My incompetent attempts to install Loft Stilts

We were going to get some of the lofts insulated at The Buddhist House. As you can imagine, in a big old house like The Buddhist House there are several different bits of roof space. I wanted to get them All insulted up to modern normal best practise standards.

I am motivated mainly to prevent climate change. If we go beyond 450ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the effects on the planet will be quite devastating. So I wanted to do all that I could to save the planet. I also wanted people staying at The Buddhist House to be warm. It seems unfair to insulate the areas above some of the rooms but leave other people to be cold.

But one of the lofts was completely full of stuff. The current insulation is up to the top of the joists. On the joists a great odd assortment of boards and planks have been laid and the stuff put on them. But modern insulation is much thicker than that, so the joists get completely buried by it. In order to avoid compressing the insulation which is supposed to reduce its insulating effects, you can attach to the joists something called “loft stilts”, see photo . You can then put your boards on the loft stilts.

A few days ago I managed to inspire Caroline and Bob to sort out and remove a large amount of the stuff from the loft full of stuff.

On Wednesday I bought two packets of 12 loft stilts. I found B & Q had sold out, so I searched on the internet and found a place called Toolstation. Toolstation only had two boxes in stock and given the shortness of time before the insulation was being done I thought two boxes would in any case probably be all I could manage. With Sudana and Bob's help I got all the rest of the stuff out of the attic/ loft except for a big mirror, which Bob thought was safer not being moved.

On Thursday I was conducting a funeral so did not manage to do very much on the loft project, but I did buy an electric screwdriver. The installers were due to arrive between 9.30am and 12.00 noon on Friday. After the funeral Thursday evening and early Friday morning due to my incompetence at these things which caused me various setbacks, (I won't bore you with the full story) I did not get the stilts in before the installers arrived at 9.35am. How typical that on the one occasion when it would be an advantage for an outside contractor to arrive at the end of their time period they come very promptly. (But see later in this story, how it turned out to be a bigger job that I would not have completed what ever time they arrived.) Fortunately the installers assured me I could easily install the loft stilts after the insulation was laid. Fortunately also the insulating material is not fibreglass, so can be touched safely without gloves on. In fact I am finding it is possible post insulation, but it would have been much easier if I had done it first. However I think most people getting thicker insulation must do it after the insulation is laid as one of the installers had never seen loft stilts before. He either took one or has put it down in an odd place as I saw him holding one and after he left I found one was missing.

I am not very techy. I spent the whole of Friday morning just getting the screws into 5 of the 24 stilts ready to screw them into the joists. Then my electric screwdriver ran out of power and takes 12 hours to recharge. After lunch I happened to bump into Mike and he lent me his electric screwdriver which turn out to be much more powerful than the one I had bought. I decided to attached the stilts I had prepared to the joists before preparing more. Even with Mike's electric screwdriver, I was still having problems getting the screws in and by 4pm had not even got one stilt fully attached. Then his screwdriver stopped working. I went round to Mike fearing I had bust his screwdriver and he showed me I had simply bumped a locking button.

On Saturday morning, Mike kindly helped me finish installing the loft stilts and even he found the stilts difficult to drill through. I continued drilling the screws through the stilts to prepare them, while Mike drilled them to the joists. And even us working together took until 12.30ish. By the end I got much better at preparing the stilts, so maybe all I lacked was confidence and some practise, and the experience to recognise it was a bigger job than I had realised.

The 23 remaining stilts only covered about a third of the loft, but Mike laid some boards between the stilt-supported-boards and a beam that ran perpendicular to the joists, which then covered about half of that attic.

After lunch Sudana helped me put all the stuff back in the attic. Then all I had to do was sweep and tidy up.

Views: 1902

Comment by Bob on June 3, 2012 at 7:34

Brilliant work-- we should all be grateful, especially in winter!


Comment by caroline brazier on June 3, 2012 at 22:08

Yes, thank you very much. A great pleasure to get back from Thailand and find it has all been done.

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Besides offering training and retreats, Tariki Trust is involved in chaplaincy, environmental action and community support. No one in Tariki is salaried and all work including teaching is voluntary or offered at rates which are well below the professional norms.


Friends, family and loved ones: greetings, and thank you for joining us for this celebration of the life of Perry Isadore Igoe.

Though we gather here today, bound by sorrow and loss, we share a precious gift. We were all privileged to live a life that has been touched by Perry. He possessed a number of extraordinary gifts, which he shared with us freely. None of these gifts, however, are more remarkable than his capacity for love in its purest, most sincere, and honest form. Love for his adored wife, his beloved daughters, his precious friends, and for nature that surrounds us all, especially the life breathed into us by the trees.

Perry was born August 1st 1963 and was very premature so spent the first six weeks of his life in an incubator where he captured the hearts of the nurses and midwives with his cuteness. The trademark infectious Perry smile is well known by all his friends and family so without a doubt, even as a baby he could melt hearts.

Growing up, he went to school in Braintree in Essex, where he lived with his mum Carol, his younger sister Tracey, and older brother Wayne.

Perry was severely dyslexic, so, as a young man, in a very lean job market, he looked for a practical career. He joined the RAF at 16 and served with them for 17 years in Biggin Hill, Brize Norton, Germany, and the Falkland islands. Perry was a peace loving soul and had no desire to ever take up arms, harm, or kill anyone. Since however there had been no wars for a long time, it felt like a fairly safe career for a fit young man. It suited Perry who loved to be part of a team.

When he was 23, Perry managed to search for and finally find his father, Isadore Griffin, who was Black American, which led to several visits to his father in the USA.  Sadly his father also died at an early age a few years later. But Perry has continued to keep regularly in touch with the American side of his family – he was always telling Liz that one day soon they would go to visit, what he jokingly called, - ‘the dark side’!

Perry then worked in logistics and stores for the RAF and was promoted to corporal but, as the Cold War ended, promotions in the RAF were increasingly hard to come by. So after 17 years Perry took voluntary redundancy, left the RAF and went to work for Motorola in Swindon. He bought a house with his then wife, Carrie, and lived in it with his two daughters Sian & Kylie and rather a lot of strange pets. 

Perry was a great believer in investing in property and at one point when he found his work hours cut down, he took on two other jobs and bought a house in Avebury, which he rented out for a while. He later moved to Avebury with his wife Antoinette and ran a B&B there. 

Avebury was a spiritual home for Perry – he loved the standing stones and he enjoyed the succession of eccentric, visiting tourists interested in the stone circles as well as the many crop circles that pop up in Wiltshire fields in the spring and summer months. Whilst Perry was there he was a member of a Wiccan coven and later a shamanistic group.

In 2007 Perry decided to train as a counsellor with the Buddhist Organisation, the Amida Trust – now re-named - the Tariki Trust. This was where he met Liz and they became good friends.  In 2009 they both qualified as counsellors. In his usual ‘speedy’ fashion Perry had completed the course in record time – under 2 years. He went on to work for an organisation which helped educate young people with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Perry worked as a counsellor for several years before he finally fulfilled a life-long dream of buying a property ‘somewhere warm’.

In 2013 Perry moved again, lock stock and barrel, to the Serra De Estrella Mountains in Portugal where he quickly made a lot of friends among the ex-pats from the UK and Europe, all busy restoring old buildings and farming the land.

Perry and Liz met again accidentally in 2014 at the Buddhist House. They fell in love during a marathon 17.5 hour dinner and talked through the night and most of the following day. Since then Perry and Liz have been busy restoring their house in Portugal, affectionately named ‘The Ranch’ and have gone from having baths by candlelight in the goat shed, to a beautiful home with 3 bathrooms. Perry was never happier than when he was walking around the land working out watering systems and making sure the 150 trees he’d planted were growing well. Indicative of his altruistic personality and philosophy of sustainability, all the trees he planted at ‘The Ranch’ have been selected to provide for the next generations. A fan of tree nursing myself, I would often ask him about his trees and we would share videos and ideas for them. On a specific topic of his latest project, the Pecan trees, he mentioned how the earliest the small, 1-inch saplings would grow to bear fruit in 10 years, and it might be a good 20 before they reach maturity. “Perry,” I said, “that's ...a really long time.” To which he replied: “They aren't for me.”

And this is the type of person Perry was - always thinking of others first. Planning for the long term, working for a sustainable world, a world that works with nature, not against it. To paraphrase an ancient Greek proverb, “a wise man plants trees in whose shade he knows he will never sit.”

Perry had a great love of nature and the natural world, which he attributed to his Native American ancestors. His great love was trees, which he believed really spoke to him. So Perry returned to the Buddhist house to train in eco-therapy and shortly thereafter Perry and Liz started running eco-therapy and tree planting holidays in Portugal. Alongside his projects in Portugal, Perry joined several local eco-projects in Bristol.

On the 10th of July 2016, Perry and Liz married at Tortworth Court in Gloucestershire in a beautiful hand-fasting ceremony with over a 100 family and friends. Neither of them stopped smiling and laughing all day long, and Perry tore up the dance floor in what seemed like a union of John Travolta and Patrick Swayze. Since then they have spent six months of every year at the Ranch in Portugal and have welcomed many family and friends as visitors there.

Perry loved life – he just loved being here on this earth. Many people on this Earth believe in a higher power or greater purpose. Perry was content being himself, in this world, right now, enjoying the greatest and the smallest life has to offer. A true “Zen master”, as I like to describe him to my friends.

Perry was the most gentle and kindest of men – a true gentleman. Perry never had a bad word to say about anyone – not a criticism or judgement ever passed his lips. He didn’t swear, he didn’t argue, and he also didn’t drink alcohol, smoke, or even take tea or coffee. That is one reason why his death has been such a shock for all of us. Perry’s life was about love, acceptance, and working with others as part of a team, and he lived that out with every breath he took.

We have been lucky to know Perry in this life, we regret his passing on so soon, and so young, but his spirit and his legacy will remain among us – youthful, lively, fun, and full of love, and that oh-so-special smile.  We honour him.   

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