Up on the Roof

After my run this morning I got a chance to go on the roof with my Polish contractor Bart. By the way, I also found out his name in Polish is Bartosz and his workers call him BaRté, with an emphasis on the R.

Bart took me around and showed me what they were doing. Showed me the slate tiles that cost £1.40 each. When roofing an old mews, the borough of Kensington & Chelsea requires the use of slate. The historical society wants the mews of the borough to keep the old look. It’s mandatory. He explained how they will fix the chimney to stop water from coming in and showed me what they have done with regards to the skylights in the kids’ bathrooms and the windows. Again, the windows were in bad shape but if he was to change them it would have required an inspection from an engineer of our borough. Then the windows would have had to be fabricated to order and installed. This entire process would probably add another two months to the work and be very expensive. Instead, Bart and his coworkers have been stripping, sanding and refilling them with wood filler. They are looking, almost brand new.

Some pictures I took:


The £1.40 each slate.


The roof and our chimney.


My neighbor’s chimney. What it should look like.


I believe this could be our rear neighbor’s bathroom skylight.


Our rear neighbor’s inside terrace. I am jealous. 


Most neighbors on our Mews have a terrace. I think if we got rid of one of our kids we could convert one of their rooms into a terrace…


I also found out our front door neighbors have central air. Hummmmmm.

While talking with Bart I found out our landlady has been great with regards to payment and proceeding with the work. All she asks is to keep the old style of the mews. Total cost so far, £16,600.00. Glad I am not paying it!

Back in London

I have been back in London for two days. Which means I have been jet lagged and walking in a fog for two days. Coming back, well…it sucks. It’s getting harder every time. I don’t know if it’s because I am leaving the kids behind, my beautiful city and my colorful people or if it’s because I am getting old but coming back and getting over jet lag is getting harder.

One question to the people of England. WHO TURNED DOWN THE HEAT???? When I left it was above 16 degrees celsius every day. I was wearing shorts, capris and sandals. I came off the plane in my sandals and my feet were freezing by the time I reached South Ken. I guess the picture of the snow in Cumbria on the front cover of the Times I read on the plane should have tipped me off…it’s been a bit chilly since I came back.

I came back to a house filled with dust and Polish workers. They speak fast and I don’t understand a thing. They have also taken over my powder room off the garage as their own. I dare go in there until they leave. Peter says they come in every morning and night to change. Off limits for me until they leave. They were suppose to be leaving this upcoming Thursday, May 7th, but now it looks more like into next week. Renovations always get delays.

Speaking of May 7th. Election day here in the UK. Can’t wait to cast my vote. Don’t know which way I will go yet but I will spend the week looking at candidates. Either way, I think it will be a close one for all parties.

That’s about it for me for now. Pretty boring since I came back. Have to go help “Big” pack his bags. Once again he is on his way to Singapore and Hong Kong. People keep on asking how come I never go along. Because I don’t have £4000 for airfare! Instead I get to share the Mews with Polish men all week and maybe learn a word or two in Polish…