Week 60

Not long to go now. Three weeks until we move in.  There hasn’t been a light bulb lit yet which is worrying, but they’re all getting wired in at least.

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sorting narrow from wide beam

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hooray for lights in the upstairs hallway
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family room lights/James’ new digs
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Where do these go, Jimbo?
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fancy floor lights under the stairs
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cill lights in the kitchen

But the biggest thing this week was saying goodbye to the old garage. It put James out of a home and his new office is now sitting in pieces in the family room. He doesn’t really sit at his desk very much now that we’re coming up to the close–lots of managing lots of trades all the time. I’m sooooo glad to see the garage go. What a beast! Jamie says the beams were in excellent nick which is surprising given the decrepit state of the rest of the structure: cracks in the floor, leaky roof, cracks in the brickwork. It’s main problem was that it sat right on the sweet spot for the garden. When our future selves are sitting out on the new patio with a cold drink in hand, we’ll shake our heads and remember it fondly, I’m sure!

We had the happiest labourer ever onsite this week. John, I think he was called, and he was a luck-of-the-draw-from-an-agency bloke. I guess he was used to working in London where these guys are normally tasked with horrible jobs like moving supplies up and down 7 flights of stairs a gazillion times on a given day in the middle of summer, so this surely seemed a picnic in comparison. When James and Jamie allowed him to drive the dumper around and get involved in the garage demo, well, he was just over the moon! Like a total kid, smiling all day long, as if he were hiding in a candy store at Christmas, not doing a day’s work around on a building site with big machinery. It’s a pleasure to have him onsite and his enthusiasm was totally contagious.

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roof’s off
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3 lorry loads to remove most of it
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by the end of the week, even the concrete base was gone

Inside, some final pieces are coming together. In preparation for the fireplace installation next week, the electricians put the wires through the ceiling towards where the sockets will live for the hi-fi. These wires will get boxed in, and it’s lovely that they’re away from all the scary heat from the stove area. Dave’s done drawings, so everyone knows what the finished product will look like.

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wires ready for boxing

Additional boxing will be put on the other side of the room to hide the gas pipe. We put this in to future proof any requirement for gas in the room. Like if we wanted to change our lovely wood-burner to gas if it was too hot for instance. Or if we just wanted a change. Originally this pipe wouldn’t have been in the way because we’d intended to cover this area with a low set of built-in units. But with (more than a few) changes in design, this pipe got a little orphaned. Boxing is not a great position to be in, it smacks of afterthought, but it’s the best solution we’ve got at the moment.

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orphaned gas pipe

The plumbers are making their way round the bathrooms. The WC was transformed from Box to Room over the course of the week.

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Lots more to think about outside. Like clearing,….

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earth – (and) – child

We’ve got to decide if we want to spend the extra cash on swapping the porch soffits from painted ply to oak tongue and groove.  What do you think?

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porch: ply or T&G?
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more soffit decisions

More work was done on the brick slips, and they’re all finished now–hooray! Thanks Clive. A bit of fancy mortar and we’re done.

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front slips are in
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still getting large deliveries….

Work on the bridges is looming. We’ve got a design through from the engineers, and it looks like we’ll be able to drive the space shuttle across them they’re designed so robustly (is that a word?). I’m not sure we need something so bomb-proof. There’s is a ton of extra hardcore to get rid of, so we can use that to fill, and I’ve still got lots of 450 mm diameter corrugated plastic pipe to use too. I’m sure James and Jamie are sick to death of moving it around site anyway. It’s turned a little Where’s Wally with these dang pipes.

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450 mm pipes

It was half term this week, and I must say a big thank you to the kids for being so great and leaving Mummy alone to get on with site visits, curtain choosing, counting pennies on spreadsheets, and generally being preoccupied. They should be getting on with GCSE and A-level revision anyway, right? We did manage to get out and about one day, the highlight being a great big Surrey snail round Ranmore Common (we’re very easy to please). Sadly the ice cream van had scarpered due to impending summer storms which we managed to dodge. I’m very grateful to the kids for being so self-sufficient. I definitely owe them some cakes when this is done!

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I’ve put this one in here because Dad might like the digger-as-sundial on a weekend when there’s nothing going on onsite.


4 thoughts on “Week 60

  1. There’s always something to learn from these posts. Pareto thoughts have now entered my vocabulary — a broadly applicable concept (assuming projects ever approach an end). Less than three weeks until moving day?! I hope Pareto takes a vacation.

    The past couple of weeks have been exciting, not only seeing things start to button up but also to see the testing of the heating and lighting systems, the flexibility of the crew, and the videos of the demo. The digger-as-sundial was fun — I’d been using the light through your back windows up to now. Next time, though, have the digger point north instead of west — authenticity, you know. But the most fun was watching the garage disappear. I hope they can reuse the materials.

    Hang in there!


    1. Would be great if we saw some lighting system tests! That’s one of the hangups at the moment. I was all geared up to see lights on yesterday, but the electricians didn’t arrive onsite. I know we’re a small fish for their business, but it’s now holding everything up, like commissioning the kitchen and installing the burglar alarm.

      I learned a lot about sundials recently from an unlikely source: a podcast called S-Town. It’s loosely a story about a horologist, but more of a story about the value of time. I think. Deeply weird, but enjoyable. I shall think about which way the diggers point with respect to sundials in future: a) there will be more diggers in the coming months as we finish the outside areas, and b) with London being so historically significant and so close to the meridian, that finding a suitable sundial built for this latitude and longitude and having a good gawp at it should be a doddle. Something to pursue after practical completion….


  2. Okay, so your videos this week were absolutely satisfying to watch. I love watching the systematic demolition. It was cool to see cheery John make such quick work of those walls – so fast that the camera only picked up the resulting cloud of dust. Pretty fun.

    Onward toward the finish!!

    (and there’s got to be some sort of punny joke about you seeing the light soon…)


    1. You’d think the demolition would show up as a gradual thing over the course of the day: brick by brick, disappearing slowly… But no, it’s more wham bam and all that. I was surprised too!

      And light, tunnels, etc? Ha ha, yes… if only!


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