Thursday, March 29, 2007

Painting Shelves and Drinking Tea

Shelves everywhere!Last week I really liked the shelves, especially the small cubes and the corner pieces. But, after being let down at the last minute by the spray painter, and having spent two days sanding, priming, sanding, undercoating and sanding, I'm not so sure they were such a good idea! What is wrong with long wide shelves with the minimum number of corners?

On a more positive note, I did find time for two tea breaks today. This morning, we enjoyed samples from Jane at Crumbles, who makes melt in the mouth shortbread from flour milled in the last working corn and grist mill on the Thames. Then in the afternoon I received a box of “Elephant tea” from Williamsons. Shame we'd finished the shortbread by then, but I dashed over to the offices opposite with my sample stock and had a lovely cup of Earl Gray. Both the shortbread and tea went down well with those I shared them with and will be making an appearance on the newly painted shelves soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Proper Preserves

When I am not covered in dirt and paint I do spend quite a lot of time thinking about food and trying to find really special things to stock in the deli. Recently I met Suzanne, who lives not too far from me, and makes Proper Preserves at home. She brought me a selection of her wares to sample and I enjoyed them all. My particular favourite was the Red Onion Marmalade which Suzanne very kindly left me a jar of. And before she had driven round the corner I was back raiding the jar and dolloping it on crackers. I did save some to enjoy with some goats cheese, but sadly, the jar is now empty. Fortunately for me, my first order for the deli will arrive very soon. If we don't get the shop open soon I shall I have to eat them all myself.

Monday, March 26, 2007

An identity

SignToday the sign writer put up the shop name. The hours I spent doctoring a photograph on the PC were well spent and I think it looks good. Thanks to everyone who offered an opinion - hope you like how it turned out.

Slight spelling problem on the door sign which was meant to read “Purveyors of Fine Foods & Beverages”. Minor panic when I realised just after the sign writer had left. But it was all OK in the end as the letters peel off and Jay, the carpenter and I all prefer “Fine Foods & Beverages” anyway! Even more people are stopping to look now. I'm excited and just want to get the shelves filled and open the door.

Old news from last week - the deli counter not only arrived, but fitted through the door!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Let there be light....(and water)

I put a third coat of varnish on the floor in the front room on Monday night and it is looking good (though covered in polythene for its own protection). The floorers have now fitted the floors in the other rooms and the electricians and plumbers have returned and installed all the lights, sockets, sinks and toilet. I have learnt how to cut copper pipes and that I don't have the muscles to do so. I shall stick with holding things still, sanding, painting and directing!

It is starting to feel like a shop not a building site, which is fortunate as the refrigeration equipment starts to arrive today.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sanding no more

Eight weeks have passed now since we picked up the keys. We should really be opening today. We aren't..... but, after another weekend spent on my hands and knees, the floor is varnished!

(I took the photo last night as I varnished myself out the door, so it is all still very wet and shiny)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

There is a Purpose for Trigonometry

ShelvesFor the first time since leaving school I am using the SIN, COS and TAN buttons on my calculator! Actually not my original Texas Instruments TI-30 calculator, whose batteries finally failed last year, but Windows Calc. All the same, the functions really are quite handy. I've managed to "design" the stainless steel benches to fit behind the counter which needs to join onto odd bits of angled wall. I even seem to have managed to document my design in a manner that makes sense to the steel fabricator. Though having not seen the finished article, it could all go horribly wrong!

Some of my earlier "designs" are now coming to life in the form of display shelves for the front room. From my sketches and measurements, the big machine at B&Q managed to cut the wood almost to the size I asked for. Then after a little bit of re-cutting and planeing, drilling and screwing, the sheets have become shelves. Bit more sanding to do and some colour to add and we'll be ready to stock them (if the floor is ever finished of course).

Monday, March 12, 2007

Another Day, Another Sander

SanderWe spent the weekend sanding the floor again. Everyone had a go and it seemed to be going well. Then this morning, just when it looked like we'd get it finished, the sander burnt out. Strange and unpleasant sense of deja vu.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Things could only get better...

...And they did. The last couple of days have been a blur of progress. We removed the old floor in the back room in its entirety, installed an RSJ and new joists, had these approved by Building Control and laid the new floor boards (into which I personally screwed 192 screws). It has been a long week: I'm dirty, bruised, hungry and very very tired.

Before      During      After

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Good days and bad days

Things haven't been progressing as well as usual over the last couple of days. The chap sanding the floor found it was taking him longer than he expected. Then his wife had to go into work unexpectedly and the only way we could keep to schedule was if I baby sat for the day. Then the sander burnt out and it all came to a halt anyway. I spent yesterday alone in the shop waiting for people who didn't turn up and passed the time painting the bits of wall and ceiling that I could get to without moving any of the heavy tools. Not a technique recommended by the experts!

But then I met with a couple of lovely producers who are going to supply fantastic things to the deli and today building work resumed. The wooden floor is still under consideration but progress is being made on the back room and the weather has been wonderful. I sneaked off mid afternoon, treated myself to a new rake and have spent the past hour adding to my blister collection working in the garden in the sun.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Dust, dust and more dust

This is the shop yesterday evening. It isn't soft focus, just full of dust. Under the carpet in the front room we found some lovely floor boards which are coming up beautifully when sanded. Much nicer (and cheaper) than the “wood effect” vinyl I'd planned to use. The arch and beam are now green and the electricians are back and starting to install the light fittings etc. Not long now...