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Day 92 Monday 19th May. Drinkers not going well, lots of leakers, over-flowers, and ball-cock problems. We had another burst pipe. By the end of the day we had most of them under-control but the float design on these drinkers still had a bit to be desired.

Day 93 to 99 Tuesday to Sunday the 25th. I am lumping these days together as we have been so busy ourselves. I have had no time to update on this every day, plus the fact, there has not been a lot being done on the house. Brendan appears to have another job he has to work on acording to the lads, as so many builders do! Conatys are nearly finished, they are just making the last doors and doing the last bit of the overhang work, they have done a good job so far. The electrician, David Freeburne, has started on the house. As he had never worked on this type of house, it is a learning process. The hot knife cuts a channel through the polystyrene with ease. and rather than describe something I know nothing about, I will show you by pictures (below) but looking at them, I will have to give some more information later.

The only other activity this week was the clearing of the arena area and the slating of the remaining roof, which is now, just about done.

Day 100 to 105 26th to 31st May. Another week of 'nearly no builders'. But we did have Michael Rock back doing digger work. He spent three days digging trenches for the geothermal pipes and arena drainage. Wednesday he started. After we had the first trench dug Francis arrived to inform us that all the eleven pipes had to be laid and not just the four that were illustrated on the fax we were sent (see previous page). So we had to re plan the trenches completely. We placed the 'meeting point' beside the back door, closer to where the heat pump would be. We dug a one meter wide trench which was over a meter deep and went half way down the arena (except the first pipe which for some reason, was long and we needed a seventy meter trench for that one!) in which we placed three pipes which had a handy half way marker on them. Michael covered them with a light shake of sand to protect from sharp stones and then filled them over by about a foot of filling. We then doubled the pipes back and filled the trenches up to the top. At points we had a better drainage stone but generally the area is free draining, gravel and sand.

The last trench (pictured here, looking South and North, right)) was made a foot wider, so we could place the last four pipes. I have to say that prior to each trench, Michael, myself and any passer-by we could catch, shoveled and cleared any stones away from all the pipes and controlled their path with shovels and handfuls of filtered filling. This was after the fun of unrolling and controlling all these rolled up wavin pipes which can have a mind of their own. One helpful friend, Fiona Crowe, said that when she did them, she first laid them in a increasing and decreasing circle like you would see in Newgrange, then back and forth like the element of a fridge. By the time she did the last one, she just pulled out the roll and filled around it, like a spring and it all worked perfectly. I have heard from another friend, that theirs is just placed in a hedge, and it works! 

The next thing we have now finished is the Stable Comfort mats. Gareth Wilson finished them after Balmoral Show was over, as they had a stand there. These two pictures show the work in progress . Firstly, the mattress squares are placed on the floor (plus Smarties and Pebbles!) and then the single top cover is rolled out on top and secured. These stable fronts had a bar on the floor, so we finished the mat over this making it easier to brush around. If you look at the second picture, you will see the way the top cover is attached to the wall of the stable and how it can be bolted to the floor at the front. The remaining strips are then cut off. We have found them great. We have a good fall in the stable which we feel helps and we like to have enough bedding so the horses keep dry. Even so, we find them so quick to clean out, don't smell and saves a sight of bedding. Plus the horses and foals love to lie down or roll. As long as they last, we will be happy and Gareth says he offers a good after sale service.

We also got our stove from Stoves Ireland, where we saw a great collection of various types, at a price we could cope with. I know we don't need a stove for our house as it will be so warm, but Mum and Dad always loved a real fire. I guess we can turn off the under-floor heating in their part of the house and they can open their windows! We now have to get a 'flue' and bring it out the roof.

Day 106 to day 111 Monday 2nd to Tuesday 10th June. Bits and pieces happening. Very frustrating when you want to see so much. In the house the electric work continued. The fascia around the roof was also being done, with vents all the way round. Still more sills to go in, but as the windows did not arrive last week it didn't seem to make any odds. The windows were supposed to arrive Monday, but they didn't. Then they were to arrive today but they didn't. Now I hear they will be here Thursday, wrapped and ready, so that when they are put in, the outside wall can be rendered without causing a mess. Brendan drilled a hole to let the wash room drain (pictured below), but it needs a lot more work before it is 'any way' finished. 

The door frames were being put in as you see in the picture on the left. Fixing to these walls was easy. The house partitions upstairs continued to have work done on them (picture below) and a few more roof tiles were also put in place on the10th. Lets hope the weather will allow it to get them mostly finished this week. The 'velux' windows had their glass put in at last. the picture here on the right shows our attic space, which everybody seems so intrigued with when they look around the house. Because the floor is concrete, floated on polystyrene I suppose it does look a rather impressive space. Richard calls it the boys room for a pool table or something, but I had something else in mind!

Day 112 to115 to day  11th, 12th, 13th and 16th June. The last windows were finished but they had omitted the big window!. They now have to go off and make it up, and the doors before we can get on any further. The windows look great otherwise, just one had the panes in the wrong way up. They said it was easy to take the panes out on the inside and put them back the right way up. This is one of the reasons that alarm systems that go on windows can fail, as burglars can do the same! David told me that he has installed an alarm system (different to this) which was a surprise bonus. We have never had an alarm system before as there is always somebody here and we have so many dogs. David is also doing the electrics for the yard and is doing a great job. The electrics in the house looked finished on Monday with just an extra 'switch box' and cable to go in beside the fuse board. This is to enable us to attach a windmill generator in the future. David's good advise is to get everything that you may need, done now, as it would be so much harder to do it at at later stage. We are in a great position to have a house windmill and if we had the finds we would put one in. The arena is coming along nicely. David Rock is fantastic at leveling, and has it all flat and ready for the 1.5" chip stone to go down. Just about 2" of it is needed, then the membrane which will go under the surface sand. We keep waiting for the stone to arrive but it looks we will be waiting a long time. No builders Tuesday or Wednesday. Shay King called in with a company from Sweden who do a render that works directly on polystyrene. We looked at samples and discussed the finished texture. It did look good and strong. I forgot to see the choice of colors, but I guess that is the easy bit.


Day 116 Thursday 19th June. Today is not coming together. David Rock could not turn up during the week so we have a pile of rocks just were we wanted to put the walker that is arriving on Tuesday (which I heard from Richard today!). Two lads that help Brendan are here, ready to prepare the walker area for the cement path and pad. John Mullen still has not arrived with more stone, which we also need for the walker. Brendan has not turned up with scaffolding wheels, so because of this, we have an electrician here unable to finish the high stable passage-way lights. I think I just want to go off somewhere else today!

Day 117 Friday, David Rock dug the holes for the arena railing posts so we can cement them in. He also leveled the area for the walker and moved the extra pile of earth and rubble to a low patch in the front field to be leveled and covered with top soil later. Saturday was another day of messed up plans. No cement had been ordered after all, not until Monday. As the walker is now arriving on Monday, we can't have it installed, much to everybody's annoyance. Plus Richard forgoed his qualifying show with Douglas and was very disappointed to find it was all in vain. It just shows the 'knock on affect' after just one persons failure to turn up. 

Day 118 Monday 23rd June. Cement arrived and Brendan put the path down for the walker. That was all today.

Day 119 Tuesday. Monarch came to fit the walker. The pad that Brendan put down (pictured below) was incorrectly measured and was 8" short on the inside so that the inside fence could not be put up. No walker until Monarch installers arrive again in Ireland. 

Day 120  Wednesday. Brendan came and made the pad the correct size. That was all. The remaining load of 8m we used to put in the arena fence posts. The day was hot, we had 47 posts to put in. After we fussed around putting three posts in, the lorry driver rightly said he would have to go. We then got him to rush around filling up the remaining 40 holes. We came after to place in the posts (along the marked twine) but after five posts it was beginning to get difficult ! It would have looked bad if we were there holding loads of posts looking at our holes filled with solid concrete. Only that David was here doing the avenue that he was able to bring his digger into the arena and pushed each post down into position with ease. We found ourselves five posts short so I am sure we will need more rails too. NOBODY came for the rest of the week. We did know that David was away and he has already a lot done. When he comes back we will tidy up the remaining rubble from around the arena and get the sand in, as long as we get some more fine weather to lay the membrane first.

Monday 30th June. No builders, no window men, no chance of getting this house finished at this rate. I did not agree a finishing date but was given the impression that it would be quick. If this is the case I should see a lot happening over the next three weeks. Watch this space.

Monday 6th July. Two weeks now and nothing has been done on the house. O'Callighan Trade Frames have been slow and have still not delivered on the remaining window and doors, even though they said they would have them with us last week. They appear unwilling to change the design on the big window from what we originally agreed, even though they have not delivered it and are well overdue. I was just hoping that the dividing bars could be placed differently.  Maybe now, when they realize that they have held up the project so much, that they will reconsider.  

Saturday 12th July. Nearly three weeks now of nothing happening here. On Wednesday it was agreed what type of finish for the inside and outside of the house but still no builders. The windows did not arrive. I got a call yesterday to be told  the design of door for the back was not possible to the height we wanted. An unusual fact when they were installing them ages ago. They were good enough to say they had altered the big window for us, probably because they had not finished that either. 

We got some rubber crumb and filled the walker with it so it is all ready to go, we just have to get it connected.

Day 121 Monday 14th July, Brendan called and started to fix the bad floor in the stables wash area. We called David the electrician and he is coming tomorrow to connect up the walker.

Day 122 Tuesday, Brendan finished off the stable 'wash area' floor. Two of Brendan's lads did some cleaning up in the house and re did the internal upstairs window feature that opens from the living room to the stairway. It is still wrong. The wash room is much better but still it holds water in the centre (the picture showed the finished result). The walker is connected and running, we are going to get extensions to move the control box away from the walker as it is hard to walk a stallion up to the walker, hold it and press knobs while another stallion walked around to you, the inevitable could happen as they would be delighted to greet each other over your shoulders through the mesh!

Day 123, 124,125 Only to say that a delivery of slabs and insulation arrived on site. 

As for the walker (pictured right), it is working great,  it is more peaceful with the stallions in the yard because of it. It is a quieter walker too. Unfortunately, Cruise On has already dented the mesh in two places, but not badly. It is proving to be a very safe walker with horses relaxed, happy and enjoying the ability to turn to change direction.

Day 126, 127,128 Monday, Tuesday Wednesday 23rd July. Nothing being done at all.

Day 129 Thursday 24th, At last the slabbers arrived. They are the guys that put the plasterboard on the walls and ceilings before it is plastered. They are great guys, they worked as a real team and flew through the rooms. Even so it was taking a bit more time than expected as they had to work by the 'i' beams on the walls and along with the metal strips in the ceiling. In traditional build, batons would be nailed to the walls first by the builder, to suit the slabs. 

Day 130 Friday, All the downstairs was done but we got a bit of a shock when we heard from the electrician that not all the first fixing had been done. Could you believe it? Lets hope that not too many slabs have to be removed. David is now coming on Monday to finish upstairs particularly. Unfortunately, the slabbing team is now off for a fortnights holiday. With the plasters coming on Monday, they can only finish part of the house and can't catch up as yet. I was so relieved  when Karl and Paul arrived back on site to pick up on the problems and move forward in the right direction. They fixed the upstairs internal window, which was wrong yet again (forth time lucky) They re aligned the upstairs partitions that were well off. They got the door area done to the downstairs shower room just in time for the slabbers They fixed the downstairs dividing wall partition to the floor, which was incidentally, nearly drilled through into the under-floor pipes the day before, by someone who will be nameless.

O'Callighan Trade Frames arrived with the remaining doors, corrected front door panels (which look a ton better) and windows, with just the top glass and change of knobs to finish for them. They have, in the end, done a nice job,  I now feel as though there is a chance that this house will get finished sometime at last. I even managed to talk to Shay, so I felt so much better.

Day 131 Monday 28th. Paul and Oliver arrived. They set to work slabbing the upstairs dividing walls, double slabbing to sound proof around the living room area that we have up there. The electrician came and finished the unfinished work of the first fix. It felt a great relief to get things going again.

Day 132 and 133 Tuesday and Wednesday this continued upstairs. Karl is hopefully coming to get the yard drainage sorted out, but not today. 

Day 134 Wednesday the 30th July. Just Paul working on his own. He is doing all the insulating under the slabs as he puts them on the high ceiling of the living room. As long as we get enough slabbing ready for the plasters that they don't have to wait before they can finish. It will take them a week to do the downstairs before they even come upstairs so it should all be ready.

Day 135 Thursday. David the electrician came and finished the wiring of the whole yard and a good job it is too. It is great now in the late evening to go in and have lights to switch on.

Day 136 Friday 1st August. Karl and Paul worked on tacking up the boards. Carl did some sealing around the windows with expanding foam from the inside and silicone on the outside. He had to take off the plastic wrapping to do this, after all the time we kept the wrapped on since they were put in. Otherwise the job around the windows would not seal so well. 

Day 137 Tuesday the 5th, Things gradually started happening again. Now two Paul's with Karl too. The house was having a clear out in readiness for the plastering, but unfortunately the plasters can't start until they get the 'go ahead' from Brendan, who appears to be still away. Then the plasterers (I think) have a holiday then too!

Day 138 This is when customers can be a real pain, that's me! I was looking at our upstairs living room last night, and with the wall boards now in place correctly, I suddenly realized that I did not like the.....internal windows? Yes, this is true. So today, I asked Paul if he did not mind, after all the trouble, whether he could fill in the lower window of the two. Paul took it as thought it was a perfectly normal request and did just that, it only took a piece of wallboard hammered in over the gaps and was done in a minute. Bless him, he is a star. The other star of the show is Karl, who today attacked the wash room drainage. He went right back to basics, re doing the whole drain, replacing it with a new line of stronger, better, more correctly leveled drains the whole way across. It just has to be concreted in tomorrow. He also neatly cut and fitted in the wash room window. Probably other things too which one might not notice, but still just as important.

Day 139 & 140 Thursday, Friday 7th and 8th. Another bin had to be ordered, This time from 'Want a Bin' in Navan (see Yellow pages) and they too were very nice. Karl got the yard wash room drain finished perfectly. He had an awful job Friday, of re-drilling those drainage holes out of the stables, all because they were not done before the 'pour'. The water pipes that feed the drinkers in each stable, kept getting clipped in the process, gushing water. This then had to be kangoed out and fixed with a connector. These drainage holes are a necessity if ever a water drinker leaks. When they are finished we can get Stable Comfort back to seal the mat correctly at that point while they are here to 're-taut' any mats that have settled (generally some do, due to the weave of the mats)

Shay called in with the man from K-Rend who will be supplying the exterior coating for the house and yard. It looks as though the 'buttermilk' colour is the safest bet. They do this long lasting, durable coating that can also be done in various textures. We are going for a rough render which will allow a smooth band to be made around the windows and doors. By just doing this we can also achieve a shade difference without changing colour. (you will just have to come and see it, when it is done). But they are bringing a bigger sample for us to see, now that we have narrowed it down to two colors. I have a feeling he is right when he says a colour darkens on a larger area than what a small sample looks. I have spent ages mulling over three pots out of the 32 samples I had, unable to decide on any one of them, when today, he produced this colour on a bigger plaque and it looked nice. (it was not even one of the chosen three).

Day 141 Monday 11th August ; What will happen?

Nothing to mention. The rep from K-Rend came and we decided on a colour and finish for the house and yard.

Day 142 Tuesday 12th, Karl was working on the drainage holes in the yard, Paul did plaster-bording in the afternoon. Plasters, headed by Kiernan Bower, started preparing the downstairs, but the promised team of seven or eight were only two.

Day 143 The same team of plasters came. It was great to have our first room done, the far kitchen, so we can at least get to install one kitchen. David Rock with Richard's help, moved the remaining unwanted hardcore and soil from the back entrance and arena to make a bank across the fields that we needed as a wind break. 

Day 144 Thursday 14th. No plasters at all, how disappointing. Can't see the first floor finished by Friday. Francis came after a summons, to start work on the heat piping.  We had a big meeting here today; Brendan, Shay, Karl Richard and myself, to state the problems that were delaying the whole build project. We stated our dissatisfaction in no uncertain terms. It was decided that the best thing was to proceed by doing what had to be done. For Brendan's team to remove the scaffolding (which could be erected again) so that all the outside plumbing could be piped down to the septic tank ready for connection. Then the the apron around house could be poured, by that time the inside would be ready to go on with. It really made me realize how unfortunately slow this whole project had become. 

Day 145 Friday. Kieran was back plastering. He did our big kitchen this time. When the floor is clean we can start installing there too. We brought the first pieces of the far kitchen in, a milestone. The boarding was finished upstairs, but a lot of bits and pieces still to be done there. No sign of Brendan since our meeting together. I keep hoping.

Saturday, The guys who will probably be rendering the outside of the house, called in to make an estimate and they said that they may be able to start in another week. They said the weather is not usually a problem until the final finish is being done. I asked this because I think the best of the weather is on its way out.

Day 146, 147, 148 Monday to Wednesday. Late starts but last bits and pieces were done to finish the slabbing upstairs. Brendan started the sewerage pipes around the house after he took all the scaffolding down. We were hoping they would use the scaffolding to do the outside render, we just have to speed things up. David Rock moved the remaining bank. He dug the drains around the house which he will finish tomorrow.

Day 149 Thursday, Last of the yard drainage holes finished at long last. The house drainage was mostly done, they were just short some pipe to finish, so they will have to dig across the avenue again to put them in later.  Brendan was going to put the waste pipes down the front wall of the house, thank goodness I was here to stop it, that was NOT on the plans. There could have been two big fat wavin pipes put in down the front. Could you imagine what that would have looked like, being on site does help.

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