Is it a floor? Is it a ceiling…

A short week for me. Monday was supplier meetings so no physical work until Tuesday and am heading home on Thursday evening as off to the Big Smoke for a Friday night of loveliness with a scrummage of Penguin rugby players and supporters (is that the collective noun?).

But a short week doesn’t limit the amount of work that has to be done. So Neil and I have the task of levelling off one bedroom floor and putting in a brand new floor in another bedroom (happens to also be the ceiling for the boot room / guest toilet.

This requires much timber. I am becoming well versed in timber terminology. Here it’s spoken in old ‘money’ (6by2; 4by2 etc) but ordered from the merchant in new money (150×47) unlike plywood which is still ordered in sheets in old money (8ftx4ft). Over 140m ordered for the two rooms. Thankfully its cut to manageable sizes…though if you’d seen me (wo)man carrying a 4.8m length of timber from the carpark to the pub you would question the term ‘manageable’.

Then there’s the nails – 40mm galvanised clout nails in this case. Ordered by the kg rather than the hundreds or thousands. 2.5kg for this little job. Add 52 joist hangers, 5x 1m lengths of M16 threaded rod then cut to size; M16 nuts and washers and a tube or two of silicon and we are ready to go.

Neil does the calculations and measuring. No surprise there for those that know me well. I am after all just the apprentice on this job…but I am learning and spend my day watching and learning in between lifting, hammering and cleaning – with an occasional expletive when the hammering misfires.

It’s getting colder now too, although much of the work is still very physical so keeping warm is not a problem once the work starts. But first thing in the morning is a tad chilly and my “home from home” caravan is fighting hard to keep me warm in the evenings. Last night’s howling gale was an interesting experience. Once I reassured myself that the caravan was too heavy to fly away, and I got used to the swaying motion it was really rather soothing. Reminded me of sleeping in a yacht in a force 8 gale.

I was “rocked” to sleep whilst listening to some chillout tunes!

Oh the life of That There Builder Girl.

Taking it all out…

Then putting it all back in again. That’s the builders life.

As an apprentice I obviously have limited experience. It makes me question my sanity at night when I am ensconced in my luxurious accommodation and I realise the process of renovation..

We have taken out more than 70 tons of flooring and have now put back the same sort of materials we took out up to the concrete level. To finish the floor we will be adding insulation and then screed. We have removed enough timber to build an enormous bonfire for local celebrations (yes…that is where the wood has gone), and we are now putting timber back in. I have not heard of which effigy will be sitting at the top of the bonfire but I have a few thoughts on that.

I have removed hundreds…nope, thousands of nails and in the last two days I have hammered a thousand clout nails into some joists. (Impressive use of proper terms there!)

But Neil assures me it’s all for the good of the job.

So what’s happening in Week 9?

We are building one of the dividing walls for the entranceway and to define the utility room and snug. When I say we I mean Neil and Andy. A couple of wall starter sets get the process going. The 4 inch concrete blocks look like what this girl knows as breeze blocks. But each one is super dense and incredibly heavy. Bringing them inside was about my limit. The concrete mixer in the carpark is a little bigger than my cake mixer at home…but same theory. To be honest the mix sometimes looks better than my home bakes too.

I have been dallying with another shorter end hammer drill. Removing the last of the stubborn plasterwork around the fireplace, etc. The corner bits come off in huge chunks as they are held together with metal mesh. As a result they are heavy. My left shoulder and arm now bear the scars of how heavy. Also removing even more nails….Did you know that it is possible to pull a nail with such strength that the hammer could fly back and may hit you on the head. Makes your eyes water and swear like you’re on the golf course!

One of the master bedrooms is having the ceiling raised to show off some of the old beams. This is where I have been a little more active. Go on…ask me a question. Go on. Go on. I know words now that I had never heard of before this project. Jiffy hanger. Threaded rod. M16 nuts. Could be the start of a racy novel. Watch this space.

And its been another week of meeting other trades for the ongoing need for quotations. All good people with varying skills. My knowledge of soil pipes is increasing substantially. I await their responses with hope.

Now I shall head home only to have to replace the boiler in my flat. Its pitying that they don’t make these things last like they used to (Do I sound like my mother?). This boiler can only be 25 years old. There is little rest for That There Builder Girl.

Rugby at the weekend. Watching, not playing just in case you were wondering. England vs All Blacks. (Hello my friends in New Zealand). Wales vs France (Hello my family in Wales).

England v Wales. Now that would be a good final now that Scotland aren’t playing.

ps…I know. I know. Its Wales vs South Africa. Can’t blame me for mistakes..I am a little worn out!