house – day 224 – 226 – work cut short

Back at the house for another spell of DIY, I’d planned to do a five-day stint in an attempt to push things on. Unfortunately that prospect was cut short by an email flurry on Friday, resulting in me being asked to come into college on Monday, to do a software install on a bunch of machines. This isn’t great news. I’ve realised now that when you only do two or three days work in a row, you lose about half of the work time available, to getting started and wrapping up. Whereas, working for five days in a row, you’ll get four days of work done – only 20% of your time is wasted setting up and packing away. So now, we’ll just have to do what we can in the time available, but it means re-thinking what we had planned to do.

Fiona has completed painting the ceiling in the study and now I’m not sure if we have the colour of the frieze right, we’ll paint a section white and see what that looks like. I got on with more stripping, filing and sanding in the hall, whilst Fiona did more painting.


Fiona worked on the hall cornice and I started burning a lot of the scrap wood we’ve accumulated and the brushwood Phil cut down in the front garden. I know I should recycle it, but I haven’t the time to make a number of trips to the tip and it’s awful stuff to handle.

I’ve almost finished prepping the woodwork and walls around the stairs so I decided to make a start on the wooden window surround at the bottom of the stairs. This wood is covered in various layers of paint, in various thicknesses, some of it is built up into ridges. After a perfunctory go with a sander, I realised the most efficient way to deal with it, is to strip it. Damn, I’ve got to get the hot air gun out again.


On Sunday I burned the rest of the brushwood and rotten fence, I’ve cleared a lot of rubbish away, which is therapeutic. The woodwork around the hall window is now clear of paint and looks very nice, almost tempting to leave the wood – but it won’t fit in with our planned decor. Incidentally, the window ledge had previously been stripped and repainted – with a single topcoat of latex paint. Nothing in this house is consistent.

The newly installed toilet leaks. I thought it might, the spigot that connects to the soil pipe is not circular, it’s elliptical, it looks like it was squashed when it was soft clay before it was fired. It’s a manufacturing defect and it has to be replaced.

After watching the grand prix, I spent the rest of the day prepping the plaster arch which is a major feature of the hall. Like a lot of the plasterwork elsewhere in the house, it’s cracked, thanks to movement in the house. But it’s a little trickier to fix here than it is in other parts of the houses as the plaster is soft under the hard paint and we need to achieve a nice smooth curve with the repair. I think I managed to achieve a good result.

After clearing up and taking a couple of snaps, I set off back to the flat.

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