Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Living in Roscommon
We are now living, at least part of the time, at the Roscommon house, planning to retreat every now and then to the Silverwoods with bags of dirty washing (and grungy bods)like teenagers coming home to Mum at the end of term. This just while there is no power or water on site. So we work through that first evening and then through Sunday and the morning of Monday getting started on the proper project, which should see us all entertained for the next three to six months.
First job is removing the plasterboard sheeting from the east end of the house in the big upstairs bedroom. This is our last chimney and we are looking to reveal a fire place which we can then rod out, clear of jackdaw nests and leave open as we have for the other three. An early punch through the boarding reveals a load of what looks like damp peat behind the plasterboard, so we think we have scored a direct hit first time. But this is not to be. The peat proves to be only a few inches deep, behind which is stone and cement. We start to open up going right and left, and digging out the peat but if there is a fireplace here then its a blocked up one. We can see where the chimney breast goes up, with its shoulders but if there was ever a hole, then it's now stone with a cement screed over. The stud wall goes straight across the room 'ignoring' the shape, so it's half an inch from the screed in some places,9 inches away, braced on horizontal struts in others.
This work goes on punctuated by coffee and smoke breaks, broken by meals wrangled on the hot range, and beginning an ending pretty much with the daylight. We get up at 08:30 as it's getting light, light fires and start breakfast, and by 16:30 ish we are running out of light. We can carry on a bit with artificial light but we have no mains voltage yet, so it's all propane gaz camping lights and battery powered 'torches' and work-lights. Inspired by Diamond's John (and Basil from the Cambria) we also clear away any debris after each short burst of destruction - "squaring away" the rubble and wooden stuff carrying it down to the rubble pile in buckets or rubble sacks, separating the wood into potential kindling and bonfire, burning what can be burned on the bonfire.
Mike-the-Cows has now dragged the old VW Golf out of the brambles with a tractor and left it down by the gate for collection (we hope) later. This has become the place to put scrap metal, hoping that the person who takes the car will also take the scrap. There are two old cookers, a very old pre-electric washing machine with mangle, a fridge lying on it's back like a chest-freezer now filled with rusty tools, nails, brackets, bits of hinge and unidentified farm-related bits.
This is turning into a long post, so I'll break off now and return to this soon.