6 January 2013

Happy New Year and what a New Year it will be!

Happy New Year to you all! Last year flew by but I have a feeling that this one will fly by even quicker as the major work is definitely about to get underway. It's so exciting here at the moment, I'm counting the days till the demolition team arrive and then I know we've really started. Now I know some of you are probably thinking "why are they demolishing things, surely a bit of polyfilla (other plaster repair materials are available!) and a coat of magnolia will soon sort things out", well come with me and I'll show you. Oh by the way, it's definitely a hard hat area now so pop them on before we go in.

Before a few of you start fretting, we're not demolishing everything, we're just removing all the extensions that have been added over the years and then completely stripping out what's left of the  building, taking it back to the original internal stonework in order to cure the damp. We have been told that due to the amount of work that needs doing to the original building it would be cheaper and quicker to demolish the whole thing and start again - an option we have considered many times!

Right, careful how you go and we'll make our way to one of the rooms to be demolished. As you can see, it's practically falling down already. 

This is currently an extension on the front of the house and once it's knocked down it'll be replaced with glass doors leading out onto a covered terrace - an ideal spot for a G & T.

We'll turn round and make our way back down the hall through this door here which leads to the back door area.

If we pause here you'll be able to see that this area is in a terrible condition and the only cost effective solution is to knock it down.

By now you'll be able to feel the damp seeping into your bones and you've probably had enough but walk on towards the window and turn to your left and you'll come into the final room to be demolished downstairs.

As you can see, this is practically falling down on it's own already and unfortunately has been constructed with a lot of asbestos so is currently a health hazard. Be thankful that you are only "virtually" looking at it!

If you think you can stand more horrors we'll make our way upstairs. Once at the top, turn to your right walk down to the landing, turn to your right again and carefully walk on down to the back of the house.  The very back rooms in this part of the house will be demolished as the roof is starting to fall down here  - so please mind your head! Also, you'll notice as you walk that the floor is giving way as well. If you peer into this bathroom you'll see part of the ceiling coming down.

Before we fall down through the floor we'd best turn round and make our way back to the top of stairs. Carry on straight ahead, now we'll pause and have a look in one of the back bedrooms. 

This room is in part of the house that will be retained but is suffering badly with damp which is why all the plaster etc has to be stripped out and the walls treated. It smells awful in here so turn round and go back out onto the landing but we really need to be careful here as this ceiling fell down sometime between Christmas and New Year!

Mind you don't trip up the couple of steps, turn to your left and we'll make our way down this hallway. Try not to touch the walls as they're dripping wet.

At the end of this delightful hallway is the corridor that links the main house with the annexe. The link corridor is to be demolished now and the annexe is being demolished at a later stage. Prepare yourself as this corridor is horrendous. This is the entrance to it. 

As you can see the walls are sprouting!

For those of you brave enough, have a walk down to appreciate just how bad it is. Don't breathe in, though, as the spores aren't good for your health. Turn round at the end and have a look back along the corridor before making your way back out.

This quick tour of the building should give you an idea of the amount of work that needs doing before we're ready to welcome our first guests. The next couple of months will certainly be noisy, busy and expensive but - most of all - exciting.


  1. Michelle – I would weep to see the state of the house that I knew so well 60 years ago, if I didn't know that you are looking after it and planning its restoration with such great care. I have seen some pretty awful buildings in the past, but this is probably the worst.
    I wold love to pop in and see you, but I guess that you won't want visitors at the moment, and in any case it is 260 miles from here – not an afternoon trip. Keep going, and I will hope to visit when it is complete.
    Best wishes for 2013.

    1. Thanks for your good wishes Philip. You're quite right, we're not ready for visitors just yet and 260 miles is a long way, definitely requires an overnight stay. Maybe you can be one of the first hotel guests when we eventually open!

    2. Yes, every best wish Michelle as work gets under way. Revealing to see again all the incipient problems of past decades that were waiting to take over given the bit of extra neglect they've had (though I've never seen the stream flood that badly!). Tree-felling, asbestos, fungus, fallen plaster . . . yes, brings it all back! Can't wait to see PyN come back to life again - put me down for the early bookings . . .

    3. Thanks John, looking forward to seeing you here again very soon, fingers crossed the wait is nearly over!