22 April 2021

Starting painting the extension

When the repairmen didn't show up, I decided to do something useful with my day. And with them not showing up, I had the extension to myself. So I popped to the local builders' merchant and got me some paint. And then started the work.

The first thing I needed to do was make sure I could do anything safely. You have to stand on a ledge above a considerable drop in order to do work on the extension. And when you're working, you're not focusing on staying up there. So I wanted to be secured. And I had figured I could do that by running my climbing rope from the bedroom window to a window in the conservatory. I could use that as a handline I could clip into. So I made my first rig! I retrieved my climbing gear from downstairs and improvise something. It was sufficient.

The ridge I have to stand on gets progressively narrower when you go further right. When you go to the right of the bedroom window, you are also not secured to anything above your centre of gravity anymore. I can of course still be attached to my handline, but at quite an angle, so were I to fall I would swing out quite a lot. I'm not so keen. I like my tether to be vertical, going up from where it is attached to me! I'm not so keen on horizontal tethers. So I decided to start on the left. I supposed it made sense to first get comfortable where it was still easy, and then build up my confidence as I moved further right. I mean, I have done much more dangerous things either underground or on climbing walls, but thanks to Corona that was quite a while ago, and additionally; then I tend to be able to concentrate on navigating the circumstances. Now I would be busily waving a paint scraper around.

Starting on the left also meant I had to bring something in that would increase my height. I can't reach the top planks! So I dragged my ammunition box out of the garage and put that on the ledge. That would give me enough height! This wouldn't work on the right, as the ledge is too narrow, but I will deal with that once I get there.

With my handline and my ammunition box in position, I could don my overalls and set to work. I first had to remove as much of the pesky vegetation as I could. I had already done around of removing ivy when I still had hope that the previous set of workmen would actually show up and go do the work, but the thing with vegetation is that it grows back. But it was quite easy to remove quite a lot of it. Then I could start paying attention to the paint. It was flaking like nothing on Earth. So I scraped and I sanded. And after a considerable effort I put on a layer of primer on the first four planks! A start had be made. I am just tackling the situation plank by plank. Once I have one or more planks (four if they are at the level of the window and therefore very short; just one if it's one of the continuous ones underneath the window) ready for paint, I just paint it. So at some point I had four planks with the first layer of paint, four planks with only a layer of primer, and several planks partially scraped. That way I will slowly make my way from the left to the right. And then I have to do some caulking.

I also improve my rig as I moved along. I had first just connected two knots with a carabiner, but I later made a rig that is easier to keep at tension. And I traded my cow's tails for a Petzl connect, which is easily adjustable. And I pondered about improved rigging on the right. Stay tuned for that!

Altogether this will take me a while! But then I have an extension wall that is ready to face the harsh Welsh weather again for a few years. And it doesn't look particularly good; I suppose in order to achieve that I should have used paint stripper, or something along those lines, to really get rid of all the old paint, but I can't be asked. This is only for durability, not for looks!

 the situation before I started

The flaking paint and my first safety measures

me doing some scraping. Picture by the neighbour.

 using the bedroom as an anchor

First results 

No comments: