Beginning of February didn't get off to a great start with a visit from the police. End of November we were going to help some friends out about 80 km away when a police officer decided to flag us down, at the last moment. Driving along a dual carriageway, near Veliko Tarnovo we see a police car with 2 inhabitants, as we reach the car the roadside door opens and as we pass the police officer gets out holding a stop sign, we assume for the vehicle behind us. Approximately 5 km later we learn of our error when sirens and flashing lights stop us. Paul, as driver, gets a right ear bashing for failing to stop, no explanation is given as to why they were requesting us to stop but he's eventually made to sign a piece of paper which he's told says he admits failing to stop. He is also told it will be passed to a higher authority to decide if any action will be taken. December passed, January passed and we heard nothing so forgot about it. 4th February local police turn up, with the Kmet's (mayor's) daughter, as translator. Upshot is Paul received a 200 leva (approx £75) fine and 6 months driving ban. We could contest it, once we'd paid, but it would mean going to the police station local to where we were stopped and requesting a court hearing. As I drive, the mileage and time involved made us decide against this course of action so I am chauffeur until the beginning of August. Just as well Paul is going to England to collect his children for the summer, otherwise collecting me and them from the airport could have been complicated.
mezzanine floor has given us a safe surface for working on the walls
as well as extra storage space, for building materials
My first drive of the van, which I've owned since October 2011, was to visit a builders merchants for 18mm OSB which we were planning on using for the mezzanine floor down, unfortunately Paul decided we would do our standard, as many jobs as possible in one trip, excursion which meant driving, and parking, in the centre of Popovo. OMG center of town equals pedestrians and other road users, luckily I hit nothing and killed nobody, but it was scary.
So mezzanine floor is now down and electrics have been run over to the extension consumer unit and from there to sockets and switches, meaning we no longer need to trail extension leads from the cellar and can work in the evening. This stage of work was done in short bursts with regular trips to the main house, so we could defrost in front of the fire with coffees. The wiring of the extension didn't go totally smoothly as, initially if we put any load on the system it bypassed the secondary consumer unit and tripped the main unit. Thankfully Paul's engineering brain enabled him to locate, and resolve the issue. For those wondering about us having a secondary consumer unit, we will eventually have 4 - the main one, in main house, one in the extension, another for the summer kitchen extension and finally the outbuildings will have the 4th, it's a system that will work for how we will be using the premises.
Insulation and plasterboard being fitted
Consumer unit will be accessible once staircase is in
Unsurprisingly my 2nd drive of the van was to a builders merchants, a different one this time, where we purchased rock wool, plasterboard, plumbing bits along with a few other odds and sods. The upper level of the mezzanine now has 100mm of insulation on the walls, ceiling still to finish, and has been plaster boarded out. We originally planned on plaster boarding the ceiling but we're now playing with the idea of covering it in ship lap, especially as we reached the decision to plasterboard downstairs rather than lime render as originally planned.
Corner where staircase will be boarded out
Oh joy of joys, I get to drive the van again - by the time Paul gets his licence back I will have perfected the knack of the double declutch needed from 4th to 3rd. This time no builders merchants involved but a trip to a friends house who was acting as go between in Paul's purchase of some new toys. He is now the very happy owner of proper (designed for heavy use) planer/thicknesser and a slightly less heavy duty bandsaw, along with hand planers, clamps and other bits and bobs. Add these toys to his lathe and other bits and I'm expecting some fantastically beautiful bits of wood to make an appearance in our finished home.
One of Paul's new toys, which will NOT be living in my kitchen
Despite us putting glass into the front door, and blocking the cats main form of entry they haven't left home yet, neither has Paul despite cake making taking very much a back seat this month. I started repurposing some bits and pieces which whilst aren't vital, at this stage, will be incorporated into our home. They are projects I can do whilst waiting for Paul to get to a stage he needs help that won't suffer from me just dropping and returning however long later.
Checking the blackboard painted OSB offcuts fit in the frame before varnishing
Frames painted, ready for black boards/pin boards inserts