Second Bedroom Work Continues

I'm looking forward to the day when I can return to this post and think to myself "I'm glad that's all finished". Maybe that day I'll put some before and after pics up in a new post.

Before and after plastering.


New radiator will be installed in this alcove

To make installation easier and neater,
I put together a plinth with a mitered frame for the radiator to stand on.
It also will allow access (either side and in front) to pipe work for maintance.
I am using as much reclaimed timber as possible.

The plinth beffore and after sanding.
The whole floor will be stained and varnished later.

Fixing the skirting on the opposite of the room from the radiator.
I decided to glue this in place because I don't think the brickwork would surive nailing or drilling.
The glue is reversable, and should we need to remove the skirting at a later date it won't damage the wall.


I have difficulty allowing others to work on my house. I find it very stressful getting tradespeople in. The usual conversation when discussing the required job goes some thing like this:

Me "I want this, and this done, and it needs to be done like this and that."

Trades-person "No one does it like that any more." or "That'll look old-fashioned." or "I can make it look more modern by doing it another way."

Had none of that with today's trade. Mick the plasterer arrived on time, did the job, no fuss, no drama.
We'll be having him back soon to do the stairs and landing.

Before being covered in chocolate icing.

After being covered in chocolate icing.

Can sleep....

This has always been a problem for me. Back in 2002 when I started this LJ thing, I was having problems with insomnia. I was just checking some old posts and here we are 15 years later and I'm still having issues with sleep. I know it's probably due to coffee, but I like coffee and I use it as fuel.

In other news Ian and son stayed this weekend. Which was fun. Finally got to try out The Tap Room, new (not's so new now) bar in town. Very good selection of beer. New rule in my life no beer unless friends staying. Lost 28 lbs between the end of September and Christmas, put 3 or 4 lbs on over Christmas. I want to get back on track with the diet.

Work on the house continues. I'll try and get some pics of the stairs to the attic tomorrow. That part of the project is coming along nicely.


I really wasn't feeling the Christmas spirit this year. 2016 has been a crappy year seemingly full of death, death, death and hate,hate,hate. I think 12 months of bad news has left me emotionally bruised. Added to that, I've been ill for a year. On the plus side I feel so much better this Christmas than I did last year. Last year's pneumonia left me with in a bad way and it's been a slow recovery. Once again I'm ill at Christmas, but this time it's just a cold (typing that could be tempting fate) but it's a cold with a silver (slimy) lining. This is gross, but weirdly the snotty cold is actually helping me clear my sinuses, which up until the arrival of the cold just drained down the back of my throat. It's such a relief to be actually able to blow my nose and something comes out.

In other less snotty news...

Christmas day I took advantage of the town being quiet and took Sampson out for a long walk around the High Street and along the sea front, he thought this was most excellent. Then went to drop in on Jo at work, before heading home to do some prep for Christmas dinner. Jo came home from work around 2pm and we had a drink or two then exchanged gifts. Rather chuffed with the multi tool and pocket watch Jo got me. I'd hung stockings up for Jo and Sampson not wanting to leave out the dog.

I wasn't expecting too much from the Doctor Who Christmas special this year, the previous series was a big disapointment. However I rather enjoyed this year's offering. Maybe I was in the right mood for it, maybe not having high hopes helped.

The diet has been put on pause for a few days. Not that I've pushed to food boat out as far as I've done on previous years. Last year was the exception due to illness, but usually Christmas is the season of excess for me. I hope I don't undo the 28lbs I've lost since September. I may not weigh myself again untl mid January.


This pretty much where we're at in this room as I write this.
Sash-window fitted, fireplace that matches the one in the master bedroom restored and fitted, most of the plaster-work patched, all the gypsum plaster skim removed from the external wall (it was neither use or ornament). Since this photo was taken, new coving has also been installed around most of the room. Jo has been filling, and sanding, and filling, and filling....
Sample of dado (aka chair-rail) and the sketch in my notebook.

Just over 32 meters of wood trim, in the shape of dado and picture rail , arrived tihis morning and is currently laying on the lower stairs, well and truly in the way. I hope to get all the trim on the walls over the coming weekend, all except the one wall that still needs plastering.

In other news...

The work on the attic stairs continues. I need to fit a new newel base at the top of the stairs before I can trim out the stair opening and then restore the landing ceiling. I've made a test newel post base and that seems to work ok. So I need to make the real newel base based on that test piece. One more job in a list of scores.

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Coving would go up a lot easier if the walls met adjoining walls and ceilings at 90 degrees, not the 87 degrees and 92 degrees we have here.
I'm reminded of these extracts from 'The Haunting of Hill House' by Shirley Jackson.
No human eye can isolate the unhappy coincidence of line and place which suggests evil in the face of a house, and yet somehow a maniac juxtaposition, a badly turned angle, some chance meeting of roof and sky, turned Hill House into a place of despair...
And later in the book...
"Every angle”—and the doctor gestured toward the doorway—“every angle is slightly wrong. Hugh Cram must have detested other people and their sensible squared-away houses, because he made his house to suit his mind. Angles which you assume are the right angles you are accustomed to, and have every right to expect are true, are actually a fraction of a degree off in one direction or another. I am sure, for instance, that you believe that the stairs you are sitting on are level, because you are not prepared for stairs which are not level—“
Yeah, Hugh Cram built our house I'm certain of it.

Lost Phone (Datapanic in the Year Zero)

The other night (3am) I was setting off to bed. Usually, the last three things I do before putting head to pillow are;

1. Plug in phone to charge, and occasionally set the alarm.

2. Take off glasses.

3. Turn off light.

Not always in that precise order. On the night in question, I looked around for my phone. No phone! Checked in bedroom, living room, went out to car. Did the same again while calling the phone on the landline. Knowing full well that I keep my phone on silent and non-vibrate, well I may see it light up. After an hour of increasingly frantic searching, I had decided that I'm probably lost it at Dover B&Q (the last place I remember having it) I'd knelt down to check the size of some wooden trim. It was now 4am and I was fully convinced the phone must have fallen into the wrong hands. I imagined a terrorist cell were emptying my bank account into a number of shell companies or offshore bank facades and Ayman al-Zawahiri was currently reading my private email. It was only a matter of time before I'd be wrongly implicated in an attack, either because I'm unwittingly funded it, or my phone would be used to trigger a dirty bomb or both scenarios at once. Yeah I'd had a drink earlier in the evening and by 4am I was losing the plot. All the same, I was mentally kicking myself for not taking my own advice and password protecting the phone.

What would have helped is having some sort of "find my phone" app on the phone. I'd set one such app up on the phone when I got it, however, I hadn't quite got around to reinstalling it after the big crash/reset debacle earlier this year. Just as I was about to go and reset the passwords to my paypal, online banking, facebook... Jo had woken up assessed the situation and tried ringing it at the same moment I shook out the duvet for one last desperate check and I was rewarded with the sight of my phone hurtling across the room with the incoming call screen brightly lit up. Had the phone crashed to the floor exploding into a dozen bits I couldn't have cared less, it hadn't fallen into evil hands and I wasn't going to have to explain myself to the authorities. As it happened the phone survived its brief flight and was soon being treated to a new "find my phone" app, password protection, and encryption.

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Nixie tubes are being manufactured again. Not a mass produced product of a large Chinese factory, as I suspected would be the case although this could still happen. The worldwide demand must surely soon outstrip the remaining stockpile of NOS Nixies and at some point, this will come to the attention of large manufacturers. In the meantime, this chap in the Czech Republic is producing handcrafted artisan tubes. After watching his video I was figuring the tubes would be at least $400 each. I am astounded he is retailing them at $150. His failure rate must be very low, not surprising given the attention to detail in his product and the lab conditions he has created for his working environment and manufacturing process.
He hopes to expand production and this should bring the unit cost down, eventually bringing them to a price I can afford for the DD/MM/YYYY and time clock I want to build into an 18th-century style clock case.

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Had to bump start the car today. Some idiot fell asleep in the car park, this in its self doesn't usually drain the battery. However as the idiot fell asleep with the engine off and the lights on... well that may have done it. Luckily Jo was able to push the car out of the car park and over to the top of a slope. Very relieved the car started on the first roll down the slope, didn't want to ask Jo to push it back up the slope for a second crack at it.

I should probably mention I've done my back in and I was helping push, but jumping in once the car was rolling was a little hair-raising.

In other news.

Jem's been clearing the garden. It was probably one of the dump runs that did for my back. He's cleared tons of ivy off the concrete fence, I'd leave it but the weight could bring down the fence eventually. Although for now the fence seems rock solid, but unsightly.

I've been working on the stairs to the attic office. I need to get the stairs sorted then the landing ceiling can be boarded and then plastered along with a couple of walls I've already boarded. I was going to make the newel post bases, but on reflection decided buying some ready made bases wouldn't cost much more than the raw lumber, they should be drilled accurately, and should save some time. I ordered three bases from Sovereign Stair Parts, and although they haven't arrived yet, I'm already rather pleased with the service because they have recalculated the shipping and refunded half the cost.

2016-10-02 13.31.35
New newel will go in here.
I love the randomness of the tools, from precision to the brutal.
I should treat my Japanese saw with more respect.
The top step into the office will have to come out and I'll probably have to make a new one. This is a little anoying because I don't like having to do jobs twice and I'm not sure I have enough bits of the reclaimed boards to mage another step. As it is I've had to strip and sand down an old length of trim recovered from the attic opening to try and match in a couple of long lengths around the stair opening. More on that when it is in place.