Tag Archives: DIY

How not to do it yourself

A few weeks back we changed the lock on the back house, a good thing because the lock that was on the external door was not exactly secure. It was what is termed a vanity lock, one key fits all. So anyone could have gone to the hardware store bought a matching lock or spare key and opened the door. One key fits all.

So we changed it. However the only way the new lock including handle would fit was upside down. Not ideal, but at least the lock was secure.

With time on our hands and it being too hot to do much, we decided that correcting the upside down door handles and lock would be a good idea. At the same time we though it worthwhile getting someone to come and look at our fridge door, it seemed not to seal properly.

So we got back home with new lock fittings and an appointment one hour later for some guys to look at the fridge door.  Ashley started to dismantle the lock on the back house door.  All was going well. Famous last words: Ashley decided to show Hilary a problem with what happens when the lock mechanism is inverted so the handles will be the right way round. Hilary could not see the problem, Hilary has spatial issues. So Ashley decided to demonstrate by closing the door. Bad move.

With the mechanism inverted and loose we could not refit the handle. Hence we could not open the door. So we were stuck inside the back house. Credit cards, screwdrivers, all manner of things were tried. All failed.

And in half an hour we had people booked to look at the fridge door.

Not good.

Ashley removed the iron window bars and got out. It really was the only way out. We should at some point replace those screws so the bars cannot be so easily removed but right now we are not complaining.

There is however a certain irony about having to break out of ones own home.

It got us out of the back house in time to meet the guys booked to sort out the fridge door. Fortunately the fridge in question is in the front house. They came looked at the fridge door, pronounced that it was not the door seals but that the door hinge had dropped. So they took the doors off, used some washers to raise the door, refitted everything and all is now working properly. Callout, work and stuff was 40 lira, just over a tenner UK.

Meanwhile Ashley was still busy attacking the door to the back house trying to get it open. And failing.

So we called a friend, who sent a locksmith. He arrived within half an hour. Initially he tried everything Ashley had tried, and like Ashley he failed. Ashley was watching, thinking, I tried that, but it is always better to say nothing, it would never have been believed.

Anyway, after half an hour or so, he got it open.

He then insisted on dismantling the lock mechanism, inverting parts, and reassembling, something Ashley is perfectly capable of doing. Ashley is not sure whether this is locksmith professionalism or “you stupid foreigner”. Either way, after another half hour everything was fitted, no longer upside down and working perfectly. The cost? 30 Lira. Cannot complain, and maybe there is sense in letting someone else do the work in the first place.

Winter Warmers

So far it has not been a cold winter, not like last year which was described as exceptionally cold, although there have been a few cold days and nights.  Locally distributed (well from Bursa) wall mounted space heaters from Norway are verykitchen-radiator popular with people we know here and have been highly recommended as extremely efficient and effective.  Getting some would mean we could stop using the floor standing oil filled electric radiators we inherited which although reasonably effective are more costly to run and tend to get in our way at times.  They also tend to gather dust and are difficult to clean.

Yesterday we bought two.  One for our main living space and a smaller fitting-the-radiatorsone for the bedroom.   Today they arrived.  In less than an hour we had them fitted to the walls, mounting them really was very simple.  They look pretty good, are very neat and tidy, and most importantly belt out warmth really quickly.

If they are good enough for winters in Norway they should do just fine here.

Start of Spring Cleaning

Following on from springlike intimations…  Yesterday it was sunny so, as part of our preparations for spring, we went up onto the roof to complete the painting of the roof terrace.  This involved completely emptying out the hut-on-the-roof so we could get to the walls.  We were able to inspect the full extent of the damage the cats have done to the beds up there.  Fortunately we found no dead cats.  They fight – there was a lot of blood – we were seriously psyched up for an encounter with a dead cat.  But it didn’t happen.

We got rid of a lot more stuff.  Old wood, mostly.  None of it stayed anywhere near the bins for long.  Rather worryingly nothing happens when we turn on the tap on the roof.  Hopefully this will not lead to a major plumbing job.  It will, however, be difficult to hose down the roof terrace if it continues to be non-functional.

We finished the painting, the roof terrace looks a lot better.  Soon we should be able to make more use of it.

Works in Progress

We’ve been pretty busy the past week.  One of the benefits of owning this property (rather than renting it) is that we’ve been able to make various changes.  Some of which are needed (but proved difficult to arrange with the tenant/owner/builder triangle), others to bring the place more in line with our taste and lifestyle.

There are builders now digging out the back wall (they are in a neighbour’s garden) so that it can be damp-proofed.  This was something we knew needed to be done although it is proving rather more expensive than we anticipated.  The builder assures us it will be 100% effective.  We remain sceptical.  However, just getting a woodpile and some tree roots away from the back wall will make a difference.  They are digging a deep trench and will lay concrete and pipework to take the water away, as well as installing polystyrene blocks and a damp proof membrane.  Our back window is below waist height on the inside and about a foot off the ground on the outside.  It’s little more than a foot across and not even that high.  We can’t see much through it.  But we have seen the workmen’s boots and jeans from the knee down and shovels and, this morning, Hilary saw a spirit level…

We had the washing machine moved into the bathroom and a unit built around it.  This replaces a bath which we never used (we use the shower and there is a bath in the other bathroom should we need one).  This has given us some storage in the bathroom and, more importantly, an extra 60 cm storage cupboard in the kitchen.  It now has two shelves and the carpenter is supposed to be coming back, initially today – now tomorrow morning, to fit a base-shelf which we forgot to specify.

Whilst all this has been going on, Ashley has demolished parts of the wooden structure on the roof terrace.  This was greatly helped by our neighbour loaning us a crowbar.  We have kept enough to give us shade, hang out the washing and for the vines to climb.  We took out the bit that was blocking our view of the castle.  Yes, it did make the roof feel more enclosed, but I’m not convinced that we are significantly more overlooked now it is gone and we do prefer the feeling of open-ness.  All that remains to be done on the terrace now is filling some holes and a lick of paint.

All of which has prevented us from getting out and about as much as we would have liked but you can’t have it all ways…

Fixing a hole where the rain gets in

I have been busy over the last two days carrying our rather urgent work on wooden windows , doors and frames. The climate here is not really kind to wood, the searing heat of summer and the cooler wet of winter take their toll. The recent storm really brought it to my attention that this work needed to be done, and meant that I had to leave some of the wood to dry out before tackling the task. To be honest I had put it off since we are renting the place at the moment, unwise really since we are planning to buy, the work needed to be done, and nobody else was going to do it.
There have been a couple of trips to the local hardware / DIY shop which is excellent. We picked up some preservative woodstain guessing a little about the right colour, varnish, brushes and a few other bits. The people in the shop seem to have got used to us wandering in for bits and pieces and are incredibly helpful. They showed us colour cards for the woodstain, helped us locate what we needed, and taught Hilary the Turkish for stuff such as sandpaper. The task has been going pretty well, the stain is a little darker than the original but this does not matter a great deal, it is not going to show that much. By the middle of today I had a window frame that is exposed to the weather stained and varnished, and another window and frame which is less exposed stained.


This brought me to the bathroom window which I feared might need more than maintenance. The frame was broken in places, and some of the wood looked to be rotten. It had also got very wet during the storms and I was expecting it to take longer to dry out. This afternoon the wood was dry, a good sign, so I decided to tackle the


task. On investigating the frame it was apparent that it had not rotted and a few screws would effectively repair the split. This was a big relief, and the work easy enough to do, once again I was so glad I brought my power tools from the UK. I then spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the window and frame and getting some preservative stain into it.

There is still work to do on the wood, but good progress has been made, and everything will be varnished and dry before the next predicted rain.