1st Dec 05

I am five weeks behind schedule, about £20,000 over budget and have aged seven years in as many months. But I'm still under five months into the build... which is about the amount of time it takes to get an Interflora delivery to the north west Highlands, so I'm reasonably upbeat. My car however is starting to object. I have put 16,000 miles on the clock since July, hit an adult stag on a dark night and an even darker corner, (the deer coming off much better than the RS6, buggering off with a derisory glance over his shoulder at my headlight which was pointing directly upwards), I've got through 8 tyres, a set of shocks, a £600 service and most of a decent sized Iraqi oil field's worth of fuel. I guess that's what you get if you try and build an 'eco friendly' house. I also received a NIP from the Procurator Fiscal regarding my slightly ambitious speed of 100mph in a 70mph limit (In my defence, it was a completely empty, dry, sunny, rural duel carridgeway - and I wasn't even in top!. Ah well. 6 points and £200 if you're interested.

And the Finns have left!

Actually, I *decided to let them go* as they were starting to get a bit 'tardy' - long lunches were becoming the order of the day. I really needed them for another few weeks to complete the window details, but have decided to crack on with the locals (getting tiles on and underfloor heating in), and then to get some joiners in next month to do all the internal work. Sounds easy again... you'd think I would have learnt by now.

Anyway, I drove the Finns to 'In Venice' station last night having docked a considerable amount of their wages for the time they had gone a.w.o.l. They didn't seem too miffed - I think they were starting to find life in a sleepy Highland village in winter a bit tame.

At least the windows are in, the (now internal) wood is drying out and the place is taking on some character.

Now where did my bank balance go?



4th Dec 05

Some other stuff has gone south... but I'm waiting to hear how far. Meanwhile, some nice things keeping me sane:

ground floor window detail
eaves detail from upstairs balcony

12th Dec 05

The tiling company were supposed to have turned up and tiled by now. Have we seen them? Have we ****!

17th Dec 05

I hate Christmas. Well, not Christmas per se, but this one specifically.

Reasons: The tiling company and plumbing company have decided that they are 'winding down for Christmas' so won't be able to get the house done this year. Winding down? What's that all about? They are either working or not working! I know one thing, they are extremely efficient when it comes to winding me UP. They say January 9th for a new start date - but then they said December 9th.

And breathe...

Christmas is also the season for Building Regulations Officers visits. Their particular good cheer consists of pointing out that the lintels above most of the windows do not meet Scottish building regs standards. Ho Ho Ho.

This has precipitated much electronic correspondence between England, Scotland and Finland in an effort to explain that timber grown in Lapland is nearly twice as strong as the balsa wood Scottish houses are usually built from, and therefore the load tolerance is much higher. As I type, they are still insisting on some changes (because they can), but I think we just about headed them off at the pass regarding huge changes. We await confirmation by letter.

That's another thing I hate about this Christmas. Sending plans to tradesmen by post seems a bit pointless, as they end up in some sort of Highland Bermuda Triangle, due no doubt to the sack fulls of Christmas cards they are lumped in with. This necessitates stuff having to be resent by special delivery, only to arrive on the same day as the original post.

Oh, and... The 'wall of glass' that is fitted, is in fact not quite fitted yet apparently. The very heavy, very expensive bespoke windows that would take months to replace, are apparently supported by only a few screws, awaiting the expanding foam that will secure them. This can't be done until (wait for it) the tiling company has finished. Sigh.

I have sent an urgent message to the joiner to fit some temporary 'wedges' to hold the damn things in place until the tilers have done... now when were they due? Feb 9th wasn't it?

I'm sure the ice age happened quicker in the west Highlands.

As this will be my last post before the 'season of goodwill towards all men', To anyone who is reading this: I hope you have a very relaxing, stress free Christmas and a happy new year.

...and if you know any good tilers...

20th Dec 05

A quick update. The plumbers unexpectedly turned up today having got the date completely wrong. Two had done the 2 hour journey from 'In Venice' and the other the 3 hour round trip from Portree on the Isle of Skye. Bemused as to why the place was deserted, they hung around for 10 minutes then phoned me up to complain, then left.

30th Dec 05

As absolutely nothing is happening on the build, I thought I'd bung up some pretty pics of Torridon.

Cue some Vivaldi:









.................... .......................................