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Saturday 17 March 2012

Ice Road Truckers

Taken just one month ago (15th February) it seems incredible we had so much snow when we are now enjoying record spring temperatures of 15 to 18 Centigrade!
Worth noting that despite common opinion and hearsay the Italian builders kept working most days throughout the worst snowfall in fifty years, even delivering concrete for the sub-floor slabs in below zero temperatures! The inside of the house was heated to the necessary temperature and the concrete came with antifreeze … keen or what? I was impressed …
As concrete lorry and pump tender pulled up having trundled many kilometers through a glacial landscape I wondered if the drivers might be auditioning for the next series of
'Ice Road Truckers -  The Umbria Trail'?

Plumbed and Wired

The arterial installation of first-fix wiring and plumbing creates amazing patterns across the sub-floor, all soon to be permanently covered by the aerated raised floor.

This invisible but vital network will carry water, power, light and heat to every corner of the house. To the layman it may seem complicated and chaotic but rest assured … it is all carefully planned … I hope!

Once installed and covered up there is no record of where each tube starts and finishes so how, I ask, do we know which to use for what? The answer is surprising, blow down one end and the other end whistles … simple really! Wish I’d thought of that!

Future kitchen corner with indication of wiring routes to required power sockets for appliances, extract hood, etc. and underfloor heating distribution panel on the left. All this work and investment is about to be hidden for ever and the only sizable hole left will be … in the rapidly shrinking bank balance!

A Corner Stone

Investigating the cause of an unusual damp spot mid-wall, near the corner of our first floor master bedroom, I found the culprit to be a broken roof-edge tile and the result of dripping rain onto the exterior rock face … soon fix that.
However, hacking off the old plaster revealed something far more interesting …

… a collection of beautiful old stones structurally interlocked where the central spine meets the end wall.

Careful re-plastering and pointing of this corner will allow us to leave several of these wonderful stones exposed, adding a uniquely genuine detail to the character of the room.

Pointing to the Future

We now have scaffolding round half the house so the builders can start the rather tedious and dusty task of hacking out old pointing, patching and infilling where necessary with new stone pieces and cement render … before re-pointing in an ‘Antique Cream’ colour approved by the local planners.

This picture shows all three stages … top left, just visible, part of the original stone facade, across the middle of the picture newer stone deep pointed with grey cement … and then to the right, just under the new window, a small section of the new pointing as a colour trial.
The individual stones will mostly disappear and hopefully blend into a richly textured antique cream colour … that is if it does exactly what is says on the tin!