The week that was

The weeks are passing quickly now we are Gigha, each day we are managing to do something productive against one task or another. It may not be quick, as we are starting to realise more and more, setting our expectations accordingly, but it is progress in the right direction.

With wet and extremely windy weather becoming a feature of the Island this week we decided it paramount to get the shepherd’s hut protected with a couple of coats of paint and the final facing plates to make it watertight. It’s not a particularly interesting story – you might say as interesting as watching paint dry, but the results we think are pretty good!

Andy on the tools, getting more paint on himself than on the hut. A look described midweek as ‘Santa post falling in a ditch’.
Karen doing the intricate stuff whilst I ‘slap it on’.
A couple of coats later and now in a reasonable state to leave until other things fall from priority

Back inside the less draughty house with windows now in place and natural light to complete jobs again we have started to plan those next tasks. Of prime importance is to make good the walls behind the shutters to allow our joiner to return and complete work on the shutters themselves. I have been doing just that and realizing how fragile some of the plaster is. A conversation with a local builder this week is making us think that we will have to strip back to brick as we originally intended to get the right level of finish that we desire. The challenge is to retain the character of the property whilst adhering to modern standards and making the home both comfortable and suitably insulated.

A look at the building where shutters are removed and the crumbling plaster that needs removed / cleaned

Walking has again been a feature with the opportunity to explore one of the new paths that are currently being established here. The Gigha pathways project has completed two of the intended routes, one the path to the Twin Beaches and one from Sandybank to Liem. It was the latter we walked this week and photos are shared below. The paths will make Gigha so much more accessible for visitors and ultimately present a network opening up the whole island. I will no doubt report more on this as we walk more in the future.

A windswept Karen enjoying the views to the West coast
The dancing ladies of Gigha
The walk winds through woodland giving a contrasting view to the coastal walk
Sunsets are something to behold here and lucky enough to time walking to see this.

The remainder of the working week has been shared between two tasks. The first of these was to clear more space in the front garden and reduce the height of the boundary by cutting the trees to a height of six foot. We had hired help for the latter and use of a chainsaw made light work of the cutting.

That left Karen and I the unenviable task of dragging the fallen branches to the meadow for later disposal. Without leaving the Old Manse in an afternoon my step count grew to the 13,000 or a distance of 4.8 miles maintaining shuttle runs of foliage for a couple of hours. Readers of posts of previous posts will note aspirations to walk more and lose weight are being achieved in this new regime of physical activity.

The challenge to reduce the boundary to the height of the already cut trees.
Mid cut – the trees to the right need more selective surgery holding rose trees and other treasures.
The view back to the Old Manse beginning to open up.

The second task we have undertaken is to strip the attic rooms. A task started in the summer but the time is now right to take this to a conclusion. The theory being if we can fully strip the two attic rooms we can take and store all our belongs in the Old Manse to the top floor and seal off that area. That will leave a clear run at the first and ground floors with no obstacles to similarly stripping back those rooms.

We love the features of the beams in the attic and have removed unnecessary strapping that held the plasterboard with the intention to take the new rooms to full height of the roof apex. It is further the intent to leave exposed the stone walls that we are uncovering and cleaning but the challenge with both is to suitable insulate. We are slowly learning more about the challenges of the build…..

After stripping plasterboard in the summer the framing now needs removed to further expose the eaves and full apex.
Full height of the room with the framing removed from the previous ceiling
The gable wall to be stripped of plaster.
Mid job – starting to uncover the old.
Hammer drill and crowbar laid down with the majority of the wall uncovered. Clean up now required.

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