This week we took another big step forward....
From the top of the Fairy Hill in between the storms...
You can see the Dower House,
but not the log shed that Jenny built at Tigh Cargaman...
You can see the top of Kildalton Castle...
From the top of the Dower House,
where Nick is painting the chimney with SBR and
Jenny is drying the joints on the dormers,
in the hope of painting them with SBR...
...getting a bit fed up!
..You can see he sunrise over the sea to Kintyre...
..and the rough sea, on the rocks where normally common seals bask, after one of the many gales...
...and the road at Cnoc bay, where the sea has beaten
the wall of rocks and eroded the road.
The Dower House swans finding shelter and food on the beach when not being chased by Cassie...
...and Bertie, who seems to be waiting for someone...
16 eggs in a nest, no wonder the hen looks smug!
The following day Cassie started retrieving eggs, brilliant, none broken, even when she threw one in he air
(I know, this is her favourite seaweed, not an egg!)
When Jenny and Nick found the 2nd nest it had 40 eggs.
This week we have dined on quiche, cakes, quiche, poached, boiled, fried eggs and Cassie had an addled 1, which she dropped on Topsy's doormat!
Jenny did the floating test, if it sinks it's OK,
if it floats it's not...bacteria.
I did the breaking 1 egg at a time test as well, to be on the safe side and only had to throw 7 away.
All chickens are now laying in the house and we are getting 5 a day...maybe we might get sick of eggs soon!
When Nick is not busy doing the chimneys and gutters,
he can also dig trenches...
...the chickens got the worms...
...and we nearly had chicken stew more than once...
Cassie also thinks jumping on chickens is a fine game!
Jenny has a photo of the drains working perfectly, finished in the pouring rain today,
but you'll have to wait 'til next time...
Fires and chimneys!
As you know we have been pointing the inside walls for many weeks now and it takes patience, some skill, a lack of vanity...lime dust in your hair, on your face, in your clothes is a bit of a pain, anyway are any of us vain?
The chimney stack walls are very wet and soggy so...
Jenny lit a fire upstairs in what will one day be our living room and at once it felt warmer and cosier, so they lit 2 more...
There was another storm early last week and the scaffolding went walk about again, so Nick and Jenny braved the wind and rain to move it to a safer place, as we didn't want a broken window!
...and then the sun came out...
An oyster catcher in Seal Bay.
Greylag geese and a curlew.
...and this is the rubbish blown in from he sea, where does it all come from? Well it's certainly not all from Islay!
I wonder how many plastic bottles, coke cans, plastic rings,
from beer cans, old oil drums, will kill wildlife?
Have you seen a swan with a plastic ring round it's neck, unable to swallow properly? Or a bottle or can with a dead mouse inside?
I have, what a waste and what a mess!
In with the insulation and plasterboard
Michael arrived from Buildbase on Wednesday afternoon, a bit later than we had hoped, as we had 3.5 tonnes to carry upstairs. The first load was insulation for a quarter of the house.
75 x 8' x 4' sheets and 4" thick
We moved fast as it was threatening rain and Michael would be back with the second load soon.
Nick in a hurry is someone to avoid unless you are where you are supposed to be! Jenny and Katie have many years of experience!
The second load arrives and this time it is plasterboard as well, which cannot get wet, Nick has a sheet ready to cover it, once it has the plastic clingfilm removed. Swiss army knives are useful.
Michael gets back with the second load...
Dan, who's back is better, follows Nick with the first of 95 sheets. Nick has a special carrier...
Katie, Jenny and I take it in turns, but as I am weak and feeble at the moment after so much pointing, the girls work together.
While I position the boards and supervise upstairs.
Nick and Dan found working together worked for them too.
We wondered who we might ask for help on Islay
if the worst came to the worst...
up the stairs, down the stairs...
up the stairs, down the stairs...
It's getting dark...
All we are left with is a few sacks full of plastic
that we hope Re Jig will recycle.
At the end of the day exhausted we all went to the Islay Hotel for one of their great bar meals and were not disappointed!
Painting a seal!
For those who don't know, Katie and Myself
are used to a very different sort of painting, but were quite impressed with the colour of SBR, used to 'seal' the masonry.
It started off a lovely cerulean, then turned violet/madder and finally when it was dry is transparent, if a little shiny.
...when I get a big brush in my hand
I make a right mess!
I wouldn't presume to speak for Katie
as she is used to painting big!
Nick is now a master with a mastic gun,
working from all angles and perches.
Down with the scaffold!
On Wednesday 5th Feb, the same day the plasterboard arrived,
Donald and his men came to dismantle the scaffolding.
It took them 2 days ...
...of climbing, unbolting and carrying...
...until it was all gone!
Now the scaffolding has gone we will miss it in many ways...
mostly the view!
Nick can now get to the guttering he couldn't reach before.
The last down pipes are being fixed.
So if you have managed to stay awake through that, I will tell you that despite the cold and damp inside the Dower House, which might put many of you off, there is a great team spirit, essential when putting up with a few less luxuries than normal. We are having the rain, wind and cold, but it doesn't compare to the water you have in the South, so I am ashamed to say that I am the only one struggling, but...
The sun will come out soon...
...and thanks to brother Steve, my chainsaw will hopefully arrive before my birthday. I just hope I don't need Andy's help to use it!
Keep warm and dry wherever you are, we are lucky enough to have Topsy and her wonderful hospitality!