Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Studio Update - Crawling to the Finish Line

It's been painfully slow but we are nearly there. Nearly.
Today is Snagging Day and anyone who has ever commissioned building work will know that this is when you print out an endless list of unfinished items and wait on the doorstep for a suitably large team to come and tackle them. I did this. They sent 2 guys. Who don't speak very good English. And no electrician. He's coming later. Later? Sigh.
Meanwhile, the shower room looks gorgeous and I appear to have decorated the snug to match my Cornish holiday paintings.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Studio Update

So, a couple (or three) deadlines have passed, I'm no nearer to moving in and the garden is still in chaos. The main problem has been not having a foreman on site so important details have been missed and mistakes made. Yesterday, while I was at Uni, having fun...
MA Illustration eating Day of the Dead sugar skulls.
... Mum and Dad were dealing with yet another no show from the builders. Really frustrating! They had to call Green Studios HQ again to complain about the lack of communication and the state of the site. My poor parents are well and truly fed up with the mess and the repeated delays.
Anyway, the plastering is done, the oak floor is down and the electrician has completed most of the second fix. But, outside it's a different story, with cladding and facia boards to finish, roof tiles to be cemented and a lot of rubbish that needs to be cleared.
We have two lovely guys here today (after Dad's phone call to the boss, I expect) dealing with the utilities trench and generally giving the garden a well-needed tidy-up. One of them is digging the hole for the enormous 2m tank. BY HAND! The earth is a nightmare, mostly clay at that depth and full of enormous flints. His mate keeps checking on him to make sure he'd OK. He's still smiling. Just about.
I'm not sure what the revised completion date is but I doubt it will be 4th Nov. Anyone anticipating that studio-warming party invitation appearing on their doormat, might be waiting a while longer.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

How to Build a Kit House

After that horribly slow first week, the studio is now taking shape at lightning speed. I've been compiling a folder of before during and after photos and the transformation is incredibly exciting.
Just look at these!
The garden has gone from this...
...to this (levelling the site and moving the summer house)...
...to this (36 holes dug and filled again)...
...to this (the 'kit' arrives on site, all at once!)...
...to this (the 'kit' is assembled')...
...to this. All since this time last year!
Those last two shots were just days apart. Amazing, isn't it?
I'm actually due to get the keys by the end of next week so pop back for the final reveal.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Stress and Sunshine

Thank goodness for the sunshine! I'm so stressed this weekend that I think more bad weather might have pushed me over the edge. The sunshine has cast a nice warm glow over everything which is making it easier to deal with studio build scheduling nightmares, project deadlines and a scary MA workload.
Here's some more good news that's (just about) keeping me sane. The cover proof for ELECTRIGIRL 2,' Electrigirl and the Deadly Swarm', arrived in the post this morning. I was almost knocked off my feet by the powerful fluorescent orange background (which you can't really see in this photo so you'll just have to imagine it).

These two books (and more, we hope) are sure to be the brightest things on the bookshelves next year. I can't wait!
Published by Oxford University Press in February and August 2016

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Furniture but no house!

In just over a week the builders will arrive on site! Hurrah! In the meantime I've been choosing flooring, scheduling plumbers and buying taps. I've also become slightly addicted to eBay which is a bit of a problem as I've run out of storage space. This week I bought two beautiful Ercol armchairs and a massive chest of drawers which just about fill the dining room. Then yesterday two more chairs arrived - a birthday gift from Mum and Dad - and, although they are meant for the garden, I've brought them in to the conservatory while I finish oiling them. I think the 'rents are now rather eager for the studio to be completed so they can have their house back!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Green Light!

Ready, steady... BUILD!
I've designed the kitchen, calculated U-values, sourced sockets, signed off the final plans and paid the deposit! We are ready to build on 14th September.
In the meantime I've got two books to write and illustrate, a holiday to take and an MA to prepare for!!!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Call Bomb Disposal!

Great excitement at the site this week. I raked up a 'bomb'. Well, something that was suspiciously bomb-like and therefore quite alarming.
I was tackling the dust bowl left by the weekend's excavation. Work on site will take a summer break before the proper build begins in September, so I was making the garden more summer-friendly by clearing stones and reseeding the lawn. I'd just begun raking when an object I thought was a root flipped over on the soil. I was about to yank it out and throw it in to the wheelbarrow with all the other roots until something made me paused. I had a bad feeling. 
A root is not metallic. A root does not bulge in the middle. A root doesn't have a perfectly smooth collar at one end. A root doesn't rust.
The bad feeling grew.
Better to be safe than sorry, I thought.
I called the police...
... who also thought it was suspicious. They emailed pictures. The recipient also thought it was suspicious. Mortar or cocktail shaker? Better to be safe than sorry. Warn the neighbours not to go in their gardens and call Bomb Disposal...
...who arrived (blue lights and sirens all the way from Aldershot) and took a look. They didn't know what it was either. After picking it up (carefully), peering at it, x-raying it and finally cleaning it up with a wire brush...
... It was decided that it WASN'T a bomb or a mortar or even a cocktail shaker. It was probably part of an electric motor.
Better to be safe than sorry, they said.
The cops were really disappointed. They were hoping for a controlled explosion!