Sunday, 31 August 2008

Water water everywhere...

All the water pipes are finally installed in the house! Here you can see the main water supply in the utility room. Above it the largest splitter for cold water and the one above for warm. Each exit from the splitter has a tap, in-case we need to isolate a particular room. The cold splitter has 5 exits, sink in utility, boiler, outside tap, kitchen (inc downstairs wc) and upstairs bathroom. The hot splitter has 2 exits, kitchen and upstairs bathroom.

The opposite corner of the utility is where the new gas, condensation boiler will be. The black stripe is soot from the chimney that we demolished where the wood-stove previously was. The blue pipe is the cold water supply for the boiler, the red is the hot water supply for the radiators which goes straight up to the upstairs bathroom first.

This is the new outside tap. The round plate that looks like a satellite dish stops the tap from sinking back into the hole in the wall, keeps the tap in the same position as it has claws on the back and generally makes it look better. We had to use a small piece of galvanised piping to go through the cavity wall which then connects to the alpex pipe on the inside.

Being a house of MANY chimneys we used one of the empty channels in the central chimney to bring the water and heating pipes upto the first floor. On the pic is the starting point in the kitchen. First we dopped a weighted cord down the chimney and then attached the alpex downstairs and pulled it back upstairs, it saved making a big hole in the ceiling :)

Here you can see the point in the bathroom where the pipes emerge out of the chimney. The hot water splitter goes to the sink, bath and shower. The cold water to the sink, bath, shower and toilet. The pipes downstairs where laid in channels that we cut out of the floor, the channels will be filled up with cement and the new floor laid over the top. Upstairs unfortunatly the base of the tiles was too thin so we will have to box the pipes in.

Here you can see where the bath will be on the far left, then the toilet (where the upsidedown U is) and the sink on the right.

This is where the shower will be.

Aliens at work!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

U comment, I follow

Thanks to a reminder from
I've just removed the no follow code from my blog, join the movement and remove yours too!

All blog platforms (as default) have this dead-end code that stops links inside comments being crawled, remove it and we can all share some love and share some traffic!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


Well I got around to doing some housekeeping and maintenance on the site today. Like the new template? The three column layout is a lot more roomy than the standard blogger template that I was using. The colours are still fairly subdued which I think is best for sites that post a lot of pictures. It's still not quite tweaked but it should improve over the next few days. I've also started a links list on the left had side under the top Entrecard droppers, if anyone wants to be linked drop me a mail.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Off topic party...

This weekend we were invited to our first neighbourhood party! Maria & Louis, who live opposite our new house, celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in style. As you can see a lot of preparation went into decorating the house. Every-one in the street had secretly been making plastic flowers and planning the decorations for months then on Saturday we picked them up in our old-timer for the big event. First a service was held at the local church accompanied by the Frizzante Achordian Orchestra that Maria & Louis' grandchildren belong to. Next a small service at the town hall with a drinks reception and then to the main party at the St Martinus Gilde function room where there was a delicious buffet and drinks a volante until the wee hours! We did not enjoy getting up at 7.50am the next morning...
Contgratulations Maria & Louis!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

What light through yonder window breaks?

As of Monday 17th of this month the windows are official on order! They should be in within 6-7 weeks. Of all the window companies that we had asked come and make quotes we ended up choosing Houbrix (Royal Fenster Systems), pricewise they came out in the middle of all the quotes but it seems that they have the best customer service. They also make the windows in their own factory, a lot of the other companies ship them in from Poland/Germany. We wanted PVC windows simply because the maintenance is easier but they have a wood-grain effect and it is very hard to tell the difference between them and real wooden windows. The Gealan frames have 6 chambers which is the most on the market at the moment. The chambers are sections in the frame that insulate so the more chambers you have the more insulation. The glass is 1.1k (K-value which I think in the UK is called R-value, a way of measuring insulation). They also have hidden hinges and 'mushroom' handles in the same cream colour as the frame. Where possible we took tilt/open windows and a mosquito cover for each room.
In the meantime we have to start bricking up the kitchen window which has to come up higher to allow room for the cupboards and work surface underneath. We have to remove the windows and window ledges the day before they come to install the new windows which means leaving the house 'open' overnight. Hopefully it won't rain but there's still the possibility that someone could break/walk in so we might have to think about getting a tent and camping out in the living room!
Most of our money has been sunk into the windows so we have got plenty of time in the next few weeks whilst we are saving to get lots of small jobs done, the stove can be installed again, the rest of the wall paper stripped and a lot of tidying and cleaning needs to be done, busy times!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Full house...

We have at last found old doors that match the 4 we had previously bought! The first four we saw advertised on Kapaza but being unable to find anymore we had got used to the idea that the other doors wouldn't be matching. Then by chance I recognised a house that we had seen for sale when we where house hunting on someones blog on a renovation site. The house was built in 1942 but had a lot of the same features as our house and they had the same doors that we had already bought. They had posted a plan of the renovations that they are doing, which have a very modern style, so I figured they wouldn't be using those doors and I was right! We went to pick them up on Saturday and the house is even in the same village as us, couldn't get any better, thanks Jimmy C!

Vacancies, apply within...

The toilet door was getting in the way too much and it had to be ripped out, in it's place this beautiful (!) pink curtain and a vacant/occupied sign for the whistling impaired like myself. Behind the toilet you can see Koen fastening the Pex water pipes
The pipes are a sandwich of three layers, plastic, metal, plastic with an optional ribbed cover in blue or red to make the pipes easily identifiable. They can be bent by hand or using a special tool to a point, beyond this point beware of the kink! If the pipe kinks that section should be replaced. The pipes can be connected to splitters, taps and T's with special self crimping nipples. Where possible we are laying the pipes in the floor or wall but with an old house it isn't always possible so in the bathroom for instance they will have to be boxed in. Cost price approx 70euros for 50m.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Knobs & Knockers...

When we were in the UK we visited DIY giant B & Q They have a huge range of just about everything from bathroom suites, paint, power tools, gardening equipment, kitchen sinks and more. Their site also has some valuable information and a 'knowledge centre' about topics such as installing an electric shower, replacing old plumbing or putting together a garden shed. Also on the site is an interactive kitchen planner, radiator BTU calculator, online brochures, at home reservation of products, online shopping and a function to book an appointment with a consultant to assist with planning a kitchen/bathroom.
Our mission was to choose some interior doorhandles. Most of the door handles I had seen in Belgium also had keyholes, which I didn't want and I hadn't really seen anything that I liked. In B & Q they had a large selection of handles fairly competitively priced but they also had knobs which we hadn't really thought about. The price difference was minimal which made it even harder as there was no compelling reason to choose one over the other, but we eventually settled on the knobs after being reminded how many shirt sleeves had been torn, and bruises gained by catching our arms behind door handles. Our eye fell on these solid brass, brushed nickel finished knobs. They're mortice locks whatever that means. We needed 7 but they only had 5 in-store so would need to be ordered, enter Roy & Gill to the rescue who are going to order them and keep them until they either come here or we go there. Thanks guys!

Monday, 4 August 2008

bath¹ Definition


noun pl. baths
  1. a washing or dipping of a thing, esp. the body, in water or other liquid, steam, etc.
  2. water or other liquid for bathing, or for dipping, cleaning, soaking, regulating temperature, etc.
  3. a container for such liquid
  4. a bathtub
Here they are, the much awaited pics from our trip to pick up our new roll top bath tub...

The alarm went off at 4am, the cats still lay blissfully asleep on our bed. We had to leave at 4.45 for the 3 hour car-trip to Calais ferry port so we had just enough time to put our bags into the car and have a quick breakfast. The thunder storm from the night before wasn't far away and we caught up with it on the motorway approx around the town of Diest. Lots of heavy rain meant using the wipers on double speed and with no lights on the motorway that time of morning it meant tediously slow driving for 30 mins.

After a last petrol stop at Jabbeke we made good time and checked in around 7.45 for our 8.30 Seafrance ferry.

Luckily the weather cleared and the crossing was smooth.

Our first stop was to visit The Bathstore in Freeport, Braintree to have a good look at how the waste pipes were mounted and re-measure, hmmm it would definitely be too big to fit in the car!

Next was to my nan June who had ordered the bath for us and had taken delivery of it on the 22nd July. It had been safely stored in her shed since then, thanks nan!

We decided to leave the cardboard square around the roll top to make it easier to strap to the roof, it had been attached with packing straps and was very secure. We peeled the plastic back to check there weren't any scratches on the bath and then re-taped it down, a sheet was also taped across the bottom to stop the plastic from flapping too much in the wind, we used two whole rolls of tape!

Luckily my uncle Roy not only has a lot of experience knot tying from sailing but he also had some cushions to tape onto the bars of the roof rack (lets hope my aunt Gill knows what happened to the cushions!). The bath being more awkward than heavy was manoeuvred onto the roof bars and strapped down tightly.

We had mostly showery weather on the journey home from Chelmsford (UK) to Heusden-Zolder (BE) but the packaging held up and we (inc the bath) made it back in one piece. We're leaving it wrapped up for the moment because of the huge amount of dust and grinding work that still has to be done in our house.

Maybe this will be our next project? Snapped at South Wold's North Beach it's a beach hut no bigger than 2m x 3m, no running water allowed, no overnight visitors allowed for the bargain price of 35,000 pounds leasehold, I'll stick with a wind breaker and sand in my sandwiches thanks...


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