Wednesday 27 April 2011

April update

Has progress slowed, or time sped up, it’s difficult to tell.  All I know is that I’ve not updated this list in a while, but I think we’ve been busy.

The frogs laid their spawn, left a couple of dead females at the bottom of the pool and departed.  They might as well have evaporated for all that we saw of their diaspora.  The spawn has hatched and now the pond is full of little tadpoles basking atop water lily pads and nibbling the edges.  However, the continued dry weather is resulting in the pond slowly dropping and drying out.  Rain is needed fairly soon.

The good weather has lead to more time in the garden.  Islay has been particularly busy, weeding a good array of flower beds and planting out over half the vegetable patch.  The greenhouse is full of seed trays.  It’s like the good life. 

I’ve been mowing.  Until the ride-on mower just decided to stop this last Monday.  I refilled it with petrol and it wouldn’t restart.  It is now a useless lump, and no-one can come to fix it before next week.  Bah.  I also trimmed the conifer hedges with the excellent hedge trimmer my dad leant me.  Woot.

On the home improvements front we’ve made no progress with the media room.  I moved everything out, and drilled a couple of exploratory holes in the ceiling for mounting the projector screen, but something stops me getting started and we’re spending so much time outside that there doesn’t seem to be time to get going.  When the weather turns I’m sure we’ll make some progress.

Francis Neville’s quote was OK, but I had to get him to redo it to include the sort of insulation I specifically requested.  Whilst I don’t doubt his overall competence, I’m now worried about where to find experts in insulation practices.   I could spec this work through researching appropriate internet forums, but I don’t know what I don’t know, and good insulation is critical to success.

On the heating side, we got a quote for a straight boiler replacement (including flue and radiator work comes to about £5k) and a quote for the other end of the scale which is installing a full on ground source heat pump (about £24k).  I’m sorely tempted by the ground source heat pump, but as noted above, success with that relies on good insulation.  We’ll also have to draw down on more of our savings, which always makes me feel a bit funny.  More quotes are to follow before I can put the big decisions off no longer.

The electrician’s report came back.  Overall it seems there’s nothing likely to cause sparks to leap from the sockets and melt our brains, but there is some evidence that the ridiculous 50W halogen spots in the kitchen are melting the insulation on the cable above them.  This, apparently, is a bad thing.  But I wanted to swap those lights out for 10W LEDs anyway, so I’m not that fussed.

Other than that, not much has happened.  We’re still prevaricating over actually commissioning some work, but it’s going to happen soon.