house – day 51 – burn-out

It’s going to be the hottest day of the year today – which, given the weather we’ve had so far, isn’t necessarily saying very much – so we’re going to go to the house and open it up to let in some warmer air and let out the place dry out a little. As it’s been so cold for such a long time and we’ve been using steamers, mixing cement, spilling water, etc, the house is quite humid. Materials are drying and setting very slowly. First, though, we’ll watch the China F1 Grand Prix as it’s live on the BBC.

After the race we headed out. There was a bank of cloud in front of us all the way there, but when we parked, the sun was out, the air was warming up and there was a stiff breeze blowing. We opened all the doors and windows in the house (well, the ones we still have) and a warm breeze was soon blowing through the house. Coming inside from the balmy weather outdoors, it was very noticeably cold and damp in the house, let’s hope the wind can improve this.

The new steelwork is in finished. It looks like it would have been a tricky job to move the beam into place. More of the windows have been bricked up too. There’s more wallpaper up in front bedroom. It looks like the prep work is almost complete. Looking at the steelwork, I think it will be a mistake to raise the floor of the kitchen as the RSJ is quite deep and lowers the ceiling where it crosses the kitchen by a significant amount. Although there will be enough headroom, I think it will look claustrophobic. I now believe we should take the more expensive route and dig the floor out, making the back level with the front. I’ll talk to Chris about it.

First job for me is to repair the woodwork in the back bedroom, whilst the builders aren’t working there. I’ve salvaged pieces of skirting board and picture rail to fill in gaps and to replace wonky bits. It took a couple of hours, and it looks pretty OK. Even though the picture rail came from the same room, it doesn’t exactly match what’s there (it’s close enough though). Another mystery, why should one wall’s rail be different from the rest? Seems typical for this house, we should be used to it by now. Meanwhile, Fiona got to work cleaning up the floors, removing tacks and staples left behind after removing the old floor coverings.

I got to work stripping a third door, the back bedroom door. I thought I’d start on the trickier side that has a lot of paint ridges from where it was once boarded over. It’s slow work as the old paint is very gooey, it doesn’t really melt, it just gets a softer. I think this will need quite a lot of sanding afterwards. Fiona finished clearing the floors and started clearing crap out of the garden – broken masonry, seashells, pottery shards etc. There’s stuff like this scattered all over.

I was hoping to complete one side of the door before we left, but with about a fifth of one side left to clear, the hot air gun stopped. I hoped it was merely a thermal cut-out to protect the motor. I left it to cool, whilst I made some more measurements and took a few snaps of the recent progress. But it wouldn’t restart. Bugger, another tool to replace, I’ll pick one up tomorrow on my way to the house.

So we cleaned up and packed up as best we could, and as it was still a fine warm day, went to the beach to enjoy a brief bit of sun, before going back to the flat.