A long overdue update

January and February were very busy times for Jane and I, with big chunks not near a computer for any length of time (never a bad thing) so the updates have been put off and put off until now…


Ashleigh Truscott married David Hone on 31 January 2015 in Harrow, UK

Most of January for us was spent in the UK preparing for our daughter’s (Ashleigh’s) wedding to a wonderful young man, David Hone.

Our visit included special times with our eldest son Ben, his wife Cass and our grandson Joshua who flew over from Australia for a holiday and the wedding, including Jane spending a week in Paris with them all.  It was wonderful to have all our kids in one place – the first time for over four years – so you can imagine it was at times quite emotional.  Also the wedding was the first time we had seen my (Nick) siblings for over 11 years too! The wedding itself was a wonderful day shared with the happy couple’s family and friends and we wish them both every happiness for the future.

Meanwhile over in Alekovo the work definitely shifted from outside jobs to inside tasks, with very cold weather, occasional snow and of course winter rain.

In the kitchen block the building and insulation of the utility/shower/wc room was completed. This room is all plumbed to receive the washing machine and tumble dryer, a large butler sink, plus a shower cubicle and WC – right near the back door when you need to drop your kit and get clean!

In the main house the floorboards and skirting were installed in the office and master bedroom.  Eventually these will be stained / polished before we move in during August.

And in the barn / living room work continued to complete the insulation of the roof, then cladding the insulation with OSB and then fixing the plasterboard.

We also took delivery of the posh tiles for the (Jane’s) master bathroom!

We did get one major outside task done during January which was installation of guttering all around the barn and the kitchen block.  The two guys fabricated all the guttering on site and did a great job, efficiently and very quickly.  Some of the gutters run off to feed our raised beds but the rest will eventually all feed into water collecting containers to help us with irrigation/watering of planted areas.

Sadly we had some “people” changes in January.  Two of our workers, who have been with us for over 2.5 years on proper employment contracts with insurance, holidays, sick pay, etc. etc. decided that they wanted to stop working for us.  Not for new jobs but because they wanted higher wages (seriously higher, and way more than the local market in the big cities let alone our little area) and they didn’t want to have proper contracts any more – they wanted to work in the grey economy.  Plus one of the guys wanted a loan to buy a house and the answer was no :-).  So very sad really after quite a long relationship – and one of them is our neighbour too!  That meant a switch on how the work was being managed/done but thankfully Nigel has found a few subcontractors who seem to be doing very good work for the same (or less) cost AND time which is of course important with only 5 months to go.

There was a lot of work to do in the kitchen block to finish the ceiling and plasterboarding.  It’s been quite fiddly with the beams etc. but it’s now all ready to receive the plaster skimcoat and then tiling of the floor and some of the walls.

The plasterboarding of the ceiling and walls in the barn (living room) was completed although we are going to replace the plasterboard above where the petchka (wood burning stove/boiler) will be placed with fire-retardant plasterboard; an oversight on our part.

Also our electrican has been steadily working right through the house, inside and out, checking all the sockets, light fittings, etc. as well as installing all the external sockets and switches around the outside of the house, under the eaves to give “mood” lighting, a couple of spotlights up high for those big parties (not), and in the woodshed and garage – sorry no pictures!

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