View From The Conservatory

I was both astounded and disappointed to discover that my last “View” was posted just over a year ago. I know that we have been busy and there have been other more recent posts.

Admittedly, the conservatory has been rebuilt and we did take off to Australia for three months followed by a month in France and a fortnight in Antigua. There have been several lesser UK based jaunts. However, we have also spent time at home and I have had my camera to hand. So, feeling suitably ashamed, here is a compilation of pictures taken over the last few weeks. We are now into the UK summer season and the garden plants are growing like crazy.

First up then is a regular subject, squirrels. Once again we are being visited by the albino variety.

Albino Squirrel

As you can see they do have the requisite pink eyes.

Albino Squirrel

Here in the UK squirrels are sometimes referred to as tree rats. The example above is the most rat-like squirrel I have ever seen.

Of course we do have an abundance of the grey variety. Just a few days ago there were four greys in the garden. Of course my camera was out of reach and since these guys were raiding the bird feeders, any movement on my part just scared them away.

I thought that the pure grey squirrels would have attacked the albino, but apparently not. Judging by the shenanigans going on, high up in the trees, I believe the albino may have found a partner. Maybe we’ll see some piebald babes around this year.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many flowers on show already. So, just a few snaps ….


This Iris was discovered in a shady overgrown area of the garden. It was not planted by us and, as we are the only owners of this property since it was built, we have no idea how the Iris arrived. Pretty though.

We have a few rose bushes, which we did plant….

…… and a few other plants that we bought as plugs for potting on ….

And finally, for now ….


We don’t know what this is. The plant is a climber and for the moment it is in a pot on our deck and is entwining itself around the handrail.

Retirement Lunch

Just to upset you folks out there that haven’t retired yet …… tee hee !

Hopping Hare
Hopping Hare

It’s beer o’clock …. Since the temperatures are rising here in the UK. 30 degC in my conservatory and that’s with the doors and roof windows open.

Conservatory Re-Build – The Latest

Sorry I haven’t posted recently. The good news is that the rebuild has been completed. Sadly the last few bits and pieces needed to seal the completion took much longer than either we or Executive would have liked. The main issue was with getting hold of some of the trades folk, breaking them out from their new big projects to carry out our itty bitty ones.

So here is a reminder of where we were back in July …..

The Old Conservatory - External View
The Old Conservatory – External View

The old conservatory was beset with problems pretty much from the get go. The Self Fit, the build company, went bust before it was completed. Last works were carried out under the supervision of the Official Receiver. What this meant was that we had no ability to approach the builder for all of the subsequent issues that developed. The 10 Year Warranty never materialised and would not have been worth the paper it was written on. After construction, over the next 25 years, the conservatory slowly subsided in one corner, the one nearest in the photo. The whole structure slowly moved away from the house. All this movement caused leaks to appear, disappear, reappear. Leaks that ranged from small weeps to full on waterfalls. I replaced the flashing and then applied triple overlapping flashing which seemed to pretty much seal the join with the house. We still had leaks along the outermost wall. The patio doors were so out of kilter that for the last two years they had been sealed around with gaffer tape because you could see daylight around the rubber seals. The multi point locking system was pretty much defunct. I had lashed the door handles together using 80lb strain fishing line.

Anyway, that is all past history as we have a nice shiny new conservatory …..

Conservatory - External View
Conservatory – External View

Of course we still have to sort out the garden. The wilderness we laughingly called a lawn was pretty much trashed by all the workers feet and the digger brought in to dig out the footings as well as storage of all the raw materials. As the saying goes, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. The garden is a the project for next year and I’m sure much of the grass will have grown back by the time we get started in the spring. In our climate, unless we have a real hard winter, our grass never stops growing.

Here is a view of the interior of the old conservatory …. minus carpets and most of the furniture …

Old Conservatory - Interior
Old Conservatory – Interior

And here is a view of the interior of the new conservatory ….

Conservatory - Interior
Conservatory – Interior

Nice shiny tiled floor which is actually level, unlike the old one. So to compensate we bought furniture with wonky legs.

Conservatory - Interior
Conservatory – Interior

Just look at how much extra light we are getting even on a autumnal sunny day.

Conservatory - Interior looking out
Conservatory – Interior looking out

We are spending so much more time sitting in our new room. We made a lot of use of our old conservatory, and I know there is a novelty element, but the new room is so much more inviting and more comfortable as there are no drafts.

Every day this is the venue for our morning cuppa and quite often where we have lunch.

Conservatory - Outside looking in
Conservatory – Outside looking in

Having clear glazing for the roof means I spend quite a bit of time just watching the clouds scudding overhead or the trees swaying in the wind. Very relaxing.

I’d like to offer my thanks to our neighbours for their patience and tolerance while we created noise and  dust during the build. For allowing the various contractors to park their vans on their drive, and they even allowed us to take down their fence to give access for the mechanical digger.

I have enjoyed the whole process of knocking down the old conservatory and watching the new one grow, somewhat like the phoenix rising from the ashes. I know that my wife has not enjoyed the experience. All she could see was a mess but it has all been worth it to see the smiles now.

Now its time for us to enjoy, looking forward to spring and summer next year to make full use of the bifold doors and the deck.

So I would like to say a huge thank you to Executive Windows for such a brilliant job.

Thank You

View From The Conservatory

For several weeks now I haven’t posted any “views”. Due in part to the demolition and rebuild of our conservatory. The process of this resurrection is something that I have been boring you with for seven weeks or more.

So today I thought it is time I reinstated my “View from the conservatory” posts, triggered by the view across our neighbours back gardens and specifically the dew laden cobwebs.

Cobweb & Spider
Cobweb & Spider

It is that time of the year when the big fat “orb ?” spiders string their webs across every conceivable object.


A fine display of natures jewellery and as autumn progresses I am sure we will get many more such delays.

Conservatory Rebuild – Days 35 thru 37

Not much happening since Saturday. Craig and Connor arrived mid afternoon with a barrow load of ready mixed cement and set about laying the final steps and reinstating the side access slabs. Since then the weather has been atrocious with heavy tropical style rainstorms. Yesterday, the final slabs were laid. However, the heavens opened and to quote the song “Down came the rain”. The side access has always turned into a water chute during stormy weather, so much so that we have considered making into a water feature. Yesterday was no exception.

Conservatory - Side access slabs and some erosion from the water that fell from the sky
Conservatory – Side access slabs and some erosion from the water that fell from the sky

There was so much rain water and the cement was so fresh that the last paver laid has shifted. The guys will have to come back and re-lay it, when we have a dry day. Then they can also grout the slabs on the steps.

Also putting in an appearance yesterday was Angus.

Conservatory - Door stay fitted.
Conservatory – Door stay fitted.

He arrived and fitted the “stay” for the utility room door as well as making good the soffit that had been cut away to make the connection between the bungalow and the new conservatory.

We are creeping towards completion.

The search for the Scarlett Pimpernel goes on unabated and needless to say we are still minus the radiator for the living space, which in turn is preventing the last strip of skirting from being fitted. The bi-fold doors are still missing their magnetic catch, as well as the last bit of rubber seal and the hidey / slidey door furniture is still to be fitted.

We also have some issues with the final finish of some of the plasterwork around the perimeter ceiling but these are all minor items and shouldn’t take long to sort out.

No, the big issue, and the worst irritant is the missing radiator !!

Conservatory Rebuild – Day 34

Day 34 and a bonus day. We had 3 tradesmen working today which was a pleasant surprise since this is Saturday.

Richard, the painter, turned up to add a second coat to the walls and perimeter ceiling and to put a finish coat to the hidey / slidey door. He was also able to put a top coat on the pre-finished skirting boards.

George, plastics and glass, arrived to put the finishing touches to the partition wall glazing. He also installed finishing trim along the top edge of the perimeter ceiling as well as the interior trims to hide the last pieces of the roof framing metalwork.

Conservatory - Partition wall glazing fitted and trimmed
Conservatory – Partition wall glazing fitted and trimmed

The partition wall glazing is also double glazed !!! Unexpected, but this will help keep the washing machine noise out of the living space.

Conservatory – Apex and tie-bar trimming is now fitted

Externally he has now finished off the guttering …

Conservatory - New guttering and existing house guttering are now finished.
Conservatory – New guttering and existing house guttering are now finished.

Looks much better than the temporary fix ….

Conservatory - Wall art ? Box gutter and house guttering. Temporary solution.
Conservatory – Wall art ? Box gutter and house guttering. Temporary solution.

The ever-present Craig, master of all trades was here to build the steps leading to the utility room door and provide the alternative access to the decking.

Conservatory - Steps to utility room door and alternative access to the decking.
Conservatory – Steps to utility room door and alternative access to the decking.

We are still awaiting the radiator for the living space. It transpires that despite our choosing the radiator 2 – 3 weeks ago, it isn’t a stock item but is only available by special order. Has it been ordered ? You guess.

So the project is almost complete. Just the steps and the side access paving to be made good. The radiator and skirting to be fitted in the living space, door furniture to be fitted to the hidey /slidey door and then there are a couple of niggley items to do with the finish of the plaster work.

It seems to have been a long journey.

Conservatory Rebuild – Day 32

Work is proceeding at quite a good pace now and this was one of those days when the changes are significant and obvious.

The tiling in the utility room is complete and what a difference it has made. Still to be given a final clean and buff but the transition is fantastic.

Conservatory - Utility room tiling has been laid and grouted
Conservatory – Utility room tiling has been laid and grouted

Still have the work top, cupboard and skirting boards to be fitted but it’s looking good.

Outside is probably where the biggest transition has taken place. The decking guy, Paul, arrived this morning and look what a difference one guy can make.

Conservatory - Decking viewed from side access.
Conservatory – Decking viewed from side access.

Hand rail posts are in, just the spindles and rails to be installed. That’s a job tomorrow.

Conservatory – Decking viewed from garden

The deck looks to be quite robust. Come the full effects of global warming, when the oceans rise and the A3(M) becomes a canal, I’ll have somewhere to moor a boat.

Back to reality, still to be built are the steps down from the decking, leading to the patio, and the surrounds to be faced off so that the grandchildren can’t hide underneath.

All in all a good days work.

Conservatory Rebuild – Day 31

So here we are, Day 31 and various signs of progress to report.

The outer garage wall and “verges” have been made good so we are truly weather-proof now.

Conservatory - Garage wall and roof "verge" have been made good.
Conservatory – Garage wall and roof “verge” have been made good.

The, original, grotty old bit of timber has been replaced by bricks and looks much, much better. The edge of the roof, “verge”, has also been made good. Verge was a term that until now I had only ever associated with the grassy edging along road sides. It appears it is also a term used to describe roof edging, presumably when there are no overhanging eaves, as is the case with our house.

When taking these pictures I did note that the end cap is missing from the plastic sill.

Unable to proceed with the tiling in the utility area Craig has made himself busy in other areas. The access point for the running gear of the “hidey / slidey” door now has a new removable cover.

Conservatory - "hidey / slidey" door now has a cover for the running gear access.
Conservatory – “hidey / slidey” door now has a cover for the running gear access.

By the way, “hidey / slidey” is my term to describe the door and its ability to hide inside the wall. I was advised yesterday that the correct term is “Pocket Door” and although it does describe nature of the door I think I will stick with my descriptor.

Also a new step has been constructed for inside the garage.

Conservatory - New garage step
Conservatory – New garage step

This step is needed since we have raised the floor in the conservatory to match the floor level in the house. This in turn required the garage door to be lifted making the step down into the garage quite large. The step will make the transition much safer and of course easier on my ageing legs.

Late in the day there was much rejoicing as a plumber appeared. Although not, it transpired, to do all the works on which we are waiting. However, this is a major achievement.

Conservatory - Plumbing for the washing machine.
Conservatory – Plumbing for the washing machine.

We now have a water supply and waste pipe for the washing machine. Unfortunately, nobody informed the plumber that the spec also called for an outside tap. Which meant that he had to modify his newly installed pipe-work. Still we have moved ahead and although the outside tap isn’t fitted there is access, outside, to water for cement and tile adhesive mixing.

Conservatory - Plumbing for the outside tap
Conservatory – Plumbing for the outside tap

Also delivered today was the glazing frame to cap off the partition wall …..

Conservatory - Partition wall glazing frame.
Conservatory – Partition wall glazing frame.

A truck also arrived to deliver the timber for the decking ….

Conservatory - Decking kit
Conservatory – Decking kit

Looks a bit like a flat pack from Ikea although I don’t think it includes any instructions. This should be the last of the large material deliveries. Speaking to my neighbour, he has observed the expressions of the various delivery drivers as take note of the curve in the communal driveway and the overhanging trees. They have all managed to make it onto the drive and to escape afterwards so it can’t be that bad.

With all of todays activities I think the light at the end of the tunnel is burning a little brighter. Lets just hope it’s not an express train heading this way.

Conservatory Rebuild – Day 30 ?

Seem to have lost count of the days since this began. I believe this is Day 30, only counting week days and allowing for the August Bank Holiday.

The end is in sight but there is still much to do.

Conservatory - Tiles down and grouted.
Conservatory – Tiles down and grouted.

Laying of the floor tiles has continued and the living room floor area is now complete and grouted.

Conservatory - Tiles down and grouted.
Conservatory – Tiles down and grouted.

Just needs for the tiles to be cleaned and buffed.

Conservatory - Tiles down and grouted.
Conservatory – Tiles down and grouted.

Oh, I forgot that the skirting boards and radiator are still to be fitted.

The lack of plumbing support is becoming an irritant now we have been six weeks without laundry facilities. We are farming our dirty laundry out to family members which is all well and good and we thank them for their support but it isn’t the same as having your own facilities readily accessible.

Forgetting about our personal needs lack of plumbing is now blocking the tile laying in the utility area. If the plumbers were to come and just bring the cold water supply up above floor lever with a service valve then the tiling could proceed.

I could do it myself but two things prevent me from jumping in and doing the job. Firstly I am paying for this work to be done. Secondly, and more importantly, I want the work carried out by a professional person who will be accountable should any problems occur in the future. All in all this is very frustrating.

In addition the lack of a water supply means that the guys are reliant on using our kitchen sink for water to mix cement, tile adhesive etc. etc. With the best will in the world it still means dirt and grime is carried into the house.

The plumbers were supposed to arrive Monday afternoon and / or Tuesday morning. Well here we are on Wednesday morning and still no-show.

Watch this space.

%d bloggers like this: