Saturday, 4 April 2009

The renovation works continue

Every day, I wake up at 5am and drive to the Lake House for 6am to meet with my project supervisor and the workmen. The Czechs get up early. For someone used to a British timetable this is quite something. But the works are now progressing at a good pace and the ground floor is coming to the point when I can see the end of the tunnel. The electrics, the water and the heating are now in place and the wounds that their installation has caused the house are healed over. Being a house built of stone - and some stones are enormous - one has to try to take all pipes etc through floors rather than hack into walls. But even then some bits of wall needed to be rebuilt - for example, most of the lintels over doors and upstairs windows were completely rotten so their removal meant having to dismantle what's over them. Without causing too much damage. Not easy. But the guys working there are so lovely and careful, I am quite happy with the result. The next big stage will be the roof - I dread to think about it as all of the main beams that rest on the top of the walls are also rotten through. We hope to hever up the roof (once the old tiles are removed) and replace the rotten beams without the need for taking the whole structure apart. Right now we are interviewing roofing companies. Of course so far all of them think we should make a completely new roof. The search continues....
Meanwhile, at the house by the river in Krumlov, the attic has been cleared down to the top of the historic ceilings and we have an expert restorer who will start carefully taking them apart to renew them. It was funny to listen to the workmen clearing the mud-and-brick insulation over the ceilings: they think we are completely mad, of course. Especially looking at the salvaged bits of the even older ceiling that makes our conservationists friends burn with passion: The planks of wood, blackened by centuries of use and with bits of them eaten through by woodworm, look like something that should be burnt straightaway but the workmen are not allowed to touch them, just VERY carefully clean the top of them. 'OK', they humour us, shaking heads and winking at eachother: 'If that's what you want...'

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