I was curious whether the broadband speed was still the same, so thought I'd do another check. When I signed up with Talk Talk they said that speeds could move up and down within the first 10 days. And to my delight, the speed has increased almost 0.5Mbps from last week's 13.86Mbps.
Today was the day that the TV man was to come, as the TV point in the apartment has apparently not been working for the last couple of years at least. I needed to stay local as I didn't want him to head back for Inverness without having a look at the apartment block distribution system.
The bathroom situation needed to be dealt with, so en route back from a trip to the tip, I stopped by Spey Valley Hire Centre in Aviemore, and luckily for me they had a fan heater for £17. Just the job to start drying out months, or even years of leaking water. It's been running for several hours, but dread to know the amount of electricity it's using in the process. Needs must though.
On Monday I'd contacted Duncans Digital Solutions Centre in Inverness, as I saw from a note in the loft area that they had installed the satellite system. At about 3pm today, the new intercom buzzer sounded. It was the TV man. Long story short... He's connected the apartment to the block's satellite distribution system, I bougyt a FreeSat box from him, and the place at last has working live TV, in addition to the Smart TV piped via broadband.
Keys to the back door have been cut (second time around - I was given the right key today), and a tree has been pruned, thus ensuring that the view of Cairn Gorm, Cairn Lochan, Braeriach and the Lairig Ghru remain visible from bedroom 1. There s a little more pruning to do, but I need 'high loppers', and the local hire shop doesn't have any. I've also finished painting the walls of bedroom 2, tho behind on the whole decorating side of things.
After removing a bunch of tiles, I decided to tackle the rubble and check the extent of the damp. Upon moving the rubble, it was obvious that the damp was worse than previously thought, and the plyboard that was directly behind the tiled facia was softer than plyboard should be, and worse still, when pressure was applied, it bowed downwards. I wondered how far along the floor the damp had spread, so I removed a couple of tiles, and the top layer of plyboard disintegrated. With more tiles removed, it was clear that the damp was to a greater or lesser extent, across most of the floor. Part way through writing this entry, I had another question. Just how damp was the part the bowed? And surroundings?
As I put my hand around towards the bath, and it became clear that this was not any kind of old damp, it was very much in the making. My suspicion is that the bath drainage pipe is leaking. Having exposed the damp, the bathroom now has a fusty & damp smell. Not the best!
This really has messed up the plans, but in the end it will be sorted for the better, with new flooring, in addition to the new bathroom suite that was already going in. I'll need to get Andrew the plumber back here pronto to stop the pipes so that the bath can be ripped out and full extent of the water damage understood.
The day started with the arrival of Paul. He's a family friend, whom my parents met many years ago whilst on holiday in Corfu. He lives locally and is a dab hand at tiling, so he was round to check do some minor demolition work on the bathroom to check a few things, including whether the floor is ply-boarded, and how the sink boxed in area was constructed. Facts found out, it was thence to Inverness to visit Topps Tiles. Neil and Murdo from Topps - and Paul - whom I still had in tow - were all extremely helpful in assisting in my choice of wall and floor tiles. I have the colour awareness of of a blind hedgehog in a paper bag, so any assistance is always appreciated in that respect!
The bathroom and hallway floors are to be tiled, and both will have under floor heating.
On return to Aviemore, I've checked out carpets, and chosen the same carpet/colour for both bedrooms. The chap at the store just needs a call to sort out fitting on the day of my choosing. They also stock beds, so eyed up and got prices on two single beds, which is what bedroom two will be having. The additional flexibility O'm seeking is to be able to fix the two singles together, and today I've learned that mattresses can be made that zip together, which sounds just what I need. The zipped together beds would make a super king size bed. Next step is to get do some proper measuring and head scratching to confirm that I'm ok for space. It will be a bit tight.
Next was the turn of the plumber - Andrew, from Ark Plumbing, Heating & Renewables Ltd the plumber - to get some advice re new bathroom suite, replacing electric shower, lagging and order of events re tiling etc. Quote awaited. Andrew was recommended to me by...
The electrician - Alistair "The Iceolator" Fraser popped by. I used Alistair last year to replace the consumer unit, and bring a few bits up to the new (and seemingly always changing) electrical standards, and was really happy with his work and after sales service. Alistair was originally recommended to me by The Rumblie B&B from Laggan. I had a right shopping list for him...
In the bathroom, the extractor fan needs to be replaced, heater removed (replaced by under-floor heating), electric shower to be replaced and 10mm cable to replace the existing 6mm cable so that a 10Kw+ shower can be installed. We also worked out the location for a heated towel rail.
In the kitchen, that's just a case of inserting a frost protection tubular heater in the sink area, which automatically kicks in at 5°C to prevent burst pipes, should the temperature drop that low. The door entry system to the apartment is not working, but there is some confusion about exactly what the current system is supposed to do. I have a replacement handset, but more research required to know how to get it fixed.
And finally we discussed heating options. Right now, there's a storage heater in the hallway, and that will go, being replaced by the underfloor heating. Each bedroom has a convector heater, but they take a lot of power (i.e. cost a lot to run) and are not terribly efficient. Those heaters will be going too, being replaced by combination storage/convector heaters. The benefit of these is that the cheaper overnight electricity in the storage heater part, releasing heat throughout the day, but can be given a boost as required by the combined convection heater as required throughout the day. The downside of this set up is that each bedroom will require an additional electricity supply cable, which will have to be retro fitted, meaning a line of conduit down the wall. The heat will make up for it tho.
In the lounge, the existing convector heater will go. There is already dual wiring in place for a combination heater, if required. However, I'm looking into infra-red electric heating, which is q new-ish concept, but looks awesome, and is made by Welltherm, based in Essex. Alistair is a fan of these heaters, which blend int the room's decor rather than being obvious heaters. More on this one when I decide whether to go down that route.
Today the decorating took a small step forward, with a second coat being added to one wall of bedroom 2, and first coat to two other walls. I should also have done the fourth wall, but just as I was about to start I nudged a sharp corner of a bedside cabinet into the wall, denting it. Thus filler required, drying time, etc etc, before I can do it. Doh! The ceiling and woodwork are left to do too, so a concerted effort needs to be made in the next few days to get things moving in the time I have available.
And finally, the day was rounded off by a take-away curry from the Royal Tandoori Indian Restaurant right around the corner on the main road. Lamb garlic chilli, with a chilli nan bread. Luvly!
The apartment needed more cleaning than I'd accounted for, and that's being done in phases. Bedroom 2 was first to be tackled, with walls cleaned the first paint has gone up at last. Some delay can be put down to me taking a ski tour up Cairn Gorm and doing other more exciting things than, err, painting!
Although in pains me to have another TV License, I've just sorted one for the apartment. It seems odd that there has to be one for a holiday apartment, given that any occupant would have a home address, and thus their own TV license. But hey, who am I to argue. It's the law!
Today I took back possession of the apartment from the tenants, so the work can start in earnest to get the place ready for paying guests. I'm staying here for a few days, and so long as the temptation to leave the building and go play in the mountains stays at bay, I am focussed on getting some decorating done.
I live quite a few miles away from Aviemore, so today the car was rammed full of my walking and skiing gear, together with the 47 inch smart TV and a heap of decorating stuff. There was about room for me to drive. Not long after getting here, Paul and Liz arrived. They are friends of my parents (they met on holiday years ago) and live locally. Paul will be tiling the bathroom, so tomorrow I need to check when the plumber can come round to size things up.
The broadband and smart TV are now set up and I've been having a play with the TV; it's excellent, and nicely streams iPlayer. I'm very pleased with the purchase, and it's better than mine at home. I may be buying another of these very soon! The laptop and mobile are connected to the WiFi too, and have to say that I am impressed with TalkTalk's whole broadband product so far. Setting things up was literally plug & play.
The lounge is a bit of a tip as a result, but it's just the packaging and that's easily tidied away. To be honest, the whole apartment needs a good clean even before the decorating starts. Sugar soap will work wonders with the place. It's a good job the weather forecast for tomorrow is rubbish, which will force me to get started...