Thursday, May 28, 2009

Look Ma!.... A wall!

Well I never its a wall, OK its a little wonky in one or two places, but that will be OK once it is rendered. Now I have 3 piers to cast. I have had a few problems with casting concrete, mostly in making sure that the concrete stays where it should and the molding does not "Blow out".
I want these pillars to look good as I don't plan to render them, so I have spent a good bit of time preparing and oiling the wood that will be use. so that it should produce a nice smooth finish. I have also used to pieces of pipe and some wire paces through the shuttering (the mould for the pier) at the bottom to secure the bottom together and stop the mould from "Blowing out". Lets hope all the work is worth it....

Talking of piers we have also cast the bottom of the arch between the kitchen and dining room...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tip Top

Things are progressing well on the outside area and one part has had it's final top section cast. Behind this wall is a small area between the wall and the steps which we have now decided to make into a small garden area for herbs and flowers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Toddler arriving in two months, need safety wall

With the family due out in two months we need to put up a small safety wall on top of the current terrace wall, as there is a 2 meter drop there, which does not combine well with a 16 month old grandson. We plan to put up a two breeze block high wall to act as both a safety barrier and a wind brake for the house garden come patio. The top of the rock wall that holds the house terrace up is not exactly flat or totally level but with careful work should be OK.
The wall will exists of 3 sections separated with cast concrete piers on one side of the steps and a short section between the steps and the house ( though this bit is not so urgently needed as there is a flower bed there.). I hope to have this finished and a gate added above the steps if there is time.
Well I got both ends of the wall stared, and I hope that they are level....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

At last some work on the Kitchen

After two years of living with a hole in the wall between the dining room and the kitchen we have started to make the hole an artistic arch... (OK it may take another two years to get it done the way things have been going)
First we must run a few power feeds.... just a few.
The reason for this is that the main switches for the kitchen lights, outside lights and for the hot water heater are going to be located on the inside of the arch so they need to be put in before the left side of the arch is cast in concrete.
While I was excavating the base of the arch, for the cabling I found that the wall just sits on the ground ... only a few inches below the floor... I think that this was rock about 50 or 60 years ago when the house was built but now its a sort of hard clay... A little worrying but mostly OK... (I hope), so I have to dig a little deeper and wider than I wanted and then cast a foundation for the side of the arch. Now I just need to wait for that to set before I can cast the base of the arch.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Down the tube and round the bend

Every since we moved in, the outside of the house has looked a disaster and as was mentioned in a previous blog Dodging the Rain we have started to work on building the walls to hold back the terraces. One of the key things that needed doing was to re run the water pipe round the back of the wall so that it was hidden from view and to stop us from tripping over it all the time.

So one Saturday Helen set about measuring and cutting the steel piping that is used here for water pipe. The funny thing is that although Spain is fully metric the pipe used is 1/2 in and the thread cutter is British Standard Pipe Thread (BSPT). Once Helen had cut all the bits of the pipe then it was a matter of putting a screw thread on each end of the pipe and rough fitting it together.

Next comes the tricky bit. You then need to unscrew everything and put it back again only this time you need to wind the sealant into the threads at each joint, in the past horse hair was used but these days you can buy something in a tub which is like industrial strength dental floss which is a little easier to handle.
After all the pipes had been screwed together it was time to cross fingers and make the final connection to the mains. This connection was made and then breath was held while the pipe was checked for leaks, but none were found and we could breath again.

All that remained was to give the pipe a coat of paint to protect it from corrosion once it is buried and we were almost done. All that remained was a bit of concrete casting to finish off one level of the wall.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

"YEUCK" a Plague of almost Biblical Proportions.

Things have not gone that well this week. It started well on Monday with a fiesta in Los Sauces so Theresa was off for the day which meant we had a quite day. On Tuesday evening we came home as usual after teaching to find the kitchen window covered, on the inside, with large black flies... I think there must have been around two hundred of them..... Its hard to get flies out of a house when there are fly screens on most windows to stop them coming in! We ended up using the vacuum cleaner to suck them up!
The whole episode sickened my stomach, Once most of the flies were gone I just went to bed and stayed there barricaded into the bed room till almost 3 o'clock the next afternoon. Just coming out to swat any new flies that appeared.
Theresa was so worried about me that she came home lunch time to see how I was doing...
After about 3:00 I finally got up the courage to search for what was the source of the plague. Once I moved a light into what was the old water tank and will be the bathroom I found the SOURCE, the remains of a Rat! Double Yuck! Tabby must have brought it in after killing it and left it there.
We have spent most of the rest of the week cleaning the house, including washing all the crockery etc in the kitchen. The result is that we have a clean house (and the cave of a water tank / bathroom) but nothing else much done, and I have been feeling very off mentally.