Thankfully though we know when to throw in the towel and get professionals in. We save for these moments, long hard months of selling what produce we can, eating less and generally getting ready to watch our money vanish into a hole in the ground. That is the beauty of structural work on a house, it is necessary but you can't bloody see it. We are rectifying the mistakes done to this wonderful property over the last century, sometimes that just means the plaster has come away from the laths but then there are moments that make you put your head in your hands and wish you could corner the market in time machines so you could just go back and slap the previous owner.
Like this cornice work at the top of the wall. We knew this wall was hardboard and we knew it wasn't a good idea to pull it down because the stairs are below it and the costs could spiral quickly. It is a suck it up and we will see but our structural engineer, several builders, Andrew's Dad and quite a few of the neighbours agreed - let sleeping dogs lie. It's been there that long that it isn't going anywhere. However, the cornice has to come down so the ceiling can be boarded except - and this is why we want a time machine to slap whoever did this - the hardboard on the wall doesn't go under the cornice, it ends where it meets the cornice. Meaning we will have a gap to fill after the moment we take it off and the whole wall falls down the stair. We're not kidding, it could happen - seriously.
It's like the window plaster on the mullions and lintels in the bathroom, Andrew sneezed and the whole lot fell off. He's now on a one man mission to uncover them all. You'd think it would take hours of excruciating chipping - it's what happened in our neighbour's house - Andrew's method, one rubber hammer, tapping to the tune of We're Off to See the Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and after the third bar the whole lot is at his feet. Remember that gap we where worried about? The plasterer has just revealed more tongue and groove hiding behind it - well at least there is no gap. There was a moment of: 'Maybe we should take the hardboard off and have tongue and groove again' but then we remembered, we'd moved the radiator there last year. Bugger.