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Author Topic: That 'big project' I've been banging on about for a few years now....  (Read 28039 times)
James Harrison
Immortal
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England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #50 on: March 08, 2020, 10:49:47 am »

Progress report.  This week I've managed to get the internet and telephone wire connected, which was a bit of a job in and of itself, it took three engineers about five hours to manage it, not helped by: 1) not having a dedicated telephone line in the first place; 2) the first telegraph pole they looked at to get my wire from was at an angle such as to make it unsafe to climb; 3) the second telegraph pole examined was suitable but then they ran into other, unspecified difficulties.  But they got there eventually. 

This took so long that a planned excursion to Tamworth to order a sofa had to be delayed, so instead that day I made a trip to my parents, where a second pair of dining room chairs had been delivered.  So by the end of the day last Tuesday I had a full complement of dining room chairs, my telephone was working and I could at last get back on the internet. 

Nothing much then got done until yesterday, when I was able to make the trip to the sofa showroom; upshot is I've ordered a 2 seat bonded leather Chesterfield sofa, which should be arriving next week.  I also had time to drop in the local DIY store and buy a spade, secateurs and a gardening trowel. 

I got back and hosted a visit from a carpenter, with a view to getting a door frame repaired, skirting boards secured back to the walls where they've sprung off and some doors re-hung.  He reckons it's about three days worth of work so that's booked in for my week off in mid-April.  Two of the doors have basically been condemned as hanging together by their wits, so last night I ordered two new doors, which should be delivered next week.   

Then I set-to in the front garden, which is (was) a bit of a jungle.  My house is on a corner plot with a side road and I was also getting a bit anxious about one bush in particular which had grown over my wall, onto the pavement and was a bit of a health hazard (as it had inch-long thorns at just the right height to put a child's eye out). 

To get to that bush meant having to cut down another bush just to get into the garden; I had three objectives.... 1) cut down a bush to gain access, 2) remove a tree stump next to my boundary wall, 3) prune back the thorn bush. 

Well, what actually happened....

1) Cut down the smaller bush using secateurs, which I managed. 
2) Remove the tree stump- after digging a trench about 2' deep through mostly firm clay and still at that depth finding quite substantial roots,  I gave this up as a bad job.  The roots I found I either chased up and dug out or cut through, so I have hopefully weakened it a little. 
3) Prune back the bush.  I removed it from the public side of my wall, then I decided that I didn't particularly want to keep getting stabbed by it either so I cut it down completely. 

Then I cemented my position as the local nutcase by dragging it wholesale out of my front garden, down the side road and into my back garden.  Where last night I had a bit of a bonfire.  Being green it didn't burn particularly well and I think I got through more newspaper and kindling than the bush itself, but I note a lot of the leaves and berries have burnt away and a lot of the branches have at least started to char.  Another go later today perhaps. 

And finally the week ahead.  Delivery of a sofa and two new doors, and hopefully an electrician will be paying a call to give a quote for moving a few light switches and installing a new light fitting. 













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Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.
Sorontar
Zeppelin Admiral
******
Australia Australia


All ideas should have wings


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« Reply #51 on: March 08, 2020, 12:30:51 pm »

You have a front garden! I thought they were a rare thing in the Isles[1]. Is there enough space for your drigible to be parked?

Are you going to make something of the sign "The Crescent T"? The name of your drigible maybe?


Sorontar
[1] A family member studied urban design in England and did their minor thesis on front garden usage. They had to send surveys to people back in Australia because their British contacts didn't really have a front garden they used.
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Sorontar, Captain of 'The Aethereal Dancer'
Advisor to HM Engineers on matters aethereal, aeronautic and cosmographic
http://eyrie.sorontar.com
Miranda.T
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #52 on: March 08, 2020, 02:32:21 pm »

It looks like you've had a hardworking weekend! We know exactly what you mean about roots - we have lots of trees around the boundary to our garden (basically to discourage any neerdowells who might think of trying to jump over the fence) so any kind of digging down inevitably means hitting a mass of roots. As to getting out stumps, we had a rather troublesome one that needed removing. Without much chance of digging it out, what we did was put multiple perpendicular slices across it down to ground level using a reciprocating saw, and then chopped out these sections using a hatchet. After a covering of soil we left the remainder rot down.

Yours,
Miranda.
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The Bullet
Snr. Officer
****
Germany Germany



« Reply #53 on: March 08, 2020, 03:44:39 pm »

I can imagine that feeling.

Had a huge sea buckthorn in front of the house, covering up the whole window.
The orange berries attracted lots of birds who "marked" their territory on my window.
Moving he lawn was no fun either as the thorns were in the range of 2.5 cm.

So glad to have got rid of it.....
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If brute force does not work....you´re not using enough of it.
Deimos
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


aka Countess Millicent Addlewood


« Reply #54 on: March 08, 2020, 05:36:27 pm »

You people and your thorns Grin.
Anything that grows in the low desert here has thorns;  bougainvillea, citrus, shrubs, vines, the eleventy-seven varieties of cactus...one can either [literally] develop a thick skin, or get accustomed to being a pincushion.
After living here for over 35 years I'm a very accomplished pincushion.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2020, 05:38:13 pm by Deimos » Logged

Here is a test to find out if your mission in life is complete:
If you're alive, it isn't. -- Lauren Bacall

"You can tell a man's vices by his friends, his virtues by his enemies."

"Only the paranoid survive."
James Harrison
Immortal
**
England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #55 on: March 08, 2020, 09:02:49 pm »

You have a front garden! I thought they were a rare thing in the Isles[1]. Is there enough space for your drigible to be parked?

Are you going to make something of the sign "The Crescent T"? The name of your drigible maybe?


Sorontar
[1] A family member studied urban design in England and did their minor thesis on front garden usage. They had to send surveys to people back in Australia because their British contacts didn't really have a front garden they used.


Not exactly rare, more that increasingly people take them up and replace them with driveways.  Which is absolutely brilliant when we get a few days of rain and then wonder why somewhere that has never flooded is now under 2' of water. 

As I have a garage at the bottom of the back garden my own front garden is pretty much guaranteed a future- if I can just rid the top 6" of soil of all the rootlets that stop you getting a good shovelful of muck out.  I did manage to get the thorn bush rootball out today, though there are some pretty significant remnants of root still in the ground as eventually I lost patience and resorted to cutting it away with a saw.   
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James Harrison
Immortal
**
England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #56 on: March 12, 2020, 09:35:10 pm »

Progress report (photos later perhaps, it is rather late and I'm rather tired). 

1) The reclining chair in the sitting room has been dismantled, taken upstairs and rebuilt in the spare room.  As my house pretty much backs on to the West Coast Main Line, I now literally can sit back and watch trains go by. 

2) New doors for the master bedroom and the spare bedroom have arrived. 

3) The sofa has arrived.  A nice two seat bonded leather Chesterfield.

4) An electrician came to visit and gave his opinion on moving some light switches.  Yeah.... solid walls, high ceilings and old wiring.... so the switches are staying where they are and most likely three of the doors that I said I would like to get rehung, will be staying as they are.  I understand that the whole reason they open out into the room is a Victorian/ Edwardian quirk based on notions of privacy, so it's another original feature that will stay then. 

5) That damnable thornbush has been well and truly dealt with.  Last weekend I had a good bonfire and although it got rid of much of the leaves, the branches themselves obstinately refused to burn.  So I left them a few days and tried again two nights ago, when they again refused to burn.  So more determined efforts where deemed necessary.  This morning I dug a hole in the back garden.  I found a little old wooden barrel that had had no use for several years.  I cut up the branches a little more and dumped them in the barrel, which I then placed in the hole.  I stuffed it otherwise full of newspaper and kindling and set it alight.  It burned dismally for an hour or so and kept going out, so I kept relighting it, steadily using more and more of my stocks of newspaper and dry wood, and then dumped about half a coal scuttle of nutty slack on top.  This I thought actually killed the fire.... so I went away for a few minutes whilst the doors were delivered.  I came back to quite an impressive blaze.  Two hours and all but the stump was burnt away to ash. 

Now I'm considering a fire pit in the back garden with a couple of benches and a brick wall around it. 
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James Harrison
Immortal
**
England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #57 on: March 15, 2020, 02:23:35 pm »

Weekend progress report.  Saturday: I had smart meters fitted for the the gas and electricity, and my brother came over to put the new bookshelves up.  That took rather longer than we anticipated on account of the walls turning out to be solid plaster backing onto solid masonry.  We expected this in the fireside alcove but not on the internal wall too... I think we can take away from this that any work that requires drilling in walls in the house is almost certainly going to be hard going. 

So that took all day, from about 10 in the morning until gone 8 last night, and then this morning I spent 3 hours transferring all of my non-railway/ non-modelling books onto the new shelving.  The railway and modelling books are going to stay in the spare room where they will be close at hand when the spare room becomes the railway room. 

Unfortunately because today is the Stafford half-marathon (which has gone ahead in spite of ongoing public health concerns) the wardrobe couldn't be delivered, so that is now due next weekend. 

Also, a new radiator, more in keeping with the aesthetic of the house, has been ordered for the front sitting room. 

So, as far as the sitting room is concerned, works still outstanding basically run to

1) reinstating the television aerial and removing the remnants of the Sky and cable installations;
2) new radiator to be installed;
3) new light fitting to be fitted;
4) new light switch to be fitted;
5) redecoration;
6) coffee table to be sourced;
7) desk to be built for the bay window.
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James Harrison
Immortal
**
England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #58 on: March 15, 2020, 02:48:44 pm »



The sofa.



Newly-installed shelving.



And duly filled up with books. 

Now if I can just work out a neat arrangement for the hifi, DVDs and CDs, I think I'll be most of the way sorted out. 
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Miranda.T
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #59 on: March 15, 2020, 03:36:28 pm »

That's all looking very neat and tidy  Smiley. Solid walls may be a pain to fix to, but at least you know that fixing isn't going to shift. All the internal walls of our house are breeze block, and anythng that is fixed to them that undergoes continual loading and unloading eventually crumbles the area around the fixing, so you end up fitting a succession of ever bigger wall plugs. Even using two-part filler doesn't help as it just ends up pulling away as the layer of breeze block around it fails too. One place where we have a towel rail has disintigrated so badly the only option left is to fit rawl-bolts...

Yours,
Miranda.
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The Bullet
Snr. Officer
****
Germany Germany



« Reply #60 on: March 15, 2020, 05:31:26 pm »

Solid walls are the best.
Here we have red bricks.

There are two types of bricks you hate but find almost in every spot where you have to drill.

a) light brown brick. Extremely hard but shatters like glass

b) black brick. Slow and hard to drill

My house was built in 1955 with additions from 1974. Up till now all these mean bricks have been dealt with by my mighty seventies hammer drill.
Old, heavy, loud but powerful enough for everything.
All gears are metal. Even the carbon brushes can be replaced using a simple screwdriver.

I love old tools.
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Miranda.T
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #61 on: March 15, 2020, 08:29:36 pm »

(snip)

My house was built in 1955 with additions from 1974. Up till now all these mean bricks have been dealt with by my mighty seventies hammer drill.
Old, heavy, loud but powerful enough for everything.
All gears are metal. Even the carbon brushes can be replaced using a simple screwdriver.

I love old tools.

They don't make them like that anymore  Wink

Yours,
Miranda.
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Synistor 303
Snr. Officer
****
Australia Australia


Zenyna Ironbracker


« Reply #62 on: March 16, 2020, 12:32:58 am »

Solid walls are the best.
Here we have red bricks.

There are two types of bricks you hate but find almost in every spot where you have to drill.

a) light brown brick. Extremely hard but shatters like glass

b) black brick. Slow and hard to drill

My house was built in 1955 with additions from 1974. Up till now all these mean bricks have been dealt with by my mighty seventies hammer drill.
Old, heavy, loud but powerful enough for everything.
All gears are metal. Even the carbon brushes can be replaced using a simple screwdriver.

I love old tools.

We have brown bricks which are also slow and really hard to drill. They were a particularly ugly colour, but thankfully the previous owner of the house had them covered in render so you can't see them. The bricks broke our 1970s hammer drill! We took it to be repaired and no-one would touch it...
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James Harrison
Immortal
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England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #63 on: March 21, 2020, 04:53:09 pm »

Progress report.  This weekend I have left the sitting room well alone, save for buying a coffee table (expected delivery 3 months, longer if this damnable plague keeps doing its thing) and going to the local DIY store to pick up some sugar soap, paint rollers and a 10L bucket of brilliant white emulsion.  It was a mistake to walk back with this lot as the state of exhaustion by the time I got home rather set the tone for the day.

I decided that today was going to be another effort directed toward licking the jungle back into something vaguely looking like a front garden, so out came the shears and the two fir trees had a haircut.  I lopped roughly the top 3' off of them in a bid to get more light in the morning (my sitting room faces south on an east-west axis and the trees do a good job of blocking early morning illumination).  The job still isn't finished because the larger of the trees is too bulky for me to get the shears into the middle of it to take out the middle 1/3 or so.  I might have another crack at this later.  I was also hoping to generally thin the trees out as they encroach onto the path and make it difficult to get up and down with luggage in tow, but this goal hasn't been achieved, yet. 

In the middle of doing this, a new wardrobe arrived.  My parents were supposed to be coing over today to help build this, but damnable plague is damnable and put the brakes on this.  So instead I took it out of the packaging (total weight 64kg) and took it upstairs into the bedroom piecemeal, where it is now waiting as a roundtoit job (hopefully sometime next week).

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Mr Peter Harrow, Esq
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Fellow of the Victorian Steampunk Society


« Reply #64 on: March 21, 2020, 05:11:35 pm »

You need to make cabinets for the modern radiators, this also gives a further display surface for well rayguns.
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Winterbourne Gunner
Rogue Ætherlord
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« Reply #65 on: March 21, 2020, 05:27:25 pm »

Nice one mate, good luck with your Grand Project.
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"Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life."
James Harrison
Immortal
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England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #66 on: March 21, 2020, 05:45:26 pm »

You need to make cabinets for the modern radiators, this also gives a further display surface for well rayguns.

That's the plan for the hallway, which is too narrow for a wider radiator.  The intention at present is that it will be panelled which allows me to box out around the radiator.  The hallway and front garden are intended to follow the sitting room; so far as finances permit the plan at the moment is to alternate expensive and inexpensive works, so the order will be something like sitting room- hallway- front garden- dining room- spare bedroom- master bedroom- kitchen- bathroom (the back garden being done in odd moments in between).  Obviously this is dependant upon how damnable plague/ finances/ job security etc play out.
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James Harrison
Immortal
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England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #67 on: March 21, 2020, 05:51:44 pm »

Nice one mate, good luck with your Grand Project.

Thank you.
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James Harrison
Immortal
**
England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #68 on: March 30, 2020, 07:27:33 pm »

Well... semi-lockdown happened, didn't it?  Fortunately on the very day it was announced my new radiator arrived.  No more deliveries for the foreseeable unfortunately. 

Because I've spent the last week and a bit working from home, means I've had a little more time in the evenings, which last week meant I made a start whitewashing the sitting room.  Over the weekend I pulled all the furniture out and decisively finished the job, even using the tester pot of the proposed colour for a large-scale swatch. 

If only I'd bought the paint before damnable plague started doing its thing....
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The Bullet
Snr. Officer
****
Germany Germany



« Reply #69 on: March 31, 2020, 06:45:10 am »

I can feel your problem.

Even the hardware shops have closed.
I wanted to paint a few things but.....I am out of brushes.

Ordered online, have to wait.
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James Harrison
Immortal
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England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #70 on: March 31, 2020, 07:49:39 pm »

Unable to proceed with the sitting room, I've shifted target and moved onto the entrance hallway. 

The general plan in there, as it currently stands, is to put in timber matchboard panelling to waist height, taking it up the stairs on the party wall side to the half landing.  Then above waist height I'll paint it a light colour- probably a cream of some description- to try and keep a sense of openness in a space only a bit over three feet wide. 

Obviously thanks to damnable plague the chances of being able to buy paint or timber right now are roughly akin to those of my being able to climb up inside my chimney stack... but what I can do is at least order a few bits and pieces to make a start.  So I've got the radiator cover ordered (an MDF thing with oak veneer- I would prefer proper solid timber but they are either unavailable or hideously expensive), an iron umbrella stand and an iron shoe rack.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #71 on: March 31, 2020, 07:56:13 pm »

Unable to proceed with the sitting room, I've shifted target and moved onto the entrance hallway. 

The general plan in there, as it currently stands, is to put in timber matchboard panelling to waist height, taking it up the stairs on the party wall side to the half landing.  Then above waist height I'll paint it a light colour- probably a cream of some description- to try and keep a sense of openness in a space only a bit over three feet wide. 

Obviously thanks to damnable plague the chances of being able to buy paint or timber right now are roughly akin to those of my being able to climb up inside my chimney stack... but what I can do is at least order a few bits and pieces to make a start.  So I've got the radiator cover ordered (an MDF thing with oak veneer- I would prefer proper solid timber but they are either unavailable or hideously expensive), an iron umbrella stand and an iron shoe rack.

It's interesting. On this side of the pond most Shelter at Home ordinances catalogue home hardware shops as "essential" businesses. I can walk into my local hardware shop (but only wearing a respirator and gloves, and walking as far apart from other people). The self checkout lanes make things a bit easier.
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James Harrison
Immortal
**
England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #72 on: March 31, 2020, 08:02:35 pm »

Our hardware stores (one of them at least) are still open, except only for pre-ordered 'essentials'.  Now, to me, 'essentials' in a hardware store is along the lines of 'things to stop your house falling down', but it's a bit odd what they do and don't deem essential.  Paint and stuff- not essential.  Furniture- essential.  Huh
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Hurricane Annie
Zeppelin Captain
*****
New Zealand New Zealand



« Reply #73 on: March 31, 2020, 11:09:03 pm »



The sofa.



Newly-installed shelving.



And duly filled up with books. 

Now if I can just work out a neat arrangement for the hifi, DVDs and CDs, I think I'll be most of the way sorted out. 

 Fabulous sofa
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James Harrison
Immortal
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England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #74 on: April 01, 2020, 05:54:08 pm »

It is, rather, isn't it? 
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