25th March 2006

Good news... the screeders arrived!




Bad news...

the machine they use to screed didn't work and it's the only machine of its kind in the Highlands.



...and just to make our morning even more enjoyable our hot water tank (down here in the Lake District) just burst and dumped its entire contents through the floor into the kitchen.

I think I must have done something really bad in a past life.

26th March 2006

I've just discovered a parallel universe. A place where things are similar but somehow strangely different. The place I've found is the Screeding company's web site. It is a high tech place of wonder and twenty first century efficiency, where people know exactly what they are doing, when they are supposed to be doing it, and what they are supposed to be doing it with - and all the machinery works. It truly is a magical place. Link here

By the way - off topic - the plumber that fixed our burst tank yesterday should be pickled, put in aspic and saved for study by future generations.

Called out on a weekend, with a 25 mile round trip, he turned up in 20 minutes, fixed the broken pipe by crawling around in a smelly wet cupboard for 45 mins, was pleasant, helpful, and charged: £22. He even tried to refuse the tip.

(and yes, I checked.. the laptop is still here)


28th March 2006

Those nice men from the screeding company actually turned up yesterday to do the job that they were supposed to do nine weeks ago, seven weeks ago, three weeks ago and on Saturday, so I'm off tomorrow to see if they've put the floor in the right building.

I give it an even chance.

No doubt Einstein will be proved wrong once more when he suggested that nothing could travel faster than light. He obviously didn't factor in building companies' invoices, which combined with a first class stamp can bend the laws of physics.

Just to demonstrate how frustrating the 'didn't realise this whole thing would take so long' process is, and also how miserably pathetically helpless we feel... please see the photo opposite.

Months to go and we've already started packing. How sad is that?



30th March 2006


Returned south today through 400 miles of rain. Thank goodness for CDs of Phillip Pullman.

Worth the trip mind, as the screed is down and is flat and dry:

See opposite - A proper floor at last. Actually it's very strange to walk on - feels like rubber, and it's only 60mm thick (above heating pipe height). It's designed to warm and cool with the under-floor heating and yet not wreck or warp the 'floating' wooden floor that will (literally) just sit on it.

We have also just heard that an extra four joiners have been seconded and will be arriving next week - so by Easter there is a chance that all external work will have been completed and the scaffolding might even be down - a mere 18 weeks later than expected and budgeted for.


In fact ...

...some of it is down already (more staining to be done, and driveway re-surfaced)


Upstairs looking towards the music room:

(still missing a couple of stud walls, lots of roof insulation, wood cladding, a wooden floor etc ad nausium)


And some great light last night overlooking Torridon Village (at the far end of the Loch)


31st March 2006

The end of the month is here and I have just received a revised build schedule from the (extremely efficient) site manager. Revised to extend the completion date of course, because getting trades to turn up when they have promised to do so is obviously a Dark Art that I haven't mastered. (If I behaved thus in my line of work, I'd be a very poor out of work musician - rather than just a very poor musician).

Were I ever to build another house (God forbid), the first thing I would be tempted to organise is not the foundations, nor the sewers, or an architect - but a Kalashnikov.

Anyway, I thought the schedule below may be of interest to the more anorak oriented amongst you. Sadly, it now looks like an August move (sigh). The Lake District is lovely, but in our minds we've already moved.


5th April 2006

Something slightly strange is happening.

Everyone is turning up to the build and things are proceeding according to plan. I'm checking the news every so often in case there is an asteroid heading this way.

I've just ordered the kitchen. Call me boring, but I used the same wood (maple), the same style (shaker), and the same company (Harvey Jones) as in our last house (below).


The chap I ordered it from said it would be leaving the depot (south of England) early on 19th June. This was somewhat more believable than his next sentence which was "So I guess they'll be with you after lunch"

I am obviously paying too much as they must be using Bugatti Veyrons as delivery vehicles.

These people think Scotland stops at Edinburgh. I explained that when they get into Scotland they are not half way, and that my best guess is that the pubs will be closed by the time they turn up.

He insisted that the lorry driver could do this short hop in one day. I'd therefore avoid the A9 just south of 'In Venice' on that evening if you can. I suspect there will be a large white van full of maple with a driver half asleep (or a Bugatti on it's way back south, driven too fast by a bloke with a big grin).

6th April 2006

I just came across this photo I took a while back - the view from the plot


7th April 2006

About 300 square meters of wooden floor has now been manhandled into the house (that's a LOT of wood) and will sit and acclimatise (aided by heaters and dehumidifiers) for about five weeks before the long process of laying begins.

Both dormer windows have been finished - all we need now is a bit more staining and the outside of the house is finished, but for that we need some dry weather... and we haven't got any. In fact, it's snowing again.

So, work continues inside.

On the menu:

Wall & roof Insulation, plaster boarding, second fix electrical, plumbing, fireplace installation, chimney flue, upstairs stud walls, wood cladding, ames taping, floor tiling, wood flooring, ceiling cladding, air conditioning, heat pump installation and commissioning, telecommunications, satellite, bathroom, en suites, decking, balconies, kitchen, staircase, sockets, switches, lighting, appliances, carpets, landscaping, decoration, getting a certificate of habitation, moving house...

...and then we can relax for a bit.



9th April 2006

You may remember back in November one of our 'Flying Finns' had to fly home as his new born child was in hospital?

I just got a mail from him. Mother and baby (and log home in Lapland) all doing well. Chances are the baby will be driving an EVO or a Scooby by the time he's six. Funny to think he's now got most of his first summer without darkness.



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