It’s a while since we did any proper work on the house.
They’re always such humongous jobs that it’s tempting just to put them off. And so we have. But waking up in our bedroom was depressing me more and more. The woodchip paper, stretched across hollows in the plaster and bent inelegantly around corners where it was never designed to go. The ‘temporary’ flatpack brown wardrobes, rebuilt three times already, held together with scrappy bits of wood and screwed to the wall to keep them standing.. a gap of several inches under one side of their run on account of the slope in the floor. The inherited built in cupboards, constructed directly against the cob external walls making them inherently damp. We had to leave the doors constantly open to increase ventilation and give us any chance of using them at all.
But there are mysteries here too which make the job more exciting. Can you pick out the slightly raised area under the woodchip paper above? It’s the beam at the top of a boarded up fireplace. The fireplace will never be used in anger again, not even in the very coldest of winters, because it’s been shut off within the chimney. But could it be stripped back and made into a feature to add more character to the room?
And that’s not all. For the opening shot of the post I was pointing the camera into a little used corner, a small part of my fabric stash quietly gathering dust. Just behind the rolls and partly blocked by a wardrobe there is a door. It only leads to the bathroom but the low height gives a clue as to its age. At a smidgen over 5′ tall even I would have to bend quite considerably to get through it. There’s also some simple carving on the lower part of the frame. Hidden under goodness knows how many layers of faded gloss paint.
Yesterday we cleared out the room ready for the off. There is no ‘guest’ bedroom here, the other upstairs rooms have been commandeered as ‘his’ and ‘hers’ studies. So yet again we are in disarray. The dining table has been squashed into the sitting room and the wardrobes reconstructed, for the fourth and last time, where the table used to be. Across the other side of the dining room, the headboard of the bed now rests hard up against the big black hole of the inglenook fireplace. A place where even spiders fear to tread.
But the biggest treat of all was left to this morning. At 6.30 a.m. precisely I awoke not in my bed but pinned to the ceiling by some unknown force. At least that’s what it felt like for a second or two. The noise, certainly, could have been mistaken for a rocket taking off. Where is Tim Peake when you need him huh? When I retired to bed late last night, after a glass or two of restorative Pinot, I maybe didn’t have full cognisance of where my head now lay. Three feet or maybe even less from the oil fired central heating boiler, that’s where. Doh.
With the benefit of the early awakening I have been playing around with CAD. Mike bought the cheap and cheerful Computer Aided Design software for me to use when we were planning the kitchen and it’s proved invaluable. Even if it does have some quirks. There is no recognition of the need for beams and sloping ceilings so improvisation is key. I have got around both problems by constructing large 3D structures using the freeform tool and then ‘elevating’ and effectively sticking them to the ceiling to get something that looks reasonably right. Even that is not straightforward because for some strange reason every time I make a change to the plan the sloping ceiling crashes to the floor and I have to perform the levitation thing all over again. Does this happen to Sir Norman Foster do you think? Nope, thought not.
There is no good time for decorating projects. When we did my study, last winter, short daylight hours were against us plus the length of time needed for the lime plaster to dry. Now, in summer, time has to be divided between this project and the garden which is once again out of control. The borders have increasingly become dominated by weeds thanks to the recent heavy rain. I have taken on too much and blogging time is getting squeezed. I hope you will follow along with the latest adventure, I do so value your support for rusty duck. If you have a blog, I have been and will still be catching up on your news whenever there’s a spare moment, there are just not enough hours in the day. Please bear with me during the next few frenetic weeks.