Thursday, 27 March 2014

First and last

First light, around 5.40 am saw work continue on the Swiss Chalet and this time I managed to get outside without waking the whole cottage. I did wake them up when I went back indoors 10 minutes later for my glasses but at least I tried. Two and bit more hours before breakfast saw the last but one of the internal walls go up and all windows glazed, say all, all outside windows, the inside ones need doing.
5.15 pm saw yours truly back in his scruff and putting last internal wall together, fitting catches to insides of doors, putting end caps on external walls and securing metal work to building.
The windows work, room with a view.
Last light, as the final ray of sunshine was obliterated by a hailstorm the building was finished. Operational. Complete. Well apart from the one external gable end, ceilings, floors, guttering, door locks, door and window fiddly bits, insulation, slates on roof, lighting, heating and Bose sound system.
I will do all that tomorrow.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A flying start

It gets light around 05.20hrs. I know because I was there, to get off to a flying start. And it would be because everything was set up ready to go, no carrying stuff to the building site, it was all there in the dry under the roof, but as ever it wasn't quite as planned.
Plan being to get out of bed quietly without waking rug rat MkII in cot at side of bed. I was doing well until I opened the bedroom door and a Bernese Mountain Dog who had not seen me for 5 hours 21 minutes couldn't contain herself any longer and gave me a huge good morning welcome and bounced around.
Placate my beautiful and oh so patient wife, sooth rug rat MkII get downstairs, persuade different but equally enthusiastic Berner to give me my trainer, eventually, and get out doors.
 Back indoors for coat as sun had yet to make an appearance (actually we live on the dark side so the sun appears, if allowed, at around 11 am this time of year) and it was too cold for t shirt order.
Set up saw horse, look for tape measure, back indoors for tape measure in different coat pocket.
 Measure first OSB3 board of the day.
 Back indoors for glasses to read tape measure.
Measure board.
Look for pencil.
 Chastise Bernese Mountain Dog eating pencil.
 Discover that green crayon is also in same state as pencil and yellow crayon does not show up.
Search for alternative marking system.
 Search Gerry for writing implement.
Curse inventor of Bic Biro for not anticipating a time when invention would be used to try and draw straight lines on a wet OSB3 board in the early morning.
Give up trying to draw with BIC.
Return to house and get permanent marker.
Decide dawn chorus is not the sound track for sawing wood so use phone to play prog rock and heavy metal.
Run back to house for phone charger.
Finally, make first cut of the morning.
Fit three panels.
Get changed.
Go to work.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


An insanely early start and the ability to do paid work at night time by going to meetings meant a good part of the day could be spent on the Swiss Style Kennel Block. This is becoming an obession, even dream about large wooden buildings now.

Early doors saw work on the doors, this stopped for phone calls and the first meeting of the day. But at least all the doors were on.

Then I set about the eaves, or rather, eave as I only had time for one.

Part of the clan chose to spend some time with me and each picked a bay, here we have Rippers, Rocky and Spotty. Bear and Elf are kicking around somewhere too.

In the early evening rain things were looking good, the facia boards were on and I could play a new game, how many times could I bang my head on the overhang as I walk past (everytime!)Decide not to continue as A) Getting late and will miss next meeting and B) Head hurts and C) Ladder fell down rear of building with yours truly on baord. Decide using power tools whilst 8 feet above ground level all by myself is a sure fire way of hurting myself again so decide to pack it it and get some food.

Time to grab a quick sarnie before second and third meetings and pause for an almost arty shot of the almost finished end.
Stop car and take picture from the lane. Feeling pretty happy with it all so far. Spot ladder extreme left.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Full of surprises

 Life's full of surprises and today saw yours truly presented with a fantastic cake made by a friend and colleague to celebrate my eversonearnowyoucantavoidtheissue half century. The time it must have taken to craft such a masterpiece of icing, fondant and cake is truly flattering so a huge thank you. The fact that it tastes even better than it looks is astonishing and much appreciated. I promise to bring some back to work.
 Another surprise is the fact that yours truly has started using proper tools on the big job, rather than just guessing (don't panic I still bodge) and hoping its upright/level/long enough/fits/sturdy. So here on my desk along with some light reading is my latest toy, a bevel, which will be put to good use to help transfer the angles for the eaves of the Swiss Chalet Style Kennel Block. Having moved the felt shingles tonight ready for installation I am satisfied that doing it right for change was the right way forward as the shingles alone weigh 500 kg so thats a lot of weight to be kept off the ground by 3 by 2 inch timbers.
And finally, todays the day both Rock HQ Land Rovers were reunited. Gerry was away for a couple of weeks having a new suspension fitted, the day he came back Miranda went off to have her annual MOT which she promptly failed so spent 5 days in intensive care. We currently have a sweepstake as to how long both will be running for.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Pause for breath

 Early doors Saturday saw yours truly doing his bit for Sport Relief 2014 by joining a bunch of like minded idiots who "volunteered" for a 5 hour spin class in public. This gave the public the chance to see what spinning entailed and to throw money at sweaty people.
 The chap on the left is the spin instructor, he is called Steve, and the other chap on the right is a not Steve and he organised it all. Before we even turned a pedal we had raised £1300, but the time we had finished it was close to £2500.
 Some of us took it really seriously, me, dressed in my lion outfit nearly died of heat exhaustion and by the time I peeled the skin off me at lunchtime the dye had leaked out and I was a strange orange hue, like an accident in a spray tan booth.
 Chance for lunch with the microholders was forgone in favour of playing mechanno on a grand scale. Before the roof could be put on the front of each dog run had to be assembled and secured to the concrete. So instead of spending a relaxing afternoon eating pizzas with friends yours truly was trying to force frozen fingers to grip acres of ice cold metal and fasten bolts who had the tendency to fall into whichever muddy puddle was closest. Tempers frayed slightly when at the end of a 9 metre run of metal and additional 10 cm suddenly appeared giving an unwanted overhang. Options were considered, mixing an additional 10cm of concrete, angle grinding 10 cm off the cage, ignoring it, setting fire to the whole project, throwing all my toys out of the pram only stopped when my beautiful and oh so patient wife noted that one end was fastened differently to the other overhanging end. This revelation meant that the entire set of cages had to be disassembled and reassembled before Steve came over in the morning to put the roof sheeting on. As it was getting dark this meant a stupid o'clock start.
 By 8am things were looking much better, fitted and were working. No time for any niceties like breakfast, Steve arrived and by mid morning the first half was done and in a quick tea break I took some technical shots of work in progress
 which show how much is left to be done before any K9's take up post.
 Roof and bracing, purlings waiting for sheeting on one side.
 Lunchtime and the final piece about to be fitted over the runs. The planks were used to walk on.
 Action shot of Steve defying gravity.
 Finally starting to see how big this project is
 and how close to finished it is. (read how far from being finished.)
 As evening beckoned work was abandoned, hanging of doors less interesting than having a cuppa with someone famous who was gracious enough to tolerate yet another selfie. Having bothered a world famous celebrity it was time to carry out another mission, collect a pet portrait
 of the action Berner, Dolyhir Tropic Thunder, aka Spotty the action Berner
 immortalized in water colour by the very talented Clare Villers.
Having had such an action packed weekend there was just enough time to take the clan out for a late night run. Its all go. Work tomorrow. Time for a pause for breath!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Cheers Douglas!

 The late great Douglas Adams was quoted as having said he loved the sound deadlines made as they passed. Yours truly has been fretting over several, one in particular for university (yes I am a student again) has been bearing swiftly down, an assignment due. Having just had my mark for the last one (the first of the course) and passing (meaning 1/8th of a step closer to changing Mr to Dr) pressure was on for Mondays assignment on forensic interview techniques. Paid work has been mental busy and home life just usual busy so after a brief chat with my course tutor I was allowed a new deadline, not 15 days ahead like I wanted, but 4 months. Cheers. So that freed me up to take a bit of work time off to put roof on Swiss Style Kennel Block, part of which had been dumped by the gateway to the world by a van driver keen to escape back to the safety of civilization.
 Now this is a big build, bigger than any Airfix kit I have ever done, and after last weekends realization that I was deficit height and extra hands I press ganged a local chippy into helping. Coincidentally he was called Steve and he was a very polite chippy as he totally refrained from passing any comment about my handiwork for the three and half hours he was here.  
 In that time we got the roof trusses up.
 I did most of the gophering and metalwork
 Within an hour we had all seven in place
 and then took another hour to brace it all against the wind which was picking up, as was the rain, hail, snow flurry and back to sunshine.
 Purlings were put on one side, Steve decided to risk the other side as I had not put any metal work up so the roof was a massive overhang and whilst he didn't think it would tip over, he having not long fallen off another roof decided not to tempt fate.
 After another hail shower he departed and I was left with this. Unable to put the roof sheet materials in place by myself, and not able to put the metal work up until the fronts of the kennels were on I spent the next two hours dodging hail and fitting the said fronts on the kennels.
 Several gallons of tea and half a packet of hob nobs later (actually Oaties they are cheaper and have more crunch than hob nobs) (the Berners stole the other half packet honest)
rain and poor light meant I had to retreat indoors. Finally we are getting somewhere and if my legs allow tomorrow the metal work will be added.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Room with a view

This is the view of the building site as seen from the bathroom window. No work of any kind got done today as paid work was all meetings, only bonus being is that I got to eat cake or drink tea/coffee for free, and work at the ranch was impossible due to critters, toddlers, spinning, darkness and curry. But I did get a ladder. I also got a roof covering to be delivered for next week. Fingers crossed. The clocks ticking.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Understanding the Gravity of the situation

 Yours truly is on a ever tightening deadline to get the Swiss Chalet Style Kennel Block completed. It would have been finished before Christmas last year had the nice man who was going to concrete the planet for me showed up. So its been delayed by lack of man power, money, talent, genetic disposition (height) and perhaps the most crucial element of the equation, time. Even using child labour hasn't sped things up any. So today before paid work and after work continued at a pace.
 Once the timbers were moved to do the roof (why did I choose a complete roof over runs as well? A simple apex on the building would have seen us a lot closer to finishing and a lot further from bankruptcy) early doors saw work on the ...ahem...early doors.
 Six of the things were needed to fit the already fitted frames. Part way through I realised that for some reason I had bought enough door furniture and fittings for seven doors.
 My little helper kept a tally of drill bits and socket screw heads we were losing.
 So by breakfast some doors were ready and by after work time round two all was set to start lining the inside walls and putting the kennel partitions in. This was where I got a painful and timely reminder that we live on a hill, a very steep one, for as I finished cutting the first OSB3 board to shape, which unbeknownst to yours truly has all the friction adherence of ice when stacked flat,  24 of its fellows swept me off my feet. First indication of this event was me throwing a powersaw a safe distance one way while the rest of me fell another. Pain to ankle and knee was not the result of the saw eviscerating vital anatomy but  from impacts of sheets of wood and terra firma.
 Not only was pride and leg dented but lane was blocked to traffic meaning I really cheesed off my beautiful and oh so patient wife by spending 18 minutes picking up the boards thus making it impossible for her to get to shops for essential supplies before they shut. My punishment was doing my own first aid and a bacon roll for dinner.
 Little t did a passable extreme mountaineer impression and paused long enough for a pic before being chastised mightily for placing himself at risk of another woodslip.
By the time the chaos was cleared some partition work had been done, but not as much as I had planned, and no shopping got done either. Tomorrows a new day and there will be 2.3 hours more time expended on the big job.

Monday, 17 March 2014

I want to be like you Dad

Well, if you will leave me unsupervised with a box of pipe cleaners, what do you expect?