Becoming a roofer….

Having scaled back the roof designs to something vaguely affordable and with the structural elements of the building completed, time to let the engineer and architect go. Lovely chaps but definitely not compatible with my bank balance.

Unfortunately, that left me faced with a recalcitrant builder who couldn’t seem to grasp the concept that water doesn’t flow uphill, and who seemed determined to build some kind of unplanned stagnant water feature in the valley of the roof. So I decided to sack him too. Which left me in charge……clueless, but confident in the theory that if I can read it in a book, of course I can do it in practise!

And with that in mind, I took on the job of covering the roof myself. With hindsight, possibly not the most sensible decision I’ve ever made, but nothing ventured and all that. So I read up on the theory of how to slate a roof. After all “how hard can it be?”

From armchair expert to real roofer – I ordered several miles of wood battens, a dozen or so rolls of roofing membrane, and just over 10,000 slates. (As I might have mentioned before, it’s not a small building, and not a small roof!)

And so the first slate goes on…..

IMG_0076              (Only 10,699 to go…)

The additional challenge, (because clearly I never like to make anything easy for myself) was that at the time I was living and working in Germany. My life turned into something quite surreal:

Monday to Friday, suited and booted in the office, stuck at a computer all day; every Friday night in various airports, because sods law there’s no direct flight from Düsseldorf to Edinburgh; all weekend on site on the roof and sleeping in the back of a car; and flying back to Germany on Sunday evening ready for another week at work.

Over the course of a year I spent practically every weekend on the roof….in all weathers.

Some observations from my experiences that year:

  1. If you’re going to build a house, give up on your social life
  2. If you going to spend more than one night sleeping in a car, invest in an Estate – the back of a Corsa every weekend for about a year really isn’t the best idea in the world.
  3. If you have to get from one end of Schipol airport to the other for a connecting flight, 20 minutes isn’t enough!

Still at the end of it all, I can sit here with pride and say that the roof I put on is still going strong. And given the 80mph gales we’ve had up there, that’s no mean feat! Experienced roofer – something else to add to the CV…..

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