> Chez Skip
6 February 1999
The calm before the storm.
10 February 1999
OhMiGod. A freaking bomb's gone off out front. Progress after one days work is way impressive.
The old garage out front is hardly visible in the previous picture but it's now just a pile of rubble. Do I miss it? Nope, not one bit. It was an ugly lil ****er.
12 February 1999
Work over the last two days has been focused on location of steel beams beneath the existing floor which will allow the removal of existing piles and the opening up of the basement for excavation.
Progress is most satisfactory but not as dramatic as after the first day.
Spot the cat ! Every evening, after the builders have departed, Vibi gives everything a darn good sniff.
17 February 1999
The structural steel is now almost complete and a digger started excavation today. I am pleasantly surprised that there does not seem to be too much solid rock revealed yet but I can see some big looking lumps poking out from the dirt.
Perhaps 20 cubic metres excavated today. Only another 65 to go!
18 February 1999
I'm sure the neighbours don't like the dust and noise but the kids do like the digger.
20 February 1999
Loads of rock is taking a lot of breaking but at least we haven't encountered any caves yet. Temporary gas (yellow) and water (blue) services can be seen in the foreground.
24 February 1999
Believe it or not, they're still excavating and now have a second, smaller digger on the job to burrow deep underneath the house.
25 February 1999
It's a CAVE
Don't go in there Vibi ! PLEEZE !
6 March 1999
Excavation STILL continues. The digger man claims this rock is the hardest in New Zealand and that his digger has had more wear in 3 weeks here than in 6 months anywhere else. Construction cost over runs would surely empty Sierra Leone's treasury.
This is probably the biggest rock to come out. Imagine having to chisel this out of mother earth and you can appreciate why it's taking so bloody long.
15 March 1999
Spot the cat again. Excavation is very, very, very nearly complete but they are still chipping away with jack hammers at hard blue rock in one little corner. Boxing is in place in preparation for the big floor pour.
20 March 1999
Slab pour complete, blockwork started.
27 March 1999
Further progress on blockwork and timber framing started.
10 April 1999
Nearly all closed in.
Rock fence at the front complete with the neighbour getting one to match (rocks courtesy of no.98). Pretty cool eh?
17 April 1999
Still not quite closed in but very nearly there. Tiled patio in front of the bedroom complete.
Inside, all pre-wiring and pre-plumbing is complete and the walls are almost all lined. This view looks out onto the patio from the bedroom.
5 May 1999
Got my digital camera back after having left it on a boat. The stairs lead down from the old house to the improvements.
Oooooh weeeee, love that kauri ! Bathroom to the left, bedroom straight ahead and garage to the right.
Vibi thinks ... if only I could get into that safe there might be some biscats inside. I hope to get a picture hung in front of it as soon as I can so Vibi's torment is not prolonged unecessarily. Office to the right, turn left to begin climb up stairs.
9 May 1999
The front of the place is starting to look like it might be finished some time soon. Internally, the gib stopping is in progress and the tiles in the bathroom are laid and looking pretty.
The garage door was finally fitted only yesterday afternoon. It's in cedar and has the usual automatic remote opener.
10 May 1999
Look what they've done to my bathroom, ma.
16 May 1999
They got my paint mixed up with someone elses...
I got really drunk and chose the paint colours...
I threw a dart at a colour chart and look what I hit...
It's all the architect's fault.
Stair : red
Bedroom : mauve
The garage : red/charcoal
22 May 1999
I didn't go diving today. In fact, I did bugger all but I did meet the painters. They're still working inside but will probably be finished inside by Monday or Tuesday.
From my little room I can plainly see people wander up and down the street. The Venetian blinds are like one way glass 'cause they can't see me watching them at all. I guess my developments are the most interesting in the street because there is a regular stream of people who have a darn good stare at no. 98. Funniest of all are the young couples who have obviously walked from their place nearby just to a look at our place. They pace back and forth across our frontage chatting feverishly to themselves about what I can only surmise. I guess they have similar places and are hatching plans for some grand development. I look at them and imagine they're thinking this is a practicable and financially justifiable excercise just because I've done it. Ha !
The rest of the house might be crap but I know a good looking garage when I see one. I'm so confused - I don't know whether to hang tools on the wall or shift my bed down there.
15 June 1999
It has been slow and painful going over the last few weeks but things finally seem to be coming together.
The bathroom is almost complete...
The carpet was laid yesterday...
And Vibi has decided that carpet is much nicer to roll on than a concrete floor and that maybe all the disruption was worth it.
3 July 1999
Two days ago we achieved practical completion. The work is now complete except for a few minor items requiring attention, plus the painting of the old parts of the house. Today I picked rocks out of the top soil and sewed grass seed. I hope it grows before the birds eat it and Vibi digs it up.
This image is a panoramic one, a montage from 5 separate images. It will take a little while to download and you'll have to use your horizontal scroll bar but it gives a good impression of what the front of the property now looks like.