For those Canadians who are fleeing the Cylon tyranny (AKA Steven Harper) this summer, I am sure that as you quit your beloved homeland, strong and free, you might well be mulling over the eternal questions that only those fleeing to an uncertain future might be mulling. Questions such as "Do they speak English in Hull?", or "Will I be able to secure a supply of poutine in Hull?" or "Will my guest bedroom in Large Mansions be infested with cats, and largely unfinished to boot?". The answers, my friends, blows not in the wind but largely in your sense of perspective and they are, in order:
Question One: No, not as you would recognise it.
Question Two: No.
Question Three Part One: Maybe, but they are well trained.
Question Three Part Two: No, but it will, as the Duke said, Be a damn Close run thing.
In other words, the cats are inevitable, a Canadian -English Phrasebook is useless here, and as for the house, progress continues, slow and steady. A future hallway will greet you. It features re-made stairs, and a special little cupboard for cats to discretely bathroom. Remaking he stairs has been a serious endeavour as they were slightly squiffy. We pulled the floorboards up, rebuilt supports under the ground and rebuilt the understairs to incorporate some cute little cupboards. The sequence is represented in the following few photos:
Below is before we bought the house:
Below is a cute cupboard we built under the stairs:
Below is the front doorway, plaster has been stripped off, a wooden frame built, insulation installed, drywalled and replastered.
THe Front room has also finally been progressing: Below is a sequence showing the progress:
Front room before reno. Nice mouldings but very damaged by an unfixed leak that allowed water to enter so causing damp:
Front room used as store during earlierphase in our renos:
Below is plaster stripped off ready for frame to be built. If you study closely you will see bits of wood screwd to the wall. This is the beginnings of a frame between which insulation sits. On top of that we then install a vapour barrier, then drywall then plaster, then insulating paint (which is amazing). Then we start to decorate. Nel strips all the old trim down, by hand and I cut it to refit, re-install it and fiannly paint it and the walls. We (I, actaully) seriously underestimated how long this would take. Most people, who are sane, simple redecorate. This involves lightly filling the existing plaster and then painting it. I sometimes wonder, given that our ambition was to make a 110 year-old urban house as eco-friendly as possible, whether we have achieved anything, given the energy consumption that has been involved in comparison to either just building new, or decorating and living "cold". It is possible to calculate the impact of all our work, and I will do just that when we have finished.
Below is the beginnings of the end of the same view, frame installed, insulation installed, window frames rebuilt, walls plastered by my own fair hands. This was done this week.
Below is a mantlepiece I built this week, in the front room. Still to be finished but replaces the ugly hole that was there previously.
In summary, we are actually now on the bottom floor of the place. I'm immensely proud of the work we have done, and it is a great space. I keep promising Englsih friends a housewarming "At the end of the month" but in truth, an Englsih summer barbeque is most likely as a housewarmong event. Bring your overcoats.