Plastering and spawning.

17°C, light W, mostly sunny.

Ants’ nest

They are spawning, the ants. In this tussock they build a pyramid of soil and winged males and females are all over it. I didn’t realise what was going on at first and accidentally disturbed the structure. I side were eggs and more drones. The cone of soil seems quite fragile, I have not seen one before like this. I’m used to seeing spawning from paving slabs, but not this.

Last hole.

Today, I removed the dining room radiator ready for wallpapering. This is the third radiator that hides damaged plaster in this house. This time, the resulting hole is small, only he size of my hand. Newly plastered, it’s drying now. I hope to finish this room by Thursday.

Dennis

8°C, calm after a storm.

I didn’t look forward to going up the ladder bit it had to be done. Another bout of heavy rain loomed. There were still gusts with some force which took the ladder before I could secure it. In response, I got rope and tied the top and bottom rungs to fence posts.

The broken and crumbling tiles were tricky to remove. One row was mailed and the others were interleaved and secures by their own weight.

Linseed Door

7°C, rain.

Got a cold so stayed in and worked on the house. This is the door to a cupboard which was panelled over, probably in the late 1970s. The panel cake off easily but the paint flaked and revealed its thickness. There were atm east 4 layers, the lower layers were even thicker and softened reluctantly under the heat gun. The yellow is rather shocking (probably 1980s) but the two colours beneath are interesting.

Those two lower paint coats needed more heat to soften and smelled different.

Now the door is finished and re-hung, the room smells of linseed oil. Is that the medium for old paints? I feel rather nostalgic about that smell, it reminds me of art college

A mild cheat

11°C, sunny.

I have to say, I’m happy with the plastering job. I’ve never plastered anything as big as the chimney breast bit this worked. I can smooth my hand over for that satisfying feeling. Okay, so I tweaked it with a little polyfiller but still….

The HDR app is handy here for looking for flaws. Here is one looking abstract.

Oops, I did it again.

7°C, fog.

Following that experience in the early week, I have yet to return to cycling. I rode a meer 25 miles and felt dreadful by the end. The last few days, I cracked on with the decorating. The hall is half done and you can see where it’s going.

Once more, stripping off wallpaper revealed loose plaster; this time, right next to the front door.

The underlying bricks have a fault, there in a crack in the mortar which now needs attention from outside. I wonder whether this fault it caused by slamming the front door. The door is a tight fit in the frame this winter. Perhaps it does this every winter when it’s damp.

Another item for the to-do list; plane the door down to give clearance.

Later, I’ll ride. The legs are fizzing again.

DIY: Plumbing, a leaking radiator.

6°C, becoming greyer but still dry.

Much as I hate DIY plumbing, this one job has to be done. The kitchen radiator has left little puddles beneath when I get home. The system pressure would drop enough to shut down the boiler by the end of the the week.

After trying loosening and re-tightening the nuts on the valve for no improvement, I bought a replacement valve. This is a basic thermostatic valve and looked like the right size to fit onto the same nuts and olives.

Here is the old valve without the thermostat. Water leaked from the centre of the black top

Now that the heating system is a closed loop combi-boiler, draining didn’t take long.

The pipe looks scruffy but I can clean it up when I decorate. Perhaps Emery paper then varnish it to keep the copper colour.

Cost of repair? Just over £6.50. Boom!

At the same time, I have put together an emergency pipe repair kit: some pipe, compression joints, PTFE tape and a pipe cutter. Oh and a flexible pipe, that should be enough should the worst happen this winter.

Sleep fail

Why is this, I wake at 02.30, wide awake so get up for my usual night-time herb tea. Back to bed for more ceiling staring. I don’t get it, I’m not stressed, don’t have any worries and it’s been 12 hours since the last coffee. What’s going on?

Here is the plaster in the kitchen. And here it as was a week ago:

I suspect that the heat may have played a part it that plaster becoming detached. This is where the boiler used to be mounted and those pipes carry very hot water. I’ve not decided how to box in the pipes. Should they have insulation.

Is this a cold causing sleep disruption? the current cold has hung on a while just entering its third week. I’m so frustrated by this.

Papered over (2).

A day spent house-making. The old cooker is out, the new one in place. Radiators are ready and waiting for the plumber.

Soon to be hidden under wallpaper behind a radiator is this sketch.. Drawing over polyfiller is not as easy as plaster. The texture is too rough which made subtle marks difficult to achieve. Perhaps a hard grade of pencil would suit better.

Continue reading

Underdrawing.

19°C rain.

Back home, decorating. Some pressure is on, a new heating system is to be fitted next week I’m taking the opportunity to fit column radiators. The old flat radiators are off, leaving the wall exposed for redecoration. Repapering the hallway was easy, the old paper came off easily in large sheets.

A sketch, now under wallpaper.

Preparing the living room was not so easy. It started off without difficulty, the paper peeled away in large sheets. This soon revealed a problem. The plaster has long cracks that criss-cross. I decided to lever off a loose bit. Then a huge sheet fell away.

There is a gap between the sill and the top course of bricks so I injected polyethylene foam. Later the same day, the base coat of plaster was in.

This photo shows the skim coat. It’s not as flat as I’d like but it will be hidden by the new radiator (and under lining paper).