aye Landlubbers MrsBentley had the first shower in the house today.
The shower is mighty, but needs a tweak or two to become awesome.
The thermal store is running, the solar panels are harvesting heat when the sun shines, the underfloor heating in the lounge has been flashed up but it will be 24 hours or more before we know how effective it is, the Warmsler range is afire and the warmth is being spread about the house but we need to spend some time balancing the system and learning how to get the best from it.
That said Chez Bentley is alive!!!!!!

The photos and story will be following soon

Love and peace Bentley


If it was a film script you would laugh it off as being “improbable” however real life does have a way of being improbable.
This is the most important leave since we put the roof on in August 2009, it is the leave where the thermal store, solar panels, Warmsler range, thermaskirt heating, the bath, shower, the kitchen sink plumbing all come together in the realisation of the design put together with Rick Nokes and supplied and admirably supported by Andrew Henderson from Teknos.
I spent 6 weeks organising the logistics of thousands of pounds worth of equipment from various suppliers both in the UK and France and all fell perfectly into place, so what could possibly go wrong as the ship arrived in Singapore with 24 hours to spare before I flew home and began the BIG CONNECTION ???

Well how about me slipping in the shower and dislocating and breaking my shoulder!!!

A bit of a bastard is a mild understatement. however work is continuing and i will report in about 4 weeks as to progress. For those of you who have been following the build I can guarantee the next few posts will be full of the “WOW FACTOR” even if I will be still typing with one hand.
Love and Peace

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

An interrupted but fruitful session

Ahoy there landlubbers, back onboard after a one week journey to get here and unfortunately three weeks ahead of time. I feel like Dr frigging Who and it has been a clusterfuck of a ten days.

The leave started with great promise as MrsB and I sorted out emptying the kitchen ordered the glass for the eyebrow windows (lead in time 5 days) as well as the whole back window /door assembly (lead in time 6 to 8 weeks) and the Warmsler 1100 cooker range and boiler (lead in time 6 weeks) We also laid out where the tractor shed wall was going to go and dug the footings and laid in the shuttering for it.
I have to say that walking more than 50 meters was a bit of a pain with the dodgey knee and so I will admit that perhaps clambouring onto a ladder rested on the dorma roof (so I could waterproof the planned lounge log burner flue) was probably not a great plan.
When my good leg got cramp and my iffy one slipped off the rung the project nearly came to an abrupt end.
With my tail between my legs (not an easy task on a ladder I can assure you) I eased myself down to terra firma and “had a word with myself” In fact it was several words and most of them were sweary.
When MrsB dropped me off at Rennes airport after a week at home I was relieved to think that after the keyhole OP (removing a bit of damaged cartilage) the next day it would herald an end to several months of increasing pain and decreasing mobility. I had put it off as I rather “blokeishly” hoped it would “just sort of get better” with rest but all that happened is that it became worse and I piled on 5 kilos as I couldn’t exercise it off.
As I stood at the auto ticket machine trying to work out how to retrieve my ticket, someone shoved a gun in my back and demanded my money!!!!!
I did what any normal person would do in that situation which was to turn round and say “Fuck right off matey”.
It is not that I am some sort of super hero with special kung fu wonder skills or that I consider myself to be a “hard case” or that I have a death wish, it was just that I recognised the voice of my nephew Will (we had big hugs and laugh at my slight flinch as I felt the gun/ finger in my back) who was just back after a weekend in Hamburg on the lash with his mates and had arrived at the same time. I tried to organise getting him over to do a weeks work with the renovation and we parted at Dorch where he got the 31 bus (top deck front seat) to head back to bridders and I had the pleasure to attend the SkaBQ organised by Mark and Claire Hymas, where I had great time reminiscing with old friends listening to some great music and having a few beers.
At 11.30 on the morrow, off to the knee clinic I did go.
At 1pm they put me under and I limped out at about 4.30 with a gert big bandage on one leg and white surgical stocking on the other (toenails resplendent in their usual summer livery of “Cherry red”) and caught the train up to the Southampton airport hotel and flew back to Rennes the next day.
I must admit when the local anesthetic had worn off it did sting a bit but what miffed me the most was that my earlier understanding that I would be able to get some light work done after a week or so proved to be what I ‘wanted’ to hear as opposed to a reality. The scary reality was that I would need at least 4 weeks before I could bear any great load on the knee and worse still 6 weeks before larking about up ladders and scaffolding, but that was from the nurse, physiotherapist and surgeon, so what do they know huh??

After a week of hobbling about, being a crap patient although succumbing eventually to the tender administrations of MrsB nephew Will arrived and he started by fitting the windows in the eye brows and then moved onto making all the frames for the work surfaces as well as constructing the window bench that will hold the gas bottles for the gas hob. Later the next week son Zak turned up sporting a beaujangler of a beard and with his new van that he is converting to live in. he got stuck into the last bits of insulation with his Ma and then helping out wherever needed in between bouts of working on his van and the gadding off sailing and gliding with Will.
Realising my knee was taking longer than I had planned I convinced Will to stay for another week so having them both there would help move the job along and then out of the blue on the Monday morning comes a call from my company “Can you come back asap”
And here I am, plans and logistics in tatters but Z & W and MrsB put in a sterling effort and we actually managed to achieve quite a bit. WE have several deliveries waiting in the wings such as the Warmsler 1100 Cooker range/boiler, a Neff 5 burner LPG gas hob, a large Neff electric fan oven and a double fronted stainless steel catering fridge that has a 250 liter capacity but is “under the counter” design. We have tender out for the stainless steel tops for the work tops in the kitchen and we have the main parts of the rest of the plumbing including 250 liter expansion balon, 300 liter hot water twin coil (solar and thermal store) immersion, laddomat units and various pumps and piping and three way valves and other stuff associated with plumbing, (and two gorgeous old school industrial /maritime spot lights) all paid for and waiting in the wings to be delivered so so its just case of sorting out the logistics for when I get home in early November and installing it all.
Big days and big leaps forward ahead.

Love and Peace

My knee

So on Sunday I had a quick jaunt across to Dorchester to do a small comedy stint at my mates Ska BQ which was great fun then on the Monday I hobbled my way to the private hospital for a quick knee op. Keyhole thingy but the gave me general anaesthetic and were les than chuffed when I came round and said I was getting the train up to Southampton airport for night in a hotel and then flying today to Rennes. I had to be a bit les than truthful when I said I would stay in Dorchester and my nephew would come and keep an eye on me. Well suffice to say that the trip to soton and today’s flight passed without incident and I am home with a fairly sore knee but on the way to recovery. So much to do this leave and being crooked is a pain but I have been carrying this injury for nearly a year now and it wasn’t getting better by itself. I will post up some more when more happens.
Love and peace

Home of the Renovation Blog

Aye Aye My beauties
As some of you know I started this blog on an obscure French interest site called Total France which subsequently became French Entree and the the blog of Jilly and my exploits on the build attracted about 40,000 hits over the last 5 years.
It is no longer available on that site due to a fit of pique by the admin/moderator team, therefore all future updates will only be available on here so if you are enjoying the story and think others would too then please feel free to spread the word and share the website address to those you feel would enjoy it.

If there is any technical aspect I might have missed or anything you think I am not doing and should be then fill your boots and make a comment and I will answer if I can

Love and Peace

End of an Era

Aye Aye landlubbers, well it had to happen in the end and if I am being honest I am surprised I lasted as long as I did.
My time spent posting on FrenchEntree has been bought to an end.
For those of you not in the know it is an obscure website for people who have some sort of connection with France, and is often a useful mine of information about the various day to day foibles of living there.
I spent most of my time on the site in the chatterbox section which is a sort of open forum.
There are a few interesting and intelligent people who post occasionally and enjoy a good argument or discussion about most subjects, but, as with any society, there are few grudge bearing arseholes as well. The sort of people who if you disagree with take it as some sort of mortal wound and for evermore harbour ill will to anything you say about any subject.
Over the last year or two there has been a subtle changing of the forum demographic and general dumbing down along with a bit of an exodus. Unfortunately several members have begun displaying far right tendencies and there has been an increase in those with rather delicate sensibilities, who have an attack of the vapours whenever they are disagreed with. Rather than argue their point they usually resort to petty pissy knickered schoolgirl personal abuse or crying about how beastly everyone is, ever keen to shoot the messenger rather than confront uncomfortable truths of the message.
Looking back I have been like fox in chicken coup for ages and by being evicted fomr the site has done me a favour and it is time I stopped wasting my time and moved on to concentrate on my own writing.
I dont mind that my forthright and uncompromising manner of posting is no longer suited the “blanding” of the site, but what has raised my hackles is that I started the renovation blog on there which has had 40,000 hits, and in a weird and unpleasant act to sanitise me from the site (or ethnically cleanse me ha ha ) they took the thread down so that all the people who had been following it (on there) wont get to see the continued story, unless they know this blog site address.
For some bizarre reason they also took down the creative writing thread (like a miniblog) I had started which also had thousands of hits.
It is a vindictive and paranoid act by a moderator or two who appear to have become carried away with their little bit of power, but their behavior is even more strange and duplicitous given how I have often been vocal in my support for them and the site.
I will miss a slack handful of the members as they were always good for banter and chat, but as to the rest “fuck em” the bunch of petty minded backstabbers.
Had the bunker-minded and rather vengeful ‘powers that be’, in their desperation to get rid of me, just left the renovation thread with link to “myrusticview” intact (but locked) I would have just shrugged my shoulders and buggered off without a backward glance, but due to their unnecessary malevolent behaviour they have unwittingly unleashed a bit of mischief for a while.

The big bonus for me is that I can spend more time writing on here without getting sidetracked and bogged down arguing with the sort of people who (and I kid you not) are of the opinion that:-
most young people who are sexually abused bought it on themselves,
that it is perfectly acceptable to justify the wholesale slaughter of women and children just as long as it is israelis doing the killing,
that the royal family deserve to be lauded financially supported,
but that anyone else on benefits are lazy scam and should get jobs,
that churches are good for people,
that the death penalty is a good thing,
that thatcher deserves to be made saint,
that free market capitalism really works for the benefit of everyone,
etc etc etc

The reason I rail (and always will) against foul shit like that is because if no-one does argue voraciously against it then more people will take the easy “follow the herd route” spewed out by the popular media and come to think of it as being acceptable.
It isn’t.

Love and peace

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