Monday 13 April 2015

2015 capital works programme complete

On Saturday Luke came up ostensibly to jack up and level the garden shed. That task was done in a flash, so he sorted out the sticking windows - WD40 on the hinges and catches, plenty of jerking them back and forth and they are pretty much sorted. Then on to adjusting the hinges on one door of the pantry - fixed in a jiffy - so fast there was no time to take photos.
Levering and jacking up the front

Digging a trench around the bottom to make sure there is air clearance

Level, Marilyn? Good enough!

WD-40 - magic in a can!

Joe in his ie lavalava, muffins made, coffee brewed and served outside in the lovely morning sunshine

Joe had made the muffins (chocolate chip) and over morning tea Luke and I decided that there was plenty of time to get the capital works programme complete. Measuring done (I was entrusted with that job and the subsequent calculations) and it was off to the timber yard. The guy there was very pleased that Luke did all the sorting and lifting of the timber we needed,  so he threw in a 1200mm offcut of a post. We needed it for Luke to rip down and bolt on to the mother of a concrete post at the end of the fence line - result!

While Luke dismantled the front wire fence I took down the manky trellis near the dining room. Then construction started with Luke ripping out a redundant concrete post and getting two wooden posts in the ground and concreted in. Just in case you think we left Luke to do all the work, you need to know that I was getting in the way by grubbing out the periwinkle and its root systems in the front garden - Rob had sprayed it but it is pretty determined and was making a comeback. And David spent about an hour deconstructing the wire fence - removing the 3 strainer strands then rolling the netting up so it would fit in the wheelie bin (I am interested to see today if the binmen empty the bin or leave it - Yes it's empty!)

Getting to this point has taken about half an hour - removing the strands was tortuous. Once that was done, rolling it up was a cinch

This is the mother of a post - not visible is the strainer post wedged in its side. By the way, the post is the concrete - the other feature in the photo is Luke ...
The redundant concrete post lies mournfully on the ground - smashed by the sledge hammer
The posts are in and braced, concrete is in place and it's time for lunch while it goes off

While the concrete went off it was deemed appropriate to take a lunch break, and I was in charge of that as Joe had headed off with some of the muffins to visit David's aged aunt down in Tawa and the remainder were in the freezer for David to take to his mum's the following day. I channelled Joe as I prepared roast pork and hot gravy sandwiches for David and Luke - Joe would never just serve up an ordinary sandwich, and I have to keep the standards up. So out I went to pick some lettuce leaves, sliced up cucumber, tomato, orange pepper, sliced the meat and heated the leftover gravy. Then the open sandwich assembly with photographs to show Joe how well he has taught me.

Sandwich construction commences

Meat is added - roast pork

Gravy added, served outside in the sunshine - lunch got the seal of approval

Back on task and my job was to make sure the top paling was level, and then hold the palings in place with the separator piece while Luke  nail-gunned them into position. That was fine when he was one or two posts away, but when it was occurring within a couple of inches of my fingers I felt just a trifle vulnerable. However the fact I am typing this means I am not secured to the fence, eh?

Posts shortened and three palings up. You can also see the results of my periwinkle removal between the small hibiscus plants

Almost done - one more paling and trimming the ends off
Last paling about to be nailed in place - everyone should have a nail gun, I reckon!

Then it was time to trim the top off the concrete post - mark it up

Out with the concrete saw, on with the earmuffs

It's a dusty business

Is Luke in there somewhere?

When the fence was done, we did the trellis - same process but only used the 2x1 palings this time.

I'd removed the diamond trellis

Last couple of horizontals ready to go on and vertical batten waiting to be measured up

Last one, then trim off the left hand edge and put a vertical batten behind in the centre

Luke - he's the man! All done by 4pm - amazing stuff.

Tuesday 7 April 2015

The rooms are dressed

OK, so at last the kitchen and dining lounge are completed - well, almost everything that needs to be done, has been.

Courtesy of Gary's help about 10 days ago, the lounge dining now has its roman blinds up, and the paintings, large new mirror, the clock my dad gave me for my 50th birthday and china plates are affixed to the walls; and in the kitchen the plates are up over the bay window and the clock given to us by David's mum is in place.

No standing on the Rhino platform for Gary - just a simple lift to just past head height ... I did most of the drilling and he was on screwing in the brackets and pressing the blinds home on to them. We worked together on where the paintings, plates and clocks should go, and then he did the measuring and hammering.
First blind is up and it works!

Look back at the previous photo and see the height difference ...

Gary is standing in front of the Rhino platform, and he can still reach above the window-frame. I, on the other hand, can reach where he is only if I stand on the platform ...

And they all line up at the top and the patterns match cross-wise!
Paintings, prints and mirror up. Bookshelves are empty still.

My jug collection in place on the dresser and The Return of the City Imperial Volunteers at the Guildhall is up on the wall. My great grandfather is in that picture - he was an alderman in the City of London.
Now that the plates are up and the tiling is done, the kitchen feels complete to me.

And if I say so myself, it all looks fabulous!

A number of friends have said they have been amazed at how much work we have done in the time since we moved in, but to me it seems like not that much really.

I guess I am measuring it by the work we had to do when we moved into Cherswud - as it was a concrete house (one of the first continuous pour concrete houses in NZ and fully reinforced to the same standards as exist today) that was unlined when we bought it (back when we were young and foolish and had no idea of the work/money/time involved ...) every room needed to
  • be battened with 2x1 roughsawns - David drilled 1500 holes into concrete 
  • be re-wired
  • be lined with gib board - I cut and nailed 120 sheets of the stuff 
  • plastered professionally
  • have all window frames stripped and sanded of about 8 layers of paint and filled - my job and after each room, I had no fingerprints for some time 
  • have architraves and skirting boards fitted - done by my dad  
  • have decorative scotia fitted by the plasterer 
 before any decorating was possible.

So the work we have done here in stripping off wallpaper or painting over it, and sanding window surrounds and skirting boards didn't seem such a big deal to me.

Having Dee's and Joe's help has, of course, made a huge difference to me - not least in having company while the work was occurring and sharing the delight in getting things done.

Joe is a boon because he is so strong and can move things around so simply - what I struggle with doesn't even rate as a real task with him. He put 2 coats of sealer paint on the lounge dining walls and painted the ceiling - all of which saved my right arm, shoulder and my neck from RSI and injury from the weight of a filled roller being moved constantly.

Dee is wonderful to work with - she's intuitive, encouraging and thoughtful, as well as being just as pernickety about detail as I am.

And Gary - well, Gary is great. At 6' 7", nothing is a stretch for him, and he's handy! He had offered to help me with the dressing of the rooms and he was a gem. Getting the blinds up (all 6 of them in the lounge dining and one on David's office) would have taken me about 3 days to do on my own, but we had them done together in a couple of hours. As you saw in the photos, it was a doddle!

David's role is to tell us all how clever we are and how much he likes the results - in between times, he's busy in the office earning the money!

Since that day, I have fitted the roller shade blind in the office - as per the kitchen one, it too required cutting 3 times! But, better it was too large twice than too short once ...

All that remains now is for me to get the boxes of books in from the garden shed and get them into the bookcases. It's finally raining here today so I am not going out to get them at present. I am enjoying watching the garden soaking up the much needed moisture!