This was perfect timing for us (other than the fact that we would have quite liked some more stable weather sooner than this, of course), as it meant that I could get all the terraces strimmed over the course of the week, and we could empty the contents of the office out onto the patio for a few days while Stuart laid a sound-insulating layer of cork on the office and utility room floors.
The layer of cork is the solution we have come up with to solve a problem we hadn't anticipated when we renovated the apartment ceiling. Prior to us digging out the concrete floor in the office, there was a roughly 10-inch thick layer of concrete on the floor, the main reason for this being that the beams on the ceiling beneath are not uniform thickness and as they bend and bow so the floor had been levelled simply by adding more and more concrete. Post-renovation, there is only a 2-inch layer of concrete as the levelling has been done on the other side, by building up the height of the beams where they need it with additional blocks of wood. One of the consequences of this was that the floor no longer had the same sound-damping qualities as it had done before. In fact, when I sat in the office at my desk and Stuart was in the apartment beneath, he could hear an email arrive on my computer. Meanwhile I could hear him sniffing in the apartment below.
Clearly this wasn't a good situation for having guests staying in the apartment, and each time we've had guests stay since the ceiling renovation, I have had to move my computer out of the office and set up a temporary workstation on the dining room table, Reggie has had to relocate his sleeping quarters to the living room, and we've had to bolt both office and utility room doors on the outside to remind ourselves not to go into the rooms. This has worked in the short term but clearly isn't sustainable for the long term.
We remembered that we'd seen a stand at the local agricultural fete advertising cork insulation materials for building, and after a little searching around we managed to find the company just on the other side of Pescia and Stuart duly went to visit them and find out whether they could help. They recommended and priced up three different options for us: a thin layer of cork, a 3-inch thick layer of cork, or a product that consists of two thin layers of cork sandwiched together with a layer of rubber - which, depending on who you ask between ourselves and our friends, looks a little like a liquorice allsort... or a fig roll... or a filled flapjack. This was the option they said had the best sound-absorbing qualities, and after some consideration we decided to go for the liquorice allsort option.
|Liquorice allsort? Fig roll? Filled flapjack? You decide:|
|Utility room started.|
|Utility room corked.|
|Temporary home for the contents of the office.|
|Office floor started.|
|Office floor corked.|
Reggie has found the heat challenging, and he's spent most days lying flat out on the cool tiles of the kitchen floor. We've tried to walk him first thing in the morning where possible, and always in the woods where it's a shade cooler under the cover of the trees.
We've had another bumper harvest from our veg garden this week, as well as a few delicious soft fruits from the plants kindly given to us by our friend Claudia a couple of months ago - hopefully the size of the fruit crop will grow as the years go by!
We ended the week with a hectic day on Saturday getting ready for the arrival of our friends Paul and Marie - we walked Reggie, then set to finishing putting down the office floor, moving furniture back in, cleaning the apartment, mowing lawns, finishing the strimming and tidying our own house before heading to the airport in time for 9.20pm. On arriving at the airport we found that Paul & Marie's flight was delayed and wasn't due to get in until 10.15 - so what else to do but to have a quiet glass of wine while we waited?
|Every cloud has a silver lining.|