Thursday, September 27, 2012

The house still has four walls .....just!

What happened to Spring here in Nova Scotia? Well, it just ran into Summer and forgot how to rain!  With long hot days, it has been the warmest and driest in many people’s memories. Not that we are complaining here, but when you are trying to restore an old house, the odd day below 25c would be nice. The area we are currently working is facing south, and with nothing in the way of shade it became very hot  to work.

So what has happened since May 29th, the last blog?

Very, very sad news first and foremost. Marmalade (Marmsie) our beautiful orange tabby, disappeared late on June 28th. She was outside at 10pm and refused to come in so we left her another hour. But when we went to try and coax her in she was not there. We suspect a Coyote.  We are so desperately   sad to have lost her as she was such a treasured member of this adventure. Always part of any gathering, Marmsie was so comfortable around people. She was my little helper, always investigating what I had just done, and keeping close . I am sure that, had she a thumb, she would have picked up a hammer.  So have I have included a few shots of Marmise as that is one cat we shall not forget.

However, at the end of July when we were just wondering if we should have more cats, one turned up on our doorstep. During a late-night, rare rain storm, Jenn heard a cat outside and rushed out in the hope of seeing Marmsie, when a skinny, black and grey tabby kitten, ran past her into the house.  Three tins of cat food later, she had made herself very comfortable and she is still with us.  She is about eight months old and a very gentle, long-legged elegant young lady with double paws on all four feet.  Her name is Val, short for Valley Cat.

Just before I left for the UK, Jenn went to St Anne’s University (an all French Uni) for a four week immersion course, where every student signs a contract to speak French 24/7.  Jenn enjoyed the lobster and clam dinners, the beaches and making new friends, and got an A, so her French has really improved.  This, we hope will increase her chances of retaining her long term substitute job she is in, until April next year. BREAKING NEWS September 27th - Jenn had her test earlier this week with the school board and she now is at INTERMEDIATE level, so she is very pleased.

I had a lovely two weeks in the UK and met up with some old friends and family. It was great to see my young son Andrew in his new student house in Huddersfield, and to be flown by my eldest son in a light airplane. Thank you to all for the accommodation, meals, drinks  etc.  I had a great time.

Jenn and I celebrated her birthday and our 4th wedding anniversary with a night away in Yarmouth, staying at an elegant B&B.  Jenn was still at Ste. Anne’s then, and had to get a note of permission to leave the campus and speak English!

Jenn's daughter Emily and her boyfriend Maher have bought a lovely home in Ottawa.  Jenn and her other daughter, Stephanie, enjoyed a week's visit there late August, and we are thinking of visiting there over Christmas.  Stephanie has switched her degree to Psychology, and is enjoying living in a house with friends near campus.  

House news…Bedrooms
Much work has continued to turn this place into a home which we hope will keep up warm this winter. On the inside and upstairs, the long room has now been split into two bedrooms. The stud wall was added at the beginning of June and I had a deadline of June 19th, when my Mum was due to arrive to get one half finished. That was done, and although it still needs more work it will do for the time being. The two new rooms  all have their new windows and the walls are insulated with R20 insulation batts and a high density, foil backed foam board.  This gives the rooms a cosy(we hope) R27. In an old house that should be ok against the cold winter of Nova Scotia.

The small bedroom next to the long room is ready for the pipe work to turn it into an en suite for one of the long room bedrooms. Which means that only one bedroom remains with its lathe and plaster ceilings and walls, along with its dressing room. They will be tackled in October.


Of the 25 windows, and 3 doors, one door has still to be installed along with five windows.  I have learnt how to put windows in.  The  four in Jenn’s studio, I did myself with a little help from my Mum, Marcia, Tony and Jenn. Really pleased with the results.

Jenn’s Studio

The old summer kitchen now has all the insulation added and the gyproc (plasterboard) is almost finished. Again the construction is to R27 with batts and foiled backed foam board. I have now finished plastering (mudding as they call it here), and the walls are painted. Skirting boards have been installed, which just leaves the floor to be painted.  On the outside it all now has the house wrap added along with new facias and trim around the windows. The here also requires a lattice work cover before the weather board to added and that has also been done. The weather board will be added as and when I have time.

We move on to the East side of the house in September which include the remaining three rooms in the house.   

The Wall Bulge

On the East side ground floor a bulge appeared after the house was lifted and after taking off the lathe and plaster, the problem was revealed. Nothing was holding the wall in place at floor level (see picture) which means two thirds of wall can be moved with your hand!! With  the advice of Paul Uhlman, I should be able to make it secure.

The Taxi 

The company which I started is going well - Annapolis Royal and Bridgetown Taxi.  There have been some very interesting customers and journeys . The car is performing well but it suffered some damage just over a week ago when I hit and sadly killed a large dog, that had not been tied up by the owner.  You are always on the lookout at night for deer, racoons, coyotes, and porcupines but it was bad luck to hit the one animal that should have been tied up!

Thanks for my friend in Sweden, Sabine, for reminding me about the blog or the lack of one. Pictures found below!

Marmsie inspecting our contractor's work

Resting in the Valley House
Marmsie making sure the window will fit

Mum working on Summer Kitchen south wall


All windows in and lattice work added. This was not something I wanted, the building inspector insisted

Val, our new cat

The long room wall about to revel the problem with the wall

The clear space between posts and the world outside!!

The bottom of the east wall showing the problem

 More of the same. The light coloured timber at the bottom is the new sill

7 1/4' railway is about an hour away from home. It good to see some running trains

Trecothic Creek and Windsor Railway. At last some real steam engines 

The gathering clouds last night, from our back steps - Winter is approaching