Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Just trying to keep a roof over our heads...

Reminiscent of our early years during WWII London, the roofers have been here for a week now and are making considerable progress. What with shovels and forks removing the old roof, packs of shingles being dropped at various points, pneumatic staplers and nail guns, massive hammering and periodic cascades of old roof falling past the windows, the entire process is quite stressful. Apparently, the tear-off of the old roof is particularly strenuous due to the cedar shake style originally installed. In the first picture, the mound of scrap from the left-hand section of the roof, can be seen piled up against the side of the house. So far the crew has filled two 24 foot skips and will shortly start on the third which is being delivered as this is written. The original cedar roof is being replaced with composite shingles - by far the most common choice throughout the mid-west - all 18,900 lbs of them. These are delivered in 75 lb bundles, 36 bundles to a pallet. The pallets, by the way, are lifted onto the roof by a crane on the delivery truck - much better than trying to lug them up a ladder! Meantime, a veritable army of workers keep busy with the numerous processes involved in what I erstwhile believed to be a straightforward task.
The accompanying pictures were taken yesterday, November 28th, which was another gorgeous "bonus" day at near 70 degrees on a day when the average high is around 43. Today is in the sixties again but, watch out, Mother Nature is about to get back on track, reducing daytime highs to the low thirties and overnight lows to the low twenties with a few inches of sleet or snow tomorrow night for good measure. Nothing like this kind of forecast to motivate roofers, it seems

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Santas Revenge

Having pretty much avoided Christmas and all that goes with it for most of the last 50 years (too busy, got stuff to do and various other vague evasions) we have finally run out of excuses and, short of an early death, Santa is really getting his own back this year. By the magic of low air fares, we get to spend Christmas with the Children of the Sixties, pictured here as Loves Young Dream. Presumably this was snapped before the Wily Watson had the Handsome Harvey finally and fully snared since Foolish Fred apparently, still thought he had something to laugh about.

As though this was not retro enough, we will also be spending time with those suave sophisticates, the Android Sisters, regal beauties whose elegance and sense of style are the stuff of legends. These rare and candid snaps of the Harvey Girls provide just a glimpse of their stunning wardrobe and youthful energy and could well be part of the reason why not too many people remember the nineties.

Clearly, Christmas in the Old Country promises to be loads of fun and I can't help hoping that Santa has a little Pork Pie in mind for me or maybe just some plain old Fish and Chips! For our part, we will be thrilled to catch up on all of the news and get acquainted with the new generation.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

If at first...

My brother in England, Ken, lives on a small lane in a tiny village in the wilds of a region known as Northants. He moved there about five years ago, as much as anything because it was nice and quiet. Well, recently, things have not been so quiet. About six months ago, late one Saturday evening, there was a brief commotion as a pricey Porsche substituted itself for part of the garden wall. As luck would have it, the driver, a local resident, walked away unharmed and the Porsch was removed a day or so later. Insurance claims were duly filed and the long process of getting the repair process underway was set in motion.
Good News! A week or two ago, the repair crew showed up and began the refurbishment of the wall. After two days of leisurely labor the new wall began to take shape and all seemed to be set for a quick resolution.
But wait, Bad News! Late on Saturday evening an Audi TT, traveling close to the speed of light, demolished the remainder of the original wall, most of the newly built portion, shredded the five bar gate and bent the builders skip. Again, the driver was well enough to flee the scene and promptly went into hiding for 24 hours while his blood alcohol level fell to legal limits before reporting the incident.
Finally, Good News. The reticent insurance company, possibly thrilled at the prospect of settling two claims for the price of one, authorized the second rebuild almost immediately and, as of today, the new wall and gate are resplendently guarding the homestead once more. For a bonus, I now understand the purpose of garden walls.