Nothing like a deadline…..

This is a bit of a cheat. I’m not actually at the barn this weekend, so this blog is a bit of a Blue Peter ‘here’s one I prepared earlier’……

I’m on a mission. In just over 6 weeks the barn is being invaded. I have a houseful of guests arriving for the Easter weekend.

On the plus side my helpful contractor chappy has been up and redone some of the pointing at the front of the house and finished off the gutters around the conservatory. So water has stopped running down the walls in the conservatory and dripping through plasterboard above the window in the living room.  Always a bonus if you’ve got guests staying.

And more importantly, following the heating engineer’s last visit the heating is back up and running so the inside of the house no longer feels like you’re inside a giant fridge. (I don’t think my guests would be too impressed with that!)

The picture of a happy heat pump…


In truth, there is actually still a bit of work required. A valve that switches between the heating and hot water needs replacing, but the heating engineer didn’t have a spare when he came up. So at the moment I’m a bit dependent on an immersion switch to get the water properly hot.

The replacement valve has been ordered. But unfortunately Mr Heating Engineer can’t actually get off his island to come and fit it because of the rain/flooding/gales/snow… Living on an island is a bit of a challenge at the moment. But hey, that’s just minor detail. I’m sure the weather will let up eventually, even in Scotland – hopefully before Easter!

In the meantime there’s plenty of other things I need to ‘finish off’ before I’ll consider the house fit for a crowd of visitors.

So here’s my to-do list for the next 6 weeks:

  1. Finish the bathrooms: Two out of the four bathrooms are fully functioning, but given that one of those is effectively an ensuite between two bedrooms, and the other is up at the other end of the house in the freezing cold cottage, I really need to get the remaining two finished. And it’s not that there’s much to do. They are all plumbed in; I just need to finish the connection to the toilets. And then a bit of tiling needs to be completed.

    The only reason this hasn’t been done to date is because I’ve been avoiding it – really it’s just down to me having the attention span of a hyperactive kitten, and the fact that I really hate grouting!

  2. Getting a woodburning stove installed: Well OK, if the heating’s all working this one is probably a ‘nice to have’ rather than an essential. But Mr Stovefitter and I have been exchanging plenty of emails, ideas and measurements, and whilst he did come back at one point with a concern that he didn’t really design for such complex buildings (haha – that’s my barn for you!), we seem to have settled on a workable option. Screenshot 2016-01-28 12.41.09So now it’s just a case of getting the stuff delivered and installed, within the next 6 weeks. How hard can that be?
  3. Putting up some balustrades: At the moment there is nothing to stop anybody walking through the gap in the kitchen wall (architect’s creativity at work) to the living room 10ft below:

    Or tripping over the steps out of the dressing room and falling over the edge of the gallery into the music room below….IMG_0949

    Or over the edge of the bedroom floor….

    To be honest, I need to get this one done  irrespective of guests arriving; the health and safety police at the building warrant office are unlikely to sign off a completion certificate if there’s any likelihood of people falling over these kind of edges!

  4. The kitchen: Excuse me while I fall to the floor laughing. There is no way on earth my kitchen is going to be completed by Easter.  But I do have a cooker, and a fridge/freezer (with the all important ice-maker for the G&T), so I’m not a million miles away.IMG_1120 If I can at least get a sink installed, then as far as I’m concerned, that makes it a fully functioning kitchen. Cupboards are mere detail.
  5. About a million other little jobs that I’ve been putting off forever….

Hey ho – nothing like a deadline for getting the world’s worst procrastinator to get a few things finished!!


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