LES GUIS - 2015
In the vein of being much more motivated this year, I decided to focus on nothing but the insterior of the house until I go off to Canada.
Let's see how far I can reach.
We left 2014 behind wth me working away in the stairwell up to my attic. This involves making a huge pile of dust as I sand down the stairwell and so what to do about the stuff in the cupboard at the end of the landing?
I want to put a door on it sooner or later, and so sooner seems like a good plan. I had a few spare floorboards lying around and in a matter of about half a day I had a door thrown up and fitted in place. And that's already quite an improvement.
Once I'd done that, I could attack the wall at the head of the stairs. Now, I have all of the plasterboard on the wall and I didn't half ache everywhere once I'd done all of that.
I spent some time filling in the cracks on the wall and sanding them down. We ended up with piles of dust everywhere and some even made it into the the cupboard which was a shame. But once it was finished, I could wallpaper it all over.
As well as fitting the plasterboard, I fitted some shelving between the walls and plasterboarded them in as I mentioned last year. Over the stairs is a huge waste of space and space is a huge issue wherever I am.
All of the wall up there is now painted blue, for the sky. What came out of the tin was far too dark so I tipped in about 50% of white emulsion to lighten it up. It's a lot lighter than it looks in the image and I'm quite pleased with how it's all turned out.
Having done the stairway, I attacked the landing.
There's a new floor been fitted there. My original plan was to have some kind of trap there to pass things up and down, and I made a start on making it. But having fallen through it twice, I abandoned that idea.
It didn't take too long to fit the plasterboard to the walls either, and then there's the ceiling. I love wood as you know and plasterboard is difficult to fit alone, and this tongue-and-grooving is an excellent thing.
In Brico Depot I found some fittings for recessed LED lights, at all of €0:95. I consequently cleaned out the shop and you can see just how well it's all worked out once I put a couple of layers of varnish on the wood.
Some wallpaper and a couple of layers of paint on the walls and it will look really nice.
And now, it's the time to concentrate on what will become the bedroom and this is where most of the work will be carried out.
To start with, I needed to build a doorframe. This was quite straightforward, involving a couple of floorboards trimmed down to the correct width and filed down with the new belt sander that I bought.
The ceilings are quite high and as light is a big issue in my house, I've built in a kind-of window frame above where the door will be. I'll put a piece of glass up in there and with one of the glass-panelled doors that I have, it will certainly be light enough.
I've run all of the power cables down the studs for the wall - drilling holes in the verticals to pass the cables through so that they are unobtrusive. It's much neater than running surface cables.
With the doorframe built and the wiring sorted out, the next phase was to fit the plasterboard to the stud wall framework. Out came the polyfilla and on it went, and then I spent a good couple of hours sanding it all down again to make it smooth.
What this means now is that apart from the door and the window over the top, the bedroom is pretty-well closed off and that's a good sign of progress. It's not going to be too long before it'sll be complete from that point of view.
We can now turn our attention to the window surround in the bedroom.
With our experiences up on the attic landing last year, I decided to use the same procedure, except that instead of tiles, I cut a piece of pine planking to use as a window sill.
All the tongue-and-grooving left over from the ceiling in the landing and a few other bits and pieces besides, that went around the window, edged with the beading and then a couple of coats of varnish added to seal it all in.
And now the job that I have been putting off the longest because, to be frank, I have no idea how I'm going to do it and that is what has been homding me up.
Across the wall at the far end of the bedroom opposite the window I'm going to have a built-in fitted wardrobe. I put in the basic framework almost as soon as I started on that room back in 2010 but I never advanced any further.
Now is the time to do something about it, and I've started by making a kind-of built-in chest of drawers.
Much to my astonishment, considering that i'm building it from scratch, i'm only about half a centimetre out with my measurements. I can't complain about that.
And I made a pretty rapid progession too.
I divided each side of the wardrobe into three bays. One bay had a fixed front and behind there I fitted shelves. These are for jumpers and all of that kind of thing.
The other two bays have doors that open. Like everything else for the front of the wardrobe, they are made out of floorboarding cut to shape and battened as you can see. Inside, there's a hanger rail made out of chrome-plated steel pipe.
And now we have the upper doors fitted too, using the same method and principles as the lower part. It's not as good as I wanted, and if ever I do it again, I'll do it all differently.
There's a new flooring too - or, rather, new wood fitted over the old flooring. And a glazed door, with glazed over-panel too. But not only that, we have wallpaper on the wall and emulsion paint on the wallpaper.
I bought 10 litres of white and some of this yellow-colour dye for mixing in. And it came out far too dark so I had to keep on adding white to it to in order to lighten it. It swallowed up loads too until I had the colour that I wanted.
And now the bedroom is exactly how I want it. With a big thanks to Liz and Rosemary who helped me to choose the furniture for it. The bedding too is brand-new and the mattress is the most comfortable that I've ever tried.
At long last, I have a bedroom and how delighted I am to be able to come in here at night and sleep peacefully. I should have done this years ago and thanks to everyone who encouraged me and kept me at it.
I had a little break from the inside just here.
My trip to IKEA had produced some 12-volt capless LED bulbs. Really light, they are, and so I reckoned that I would buy a handful of them and use them in the lights over the doors of the house. I've had the standard LED bulbs in there but they are too heavy in the long-term and one or two have already fallen out.
That meant doing a big pile of tidying up of the wiring out there, sorting out the guttering and so on while I had the scaffolding up. And this has given me just what I need out there in the dark at night.
Back in the house, I've turned my attention to the shower room now. This is where I'll be working for the next few months.
First task is to build a permanent beichstuhl in the corner of the shower room. I've put this space-blanket insulation down the exterior walls and fitted the counter-battens ready for the plasterboarding.
But there's also the battens that will take the top of the beichstuhl box. The top will be set into the wall like I did with the shelves in the stairwell
You'll see the pipe down there out to the exterior. That is for evacuating any gases that might build up in the box.
Tiling is not my strongpoint and it's a job that I hate doing anyway. But nevertheless, I have to do it and here I am on the inside of the beichstuhl box.
I hate white as you know, but I had a pile of white tiles and as no-one will see them, I'll stick them in here. It needs to be tiled inside there because I want a wipe-over surface that will be so much easier to keep clean.
I'll stick a ventilated cap over the end of the pipe so that no beasties and creepy-crawlies will find their way in.
This is the top of the beichstuhl box, all fitted and in place. I had some worktops that I had bought at Brico Depot but they were simply not up to the task, and so they were filed under "CS"
When I was in Germany just now I came across some oak worktops at a very democratic price and so I liberated a few of those, including enough to make a worktop in the bathroom for the sink and enough to make the top for the beichstuhl.
How it works is that in the larger aperture underneath the seat there's one of these stainless 15-litre soup tureen things with lid. It's lined with a biodegradable bin liner and the bottom is filled with shredded telephone directory.
The smaller aperture has a small bucket filled with sawdust and wood ash, and that is used to cover the stuff that ends up in the soup tureen thing.
With the rest of the wood from that worktop I made a shelf to fit in the shower room. That's now fitted in and varnished. I'm glad that I bought the light oak varnish and not the medium or dark oak stain.
Do you like the sink? i've always liked these sinks, especially the see-through ones, that sit on top of the worktop and they had some on sale in Brico Depot not so long ago.
I've done all of the plasterboard in there now. And that took quite a while too because I didn't have quite enough. I ended up having to go off on a scavenge in the barn for some offcuts and it doesn't look very pretty in there right now. But tiling will soon cover all of the imperfections.
And after much bonding in the marsh, I've ended up with a door on the shower room too. As I've said, light is a big issue in my house and so having glass doors like this is essential.
As well as the standard-sized ones, I bought three or four of the narrower ones for situations like this. It needed a bit of a trim in order to make it fit the aperture, but it's done a good job.
I've over-trimmed it a little but there will of course be a slam panel on the frame to stop the door coming through the other side. I'll eventually be fitting a glass into the fanlight over the top.
There is a shelf across the back wall, fitted into the plasterboard. That's for storing stuff like toilet paper and so on, out of the way of everything else.
Now here was something that took me positively ages to do.
I wanted a shelf over the sink for the washing things. At the side where the shower is, that was quite easy but at the side by the window that was even more interesting as there was nowhere that I could use to support it.
I went in the end for a flying support, with threaded rod into a bracket on the ceiling and through into the worktop, and covered with this chrome-plated steel tubing.
Large washers are used to support the shelf. They are fitted on top of the bottom tubes and underneath the bottom of the top tubes.
And this is where I reached by the end of July. The stud wall that encloses the shower is finished and the studs are drilled through to take the pipes.
We have a false ceiling too as you can see. More lengths of tongue-and-grooving came in handy there. And you can see the recessed LED lights there, usng more of the fittings that I bought earlier in the year. The light-pull is just there left of centre.
If you look in the top right-hand corner, you'll be able to make out the shelf that I've fitted over the door. You can't ever have too much storage space.
Underneath the shelf that I fitted over the sink you can see a power point, a light switch and an LED light strip to illuminate whatever it is that you do in the sink.
I have a compost bin that I bought in the Departmental promotion in 2013 but that's now full and I need another one. And I'm not really wanting to buy one if I can help it.
Having a pile of wood and some really good weather, I quickly threw one together. It's another one of my modulable specials that you can add bits to and take bits away from as the fancy (and the amount of compost) dictates.
In early November after I had come back from Canada we had three days of really nice weather - just like a summer. And so I tried an experiment.
Out came the work bench, out came the electric chop-saw and I attacked a pile of long branches and old rotten beams. And I was totally surprised at how well it all turned out too.
Here's the results of about an hour's work. It went through the wood in minutes and I reckon that there's enough wood here to keep me going for a couple of weeks. And the electrical circuit hardly noticed the difference.
If the weather keeps this up, then so will I. I can't have too much wood, can I?
And here, unfortunately, is where my story grinds to a halt for the foreseeable future.
In the middle of November I was busy cutting down a tree and I slowly ground to a halt. I hadn't been feeling too well for well over a year, but here in November I just couldn't go on any more.
Three days later I was in a hospital with a blood count that instead of being between 13.0 and 15.0, was just 3.8, and a protein loss that instead of being about 0.15, was 2.97.
And that, dear reader, is that. Unfortunately there isn't too much hope of a miraculous cure and I'm having to move to places where there are people who can look after me until the situation develops.
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