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.



Spaced out at thetrevproject

We are just about to enter a very exciting phase in the renovation.  By the end of next week the cottage should be occupied so there will be some exciting photos next week.

Meanwhile we are spaced out  or  more correctly out of space.

One of the things about living in a house while it is being renovated is the mess but the biggest issue is space. Where do you put everything??? We have a 5 bedroom house with only 2 bedrooms usable – we have cleared 3 rooms as the floors had to be replaced and the walls had to be skimmed. Add to that we have Kate and Josh’s 2 bedroom house to accommodate as well. And we have toys for one year old twins so our living room looks like this.

Plus we have 2 kitchens and 2 bathrooms to accommodate as we ordered them based on a building schedule that had to be put back several weeks due to structural issues.

So what do we do with all that stuff? Basically we cram is in where we can so the garage is stuffed to the gunnels. This includes several boxes we brought from Braintree in October which we have never opened. The video below gives some idea of what the garage is like – after we have removed the cottage kitchen and bathroom fittings.

This created a challenge for the delivery of our new Heritage Range cooker. You can see below that the guys had milimetres to spare in some of the gaps between the new kitchen which is currently stored in the hallway.

They were amazing, their system of boards and rollers enabled them to wheel in the cooker in just a few minutes. The first floor tiles are down for the cooker to stand on. They are Fired Earth Orient Travertine tiles which is a kind of limestone – we wanted a stone floor which isn’t as dark as slate.

The cooker is now in place but you will have to wait for the big reveal to see what colour it is. 😜



Late July update from thetrevproject

So what has happened recently. Well….

The Lions drew a test series in New Zealand

England won the World Cup (women’s cricket)

Chris Froome won a 4th Tour de France – will he make into Sports Personality of the Year, probably not.

Oh yeah and what has happened to the Trev Project?

We have a load more stuff in the house as Josh and I went up to Widnes, hired a large van and brought all their stuff back to Trev. Most of it went in the garage but we are certainly very short of space now.  We now have 4 adults and 2 eleven month old twins living in half a house with only one temperamental toilet and a single bath. Its fun but I hope we get some more space soon.

Good news is that some stuff has moved out of the garage – the kitchen for Marler Cottage ready for fitting  so it was moved into the cottage and we could shoe horn Church Street Widnes in to the garage. Yes that means we are starting to put things back together again. The kitchen is going in the walls are painted, we have door and we have ordered an oil tank. We won’t make the completion by the end of July but we are hoping that a week into August the cottage will be habitable.

In the main house we have a floor in bedrooms 2 and 3. The floor is nice new pine, we looked at reclaimed floorboards but they were too expensive and we couldn’t find enough any way. The boards were kept in the room for  a week to acclimatise before being used. I did not realise how much work is involved laying a floor. Every board has to be racheted into place to ensure a tight fit and clasp nails hammered in by hand, no nail guns. There was the odd expletive from builders as they hammered fingers.

The walls are plastered  in the ensuite and we have a nice heritage roof lite in there. Tiles have been ordered for the floor and we are getting ready for the walls to be skimmed.

Downstairs the kitchen walls are ready for skimming. The walls are ready for skimming and the first floor tiles have gone in ready for the Heritage Cooker to be installed on Wednesday.

In between all this I have been helping to remove the Maiden Bells of St Veep Church for repair. These bells are unique – we believe the only Virgin Peel in the country and possible the World. A Virgin Peel, in case you don’t know and I certainly didn’t, means the bells were cast and never tuned, they just had perfect pitch straight away. So all 6 bells were perfect pitch. There are many other maiden bells but no virgin peels.

Trev Fest Test Event

As a little red herring this post has very little to do with building.

We have always joked with our girls about having a big party and calling it “Trev Fest”. With music and people camping out in the garden etc. So last weekend we had a little test event.

Our friends Ian and Sharon said they were coming to Padstow to camp and could they call in on us. We said yes of course but be aware we have no spare bedrooms and only one temperamental toilet. No Problem said Ian we are  coming in our campervan.

The builders very helpfully pointed out that their portaloo was cleaned every Thursday so it should be in reasonable condition if we wanted to use it.

So Friday night the Randle family arrived and parked their camper on the lawn near our garden door.

We had a great barbecue and fantastic catch up – I have known Ian and Sharon since University days. We tested out the new fire pit and the famous local Penpol cider – made less than half a mile from our house in the same traditional manner it has been for 100’s of years.

So now we are ready for a new sideline – mini festivals 😆😆😆