Monday arrived again and Danny was once more on site at 8.00am to start cutting the new openings in the outside of the existing house walls. The final knock-throughs would be done by the joiners, Davy & Joe, when the extension was finally wind and watertight and secure. The existing back bedroom window was also to be removed and blocked up. However there was no sign of the roughcaster today. Danny was somewhat dis-pleased at this. Another phone call established the reason for the no-show as illness, which Danny translated as “can’t-be-bothered-itis”. Agreement was finally reached and the roughcaster undertook to be on site the following day. I was more concerned at the non-appearance of my gas fitter. The reason was revealed five minutes later when the phone rang. His core drill had packed in and he would therefore be unable to be on site today to drill the hole for the flue and finish the boiler installation. After discussion, it was established that the quickest way to get the job done would be to hire a replacement core drill. Unfortunately, this could not be done until Thursday/Friday of that week. This was agreed and I finally got off to work.
I arrived home that evening to a rather large hole in the side wall of the house, which would form the new access to the kitchen. A Catnic lintel had been installed downstairs and an RSJ to the first floor. My new radiators had also been delivered. Things were starting to shape up nicely.
Tuesday and Lord Lucan….. sorry, the roughcaster appeared. To be fair to him, he got straight to work and was a really nice guy. His bout of “man-flu” seemed to have been genuine to me judging by the colour of his nose and the multitude of throat sweets he had, so I left him to it and went off to work.
When I returned that evening, the two longest sides of the extension had been given their finish and the colour match to the existing house was immaculate. Some things are worth waiting for. The shower cabin had also been delivered, which was an early wedding present from my future in-laws. However, the Italian to English translation of the instruction booklet seemed to have lost something. I mean, what would you make of, “lift leg, lie down, plumb in, enjoy !” ?
Wednesday and the roughcaster was once more on site to finish the job. Nothing more of note was planned so I left for work. On returning that evening, the entire building was now roughcast and looking good, so I got on with the fabrication of the window panels. Another long day and late night.
Thursday arrived and I was at the hire shop for 8.00am to pick up the core drill. Happily, when I got back to the house, the gas fitter was there and ready to go. Danny was also on site to finish the external knock-throughs. I set off for work and let them get on with it. On returning that evening, there were two very tidy holes in the side of the house and the new boiler, with flue, was now almost operational. Almost.
Friday and the gas fitter was on site bright and early, (ahem) at 10.00. Danny had already been working for two hours by that point, putting in the base courses for the new doorstep platforms. Nevertheless, he was there and the prospect of hot water from the taps for the first time in a couple of weeks was a welcome thought. On returning home that evening, the boiler was installed, commissioned, working and signed off. At last. The gas fitter was still on site, having managed to drop his mobile phone down the open end of the pipe which routed the water supply pipes to the kitchen, (the floor boards were up). Fifteen minutes of fishing with a bent coat hanger and blue tack and the phone was retrieved. It even rang twice when it was in the pipe. It is truly surreal, to be lying on your stomach under a floor, fishing in a pipe, with Elvis Presley echoing imploringly throughout, “Are you lonesome tonight ?”
That weekend was spent finally installing the French Doors and window panels with my cousin, John. By Sunday evening, the ground floor was now wind and watertight and secure. The joy of sliding the glazing units in place and finding that they all fitted within the 3-5mm tolerance that I had designed, was gratifying. The building was taking on an air of completion, although there was still a lot to do and we had yet to encounter our nemesis……