addendum to my last update at thetrevproject

Louise reminded me we have some old photos in Photobox of very near the original state of our entrance. They show the transformation quite well. So we went from this

That’s me thinking where the hell do we start

  

to this

We haven’t finished yet but its quite a transformation.

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End of April at thetrevproject

First of all we have moved into the 21st century. We have FTTP (fibre to the premises) superfast broadband now. We can now experience Netflix, catch-up TV, etc. Our speeds are fantastic, in excess of   100 Mbs  download and 20 Mbs upload but very variable at the moment. Having said that we have had BT to site several times recently to deal with slow broad band. We currently have two lines to the premises, one for the main house and one for the cottage. The second line may be discontinued if we can beam a signal to the cottage or run a cable over. Interestingly every engineer seems to diagnose the problem slightly differently but none comes up with the complete solution. I have to say the UK call centres are sooo much better than the Indian call centres and they actually listen to you and then address the issues.

I was very surprised to get FTTP as there are only 3 houses in our road one of which doesn’t have broad band. I wonder if all the letters to our MP and local councillor worked, or, is Superfast Cornwall using up the European money quickly before it is stopped?

It is just as well we have fast broad band as we have no 4g system at the moment. Some idiot has vandalised to local mast or probably more correctly sabotaged it. It’s not an isolated incident several masts nearby have been done. devon and Cornwall constabulary are investigating.

On to the house project what has happened building wise?

The renderers came and finished off around the windows and put a coat on the porch. So now we only need a top coat on the porch and the rendering is finished. I like the natural lime colour which changes with the weather becoming slightly darker when wet.

Inside we have smartened up the little bedroom and the guest bedroom a bit. Appearances can be deceptive and one mustn’t look too closely at the decorations but Louise is a brilliant home designer. We now have somewhere to keep our old lp records as well. I wonder if any of them are collectors’ items.

  

Mainly I have been working outside and mainly on the polytunnel. Most of the work I do myself although I did have help to fit the polythene sheet which need at least 2 people, I had help from Louise and Josh. You also need a calm day. Sods law says that the wind got up just as we pulled the sheet over the frame which was fun. It was gusting so we cracked on and got the sheet on. It was a bit rushed and so not perfect but certainly quite good. The tunnel is up and running and achieved 20 plus degrees very quickly so ventilation is key. I have a cunning plan about that but more in a later post.

The tunnel build was challenging due to the topography of the site. The tunnel is good and functional but if I were to build a second one it would be very much better.

    

I have also installed guttering on the shed and reused an old water butt to get water for the tunnel #sustainablegardening. That project has a long way to go and the installation is quite rough at the moment.

The picture reminds me – no bats in this bat house yet but the swallows have returned so its summer!!!

The tunnel is already in use with several veges planted in the ground and seeds on my seed table. I also have installed a gutter at chest height filled with compost and planted with salad leaves. The idea is easy picking and slug/snail free fresh salad. The tunnel also has its own fledgling instagram account ollys_poly. I aim to keep a photographic record of my produce there.

We had an incident of fly tipping outside the house at the weekend. I went to check the rubbish and being a rural area you find strange things in the rubbish. In this case there was an old gun in the rubbish. I think it was an old bolt action 4:10 shot gun which was very rusty and clearly hadn’t been used for many, many years. I called the police and they took the gun and disposed of it.

Oh I almost got through a post with no mention of the weather. This puddle in the lane behind the house has dried up. It was there constantly from the end of September to mid-April!

thetrevproject April

Sorry to bang on about weather but what a differnce a couple of weeks makes in the weather. When I last wrote I was talking about snow. Now we are experiencing spring. Daffodils are out, primroses are out, some trees are sprouting green and of course the slugs and snails are out.

Snail on Google Android 8.1Snail on Google Android 8.1

Add to that temperatures in double figures and a couple of days of dry weather – happy days.

Well the main news from thetrevproject is the Trevelyan family gathering. We had 21 adults for lunch 2 days in a row. The first day we squeezed 3 tables into the dining room and had a sit down 2 course meal including vege option. Supper was a cheese and biscuit buffet. Day 2 was a barbecue but the weather (there I go again) was not the best so only the barbecuers were outside. At the weekend we had 3 extra house guests and an extra dog. My elderly Mum stayed on a week and then Louise’s Mum came to stay. So the house is starting to fulfil its purpose as a place of hospitality.

So building wise what has happened?

We a major break through in the last couple of days – the missing shutters have arrived and been installed. It would have been great to have them in the cold weather in the 3 windows that they go in to keep in some heat but better late than never. The order for the window maintenance was placed 10 months ago!  Now the most important shutters are the ones in our bedroom. No shutters or curtains was ok in the winter but now the sun rises early so we get woken by the light. (We have no houses or roads visible from our bedroom so no privacy issues but the cows get an eyeful every night.) The bedroom shutters are actually originally from the living room. They could not be reused in the living room as the window profile was changed by the builders. As the shutters were listed we re-used them in the bedroom and put new ones in the living room.

The other development was that my poly tunnel which was delivered in the rain has started to be constructed. Our location is very windy so a standard poly tunnel was not an option so we had to go for a more substantial build. I have loved the construction so far. Of course there were challenges especially with the anchor posts. I think I may have found an old wall under 3 of the posts judging by the way the stones appeared . So digging through 30 cm of stone kept me digging for a while but I got there in the end. Also had to dodge the rain whilst doing the digging and putting in the concrete bases. So far all the construction has been solo but there will be some team work before the end.

Mid February at thetrevproject

Well we are mid February and the broad band hasn’t improved,in fact it has got worse. Plain white BT vans have been seen in the vicinity and the occupants claimed to be surveying for new fibre lines. This is not on our branch of the line but the surveyor thought we might be included in the upgrade, since we are literally the end of the line it will be a significant achievement for BT/Openreach to get to us.  You have to laugh though as this is all EU funded and Cornwall voted overwhelmingly leave.

Rant over what has been going on at thetrevproject. I continue as a multiskilled technician, or should that be Jack of all trades, we all know how that rhyme goes. Just in the last 2 days I have been painter, turfer and chain saw operator.

We have finally had a couple of dry days and a full day of sun.

Today for the first time this year I was looking for ward to going rowing in the sun, guess what, cancelled due to sea conditions . What we have had weather wise is a sprinkle of snow and a hell of a lot of hail – up to 6 hail showers a day. The photo is below is hail not snow.

One of the good things about rain though is occasionally you get fantastic rainbows.

We have had a couple of small updates in the cottage. Fitting a weather strip in the window in the bedroom. Its weird but we had to fit an inward opening window as the wall is our boundary (Building Regs). The trouble is that when the rain blew directly on it the water came in, hopefully now it won’t. We also fitted a fan heater in the shower room as it is freezing in the early morning in there and there is no room for a radiator or heated towel rail #compactliving.

The really big thing from a builder perspective was the removal of the rubble. This took a couple of days and was achieved with a digger and a tractor and trailer, cheaper I believe.

The rubble was taken somewhere an hour and a quarter away. We can now park beside the road on some hardcore and NOT on the mud. It is across the road from the house but we only have about six cars and a tractor a day past here. Its not actually clear who owns the land we are parking on but I think it probably is part of the high way, but then who owns the highway?

I had to call the builders back to replace three more rotten lintels. Two of which had been painted over by the joiner doing the windows. He says its not part of his job but I still think he should have flagged the issues.  The third one was down to the builders they changed a door upstairs in the garage and failed to spot a lintel which was as hard as a sponge. It was a freezing day when they did it but still they should have spotted it.

We had a force 8 easterly gale this week which blew the rain directly on to the sash windows which weren’t brilliant at keeping the rain out. So our joiner had to make a visit to do some modifications.He claims that part of the problem is the lack of render in some areas of the window reveal (see previous posts for explanation of why the render has not been completed).  We still only have 1 set of the 4 sets of shutters required but there is a dispute going on about payment for these. I wont pay until I get the shutters and he wont deliver the shutters without payment.

I have  decorated the bathroom and toilet with the exception of the woodwork. It was tricky painting round pipes etc but I love a challenge. I started in the 2 smallest rooms because I want to be able to say I have achieved something.  The rooms are a bit of a contrast – walls in cheap Wilko paint and woodwork in Dulux Eggshell Timeless which is not only not cheap but is very difficult to get hold of. Most places only sell Pure Brilliant White Eggshell and if they do sell Timeless it is only in 750ml tins.

I have also turfed the other half of the entrance way. It was fun, the turf arrived on Wednesday and it rained ALL day and was windy and cold. As and aside the turf man cannot find any young people who are prepared to work as turfers because it is too hard. The latest young recruit started Monday but called in sick Wednesday – the weather maybe. I laid the turf Friday but couldn’t lay it all first thing as some rolls were frozen solid. I had to wait until midday to be able to roll it out – but Fred loves it and supervised the laying.

I will just finish off with a picture of a fire burning up all the rotten lintels. You can’t beat a good fire to cheer you up.

 

16th update December at thetrevproject

  • This week it’s all about wind and rain and hence inevitable mud!  Yes whilst “upcountry” people were enjoying early snow and sledging we were being battered by wind and rain, we did get some frost but not any hard frosts.

60 70 mph gusts inevitably test the fabric of your premises. We survived pretty much ok with one branch dropping on the fence and damaging it. The portaloo blew over once so we put some breeze blocks in it and it shifted across the yard about 4 metres.

  

We did have a substantial tree down in a local lane. It was cleared up by a local farmer and the Council arrived 5 days later to put up some blocked road signs. To be fair they were busy and are very strapped for cash.

The main wind issue was that we lost power at 4.00 am one morning due to a snapped high voltage line post. Despite the post being in the middle of a field Western Power Distribution had power restored by 9:00 – lucky because we had builders, plumbers and roofers on site and vans everywhere. The advantage of using a slightly bigger building firm like G A Wildish is that they turned up with a petrol generator so if we had no power they would still have been able to work. It has highlighted vulnerability in our system though.

No power =no water or heating as well.

Having said that our new pressurised water system is brilliant when it works apart from the fact that the pump is a bit noisy. We have now realised why our shower is called a “rain shower”.

Due to the wind and rain we didn’t get our wood burner installed because it was too dangerous to go up the scaffolding to drop the new liner down the chimney. All being well that will be done Tuesday.

So why am I prevaricating in this blog – you guessed it we didn’t finish on Friday. We made substantial progress but there will be builders on site on Monday. Just a few bits of finishing off to do for the builders but we have a day’s work for the plumbers and at least half a day for the electricians to do. Plus our joiner helpfully said on Friday he wouldn’t be back on Monday but probably on Tuesday.

We have however got heating throughout the house now. That is a significant upgrade as only half the house had heating previously.  So we have enhanced the house (and increased our oil bill accordingly).

We also now have 2 bathrooms and 3 toilets in the house so finally Louise and I have an ensuite to ourselves. The second bathroom has a shower bath and sink with a separate toilet (due to have a temporary connection on Monday). The toilet will eventually have its own sink. The toilet is a slight issue as there is a window directly behind it so a toilet with a high level flush has to have a side cistern. Soak.com who supplied have not been very helpful trying solve this little challenge and Adrian our foreman is going to plumb it temporarily in plastic on Monday.

We also have all but 1 of the windows back in place. We await with baited breath the return of the landing window. Sadly although it this was the window with the most historic interest it was also the most rotten and had to be almost totally rebuilt.

Before they left the builders cleaned the slate floors with a mixture of linseed oil and white spirit. The wisdom of this is debatable to say the least but it has restored the colour and finish to the slates even if it does smell. You can only use “it smells like cricket bats in summer” so many times before it gets annoying. On Saturday I spent a couple of hours with a cloth removing the excess oil that refused to dry up on the slates.

We were able to set up the new dining room for Christmas.

So on Monday, seven days before Christmas we are expecting the builders and windows and wood burner installation on Tuesday.

 

Phase 1 of thetrevproject is complete – well sort of.

We are feeling quite bullish about our project at the moment.

 

This week we discovered  nice wooden floor in the living room which was a nice surprise. We were expecting to find a chipboard floor like the one in the new kitchen when we removed the old carpet. The fact that we found it is an indicator of progress, it means we are starting clear up.

We were promised that phase 1 would be complete by the end of September. Well it is  and it isn’t. Today the 2nd of October we have 2 builders on site clearing up and phase 1 is sort of finished.

Just a reminder about phase 1 and 2. The house is “L” shaped and phase 1 is the major part of the work which is the foot of the L. Phase 1 involved renovating 3 bedrooms, 2 reception rooms and an ensuite as well as the creation of a new downstairs loo. Oh and the repair of 5 sash window (listed building consent requirement) and the small matter of some major steel work to run alongside rotting or wood worm infested beams (again listed building consent requirement).

So where are we:-

Structural work – completed

New ensuite almost there – we just need a drain in the basin

Bedrooms complete – just need decorating and windows

New kitchen – complete apart from commissioning of range cooker booked for Friday

Downstairs loo – complete apart from extract fan

Windows – all still outstanding

 

The plan is, plumbers come today,  we get the first 2 windows back on Wednesday, cleaners come in Thursday and we move in Friday – that will be only a week behind target.

So we completed on time, well sort of yes, but really no. We still have to render two outside walls and we took most of the decorating out of the spec. This is an old house built with mud as mortar in one of the wettest parts of the UK only about 2.5 miles from the sea so we plan to leave the walls bare and dry the house out, once the heating is commissioned on Friday, for several months before we apply paint etc.

As a taster for what we are looking at there is a short video tour of the kitchen here (this video is unedited and one take so forgive the quality please):-

Also this week I have made progress with the slug barrier in the veg patch by almost completing a hard core path around 2 sides of the veg patch and laid some turf in the entrance from the road.

Phase 2 doesn’t need much in the way of structural work (so far as we know) so it will hopefully be a bit quicker than the first phase. Lets hope so we would like to be builder free by Christmas.

 

 

bank Holiday update no 1

Oh you may have noticed I have been a bit quiet on here recently so here is a little video to show some of the progress. Its basically a whistle stop tour of phase 1 upstairs. We are assured this will be completed by end of September so exciting times ahead.

As you can see from the end of the video its been fantastic weather here in Cornwall this weekend and its due to continue tomorrow. Look at Talland Bay on Friday.