I managed to make some good progress and find time to watch all of the rugby 6 Nations matches. For starters, it was good to see England win their opening match against Scotland. After watching France, who were the pre-tournament favourites, go down to Italy, it looks as though 2013 isn’t going to be their year. They weren’t convincing at all and never really seemed to be in touch. I think that Ireland were the most impressive this first week-end. There was something missing about the England performance – they deserved to win but there was something mechanical about their game and somehow they seemed to be ‘playing by numbers’. Ireland, on the other hand, were playing by instinct so it’ll be interesting to see how the tournament unfolds over the coming weeks.
I also managed to get some good work done on my fireplace which I continued with today. I might appear to be making a big thing about this work but as I see it, I’ve got just the one chance to do it right. I have to create something that will not only be decorative but must also be extremely effective. My wood-burner is bloomin’ heavy and its weight, of course, is concentrated on four small feet which are therefore each exerting a very large downward pressure. The platform must therefore not only support the weight but if there’s any surface weakness where the feet will be positioned, then things will start to crumble or move, tiles will start to crack and that will be it. So I have to do a proper job and not only that, when it’s done it should hopefully be a permanent feature of my ‘sejour’ for many years to come.
So my next task was to apply a good strong coat of rendering onto the platform’s top surface. This will need to not only take the load of the wood-burner but will also have to spread the load that might otherwise be too much for the lightweight concrete blocks that I used in the structure, through the tiles that will be fixed to the rendered surface. I made up a length of shuttering using the wood that the wood-burner was packed in actually. The shuttering not only gave me the depth of rendering that I wanted but by stepping it out at the front, when the rendering had cured and the shuttering was removed, it also gave me a hard edge to work to when I came to render the front of the platform. Here are a couple of pics with the shuttering in place taken just after I’d finished rendering the platform top.
That was where I got to on Sunday and today, despite the intermittent rain that we’ve got back again, I was able to press on with rendering the front. The depth of material that I have to apply is too much to do in one go, mainly because of the deep depressions in the faces of the concrete blocks that I used to make the bottom layer of the platform, so today I wanted just to get an initial coat on that will be cured enough for me to finish the job tomorrow. And that’s what I managed to do as the following pics show.
So tomorrow, all being well, I’ll have the platform in a state that’s ready for tiling. I also fired up the new ‘coupe carreaux’ over the week-end and got cracking trimming some tiles down. It’s turned out to be a great piece of kit and well worth the 60€ plus petrol that it cost me because in no time at all, I’d got over 2/3 of my tiles cut to size and ready for use. But they’ll have to wait for a while before that happens, because once I’ve finished rendering the platform, it’ll be time to start on the floor. And it’ll be a messy job because cutting the unwanted old tiles out will create clouds of dust. I haven’t yet worked out what I can do about that – maybe I’ll be able to make some kind of tent arrangement over the fireplace that I’ll be able to work in, with a mask that I have already, to keep the dust from spreading into the rest of the room. I’ll have to think about it a bit more before I get going with that job 🙂