Friday, 27 January 2017

Back In The Kitchen

K-Dub on the big Kango
This week saw K-Dub and myself swinging back into action after our respective Christmas breaks and in his case a call up to the big smoke to do some 'proper' work (as in 'paid' work). "What's the story, Bud?" (or just the Dublin slang "Story, Bud?") is how he announces himself on the phone and we are straight into discussing what, when, how on any jobs. This week it was the decision to finally go for the break through, smashing out the wall at the end of the existing kitchen so that the two spaces become one room with a little 'waist' in the middle where we will leave stub-walls to form a 5' wide 'arch'.

The hole is started but K-Dub has to make running repairs to
 the big Kango.  
You can imagine that our announcement that we were going to smash a huge hole in the end of the kitchen, caused a certain amount of anxiety within the 'main stake-holder'. Visions of rubble, dust and plaster fragments everywhere. What she hadn't realised but was also concerning K-Dub, is that the rumble set up by the massive Kango-hammer sets anything on shelves vibrating and moving gently towards the front of the shelves before leaping to its doom like a gang of lemmings.

Mad hour, then, clearing all the kitchen vulnerables into multiple shopping bags which are now stacked all around the corners of the Dining Room. Liz need not have worried, though. We are good, house-trained builders and we do not create mess inside your house. This kitchen has the internal walls lined with stud walling insulated with foam blocks and plastered over that. The Feb 1012 blog at gives you some idea - in one pic you are looking up at the bathroom floor / kitchen ceiling. We knew that we could chop out all the external wall (concrete, rocks, masonry)  and the window frame without actually breaking into the kitchen. We just had to screw a board a cross the window inside, so as not to leave a huge 2'+ square hole.

A board covers the hole where the window
was. This is the only change you see from
'indoors' for now.
Six or seven hours later after lots of noise, rubble, dust and shovelling, we have our hole, roughly 5' wide. We have thereby created a weakness in the upstairs (bathroom) wall which we need to fix by slotting in a couple of 6' x 4" concrete lintels at the top of our hole, and we have exposed the wooden joists of the bathroom floor, so those guys need a 'stringer' of 6 x 2 and a joist-hanger from this to each old joist-end. We reinstate the shower pipes which are mainly just 'push-in' hand-tight connections and we can safely leave the job for the few days over the weekend. Nothing will fall down and we can still use the shower. We are now also ready to get the 'Sparks' in for some electrical first fix.

Liz's tray-bake version of haggis using our own lamb bits. 
The main other event affecting the week was Burns Night which regular readers will know we like to celebrate. We think we are in a minority here; we know of no other people locally who do a Burns Night and our comments on social media meet with blank incomprehension and dead silence. I have never seen haggis for sale locally. That does not worry us as Liz makes her own haggis using bits from our own lambs (breast-meat etc. plus we keep a lung back from one of the carcasses specifically for this purpose.)

This year we could not do the meal on the correct date (25th) as we had a meeting in the village, so we moved it to tonight (Fri 27th). It was, as ever, delicious and the haggis, 'neeps' and tatties with onion gravy was nicely rounded off by a gooseberry cranachan (whipped cream, oats etc) and accompanied by a wee dram of whiskey. It should have been Scottish, of course but the nearest I could get in the local supermarket was Bushmills, which is from County Antrim. Close enough.

Our village's indoor handball court. 
Finally, there is the '365' thing now only 4 days away from finishing. My nipping around everywhere has made me something of an unofficial photographer for the village, certainly among Liz's circle. This brings me an occasional 'commission' - the most recent was to be sent down to the local hand-ball court. Coming from Sussex, hand-ball would be a sport I had had absolutely nothing to do with and first 'met' as a series of strange abandoned outdoor courts  in Irish villages.

Looking down onto the court, through the
perspex wall from the top of the 'stand'. 
These sit in their respective villages as just 3 walls around a rectangle which is roughly 20' by 40' and the walls are roughly 20 feet high. We have never seen an outdoor one still in use. But in the local village we are rather special in having a modern, fully indoor one and an active thriving club. Ours has a perspex wall at the top end which protects spectators but allows them to watch the action from a ramp of stairs and at the top of this 'stand' is a kitchen and bar area.
That's all I know and those are the photo's I have fired into the Village Development Co. I have never seen anyone playing the game, have little idea what this involves and am completely ignorant of the rules. I guess it is a little like squash but with a bigger ball and no  racquets.

Towser at speed.

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