An Eccentric Anomaly: Ed Davies's Blog

I can get depressed any time but I do seem to have a tendency to do so more at the end of August and the beginning of September. I'm not sure why, really, but think it's at least partly a matter of accumulated sleep deficit caused by short nights. Last year it was hardly noticeable but this year it really clonked me on the back of the head.

At the end of the last blog post I was waiting for the next batch of roof sheets to arrive. I spent a few days noodling what to do about the sheets round the Velux windows on the south roof, what would need doing about the window headers which had got wet from water leaking in and stapling fibreglass mesh up the south-east gable verge to stop creepy crawlies getting behind the cladding on the east gable. By Tuesday July 27th I had enough of an idea to go and order the first batch of sheets for the south roof, to go round the main bedroom's south window, and inquire about delivery of the rest of the sheets for the north roof.

Their computer showed my previous order as having been cancelled, which seemed to be a bit of a setback. The lass I normally deal with was working from home (“isolating?”, “something like that”) and her phone was busy so I went and did a quick shop in Tesco and came back to find that, no, the sheets were actually in (relief!) so arranged for delivery on Friday of that week.

Indeed, they arrived in the morning of Friday July 30th and I got the first two of them up that day. I took from then till the end of August to get most, but not all, of those sheets up. Here's how that went, day of month (30th of July, rest in August) for columns of sheets labelled G through S east to west with rows going up the roof:

30 02 03 04 10 12 13 22 23 30 - - -
- - 02 03 04 05 10 12 21 23 28 - -
- - - 30 03 04 05 10 12 16 22 28 -

Hyphens on the left (east) for sheets already up from the first batch, hyphens on the right (west) for sheets not yet put up.

A keen observer will note that I did reasonably well for the first half of August, generally putting up two or three sheets each day the weather allowed but then things slowed down a lot for the rest of the month.

Partly it was the weather. The week starting Monday August 16th was not great. I blame my sister and her husband who were on a cruise round Scotland that week. Monday was nice but I was busy in Thurso in the morning getting my van MoTed. While that was happening I had a wander up to the timber merchants to add some 35x50 battens to my south-roof-sheet order. Here's the view on the way back, from the little footbridge across the Thurso river with the tide pretty low looking just east of north across the Pentland Firth to Hoy, the west most and highest of the Orkney Islands. The Old Man of Hoy is just visible on the linked larger version sticking up above the bit of Hoy jutting out to the west.

The van failed, needing some welding underneath and a brake pipe fixing which was a better result than I'd been fearing; i.e., it wasn't a write off. That garage didn't do welding and didn't know any which did but the rather agricultural garage near my house site was happy to do it and booked it in for the following Monday. Wind, rain and feeling like going down with a cold wrote off the rest of the weekdays that week.

I got a little done over the weekend then Monday (Aug 23rd), after sister and B-i-L's ship had left Scottish waters and while the welding was happening on my van, was a perfect day: bright, warm and calm. I walked from the garage to my site which took about two hours as I took the slightly longer way round the loop of roads exploring for a short-cut across the burn in between and got two sheets up on the roof (P2 then 03 for those keeping score). Later my neighbour told me how to get to the little stone bridge across and gave me a lift back to the garage to pick up the van.

Tuesday the 24th was another decent day but I got the brake pipe done in Wick (long story why I didn't get the brake pipe done with the welding) then took the van back to the garage in Thurso in the hope of getting the MoT retest done. Unfortunately their MoT tester was away so I arranged to come back on Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday wasn't such a nice day but, with the break for the re-test in the early afternoon it wasn't practical to do anything useful on the house. Actually, I was feeling a bit down anyway and went back to bed when I got home about 15:00 and slept for 1.5 hours.

Thursday and Friday had reasonable weather (grey with a light breeze) but I was feeling sufficiently down that I didn't want to go out. On Saturday I got two sheets on the north roof up. Sunday started with drizzle which cleared up reasonably quickly but continued to look threatening and I couldn't work up the motivation to mess around dodging any showers. On Monday the 30th I got the last sheet I've done so far on the north roof up (P3). I couldn't do any more after that until I had more battens to do the verge (which I'd added to the order for the first south-roof sheets).

On Tuesday (Aug 31st) I went to the site to try to start on battening the south east verge. I had enough bits of batten in hand to do either that or the north west one but not both. Starting on the south roof to validate (or otherwise) my thoughts on how to sheet round the Velux windows took priority as there would be a delay ordering more sheets for the south roof. Anyway, that day the wind was too blustery to take an accurate string line down the edge of the roof so I gave up and went home rather than run out of patience.

This started as an “August and September” blog post but I think I'll break it at this point.