Sunday, 22 July 2012

We're (nearly) all going on a summer holiday...

In the week since the wondrous work weekend, we have not been idle. A few of us are heading off on holiday for two weeks, so the blog may or may not be quiet in my absence, and so I thought I'd give you a little roundup of events Chez Golem before I go.

Cassian and Joe brought joy to the entire house by getting the shower to be up on the wall on one of those poley things. I cannot put into words how exciting it is to be able to have a quick shower instead of the sort of bath I have with (at the very least) Radio 4 and a cup of tea. Queues for the bathroom are now greatly diminished.

We had a budget workshop where we worked out a way to plan for our spending over the year, based on things like projected income and expenditure. It involved a glorious addition to our accounts spreadsheet made by me and Lloyd, and our explaining of it terrified the few Golems who didn't know we both love spreadsheets that much.  Talking through the spreadsheet by displaying it on Sven's projector helped enormously, and I think it's one of the most helpful gadgets for a co-op to have (but maybe that's because I love gadgets). We now have a lot of our money for the year ring-fenced into different budgets, but which are flexible enough to be changed during the course of a meeting if needs be. Everyone seems to feel like we have a better handle on our finances, so it's win all round.

I've continued my researching of the history of the house (which I'm saving up for another blogpost). As part of it I ended meeting some opposite-neighbours and having the most magnificent conversation about the area, private landlords and Victoriana. I'm really hoping we get to meet more of our neighbours in the future, as we're planning to be here in the long term.

A drunken night with two archaeologists (one resident and one non-resident) led to us identifying the manufacturer of the lovely blue and white tiles we found in the garden. They were made by Craven Dunnil & Co and are very likely to be some of the tiles put in when the house was first built. The non-resident archaeologist thinks they are from a bathroom set, rather than a fireplace as I thought. Sadly the company don't keep pattern catalogues so we'll never know for sure when they were made, but I think it's a reasonably safe guess. The blue and white tiles in the kitchen are much later, probably 1960's. I really hope we find more of these little snippets of the house's history along the way.

I've also finally started doing some of the floor tiling in the kitchen, re-covering the bit which was in the hallway we ripped out.  It's taken me an absurdly long time to get started, and five tiles in, I've run out of tile adhesive! That said, the area already looks better, and once it's done there's only one more bit of tiling to do before it's finished and we can think about painting the kitchen. Hooray!

Joe cleared out the downstairs hallway so it's much, much roomier and less full of junk, though there is a little bit left to go. Small things like this make an enormous difference to how good a house feels, so we were all hugely grateful.

We're still getting quotes before deciding how to go about rebuilding the retaining wall of the garden. Another one came in this week and it was slightly less terrifying than the first, but only slightly. We're now waiting for a third and will discuss a plan of action when the travelling Golems get back. Once the dodgy wall is down and a new, spectacularly sturdy one is put up, it will be a weight off of everyone's minds, and mean that we can crack on with the other huge job of our Year One work: fixing all of the roofs. Joy!

Joe has been busy in the garden cutting up even more of the buddleia mountain and packing it into council garden waste bags for collection. Him and Lloyd had a good crack at digging up some of the bigger stumps today, and in doing so found a wall we didn't know was there. It looks to be only a small one, acting as a step down across the garden, but it's still amazing we can be finding things like this which we had no idea were there. Joe is planning to excavate more of the Iron Thing while we're away, and we're taking bets on what it is for anyone with an idea. See picture below.

It's about two feet wide, seems to be circular and goes a long way down. Any ideas?
I'm also including a little slideshow of the garden progress so you can revel in our hard work. The next phase will include digging out tonnes and tonnes of this soil/rubble, probably with a mini-digger. I can't wait!

- Hannah

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