Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Joinery is Done

All the joinery is now done. Our little crawl space in the eaves has a door and is framed. The doors and door frames are on. The stair parts sit in the corner ready to be fitted. The skirting boards are done. And in fact, the wood floor has been laid. But it is covered up to protect it and I never did see it...hence, no picture of it! The banister, posts and spindles are now installed. Here is a shot half way through where the lower banister is still waiting to be attached properly. Oh, I love the look. The very lowest post has an acorn put on to keep the theme. There was a choice of ball or acorn. The post on the middle level is replaced as it had some heavy damage to it. The old banister is attached to the new on on the middle floor. The old door is hung and the door frame put back on. The radiators are beginning to be hung (this is the plumber not the joiner). The bathroom and plumbing to be posted next. The windowsills are very nice. I really appreciate the little details in the work. All the little pieces seem more pernickity than the main bits.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Riverford Field Kitchen: Devon

While we were in Devon someone recommended the Riverford Field Kitchen and so 10 of us (8 of those anaesthetists) drove half an hour down country lanes to find it one evening. It is unlike any restaurant I have been to. It is situated on an organic farm which supplies local restaurants and veg boxes. Lunch and dinner are served at 12:30 and 7:30 in long tables where you are sat with other guests. If you arrive early you can go on a farm tour (rubber boots included). The meal is set and it comes family style on big platters to each table. So you are passing food around to the other guests at your table. There is plenty of food which consist of 5 courses, all vegetables from the farm and one meat (a vegetarian option is available). It is essential to book and it is essential to show up on time (as the rest of your table may have eaten all the food by the time you arrive). The food is actually quite fantastic. They do things with vegetable combinations and cooking that I would never think of. Here is a shot of the table when the meal was almost done. Then at the end you go up to the kitchen counter by table and are presented with at least 7 desserts of which you choose from. I couldn't decide between chocolate mousse and a towering meringue with caramel. It is free for under 3's and half price for children 3-12 years of age. It is also the 2010 Observer winner for the Food Monthly Awards.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Torquay: UK

Nigel has a conference in Torquay, the third largest settlement in Devon, in the south of England. We pile into a car with a number of other anaesthetists and make the 4 hour journey down. While they are all at the conference I spent the day wandering the coastal town. Our B&B is a couple of blocks from the bay and I wander down to take a look. It isn't as warm as one would expect to go swimming, but I notice it is mostly children swimming. The beach steps have grown green with seaweed. I wander into the town centre. I discover Torquay, population 64,000, is mainly elderly people. The shops all cater to the aging population. Torquay was the home to author Agatha Christie who lived most of her life there. Historically it was initially a fishing and agriculture town. In the early 19th century the town began to change into a popular seaside resort. It was initially used by members of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and later by the cream of Victorian society as the town's fame spread. Renowned for its healthful climate, the town earned the nickname of the English Riviera. The next day Nigel skips out on the morning bit of the conference and we wander a coastal trail. Hey, wait for me, Nigel! It does have a Mediterranean feel to it. The water is BLUE! What you can't see is the international lasering competition. The lasers are too small in this shot. We reach the next beach but decide not to descend so I can catch my train back to London and Nigel can make the second half of that day's conference.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Plastering is Done

The plastering is done and is drying. It is been done over a short week and left to dry. Plaster is brought right up to the lip of the stairs where previously there was a gap in places between the stairs and wall. 105 year old Victorian/Edwardian walls are not usually straight. This looked like the hardest bit as it a window at roof level but drops down into the staircase a story below. How we are going to paint it, I have no idea! the first bit to be done is now completely dry. The top of the stairs. Under the stairs is screwed plaster board. Under the curve of the stairs is stapled a metal mesh. On this is smeared a heavy fixing plaster. And then it is plastered smooth. And finally on top, the plaster is applied so we have a nice curve. These bits take a bit longer to dry.