Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In Boil-the-Water Land

 I was taking the small dog for a pre-breakfast walk in Boyle Harbour, and as I passed a boat a voice asked 'Is the roof on yet?' Someone who read my blog!? I didn't want to presume so muttered some class of query. But it was. And Angela gave me a DVD of her travels too, called Angela's Journey, 2013, so a splendid start to the day.

Of course Angela asked the question because the house build has taken over this blog, but we've been boating too, driving up to Leitrim for a few days, then back to do house stuff. We were in Leitrim Village, first on the dodgy jetties where this notice makes you nervous:

 These jetties were supposed to be released to Waterways Ireland, who built a bridge allowing access to the carpark and facilities. Never happened. The developer went into receivership and apartments just up from this sign, and the jetties, are now the responsibility of NAMA. Some boats outstaying their welcome were chained to the jetties, a boaty version of clamping.

So we left the boat on the wall below the bridge while we went home for a few days:

Then part of a timber-boat sandwich in Cootehall:

And then to Boyle, where there's a boil notice on the water. There was one in Cootehall too, but I couldn't resist the boyle and boil. Sorry. This water problem has been going on for 18 months, and is unlikely to be solved until the new water authority comes into being. Fortunately we were forwarned so filled up our water tanks before entering Cryptosporidium County.

After Boyle we mooched into Lough Key, heading for the Forest Park's new jetties. We'd seen them from the land a couple of times, and they didn't look particularly appealing - we were sure we'd prefer our usual spot on Drumman's Island - but no harm in dropping in for an hour or two. We slotted into a spot that was surprisingly pleasant. Everything looked different from this point of view. We could look out into the lake and the island with the castle on it, were close to trees. Not so bad after all.

It was also a great opportunity for Joe to do his salesman thing with 'Skipper', which he did with his usual verve. He's truly amazing. I'm still shite, embarrassed in the background.

There's all sorts of jolly activities at Lough Key. Look at these guys on Segways:

I've just found out more than I ever knew about the Segway from Wikipedia. It's proper name is Segway PT, PT standing for personal transporter, which sounds a bit Star Trek to me. The name Segway comes from segue, which means smooth transition. Segue is one of those words you see written down more often than you hear it spoken. When I was doing my MA, one of the tutors was going on about one thing segueing into another, and he was saying segwaying. My God, I thought, he's making a fool of himself. Fortunately I said nothing, thereby saving myself a red face (why is it OK to confess such things on a blog?). The thing is, Joe thought it was pronounced 'seeg' too. You know, as in words like vogue. How you get segway out of segue seems peculiar even for the English language.

Another activity was this sort of thing:

No, monkeys haven't been introduced to the park. This is a man. There are many children too, clipped on and clambering, zipping, climbing, swinging, even cycling through the trees. This was the domain of Zipit Forest Adventures, and I have to say I was tempted. Not by this stupidly high-off-the-ground stuff, obviously, but by the low-down zipwires designed for eight-year olds. Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow, however, started damp and got wetter. No zipping. No cycling until we finally went out in the rain in late afternoon. We finally left, still waterproofed up, and decamped to Carrick where it finally stopped raining.

And then, finally, to Drumsna to relax with tools and wine.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Up she goes! Our own Grand Design.

This afternoon I was lying flat on my back (how else can you lie on your back?) on the roof terrace of our new house. The PVC membrane went on this morning, and it's all clean and smelling like you could get high on it. I was high in a different way, however, looking at the clouds in a blue sky. Having been chilly all day I was shedding layers as though I was in the Med. Then Joe came to join me. We were both lying there, imagining living here.

This is the roof terrace (OK, it's just a flat roof at the moment, but it will be a roof terrace once we've decking and plants out there).

And here it is looking into the house. That hole will be all glass with a door on the right.

Of course I'm going backwards here. Joe had been supplying me with photos all week. Here's the exciting bit arriving - the crane. And there's the scaffolding behind it, put up a couple of days before. I was incredibly disappointed to be missing the crane.

And missing the lorry arriving with the house on it.

Actually this was only half of the house. There was another lorry's worth. It was a giant numbered jigsaw puzzle. And guess what. One vital piece that should have been in the first load was in the second. Tricksiness before the build had even begun.

Behind the first lorry load was a carful of tourists. They'd spotted the house-bearing lorry, recognised what it was from too many viewings of Grand Designs, and come along to watch. Joe says they were practically having a picnic.

And here we go. Bits of the jigsaw up in the air.

There's the sitting room!

At this next stage I was beginning to think Joe was codding me. He'd just bought a child's house-making kit and was putting it together on the lawn outside the kitchen window. But look! There's a real man standing on the scaffolding. Those little boxes are the downstairs loo, a bedroom, the utility room and the pantry. They look too small to be real.

And then I came home from the parents last Thursday evening. I was supposed to be in Shannon by 6.30 but that's when the flight took off. It was delayed for an hour and a half, our intended plane having been struck by lightning on the tarmac in Bristol (not encouraging, not to be dwelt upon). Frustration. But never mind! It was still light enough to visit the site. All those photos hadn't prepared me for the shock of a three-dimensional house. So long looking at 2D plans, and here it was.

This is looking inside from the sitting room to the kitchen. The rooms no longer look improbably small.

This will be our bedroom. Nothing like fresh air for a good night's sleep.

But finally we have a roof, pitched as well as flat, and all that natty red stuff is a fireproof cavity barrier thingy.

Next is the outer block wall and slates on the roof. The views from upstairs are fabulous, and from downstairs nearly as fabulous. Hurray! It's all fabulous!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

New build photo record

Back from the boat, which we've left up in Leitrim for a week. Not much time as I have to go over to my parents today (hospital stuff), so here's the photos of the latest developments on the site.

Jan the digger man put down the radon barrier.

Jano the block man put the blocks on top.

And yesterday the men from Tuam in Co Galway erected the scaffolding.

This will more or less be the view from upstairs. We're going to have to get a telescope so we can see who's going up and down the lake.

The build starts on Monday. Should be well under way by the time I get back on Thursday.

In the meantime Joe is doing a mighty job of project managing.