house – day 36 – cold Good Friday

It’s now Easter and, although it’s officially spring, it might as well be deepest winter. It feels as if the weather has always been very cold. It makes it even more difficult to drag oneself out of bed to go back to the house to undertake more of that most thankless of necessary tasks – stripping wallpaper. All you have, once you’ve finished, are bare walls, sore arms and a pile of damp, smelly crap stuck to the floor. But at least after that you are able to get on with the work you really want to get done.

On the way, we had to pick up more wall scouring implements, so we got there later than we wanted. First job when we arrived, was to hop up the scaffolding to check on progress. The chimney has gone, to be replaced by roof tiles, I don’t think it’s finished as we have roof repairs to be completed, but, it certainly looks like progress.

Meanwhile,  in the kitchen, ancient plumbing has been removed and more old floor covering lifted and chucked, revealing the real floor of the pantry which comprises a two-tone diamond pattern  of quarry tiles.  We didn’t know they were there, so my first job will be to lift the tiles before any more demolition work occurs round here. I think they’ll make a great hearth in the rear reception room. A little gift from the past.

Back to the real work, finishing off the refilled socket holes, removing the floor liner staples and scraping off the wallpaper in one of the front bedrooms. It’s vinyl paper, which peels off, leaving its paper backing. Unfortunately, under this is a layer of emulsion paint and under that are at least two layers of quite thick distemper. It looks like we’ll have to scrape the walls at least three times to get back to the plaster. Steam helps, as do the new metal scrapers, but we only have one steamer so progress is slow. A two-person team seems to produce the fastest results, one steaming, the other scraping (guess who does the scraping). We’ll get another steamer, they’re pretty cheap nowadays and it’s time we’re short of.

At sunset we had to stop, apart from the increasing darkness – we’ve only one worklight – it gets cold very quickly. Time to leave. A bit more progress today, but it never seems we’ve done enough. Looks like the entire Easter hols will be spent in the front bedroom.

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