Johnny Paddy’s

The recreation of a family home in Ireland

February 19th – 24 little hours …

February 20th, 2011

The sun came out today, which was what we had hoped for as the plasterer was due to render the middle gable so that the roofer could complete the slating. We visited the site around 2.30pm, and got quite a surprise …

From the road above, we couldn’t see anyone working but something definitely looked different. It was only as we turned off onto the private road that I realised what it was. The whole house had been rendered with its first scratch coat of plaster! The reason we hadn’t seen anyone working was that the plasterers had just started the last wall, the eastern gable end.

Applying scratch coat to eastern gableTo give you some idea of the speed with which these guys work, as we pulled up, they had just applied a few dabs of plaster around the edges of the gable. By the time I had pulled on my wellingtons and got my camera out, they had done the gable and were starting on the wall above the windows! Compare this photo to the one at the bottom to see the difference 30 minutes’ work makes. The entire house took them no more than about 7 hours from start to finish.South elevation with electrical box and roof barges

These guys are good. They are Pat’s best men and he is keen to keep them working. But today’s work is a prime illustration of why Irish builders will always find employment – even if they have to leave Ireland to do so. We joked about their English counterparts, of whom we have encountered many over the last few years. Must have a fag and a cuppa before even putting their overalls on, stopping for elevenses, disappearing round the corner to the pub for lunch, packing in early because of poor light, the possibility of rain or lack of materials … and not forgetting numerous cups of tea and fag breaks thoughout the day!

Anyway, I digress. There was more.

First fixJohn had remembered something that we had omitted from the plan we gave to Joe, the electrician.  “No problem”, said Pat, “Joe’s guys are inside.” So we clambered in through the front door (I’ve never bothered to ask about the 18” step up. I assume it is temporary), to find the whole interior swagged with festoons of electric cable. Three electricians were on site, running North elevation with plastered gable endcables and channeling in conduit and backboxes for all the sockets and lighting that Joe had marked with chalk on the bare block walls.

All this had happened since yesterday. John and I just stood there for a moment, open-mouthed, taking in the sheer wonder of it all!

February 18th – a day without rain …?

February 18th, 2011

People joke that they don’t come to Ireland for the weather. But I don’t know why they wouldn’t? There’s certainly enough of it here …

North elevationOver the last couple of weeks, the west coast has been battered by gale force winds and intermittent bursts of torrential rain, hampering work on the house.  Our insistence on having roof barges has rather set things back. Pat only needed a couple of dry days to complete them, but very little else could be done until the concrete had gone off. There is no doubt that they look the part in this area but, in Pat’s words, they are a “pure nuisance” to construct.  In the end, Pat took to calling the Irish Met Office each morning to check the latest forecast and, if the morning South elevationwas forecast dry, he and John Devereaux would be down at the site at dawn to do one or two barges (the house has six: 2 on each of the 3 gables), which then had to be covered with heavy-duty polythene to protect them from the rain.

Even so, the speed of progress still amazes us.  The front door was delivered on Friday 11th and, at some point during a break in the weather, ESB have installed three new telegraph poles for the electricity supply. Mercifully, they have opted to locate them beside the road … and not, as threatened, in the middle of our neighbour’s recently re-seeded meadow.

Despite the weather, John and I have been busy. Armed with our kitchen plan, we met the electrician, Pat’s brother, Joe, this week, to discuss power sockets and lighting. How exciting was that?!  In fact, Joe has also agreed to put in back boxes for our home cinema speaker system, thereby avoiding unsightly leads. Naturally, this required us to know what system we were putting in … and precipitated a shopping trip to Limerick.

Having shopped around a bit for a kitchen, we’ve fallen back on Ikea again. Pat was intrigued when we compared the price of a similar kitchen in Wickes and B&Q. Ikea is a fairly new phenomenon in Ireland, so we’ve offered to take him with us when we go. Of course, it’s Marie that we were thinking of. She will be in her element in the Market Hall section. We’ve already warned Pat that he’ll need to bring his cheque book!