The New Old School Bog and Cistern

The subject of toilet seat up or down has never been an issue between MrsB and myself and we both consider the conventional bog lid to be a rather pointless exercise. It is almost a denial of the fact that you have a toilet, or loo, or bog, yet alone have to see the bowl, which will briefly contain your bodily waste before it makes its journey to your favourite beach or river.
Most people just want to flush it away and have someone else deal with it, a sort of “dump and forget” policy.
This is all fine and dandy if you live in some swanky modern metropolis that has a mains sewer system, however once you live in a house that has its own septic tank and the performance of that tank, along with its associated pipework, is determined by what gets flushed into it, one tends to take more of an interest in the whole system and what happens to ones poo and pee once flushed down the pan of a septic tank connected toilet.

It is a fascinating process however I wont go into detail now, in fact I am unsure how I sidetracked myself into talking about the destination as opposed to the drop off point, which is the main purpose of this post.

I have never liked a bathroom where there is a bog in it, it shows a remarkable lack of forethought for the convenience of all concerned, however since profit became many peoples fundamental motive in housing, instead of a decent “home” and “space” to live in, the rooms became smaller and the space became squeezed until, in some houses, the person taking a leisurely bath is rudely interrupted by someone needing to have a dump, or the person who has “Tommy Turtle Head nearly touching cloth” is forced into the half crouched, clenched buttock dance outside the bathroom door accompanied by the ever increasing plaintive pleas of “I really have to go, let me in” so familiar to all who have ever been in urgent requirement of emptying their bowels.
The solution is obvious, have the bog in a separate room. A room of its own.
You can call it whatever rolls off your tongue the easiest, the toilet, loo, little boys room, powder room, washroom, shitter, bog, kharzy, it matters not, as long as if you are designing a bathroom in a house you endeavour to have it separate from the main washing area. If you have the space for upstairs and downstairs bogs then perhaps one of them (the downstairs) could be doubled up with shower for convenience sake (scuse the second use of the same pun)

We designed, into the space available, a separate bog for upstairs and were looking for a suitable pan.
We visited a friend’s barn conversion in Wales and they have this delightful old pan (self cleaning due to the turbo flush motion) that required no seat, but we found that it could be a bit chilly on frosty morning. However the seed was planted and a few months later we had a “eurika moment” when we remembered the school bogs from the days gone by, that had two semi circles of wood as a seat so you never had that cold arse feeling on a winter’s day.

Our search eventually ended up with an on line reclamation place called “mongers” ( absolutely superb and an extremely useful website and helpful crew. There in the gallery was exactly what we wanted but with the added bonus that they also had sand blasted and polished, cast iron, chain pull, cisterns. Whoop whoop!!

So this is how it panned out

First of all had to finish the plaster-boarding of the side wall and ceiling, fit the insulation on the front wall and affix the wooden plates for the main brackets.

Then get on the scratch coat and followed by the top coat of lime and mud render.

Now we had to turn the corner with the 3D tiles and head up the alleyway that leads to the bog

at which point MrsB took over the tiling

and completed through to the end

After the wall was painted and the bracket wood glossed black it was case of fitting the brackets and the cistern (not yet plumbed in and the down pipe will be brass when finished) to get the largest “drop” possible for the water.

And here is the run up to the bog (door yet to be fitted and plumbing connected but it is all there)

and a bit more detail shot of the pan and cistern with heavy duty chain attached.

So apart form a bit of fancy cutting work for the wobbly wall side tiles, the door to be fitted and bit of plumbing for the bog, we are nearly there on the upstairs bathing and ablution front.

I will post up the finished article with door etc later in the year

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.

http:// photo DSCF0019_zps0588ced2.jpg

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.

http:// photo DSCF0026_zps3129b430.jpg

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

http:// photo DSCF0028_zpsb2d82a15.jpg

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.

http:// photo DSCF0027_zps70fdafcd.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0029_zpsfedd16b5.jpg

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

http:// photo DSCF0030_zps26ddc2ae.jpg

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.

http:// photo DSCF0031_zpsc4bff0ee.jpg

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.

http:// photo DSCF0032_zpsfed28ec8.jpg

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.

http:// photo DSCF0006_zps25f4371e.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0007_zps51e7460e.jpg

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.

http:// photo DSCF0010_zps8a4c913f.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0011_zps13467038.jpg

So now comes the long wall to join in

http:// photo DSCF0013_zps4467c290.jpg

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

http:// photo DSCF0014_zps7bdf2159.jpg

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.

http:// photo DSCF0017_zps19490244.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0033_zps6eccdb16.jpg

And there it is done

http:// photo DSCF0086_zps764dd13a.jpg

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

http:// photo DSCF0034_zps54d35227.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0035_zps2ec6b738.jpg

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

http:// photo DSCF0036_zps34c08979.jpg

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.

http:// photo DSCF0037_zpsce86f8cf.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0040_zpsb0b8f925.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0041_zpsf42b492a.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0042_zps1d22645c.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0043_zpsb98e415f.jpg

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

http:// photo DSCF0074_zps908d210f.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0075_zps435b4c90.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0085_zpsdfd05ad6.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0089_zps8207065a.jpg

http:// photo DSCF0090_zpsd70b0f73.jpg

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

The head board is starting to rattle, OOhh EErr

I think it necessary to show you this photo because it is what will become the headboard of the beds we intend to put in the master bedroom.
We have ample room for two 4ft divans to be the main bed with the frames bolted together but the mattresses independent of each other.
This enables us to use two double duvets so eliminates the problem with duvet hogging, enbales one of us to sit up later reading while the other kips without the fear of disturbing them when t you turn the light out and settle down, and because of the independent mattresses we can each have our own preferred firmness/ hardness (stop the giggling and chortling in what is a double entendre heaven) of sleeping arrangement.
With each one being 4 feet wide it also gives us the opportunity to” visit” each other for warm snuggles over morning tea or any other purposes that may arise like doing the crossword together or wathcinga film on the lap top or anyother lap top activities that may (or not) take place.
The idea from MrsB is to replicate a sort of Indian temple doorway effect using these doors we found in an old reclamation yard down near Pont St Aven .
I am asking her to keep a photo diary of the headboard transformation process so we can share it later. 


Love and peace 

Water inside the house at last Whoop Whoop

After 4 years of a stand pipe at the front of the house we decided it was time to bring the water in so we can get ready to connect up Richard (the thermal store) and it also give us the option of getting a flushing bog working for this winter, because we will have the septic tank in by the end of November.

We thought it would also be good to have a cold water feed to a washing machine and an indoor sink as well. (with spare tap for hose fitting that takes water down to the outside sink by the sheds)

Fortuitously for us, when we bought our latest vehicle (see blog) the people selling it also had a rather interesting sink (disconnected) in their garage which would make a perfect studio/scullery sink. 
I asked if we could buy it and they agreed. 

We ran the mains under the kitchen floor and up next to Richard where we had a three branch manifold with stop valves fitted.

The sink is the only one ‘on’ at the moment as we wait for the septic tank to go in. The ends of the washing machine and toilet hoses have been fitted with a male screw fitting 12mm (half inch) ready to take a flexi hose which I will able to sort out myself once the septic tank is in. 

Here is the temporary manifold as is 


Eventually coming out of richard will be:- 
A domestic hot water feed to a manifold taking hot water to sinks showers baths.
A domestic cold water feed taking cold water to sinks baths showers, toilets and outside rear tap.
A heating hot water feed taking water to UFH bespoke airing cupboard radiator and any other radiators upstairs that get fitted.

Each feed to sink or toilet or whatever will have its own stop valve at the manifold for ease of isolation.
Each manifold will have two spare outlets for “unforeseen additions” 

Here is the sink it is 1 meter long 45cm wide at the top and 35cm wide at the bottom 


On here you can see the sink tap and also offset at the end the tap with hose fitting that takes water down to the outdoor sink by the sheds. We set it off on the squint at the end so the hose didn’t get in the way of the sink.
The sink tap also has a push fit hose attachment for thewatering the front garden and also should be just need a hose somewhere sharpish 


Here you can see the channels cut out of the floor to take all the various pipe work and electrical gains



New Kitchen Floor

The paving slabs worked a treat, the windows went in well and the terrace drain situation was remedied and all went well and we were well chuffed with progress. 
We then had lots of preparation work to do ahead of laying the concrete slab for kitchen floor. 

First off we buried the mains water pipe that comes in through the kitchen door and goes through to the studio where “Richard” resides (the thermal store is called Richard) 

You can see the black pipe coming up next to him here on the left.


Once we did that we made sure all the scalpings were near enough level, as can be seen in this photo. The lumpy uneven stuff you can see is actually bits of insulation after we did the kitchen ceiling.


Then it was a case of laying in the electrics that go to the various points around the kitchen and into the studio room where we have the main junction box for all the lounge lights.
(sorry the photos are a bit blurry) 
They all lead to where the main boards will be in the corner on the left. (although Richard and all the circulating pumps and sensors etc will have its own isolated board) 


Here you can se the electric and communication gains going off to the studio room


Here are ones for the plug points cooker point (even though we are not having an electric cooker) extraction fan etc


Then it was case of getting the sand in to make the surface smooth for the membrane 


and then packing it down with the whacker plate and checking the levels again using the laser and a stick. 


Now we are on the morning of the concrete arrival and as I unrolled what I thought was plenty of membrane, it in fact only covered half the floor so a quick improvisation was needed and we doubled up with some thick plastic sheeting. 
We made the join with a sort of fold over pleat thing and some tape to hold it in place while we put the insulation down. 
Not perfect but the clock was running and I didn’t have time to go to town to get another roll of insulation .


Next came the insulation I had found that saves a lot of height. It is a multi foil type stuff with a foam sandwich and is recommended for sub floor insulation especially where height is an issue. 


Here is the main gain for Richards fuseboard and the plastic coated 22mm copper pipe for the back boiler on the wood burning range 


And here it is with the hot and cold for the sink and the electric feeds for the island that will go in later. You can also see the re-enforcing mesh down.


In this one you can see one of the electric boards and the spaggetti of wires that will be connected in due course


We finished just ahead of schedule and had a drop of lunch and waited for the cement lorry to arrive which it duly did. 
Big beasts are they not? 


Here is my son and I after the initial shout of “Let her roll matey!!!”


As soon as it started I thought “Hmm that’s a bit dry” however I decided it might just be the first bit down the chute but in another few seconds I realized it was way too dry and am shouting for him to stop the pour. However he had wandered off round the side of the lorry and doesn’t hear me and before he stops there is well over cube in already.

I am doing two things now beginning with S “sweating and swearing”, which I can assure you is not a great combination.

My son and I managed to drag the dry stuff about and then get him to wet down the next bit of the pour but he was being a complete t****r about how much water he was putting in and stopping before he put to much dry stuff in.

Suffice to say it was a struggle to get it spread out and even close to level with a reasonable finish but we did the best we could to make a good job of it.

I was even running over it with the whacker plate for a while to try and level down some of the humps, which proved to be fairly successful and we got it down to a level that at the most is about 15mm out in places. Not perfect but the best of a bad pour.



To say I was p!ssed off about it (as was MrsB) is an understatement as we both thought it looked like ploughed field and nothing like the lovely level smooth floor we did in the lounge that was nearly twice as big. However it was down and when it dried out in the morning wasn’t quite as bad as we first thought. 
You can see here where the pipes for the sink and electric for the island come up through in the places chosen. I will be building the island when I get home in November. 



We shuttered off the studio room as we wanted to re-arrange how the floors joined up which we did later by hand an with a gentle slope up to the studio floor. We were not able to get all the floors totally level as it would have meant taking another 30mm off the door height which is already low enough. 
To give a a level we are going to create a mat well by the door. This means we will have 20mm to play with using self leveling screed to bring the rest of the floor to a condition that we can tile onto. 
Just as a word of warning to others is that had I been thinking and measuring more carefully in the beginning I would have made the lounge floor 25mm lower to compensate for the low door in the kitchen but I am not a pro builder and it is fairly easy to put right. It is not as perfect as II would have liked but it is what it is and is fairly easy to remedy. 

It will be next year before I get round to screeding and tiling and in the meantime MrsB has put some jute matting down as a temporary measure to make it a bit more pleasing on the eye for the winter and the gang coming over for Christmas (our first one together in 6 years) 





Next up some plumbing. 

Making sense of the Windows

The windows and their story will make more sense when the big windows go in downstairs and I can get photo shot of the house full on from the back with the eyebrow windows showing as well. 
The photos dont always do it justice but in the flesh it makes sense and all the proportions work. 
There is some maths at work such as diameter of the arc of the upper terrace being exactly half of the width of the main terrace which is twice as high as the big downstairs window. It isn’t obvious because it isn’t square but it does seem to please the eye in real life. 
I have no idea where I learnt this sort of stuff but it might be something to do with a documentary I saw on the construction of the pyramids or it could have been working it out once at an old chateau that was having an open day, and me noticing the symmetrical similarity between the facade and the grounds. 
Who knows how we recover bits of stored info we have seen and thought “Hmm I see how they do that, or I get how that works and why my eye is being drawn in a particular direction, or how it just settles easy on the eye, and I will file that in my mind in case it ever comes in handy” 

It all comes back to the absolutely vital and crucial couple of years we spent planning and drawing it out on the mud floors. We were working out where the light would come from and how we would move around in the house and what spaces we wanted to perform what function for us and how the placement of doors and windows is crucial to that functionality.
As we begin to spend more time in the house we are reaping the benefits of the time we took during the design, and also our preparedness to adapt if we realised a better option was open to us.
Love and Peace

The Back Windows (well some of them)

So this is what the back windows have looked like since about 2009 when we put the roof on. 

Fitting actual windows hasn’t been a priority as there has been so much else to do but now we have lots of the insulation in the roof, and the front sealed up, and planning to have christmas in the kitchen this year we thought we should get them sorted .
If you go back a couple of pages you can see that we had the front windows bespoke made in traditional style for the 4 openings there however because of the proposed three pane design for the large back opening downstairs we decided we didn’t need the multi pane small windows, that way we could keep some balance and harmony to how it will look.
I have probably mentioned before that the big window upstairs and the big opening downstairs are in mathematical ratio to each other as are the smaller ones and the eyebrow ones. 
I think this gives a balance that is pleasing and easy on the eye, or at least will be when all finished and fitted and tidied up. 
The “end look” is an important factor when you are designing how the place will be, however you need to balance that with the functionality of the window and its effect on the interior in terms of placement and utility. That might sound a bit airy fairy but it is how we have approached every design phase of the project, with drawings and ideas changing hands until we agreed on a “look” and usability that we felt we could achieve and that suited our requirements for light and space and how we would live in each room. I admit that it is a lot to consider but it is proving to be worth the effort as the project enters the last half.

New window taken apart for a good rubbing down, filling and some extra coats of exterior undercoat.


Here was the gap they had to fit into


Just needesd some work with wood filler in some parts and a bit of chisel and rasp action in others 

And in she goes.
The green stuff is that frog tape seen advertised in UK as a more resilient and better quality masking tape. Seems to do the job very well and here is waiting for the first gloss coat.

Here are the other openings waiting for their windows


As a little treat we wondered what it would be like to lie in bed in the Shedroom (which is what we call the big upstairs room which has been built in homage to the sheds we live in and that you can see nestling beneath our oaks and cherries).

Nice view to wake up to (especially for our townie mates) and in the autumn and winter will give views to the distant hills (well distant gentle slopes rather than hills but I am sure you get the drift)

This is the one from lying in bed 

And this one sat on the end of the bed 


Here are the bottom two in and a bit of fine tuning with the planer to get the top one to fit going on 


Shedroom Fitted from the inside


And from outside


Downstairs left


And right 


What you are looking at here is the window openings when we first made them and just before we put the roof on. You can see the beams that support the Shedroom above


And here with the roof bits on and its first window box in 


This is what it looks like with the top window still in undercoat and the downstairs side windows in and glossed and the upstairs wood treated for the first time in 4 years .


Still have to seal them in properly and put sills on the top one etc but all in all should look alright when painted and the bottom one will mirror the top one except the two side panels will slide open.

It will make more visual sense when the big windows go in downstairs and I can get photo shot of the house full on from the back with the eyebrow windows showing as well. 
The photos dont always do it justice but in the flesh it makes sense and all the proportions work. 
There is some maths at work such as diameter of the arc of the upper terrace being exactly half of the width of the main terrace which is twice as high as the big downstairs window. It isn’t obvious because it isn’t square but it does seem to please the eye in real life. 
I have no idea where I learnt this sort of stuff but it might be something to do with a documentary I saw on the construction of the pyramids or it could have been working it out once at an old chateau that was having an open day, and me noticing the symmetrical similarity between the facade and the grounds. 
Who knows how we recover bits of stored info we have seen and thought “Hmm I see how they do that, or I get how that works and why my eye is being drawn in a particular direction, or how it just settles easy on the eye, and I will file that in my mind in case it ever comes in handy” 

It all comes back to the absolutely vital and crucial couple of years we spent planning and drawing it out on the mud floors. We were working out where the light would come from and how we would move around in the house and what spaces we wanted to perform what function for us and how the placement of doors and windows is crucial to that functionality.
As we begin to spend more time in the house we are reaping the benefits of the time we took during the design, and also our preparedness to adapt if we realised a better option was open to us.
Love and Peace

The curved bit of the terrace.

Now some people call it a patio, and some call it a terrace (pronounced the French way of tear-as (the tear as in to rip not to cry) ) and for some reason we have always referred to it as the terrace even though at first I thought it sounded a bit poncy for some reason, however I have become used to it so “terrace” it is and here is the story of the laying of the curved part.

MrsB had manufactured all the slabs (see a few posts ago) so once we had sorted out the “sub sleeper drain scenario” it was time to get on with laying the first part.


Never having laid anything like this before I just applied some common sense to the job and worked out out the levels with a bit of a slope running the water down towards the drain. After that gravity should sort it out 
We then set up the straight edge guide rails so we could lay a slab then move the straight edge on to check if it was near enough in the right place. 

We used a mix of 6 sand to one cement and put it in dry after soaking the ground underneath.

No doubt a pro could have made the scalpings higher and a more level finish, or might even use a completely different process, but this is how I have seen workmen laying pavement cobbles and pavement slabs before so figured it would work for this. 
We had to remember that this is the back terrace of our rustic cottage dwelling, not the polished marble entrance foyer to the Ritz, that said we didn’t want to bodge it .

(Ha ha :lol: does that sound like me making excuses for why it might be a bit uneven in places?? Ah well we love it. 8) 8) 


MrsB who had not only made the slabs by hand also selected the slabs shape and colour to be laid and I gently coaxed them into place with some grunts and a rubber mallet .

At the end of the day we went over it with a couple of full watering cans and left nature to do the rest. 


Whata cracking pair of working boots


Here is the first bit taken from above and we were already pleased with the result and our decision to have ago at making them ourselves 


You can start to see the way it is going to pan out with the variety of slab colour and design. 
It is probably not everyone’s cup of tea because some people are bit more” straight lines and right angles” and then again some of us are not, but then again not everyone has to come and drink tea on it.


Here is how it runs down to level with the top of the step and also level with the stones that disappear into garden level.

Here is a bit more after a soaking 



And when its dry


New slabs in manufacture 


And here is the final pieces just laid in by MrsB this week up to the outdoor fire/oven/bbq that is still under construction. (0The stones are where you would stand to cook.)


We are well chuffed with the result of the home made slabs. 
We have been now been recommended a product called Lanko241 which we will put on the slabs to seal them and MrsB has also slightly altered her production method, making more use of an old orbital vibrating sander after the initial pour to the moulds in order to release more trapped air bubbles and also using a water proofing compound in the mix. 

The production for the main terrace slabs is already underway and will continue through the winter when its warm enough so that we can get it laid in spring summer next year. 

All that’s left to do for the curved part is to bed in the drain cover and the jobs a good’un.


Next installment is the windows

A new addition to the Bentley clan’

Aye Aye landlubbers (and a fellow seafarer I notice as well) who may take the time to read my ramblings from time to time.
Just had a frantic but fantastic 7 week leave that involved 3 days in the UK at the start of it for a wedding party and buying a new motor car for MrsB
The car ended up as sort of compromise because where as I was looking for a reliable run about that was easy to park and reasonably comfortable for longish journeys and in a nice tasteful sort of dark blue colour, MrsB wanted something that had at least a three liter engine 4 wheel drive with 6 speed auto/tiptronic transmition and that went like shit of a shovel (her words I can assure you) if so desired.
Imagine both out delights at finding an Audi TT 3.2 Auto Quatro for a bargain price and we even managed to get a superb french sink thrown in with the deal.

I had to go back to the UK to pick it up after about 10 days of being at home and had an “enjoyable and somewhat invigorating” drive from a place called Battle down to Pompey via M25 and A3.

Although it is MrsBs car I must admit to driving it like I stole it every time I get behind the wheel and yet even in my most derring do devil may care moments, utilising all my years of experience behind the wheel (many of them above the recognised speed limit) this car just laughs at me as though to say “You Wanker!!!, is that the best you can do?? is the that your best shot??? Ha you feeble pussy”  So much so that I have taken to driving it reasonably sensibly on occasions just to show it who its bosses husband is. Oh yes that will teach it.  

It handles like no other car I have driven (and I have driven and owned some gems) and its road handling and acceleration are quite remarkable if so desired. It is, in short, a right fucking bundle of laughs to drive and I haven’t got out of it yet without a big grin pasted on my mug.
One of the madder thing is that even though some people we know have had a little “tut tut, what about the fuel costs” (not that we have asked anyone to put fuel in it for us) but it does loads more MPG than the pick up truck whom many would consider to be a very noble and fitting vehicle for a pair of scruffy renovators.
Ah well you cant win em all eh folks?
I am guessing that some people cant see past the gleaming body work and the 4 exhausts and the 3.2 badge but if they looked into my laughing glinting eyes as I was driving it or being driven by MrsB in it then they might understand why.
After the pick up for the last year or two it is like being someone who usually rides donkeys on the beach jumping up onto the back of a prancing frisky racehorse that just wants to gallop like a mad bastard everywhere. I know not everyone will like it (we don’t care) or even consider it worthy of a blog but it is the newest addition to the Bentley family and a very welcome, exciting and enjoyable one too.

Yer tis in all its glory

and then with all it’s glory in it as MrsB looking very glam takes it for a spin