The lounge continued creeping towards completion this month, as Jody finished off some details of the inglenook fireplace, including lining the inside of the hood with fireproof boarding. We were then able to get the gas plumbers in to connect the stove to a gas bottle outside. They gave us yet another headache as they deemed the fixed air vents in the lounge and dining room to have the wrong sized mesh covers, so we need to venture up to the apex of the ceilings to change one plastic grill for another slightly different one. That in turn requires buying a bigger ladder, as getting that high is non trivial.

 

 

Jody also capped the "wings" on either side of the inglenook with flagstones to match the floor. Once all the pointing is dry we just need to do a round of cleaning and oiling of the flags.

 

 

 

Michael continued work on the dining room doors and trim this month, with assistance from Tom. The frame trim is now all finished, but they still need to complete the door seals and fit all the locking pins, then we'll give the doors a final coat of stain.

 

 

Michael also made progress on the woodwork cladding the staircase's top platform. We had a slight delay when he made a good attempt at cutting his hand off with the grinder, while trimming the end off a large steel beam. After declaring it was "only a flesh wound" he stoically continued, leaving a small trail of blood drops as evidence.

 

 

 

 

We made the most of a pleasant spell of summery weather, undertaking further work in the meadow. First task was a topsoil top-up of the mound we formed a couple of years ago behind the retaining wall. The ground is settling down well, so we acquired a trailer full of topsoil from a friend and shovelled it along the top edge of the wall.

The recent combination of rain and warm sunshine has seen the hedges growing well, including the new whips planted last month. Our kowhai tree is also blooming, with a good collection of bright yellow flowers. The fruit trees also look good for a strong crop this season. We're continuing to mow a few meandering paths while letting the rest of the grass grow wild, and decided to clear a patch at the north end to give us a sunny picnic spot, where we can watch the sheep and overlook the valley beyond the village.

 

 

The main focus this month has been in the upper bedrooms, as we work to get bedroom 3 and the bathroom completed. Sarah spent some time sanding and staining the windows and frames, watched by the pigs and sheep, while Mark completed the wiring then tacked the last sheets of plasterboard on the ceiling.

 

 

Once our preparations were complete, Michael, Jody and Dan plastered both rooms from top to bottom.

 

 

 

 

When the bathroom plastering was finished we moved back onto the job, setting up the bath and then the shower base in order to prepare the heated floor.

 

 

 

Installing the floor was quite straightforward: first step was to cut and fit the insulation sheets, then the steel mesh. The underfloor heating pipework was then weaved into place and cable-tied down, before fitting packers under the mesh and pouring in the screed.

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately the day we were ready to make screed was very wet, so Mark got thoroughly drenched preparing batches in two mixers then wheel-barrowing them indoors. By end the of the day we had a nice flat floor ready for flagstones.

 

 

 

Tom returned for the flagstone laying, using the same flags as the kitchen, link, dining room and lounge. The layout didn't go exactly as we'd expected, but the end result still looks pretty good. Jody and Dan grouted the flags just before the end of the month.

 

 

With the walls plastered and floor down, we couldn't resist the temptation to plumb in the bath and test run the jet pump. It works brilliantly, but may be a bit too good as the jet nozzles are capable of shooting water over the length of the bath to splatter the end wall.