Second on our List

Us humans look for patterns in many things. We all have our superstitions (even if we say we don’t)… personally I have some really weird ones and most of them are based around even numbers (don’t ask).

However, for some reason last year we decided that both good and bad things come in threes so we should hedge our bets and pick just three things to complete in 2019.

That might sound simple, but us being us – those three things were enormous tasks. You have already seen what we did to the kitchen, but in between days working on this we tackled another two large projects.

The second on our list was the garage floor. The frame of this garage had been up for a year and we couldn’t use it because we had no floor. It was a big space and would need around 12 cm3 of concrete, plus a covering (6 tonnes) of gravel, rebar reinforcement and shuttering.

There was absolutely no way we were going to mix this by hand, so once it was ready for the floor we entered into the wonderful world of ready mix concrete in Bulgaria.

The Concrete Saga

Please bear in mind this is an ex-communist country, the place is covered in very well made concrete buildings – it is one thing they know how to do well.

We knew the grade we needed, we had done the calculations and knew the quantity we needed – so information in hand I visited the first of, believe it or not, THREE suppliers. They were a little more expensive but seemed to know what they were doing and had all the equipment we needed.

The sticking point seemed to be the requirement for a pump. Access to the garage floor at the far end would only be possible if they had a pump and an extension to get the concrete out of the truck and where we needed it.

They came out to check the situation, asked us to cut down some branches for access, which we did… then called me and explained the truck would not fit over our bridge. Computer says ‘No’!

I had already paid an extortionate amount of cash to them so had to go back in and collect this so that I could have the same conversation with another company.

Company number TWO were really helpful. The women in the office were super friendly and they even had a pump. I had to wait a couple of days as it was being used elsewhere until then but I was now in line.

They came with the first delivery and the guys on the truck were amazing. We had got a friend to come and help us so he held the pipe to direct it where we needed it while me and Dan prepared to rake the great volume of concrete that would come pouring out of it. The concrete came and our friend was suddenly thrown off his feet and the concrete was going everywhere.

When we stopped laughing and with the help of the guys on the truck we got the first load in and leveled and made arrangements for the second load for the following Monday.

We engaged extra help (lesson learnt) and waited…they never came. I called: “we will come tomorrow”. We waited…they never came. I went into the office: “we will come on Thursday”. They never came! This went on for over two weeks, there must have been a rush on ready-mix or something, but I lost my patience and went to get my money back once again.

Third Time Lucky

Company number THREE…was a more complicated conversation (in Bulgarian) as they didn’t have a pump, but did have a slide with an extension. At this point the far end of the garage had been completed so we thought this would suffice, but lots of diagrams were needed to confirm this, life here is amusing sometimes.

We made arrangements, we got help lined up and they turned up with our precious second load of concrete. We had the slide balancing precariously across wheelbarrows and tyres and somehow we got it where we needed it. I am so so grateful that my calculations were correct and we didn’t need anymore because I was running out of places to ask.

This year one of our three little things will be to build the garage walls… we will be mixing our own sand & cement, in case you’re wondering.

If you missed the kitchen saga – click here and watch this space as I prepare the next installment – Marking Boundaries.

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