Thursday, 24 November 2011


Walking along The Strand this afternoon - what a pleasure it is to walk in London when it's dry, bright and a temperature to make the body glow rather than perspire - my eye was taken by this wonderful large-wheeled cherry picker (high access platform).

What a Christmas present that would make for me!  Although we don't have any high buildings, the uneven ground around the house, cottage and outbuildings makes the use of ladders and scaffolding towers an uncomfortable affair.  Traditional scaffolding works well, but it costs a lot to hire, and creates pressure to work quickly, whatever the weather.

I have an ambition to change all of the plastic guttering installed around the place to cast iron, to match the front of the house rainwater goods fitted last year when the roof was re-slated.  I would also like to rebuild the chimney on the listed bakehouse and renew the leading: currently there are leaks.

I remember an MGS colleague buying a cherry-picker may years ago when he went off to Scotland to run a small estate of self-catering cottages. I've obviously been suffering from cp envy ever since.

Thursday, 17 November 2011


The latest (and almost last) job to be done as part of the kitchen refurbishment I've been doing since July (and planning for a couple of years) is tiling.  Having finished the fitting of the units, worktops, sink and tap in something of a flurry in the week after the spectacular Ikea delivery (the lorry was a bit too big for our country track), it had proved difficult to get motivated to finish the job off with the tiling.  After all, there isn't much to do: just the gap between the base and wall units, the window and sink surrounds, and a panel by the dishwasher door.

So, this morning, off to the stable (my workshop and store) for the tile cutter, tile saw, spacers, adhesive and bucket of assorted tools to get the job started. the tiles are matt grey, to blend with the riven slate floor tiles.  They are 200 by 100 mm, looking rather like bricks when laid.  There were calculations to be made to be sure that, in tiling around 4 double sockets, I wouldn't have any stupidly small bits of tile to cut.  Then.... just do it.

In the event stage 1 (i.e. today's work) went pretty well and I am about halfway through, having completed the worktop wall.  However, I have to remind myself that then there's the grouting, and the silicon sealant, and the cleaning.  And then everything has to go back in the shed.