Trials and tribulations…

I am aware that in the time of a global pandemic my little project has little importance. But that does not stop it from being a source of anxiety and stress.

The week started sweetly with a significant delivery of plaster – multifinish used for skimming and hardwall for… hardwall(!) – after placing the order over 6 weeks ago. Pete and Morgan turned up cheery and ready to get on.

We agreed the order in which rooms need to be plastered first. I am desperate for a completed bedroom and ensuite so I can move out of Mr. Clooney, sleep more comfortably even if on an inflatable bed, and have a shower and a flushing toilet. I am such a diva !

The store room needs to be plastered and painted so we can install the boiler, cistern and pipework – also required for my diva-ish need to shower. A working boiler is also needed to test the underfloor heating system before we start tiling and fitting any flooring.

The main hallway, which is an open space from the floor to the roof needs to be plastered whilst the tower scaffold is in place. As soon as the plaster is dry, it will be painted and the tower scaffold can be removed giving us much better access to the property.

Those are the priorities. After which the plastering can be done as necessary.

Or so I thought.

The problem with ordering materials for this sort of build is it is really difficult to gauge how much might be needed. Upstairs most of the the ceilings are sloped – which takes significantly more product than a flat ceiling. After just one week we realise that the 40 bags of skim plaster delivered on Monday is not going to be anywhere near enough for this job.

We think we may need another 30 bags. I have been told by one supplier I can get 10 bags – in the 3rd week of August. Another supplier says I will have to wait until the end of August and there will also be a limit on quantity. You get the picture.

All the recent planning with the tiler, carpenter, electrician, plumber, floor fitter and so on now have to be re-worked and their diaries are already full.

1st September was my ‘socially-distanced working’ completion date. It would have been possible to do it quicker but I have to be responsible with the numbers working on site at any one time. September is now impossible. It’s likely I will have another two months plus of expense that was not accounted for in my budget. I returned to Bristol feeling…frankly, exhausted and utterly defeated.

But a good night’s sleep after lots of hugs, laughter, food and wine with my Bristol bubble and I am back on the positive path.

So I will be spending the weekend working out how to best carry on with the project on a room by room basis. The property will have to be partly plastered, partly painted, partly tiled, etc, until we can get the supplies we need.

I will set another completion date. Initially March, then almost immediately May then realistically September…Let’s say Christmas now.

The good news this week? The plans went in for the new house build on the carpark.

Am I mad…?

That was the week that was…

Who ever thought this madness we are living through was possible? Not me.

I returned from my extended trip to Portugal last Saturday, very pleased to return home. I spent the weekend working online, sorting out the budget, paying invoices and was planning to stay in Bristol on Monday to order numerous building materials from plasterboard to stairs and more.

Monday morning I awoke, as we all did, to a strange atmosphere so I jumped in my car and went to site. It became pretty obvious that some type of lockdown was going to happen and I didn’t want to be stuck with Mr. Clooney (can’t believe I just wrote that), but more importantly I didn’t want to lock up a site with thousands of pounds of materials piled up inside. I discussed the choices with Neil and Andy and we all agreed to close the site at the end of that day. As it turned out, our instinct was right as the UK went into lockdown at 2030hrs that evening.

Fortunately, the scaffolding was already being dismantled and is now gone. A big shout out to Patrick D Warren Scaffolding. Their flexibility and helpfulness throughout the roof issues was brilliant. Great business if you need their services.

The rendering was completed and another good job by Pete the Plasterer who will be back for the internal plastering I hope. The external painting is almost complete with perhaps less than a day needed to finish the job. I am glad I threw the money into the pot to get this done. It looks so much better – even in an unfinished state.

It seems I have been pretty lucky in the timing of all this. That is the way I am looking at it anyway. The financial hit will need to be managed one way or another; the knock-on effect in terms of timing won’t be known until the lockdown is lifted. I am not getting anxious about it. It is what it is and there are more important things to worry about.

So back to Bristol. I am in lockdown with 2 others; one of whom happens to be a personal trainer which is obviously a good thing but when there are literally no excuses for turning up to train it can be quite painful. We actually have an organised daily routine. A run. A 1hour plus gym session. A yoga class.

And to think I used to complain about clearing rubble and my wheelbarrow journeys. That was nothing compared to the agony I am now enduring.

Wishing you well. Wish me luck, and feel free to send me ideas of how to get out of class!?!?!?

It’s gym time…