Friday, 27 December 2013

Happy Christmas Everyone!

The lead up to Christmas in the Dower House 

Archie shares Jenny with Cassie! 

 Cassie eats seaweed, while Roland's boat waits for the coming storm

A sunny Christmas Eve

We will fill you in with the guttering after Christmas, but are nearly there.

Fixing the gutter brackets

Jenny fixing gutters, Nick sealing windows

Leveling the gutter to make a run.

Shaving the rough end after sawing.

See if it runs..

It works!

Jenny collecting eggs up close and personal to Bertie!

Topsy has problems with the ridge on one of her cottages, with a prolonged gale in progress.

To make it safe, Nick goes to investigate

..and with Jenny to help he replaces the broken bits..

OK perhaps it's not sensible to be on a roof in a gale, but we were safe and stopped the house being ruined inside. When it started to snow it got really very icy cold, but Nick was never one to give up!

Well you all know about the rain this Christmas if you are in the UK!

...and very high tides...

More soon we are staying in Port Ellen with Topsy this week....Bliss!


Saturday, 14 December 2013

Reindeer bring Santa to Islay!

Jenny came home especially to see the Reindeer 
bring Father Christmas to Islay

This is a special wish to all the school children I have had the pleasure of working with in Dorset for many years!


At 2pm the band played in Bowmore

...and here comes Santa on his sleigh...

...pulled by the Cairngorm reindeer...

...what a fantastic start to Christmas...

The gale and rain may have stopped the ferries, 
but not the children on Islay!

Friday 13th December, sunrise 8.30amish

Lunch in the sun, Cassie, the puppy takes a leap!

Bertie, the cockerel, has his eye on Rick's bread pudding...

Cassie has her eye on something else!

...toads don't taste nice... she drops it...

...then Bronwen, the hen, rushes in for the kill...

...the toad, saved from a sharp beak was released over the fence into the enchanted forest, could it be a prince?

While Cassie searches for the toad...

Bertie seizes his chance and runs off with the bread pudding...

Cheeky chickens!

 Talk about cheeky, that pup gets her nose in everywhere.

She creeps...

..and finally gets her own way!

For everyone else;
I should mention the gutters, but have mislaid the pictures. We have been working on them and no doubt Buildbase must be fed up with seeing us, but we have sorted it now...honest! We still have one corner to do, but had to order screws on line as some were missing and we've dropped a few! Nick worked while we went to see the reindeer and has another window sealed in.
Monday is another day!

Mary-Ann (Mrs Featherstone)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Gutters and chimneys!

It's difficult to walk in the garden of the Dower House these days without being followed like the Pied Piper, by chickens and dogs.
We had lunch outside yesterday and Bertie almost had my scrambled egg, he's getting more cheeky by the day!

Islay still looks grumpy!

Nick is....yes you guessed it, sealing windows...

Rick is perched on platform pointing under the eaves. am I...

To Point the walls we need rubber gloves, as the lime mortar wrecks most people's hands! A boiler suit, goggles, a mask and steel toecaps are very useful for all the work 
& a bath at Topsy's is essential to my well being!

Any cracked stone or mortar has to be dug, chipped or ground out, (illustrated by Katie in November with the Titan) the cavity cleaned, sprayed with water and filled with lime mortar.
The mortar is a mixture of 1 x lime,1 x cement & 6 sand it must fill the whole cavity and have a smooth finish. This stops water getting in, which can freeze and cause cracks and water getting inside.
I think the lime make the mortar more flexible.

The same applies if you are planting trees, no stones or gaps round the roots for ice to form!

You see I have been listening!

So when I came to fit the gutter brackets, which is a fiddly job,
 all fingers and thumbs...

I found 1 or 2 brackets like this!

...when they should have looked like this!

By the end of the day I had fitted 60 gutter brackets and added a bit more pointing, lost a few nuts and bolts, climbed up and down the scaffolding to retrieve my spanner a few times...

...retrieved 2 pairs of knickers and a sock from Cassie...

...refused entry to Bertie and his wives 3 times...

...and helped Nick, who was up on the chimney again!

At Tom and Sandy's end one of the capped chimneys is leaking when it rains into the fireplace below. Gary suggested sealing it with PVA again, which Nick has done, but also where the mortar was laid in the hot summer weather, it dried too quickly, despite us wetting it often and there are some small cracks, so Nick gouged out a bigger channel and filled it with mortar again.

The problem being a  force 4 southerly wind , which got stronger and the forecast overnight is 3 hours of rain... Nick covered it up with plastic and tied it on in 4 corners to the scaffolding below, I can hear it flapping as I write! 

Tomorrow it may be over the Fairy hill and far away!

"Can I come through please?"

Cassie and Islay are looking for the rat,
 that chewed a hole in the bathroom wall, 
spread sand over the floor where I put my feet last thing at night before I clean my teeth! 
It is a sobering thought, luckily I didn't shine the torch at my feet until I was leaving...
We have now moved the chicken's corn to a higher place and Nick has boarded up any holes already dug!

I'm not keen on rats, are you?

The next update may well be Jenny, who is at the moment on a coach from Poole to London - Glasgow- Kennacraig to catch the lunchtime ferry tomorrow to Port Askaig. Shall I take the pup? We'll see.


P.S. Haven't heard from Katie and Dan, they must be in the Australian outback!