Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Keeping up is hard to do!

This blog entry is a little rushed, but I felt we should let you know what has happened this month, since Gary and Jenny came back to work here. Gary is the driving force at the Dower House and sometimes we find it very hard to keep up. No doubt he gets a bit fed up with keeping us up to scratch. So here is what has happened in November. There has been no time to party or go paddling or even a long walk, but we are moving fast towards finishing Sandy and Tom's side of the house by the time they come up at Christmas.

Good job my Mum's coming, she can cook the turkey!

The Water shed.

Slating the watershed, this is where the water filters are kept. Sadly we have to filter the water as there were high levels of Iron and Arsenic coming from the borehole. This does mean the water is not peaty and soft and we get some scale in the kettle. We can't have brown peaty baths, shame.

Nick had this on his list to do, but Gary is a lot faster and we need the water shed water tight for the winter.

... sealing the edges with lead.

...in Sandy and Tom's kitchen/diner (to be) 
Martin has put up the main lights.
Also Gary's workshop at this point.

...and the outside lights...

Bedroom floors are finished, Nick has painted the skirting, Jenny the walls and ceiling.
The beds and wardrobe have arrived.


Nick re-organises the plumbing, hopefully for the last time in this particular area. 
This will be the kitchen, where the sink and dishwasher go, under the breakfast bar.

Drilling holes in tiles for the shower room.

The Oak Staircase.

The ladder has seen a lot of feet...most of them dirty!

In new lighting installing the stairs is started,
We brought it from Dave Leadbetter, if you remember, Wackerfield
It's like a Chinese puzzle...

...and takes a bit of thought...

and measuring...

The acro prop is holding the floor up until the newel post is in place

A bit of trimming...

..we lifted the stairs many times to get it just where Gary wanted it. 
Boy was it heavy...well I thought so.

Gary had to get in through the upstairs window, but I wasn't quick enough with the camera!

Fitting the newel post.

Gluing the steps in place...exactly.

The steps are in, notice the cardboard on the steps, Nick still has to rub all the stairs down and oil it before Christmas...oh and he has a few other bits to paint and oil as well.

There was going to be a cupboard under the stairs, but Sandy and Tom decided the space would be better used open, so Gary has plastered it and built a smaller cupboard under the stairs. It looks great.

We see the sunrise as we work.

More grouting...

More painting...

We have friends in Port Charlotte who have given us lots of Willow, 
 I will be building live willow structures here and at Topsy's probably in the new year.

Cassie is bored watching the sun rise and she cut her foot again digging, so is not allowed on the beach...

Through the Dower House window...

While you in the South had gales and rain, we enjoyed days of freezing, bright weather. This is the bathroom window.

Isla' our 14 year old Lab has come home to live again, after being so well loved and looked after by Topsy. Isla' is now totally deaf and quite blind, but still loves to walk, or hobble...When she wanted to walk she kept taking herself off to the beach at Topsy's, which meant crossing the main road, stopping all the traffic. So she wears a florescent coat and walks with Me, Jenny or Nick and Cassie up the road at Kildalton very happily.

The enchanted forest covered in frost.

The hills after snow.

Another sunrise...

Nick's Workshop!

Sand to protect the liner.

It was always the intention to extend the workshop and now is the time we have to move everything that isn't needed for the building work to a tidy place!

 Gary is brilliant at getting the best out of the space you have and building a strong, weatherproof building to withstand the winter gales and the rain we get.

We had a mix of concrete from Gordon Currie...

...and mixed the rest ourselves for the sides.

He even pushes a wheelbarrow now and again

It needed protection from the frost.

The plan is in Gary's head so with Nick and Jenny taking orders and me helping, or hindering where I can, we make an efficient team...most of the time!

1 wall...

2 walls...



Sarking boards on the roof

felt on top...

Slating the roof, we recycled an old Vellux window, Gary's idea again.

All hands to sort and cut recycled Highland slate from the house.

The sun sets and Gary finished the front in a day...
we just sat around and watched!

Clearing up.

We had a bonfire...a big one to get rid of a lot of rubbish wood, cardboard etc. 
 It's a long way to the tip and we do go frequently with all the plastic waste.

Some photos of the spectacular scenery from the house and around.

Ardtalla...a favourite place to go as we stayed there many years ago,
 when living on Islay was just a dream.

The  mountains on Arran from The Dower House

Seaweed on Cnoc bay

Ardbeg distillary with Arran in the background.

|Seal bay, full of wildlife, geese, seals and other birds.

Arran again.

Not another wonderful sunrise

The porch into Sandy and Tom's.

We got so far with tiling the utility, but had to wait for more tiles to be delivered.
 One of the hazards of living on an island.

If Cassie pinches Isla's bed, she just gets sat on!

The "Blue room" (lounge) floor.

Laying the Oak flooring is a precise job and you need to get the first line right or you are up the creek without a paddle...or so I'm told!


The cars and motorbike are causing me a real headache! Nick's car broke down a month ago, but there is no time to do anything about it, so I decided to do it myself. I bought a Haynes manual, Jenny diagnosed the fault on Google and I took the ignition coil out. Ordered another on line...and am waiting to see if we were right when it comes, watch this space!

 Also my old Peugeot 406 has a very tired battery and wouldn't start, so I charged that up as well, hey presto, back on the road. Now all we need is for the motorbike to get sorted and an MOT and we'll be fine. Aren't we always in the end?

and finally a sunset over the chicken run!

I know this is rushed and you may find the odd mistake or three, I hope you can keep up and also that we can and we are heading the right way. Sandy and Tom will have a cosy Christmas and I think we may have a Christmas to remember, for all the best reasons.

Thanks Everyone.

1 comment:

  1. There have been some beautiful sunsets and sunrises this month and looks like you have also had some wonderful ones too. Can't believe how much you have all done since September, it looks fantastic! x x x