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Our Diary 2014

December 14
I thought we had resolved the problem but the bloody shower is still leaking! I can not work out where it is leaking so I will have to dismantle the whole unit and start again. Also, the bloody rooks have stripped the cables off the LEDs so I have had to cut away some of the strip and rewire it, but it is difficult to get a stable connection! We had two 16amp car chargers installed in the garage under a free government scheme so my electricity meters have been removed and I will no longer monitor the car's consumption. The nerd in me is dying. Unfortunately I found out that my mole was malignant so I am faced with another operation and possibly skin grafts so I will be out of action again for a while. I need to get as much done as I can before that operation, probably the end of January. We worked hard on the dining room and I eventually agreed that it would be easier to put down good quality laminate on top of the floor rather than real wood. Real wood apparantly a real wood floor isn't ideal for underfloor heating. So, I put down the floor, fixed the skirting and hung a door to the cupboard. Karen rubbed down and painted the window sill and also waxed and stained all the woodwork. The dining table and corner units were delivered so the dining room is now finished and looks really posh, just in time for Christmas :-)

Movember 14
Yes, I suffered a facial hair growth for the men's health charity, however it didn't stop us from working hard on the dining room. I installed some joists to span the gap and support the fan and then built a lowered ceiling with a shadow gap before plasterboarding the whole room and making the archway. Jason came in and plastered the room then Karen decorated while I fitted all the lighting. It does look very swanky and just needs a door on the cupboard and a new floor. After checking the pipes behind the shower were not leaking Karen cleaned and re-sealed the travatine tiles which has stopped the wall getting wet. They must have become pourous again so will probably need re-sealing again in the future. Unfortunately I could not do much more work on the house at the end of the month as I had a small op on my knee which meant I couldn't kneel down until the stitches were removed. Karen ordered the dining table which she has saved for and wanted for over a year.

October 14
This month I decided to finally start the job I have been putting off for months, taking down the dining room ceiling. It is great feeling when you finally start something and really get on with it. Unfortunately it revealed a few problems I was not expecting, what a surprise! As expected the old original beams were bowed and needed removing however I found that the new joists put in for the upstaris extensions did not span the whole room, leaving a gap directly under the warm air fan! Karen seeded the area outside the workshop although we know it is too late for the grass to grow. Also, after weeks of no hot water, we finally arranged for the emersion heater to be replaced. However, the shower in the en-suite is leaking and the wall is getting wet. I cleaned and re-siloconed the edges but this hasn't helped which is very confusing.

September 14
I finally put up some oak shelves in my study which I had planned to do at the beginning of the year. Karen ordered a jasmine which we planted up against the workshop wall after I had put some trellis up to support it. I installed the remaining lights including the LED strip however we had snagged one of the lighting cables when we filled the planter with soil so I had to dig part of it out to replace it, what a pain. Karen covered the planter with bark so now the right hand side of the new patio is basically finished. Unfortunately we have missed the best of the evening weather to enjoy the lighting but it is still nice to sit there during the day when we get time. We, including Emma, spent a lot of time digging over the piles of soil to remove all the stones and roots then used it to raise the levels beside the path and spa room patio. We must have filtered and moved about 8 tonnes of soil before covering the area in grass seed. I finished the cupboard under the stairs so the hoover and recycling finally have a home again.

August 14
I continued grouting, this time concentrating on the path in front of the workshop before moving on to the slabs which have been laid so far outside the hot tub. I have sealed all stone that has been laid so far but the results aren't as good as I had hoped, however it should prevent the paths from staining in the future. Karen continues to maintain the gardens, mowing areas of the overgrown field and keeping on top of the borders. We spent a day filtering the pile of soil outside the workshop and filled the final planter before planting the phormiums. The area is almost finished now. I also spent a little bit of time working on the cupboard under the stairs which backs onto the cupboard in the dining room. That is the next main project to get finished.

July 14
While Karen was in Germany on a school trip I built a set of simple wooden steps for the spa. Jason started laying slabs outside the hot tub while I installed more cabling for the lighting system. I grouted the circle and path behind gamesroom using a great product called Geofix All Weather. While I was away for a weekend Karen bought phormiums and planted them in one of the planters around the circle and covered it with bark. I later installed the LED strip to finish that planter and finally got around to replacing the tiles on the floor in the spa room and installed a new frosted glass screen. We cleared the things stored in the gameroom, like the glass blocks, so we could finally play pool again.

June 14
June started the way May finished, work continuing mainly on the patio and garden. More lights were installed, including a strip of LEDs in the ferns, and the area between the planters was cleared by Karen before she planted the bamboo. We have a very busy month so there will not be the amount of progress we would hope. I used some old hardboard, taken up from the front bedroom years ago, to create templates for the slabs that go around the edge of the patio circle. Jason came over and cut the slabs using the templates. These were laid and we finally put out the furniture which we had stored in the gamesroom for months.

May 14
The planter was finally rerendered so Karen rubbed it down and painted it again along with the wall. Jason and I laid the concrete base in circle outside spa room with inserts ready for the uplights. He laid the sandstone planks on path behind gamesroom and more slabs in circle while I installed the lighting around the workshop and set up the water feature. I did more work on the dining room, electrics and plasterboard and created the alcoves. We looked at a table for the dining room on the way to Donington and cleared the room ready to pull down the ceiling. Cleared the patio ready to clear the area ready to begin the next part of the new design. Karen fighting annual war against grass and I cleaned the conservatory and walls which were not done for two years. On the last day of May we were given some old mirrored doors which we have been hung on the wall to form part of the contemporary feel we want.

April 14
When we got back from our 10th anniversary road trip to Portugal Jason came over and laid the path in front of the workshop. The tulips I planted for Karen were out so the area looks fantastic. We also started the path behind the games room and started laying limestone slabs in the circle after repositioning the water feature reservoir. I continued working on the dining room. After our trip we decided to create some lit alcolves and a drop ceiling. This will make things a bit more difficult and will take longer, but it should look great when it is finished.

March 14
Jason came over to help dismantle the ceiling of the kitchen, which was the original felt lined flat roof. It took a day to remove the plasterboard, rafters and bitumen covered roofing board. After tidying up the electrics we then cross battened the ceiling and put up new plasterboard. Cleaning up the dust every weekend is becoming tedious! The next weekend I continued to build up the new wall to the dining room and sort out the electrics. I also cut out plasterboard in the dining room ready to support the upstairs while we remove the beam. Meanwhile Karen got out into the front garden to tidy up during the first nice day of the year. The next day, even though Karen felt unwell, we topped and trimmed the laurel hedge and removed the chicken wire fencing. At the end of the month hot tub was delivered. It was a major operation to get the unit into the hot tub involving the farmer with his telehandler, Rodney, myself and the three people who were supposed to install it.

February 14
The rain continues and the staining under the bedroom window is getting worse. I have sealed between the lead flashing and the window ledge. I then continued with the dining room removing the wall in the hallway, the boxing under the stairs and back wall of the cupboard. Unfortunately there are more complications as one of the wooden beams of the wall in the hall is supporting some of the first floor rafters. I replaced the supporting beam and pulled up the flooring to cut out sections ready to build the dining room wall. The replacement metal supporting beam was delivered so we now need to remove the kitchen ceiling ready to install it.

January 14
The weather is so wet that it is impossible to do any work outside but it also means we have had to postpone the delivery of the swim machine because the telehandler would churn up the saturated ground. We are now waiting for things to dry out a bit before we can re-arrange delivery. In preparation however I fixed the waterproof power socket to the wall, sealed all the tile edges with silicone and we dismantled the shower glass block wall in the hot tub, a very depressing things to have to do as it had been so well built by Jason. As we could not do any work outside I had bookshelves delivered for the study and we got cracking with the dining room only to find more problems that need to be rectified. We also had some driving rain at the beginning of the month which not only pushed water up under the bedroom window and made all the plaster wet, it also ran down the celotex and onto the ceiling of the lounge leaving a long brown stain. It seems the builders who built the upstairs extension did not seal under the window! Karen also noticed that the inside of the wood store under the fire is also drenched. No idea where that water is coming from! Oh yes, and a bloody mouse is digging up and eating all the bulbs I planted outside the workshop!