Take cleaners, for example. I have no doubt that many-a-mop has been wished where the sun doesn’t shine. And painters – those bristles must be difficult to pick from between the teeth of people who think they’re God’s gift to comedy.
But when it’s a nagging voice in the back of your head there’s little you can do other than tell it to get stuffed, which invariably fails miserably.
I had such a voice when I finished the Artex in the Living Room and Bedroom 1 - sorry to keep banging on about the bloody job. The voice kept telling me I had missed a bit, and it was only when I actually paid attention to it that I realised I had. I’d missed a bit.
The window itself comprises a total of 12 single-paned glass panels arranged in an old (but we’re fairly sure not original) three-sided wooden frame - the only one in the house (the rest are ugly double-glazed uPVC), with one side opening out towards the main road.
There is also a suspended ceiling inside the bay, the surface of which was covered in yet more Artex. More swirls of carcinogenic misery that I had missed in my delight at supposedly finishing the removal job a little while ago.
|Artex on top of plasterboard on top|
of original laths
What I discovered in so doing was that the boards had been attached straight on to the original laths and the lime plaster surface of the original suspended ceiling had been removed, leaving only lumps of lime above the laths.
The naturally nosey among you will want to know what else was up there with it being an original ceiling and all, and I did too. I was hoping there would be more Georgian gutter brackets from the original single-storey cottage that The Lodge was eventually built-up from, for instance. Or maybe a forgotten fortune.
Alas it was only this: the dirtiest job of the renovation work to date. And lest we forget that I’ve pulled out years of accumulated filth from three formerly-covered-up fireplaces and we’ve de-lagged a loft.
|I lay on the floor to take this|
Have you SEEN our floor?
I carefully started removing the laths that ran away from the beam at right angles towards the window frame where the suspended ceiling had been, hoping to be able to salvage some to repair a hole that I had sawn in the Living Room ceiling a few days earlier to widen a long ragged hole that was already there, only to discover that decade upon decade of moisture build-up above the ceiling had resulted in a manky carpet of green and black moss from one side to the other, and front to back, that was easily six inches deep at its shallowest.
|Mmmmoss. Not even half of it.|
And unsurprisingly, the lengthy clean-up job was grim. Very grim.
But once that was done I turned my attention to the beam the laths had been attached to, and started removing the horizontal ones covering the Living Room face of it.
This made up for all of the previous horribleness when, eventually, I uncovered what turned out to be a beautiful sturdy 6ft length of chunky oak above the bay window with a lovely shake down its centre where it has been ageing over at least 150 years and supporting the entire front wall of Bedroom 1. The stonework to either side of it hadn’t aged so well, unfortunately, and one end has been chocked with chunks of wood before it was all plastered up, but with a good clean-up and some TLC we’re going to turn it in to one of the room’s original features on display for ever more. Lovely.
|The old oak beam was a welcome surprise and will make a|
terrific feature, especially if we don't replace the ceiling
The one fly in the ointment, however, is a single feature of the oak beam that we could do with sorting out before we finalise our plans.
When I pulled off the horizontal laths I discovered a fourth and final mouse skeleton, wedged tight between the thin sticks and the beam. Unfortunately, when mice and no doubt any other mammal passes on to the next world, they leave behind an organic mass that tends to degrade somewhat. That process of decay has a habit of releasing unpleasant fluids which, if compacted against the surface of porous wood for some time… can you see where I’m going with this?
Not to put too fine a point on it, there’s a horrible greasy blob on the oak that used to be a mouse and I don’t want my gaze to keep drifting to it when I’m trying to watch Homes Under The Hammer in my PJs while I’m eating toast and chocolate bourbons every morning. It’ll put me right off my brekky, it will.
|Mouse of horrors|