house – day 217 – 220 – a helping hand

I brought more office stuff back from the flat and got one of the printers up and running, now we can get admin work done, it’s been piling up. I also got started on the woodwork in the hall, it’s not in great condition and there’s a lot more of it to prep than I first thought.

My mate Phil has decided to take a break from his dreary day job and is going to give us a hand with the house this weekend, he’s arriving on Saturday. We’ve got plenty of painting for him to do and he says he’s looking forward to coming down to the coast. We’re making it a social occasion and will be going to the oyster place for a meal on Saturday night – his reward.


He duly turned up early on Saturday morning, as did Fiona’s brother, who woke up the town when he arrived on his Harley. He stayed for a short while and then left for the other side of town (we could hear him). I put Phil to work prepping the woodwork in the study and I carried on sanding staircase parts.

Once Phil had the woodwork prepped – a lot of it scraped clean of paint, he decided to have a go cutting back the overgrowth at the front of the house – a reprise of the work he did earlier in the year. Once he’d cleared a good deal of it (there’s still more to do), the front garden looked a lot larger, but now we have a big pile of twigs, leaves and branches to get rid of at the back of the house. Happy with a bit of hard physical labour, Phil went back inside to paint the walls of the study and in the meantime I carried on sanding woodwork, it’s not looking good, it’s getting worse the more old paint I remove.

In the evening we had an excellent meal, came back home and drank way too much of my single malts – thankfully one of them was unpopular, so I still have some left.


Today, I realised that some of the wood work was beyond redemption. It was an amalgam of hacked-away original timber moulding, filler, putty, crudely-cut timber and cheap paint – and it had to go. I levered the crap wood off and removed the fretwork balusters, which were badly painted and proving impossible to clean up. Once this woodwork was removed, it looks like decorating the staircase is going to be a much more manageable job, although I now need to buy new spindles and base rail. At least you can buy pre-primed stuff, which will eliminate some painting.

After doing some more painting in the study, Phil went home. His work has really helped to move things on, also having someone else around the house whilst we were working has been a great boost for us.


On Monday morning, Fiona left to stay with her mum overnight and I went off to get the staircase bits I need plus some moulded timber I think I’ll need to trim the top and bottom of the stairs.

A few days ago, we ordered the remaining blinds we need for our windows and they arrived last week and now we’ve got a couple more rooms decorated and I was able to install half a dozen more. We’ve got lightweight roller blinds for the bathroom, shower room and toilet to provide a little more privacy and I installed those too. They’ll need pelmets as the fittings don’t look very appealing.

In the evening, I went back to the flat, I’m back at college tomorrow. Much better progress this weekend, albeit thanks to a 50% increase in the labour force.

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