Monday, 28 November 2011

Day Nine: Skirting Around

Put simply; sanding skirting sucks. I write this with calloused hands after a rather rigorous day of gouging out many years worth of paint that have filled up and obscured all detail of the curvaceous skirting. The day wasn’t all bad because a) I got to use a power-tool (orbital sander) and b) we had visits from Bella, Ben, Anna, Georgie, Theo (with a coffee machine!) and my dad, so I did take one or two breaks...

Lucy also did some plastering or other and Anna provided some muscle for a couple of hours before we decided it was high time it was pub time. I found possibly my favourite item so far under the dirt too; a tiny blue man that I assume is a counter from a board game. He’s got a prime position next to my marbles.
Posted by Alice

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Day Eight: Rubbish Eliminiation

I was solo today and nothing of exceptional interest occurred. I ripped up yet more carpet and then aided our rubbish removalist, Rocco, in loading 7 square metres of trash into his truck for disposal. If I can’t convey how much that is to you in words, please refer to the picture below. As you will also note; we now have floor-boards in the living room (beneath more old newspapers) and our carpenter has built us a new bathroom frame. Having a working toilet will be so luxurious.
Posted by Alice

Friday, 25 November 2011

Yesterday's News

I took another extended break from the task at hand today when I couldn’t help but notice the retro illustrations that covered the thick layers of newspapers that lay under the lino (that lay under the carpet, all of which lay on on top of the floorboards). 

They looked old and they were; the stacks and STACKS of broadsheets dated from 1933-1941, read: vintage. I allowed myself to be distracted for long enough to gently take them all out and stack ‘em, for perusal at my leisure. Below are some shots of my faves. Most of the ads are hand-drawn and they’re really great- they have so much character. The ones for tea -of which there were many- greatly amused me. "tea beats tiredness!", "tea gives you a quick lift!", "tea revives you!", "tea snaps you out of it!", "tea is the world's cheapest drink!". Hilarious.

Another thing that struck me about the ads was how old some of the brands we’re so familiar with are: Ovalitine, Penfolds, Bonds, Henry Bucks, Wrigleys, Pimms #1 Cup. And of course many products that are no longer en Vogue; mainly those dubious medical ones. I didn’t take the time to read any articles but I did notice a picture of Ghandi, and the ones that mention the war would be interesting I’m sure. And yeah, I went slightly overboard with these images.
Posted by Alice

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Day Seven: Steps in the Right Direction

After a week of tearing the house apart, we finally started to put it back together again! The carpenters arrived and promptly dismantled the bathroom before commencing on the new kitchen floor.

Meanwhile, I filled my last bucket of SugarSoap and set about scrubbing the second bedroom. I knew the worst was over when the thumb of my gloves tore off and the sponge suddenly fell apart... It was a sign. Alice tackled three more layers of carpet, one layer of rather loud lino, lots of newspapers (more on those to come..) and finally floorboards in the living room. No more old man scent, success!

The tedious work continues, as all the skirting boards and the architrave around the doors and windows all need to be meticulously sanded by hand before painting can commence. Dad paid me a visit during lunch and set about repairing a few large cracks in the walls, while mum planted the front garden. Four rose bushes and six lavender plants to get things started, we’ll see how they grow!
Posted by Lucy

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Treasure Hunting

I have been known to be the type that stops and smells the roses a little too often, particularly when there is hard work as an alternative. I have done much sniffing around the site and turned up some objects of interest. My tally is as follows:
- 5 marbles
- 2 really old bottles from vinegar and the like
- a mini medicine bottle
- half a comb
- an envelope addressed to “mate”
- a children’s story book about "Pinky and Porky Pig" from 1963
- a letter in an unidentifiable language
- a toy gun
- a toy hammer 
- a cigar case with some obscure clips in it
- 3 pennies; the oldest of which is from 1943
- Some broken up crockery
- Lots of old newspapers
- Countless bones 
Posted by Alice

Day Six: Layering

Another day, another bottle of sugar soap... Or so it seems. This morning Junior and myself scrubbed the last of the hallway and the front bedroom, which was reasonably painless as there were hardly any stains to cleanse. 

By then I felt I’d earned the right to some nice demolition. I knocked down some more Masonite walls, then we used our combined crowbars to pull up the masses of flooring to reveal wooden floor boards beneath. The front bedroom had one layer of carpet and two of lino, whilst the hallway had three of carpet and two of lino... We ripped and we rolled and the wood finally showed itself. All that remained were hundreds of nails, which we pulled out and that was suitably satisfying for this Wednesday. 
Posted by Alice

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Day Five: Let There Be Light

In view of the carpenter’s arrival on Thursday, Alice and I promptly set about getting both the kitchen and bathroom ready for work to begin. However, the rather large mound of dirt and rubble lay waiting in the middle of the kitchen...and all the rubbish bins were more than full. Raise some garden beds perhaps? With a miniature shovel I began emptying one of the giant bins onto the narrow garden bed that runs along the back fence, before refilling the bin and doing it all again. By the time Alice appeared the mountain was looking much more like an over-sized molehill, and together we rapidly demolished the pile of dirt. Transported is slightly more accurate, as the dirt is now sitting outside the kitchen door - a job for another day.

Sparing not even a minute for a cup of tea (now that we have ‘facilities’, thanks granny!) and armed with crowbars, we then began tearing down the bathroom. Nails flying, Masonite tearing, tile smashing, we left the bathroom a mere skeleton, with the green bath the only reminder of what it once was. 
Posted by Lucy

The lean-to was our next target, however it appeared to be much sturdier than it looked. After a good hour of awkwardly climbing up ladders and chairs trying to reach the roof and loosen the nails, our efforts were soon put to shame by the arrival of a rather tall visitor. Within about 10 minutes of donning a pair of overalls, Theo had managed to rip off the roof and to gently push the entire frame on its’ side - tiiiimberrrr!! Being 2 meters tall (or thereabouts) definitely has its’ advantages in certain situations. As there was a second roof to be taken down, we left Theo clambering onto the kitchen roof, crowbar in hand, while we zipped off to Steptoe’s to purchase a window. I must’ve looked a treat this morning in my new overalls and runners, because the man gave me a very good price, and threw in a marbled Bakelite doorknob for free! We arrived back at Park St wondering why all the lights we on...alas Theo had pulled down the nasty green plastic roof in the walkway and the second bedroom and the living room were bathed in natural light, most likely for the first time in about 50 years!