Thursday, 9 April 2020

Staircase and garden updates

The garden is about as finished as I can make it at the moment, so I am very pleased.

I can't do any more until the scaffolding is down, and hopefully that won't take too long. Also we might need a big machine to set up the windows, so we have to keep our distance from the house.
I am counting, and have now seen five worms in the garden, and the cheeky pied wagtail visits every day now. He is very keen on the house and has flown through most of the rooms and out of the other side of the house.
Darren is making progress on the stairs and it is beginning to take shape. They are only temporary stairs, but it will give us the knowledge that we need when we are able to order the permanent stairs, and we definitely need them in the meantime.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Found a worm

Hallelujah, I found a worm in the garden today.

Here it is, and I hope that it is still okay after I accidentally dug it up. The soil is very heavy clay and we bought loads of topsoil, but it is still hard to dig and not great for plants.
I bought a few worms by mistake with me from Nottingham in various plant pots, but haven't seen them since I left them to it last year.
We were only looking online a couple of days ago and thinking of buying some worms, but the Internet said that you need to improve the soil first, and that 'if you build it, they will come'.  Well here it is, and I hope that he has lots of friends.
I have also planted out our rhubarb plant and the six strawberry plants are now enjoying pride of place in the sunniest border.

In other news, today is our 22nd wedding anniversary, so we are having fizzy wine and ice cream for tea.

Monday, 6 April 2020

A quarter of the staircase

I left Darren to his own devices this morning and when I went to see what he was up to he had made a staircase!

It looks enormous in this picture, and the treads are very luxurious and wide, but it only goes up to the first landing, and you have to duck very low to avoid banging your head.

From there you take a little ladder to the first floor, see to the left of the photo, and from then it's the usual ladder up to the top floor.
He is now putting up a stud wall on the first floor before extending the staircase.

I am still working on the garden and went up to the top to check on the birds eye view.

Ps, saw my first bird exploring the garden this afternoon. It was a beautiful black and white wagtail, I think. Anyway, it stayed quite a while examining the whole area, so hopefully he will bring some friends back with him next time.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Staircase and garden progress

We have had a busy few days, so busy inffact that I forgot to take any photos.
To put this right I have tried a bit harder today.
First up is my project - the garden. The greenhouse is filling up with seedlings, lots of which were destined for Darren's mum's allotment, but unfortunately they might not get there this year.

We have peas, sweetcorn, courgettes, pumpkins and tomatoes. Also lots of annuals for our garden, and we now have two lemon trees and two miniature orange trees too.
Outside, I have been planting lots of things and building up the soil in raised beds around the pergola.

Not finished yet, but coming along nicely.

By far the most important thing is that Darren is starting to sort out the staircase. It's very complicated with lots of angles and heights because it's two stories high, has four sets of stairs and two landings.

Look closely and you can see his feet on the platform.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Finally finished with the scaffolding

The cladding is up and has two coats of varnish, so at long last we have finished with the scaffolding. Hopefully it will be taken away next week and then we can really see what the house will look like.
Today we walked up the bank to the top of Graven Hill and this is the view.

Darren put the finishing touches to the back of the house so now we have cladding above the future kitchen window.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

First coat of preservation oil

I put the first coat on to the back window cladding today and it has certainly given it some zing!

On this panel I started at the bottom and have varnished about half way up. Hope you can see the difference.
It took all morning, but here is the result.

Side view and you can also see how lots of the bricks are starting to turn white.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Light hearted afternoon

Darren finished the cladding this morning and it's looking good. Left my phone at home on charge, so photos tomorrow.
We are starting a new project tomorrow, so this afternoon we worked on decorating the terrace.
I can't remember what I have mentioned before about it, but we have artificial grass, multi blue coloured walls, painted pots and spiky plants.

Not finished yet, but a pleasant place to sit out in the sun.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Creeping upwards

Another day, another cladding picture.

It looks the same as yesterday and maybe the photo is just reversed? No, and here is the proof.

Both sides gradually appearing.
Hopefully just one more day and then we can move on to a new subject.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Left hand cladding is up

Darren worked really hard all day and the result is that one half of the side cladding is now completed.

The sun was at the wrong angle to see it properly, but work begins on the other half tomorrow so hopefully it won't be too long before we see the overall look.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Taking down the new cladding

Got back on site today and took off almost half of yesterday's cladding. It just didn't look right, so here we go again.
By 3pm it was back up again and moved about 20 mm higher. It looks better, not great but better, and its not coming off again.
I did the top cladding while Daz set to work on the side panel.

It was always going to be difficult, but he set up an ingenious cross section of battens, filled in the base with plywood and insect netting and then started to put the battens in.

I left at this time to join the queueing at the mini Tescos, but apparently it is now as high as he can reach.
Can't wait to see it tomorrow.
I also found a bit of time to start making a roofing piece to even up the top of the roof.

At the moment it is clamped and the glue is drying, so we will see if it has worked tomorrow.

Friday, 27 March 2020

What have we been doing for the last week?

Well, we are social isolating on site, and trying to put the cladding up on our back window.
It has been a frustrating time and four days ago we had put it in, then our neighbour told us that we should have put in ventilation and insect screening, so we took it all down again.
Since then we have been working out how to put it back up again, and now it's done!!

These are a couple of weird angles, but this is it from a distance.

We aren't sure if it is neat enough, so might have to do a bit amending tomorrow, but once done then we can start on building the sides up.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Top floor cladding

Another exciting day today as we have finished the cladding on the top floor.
It took both of us working together all day, but really it was quite straightforward and just a patience thing.

Darren was very much in charge and I was the assistant, but I got the hang of the new nail gun and the chop saw although I kept losing my tape measure and pencil all day and then had to chase around trying to find them before the next cut was required.

Very pleased with the result and the colour will fade in the sun over the next few months, and blend in more closely with the bricks.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Gardening time

What a cold and wet day it was yesterday. We decided to pack up work early and go to B and Q at Aylesbury for the afternoon.
They had a 20% off offer on all plants and I hoped to find a plant or two for the garden.

We had the whole outdoor area to ourselves and there was so much choice that we filled two trolley loads, and then had to go back round again to buy the compost.
It was great to unload it all at the plot, and we saved so much money by spending so much.
I also bought some bright turquoise and pink paint, so I spent a lot of time today painting basic black plastic pots, and then transplanting our purchases.

Meanwhile, in the real world Daz got on with cladding the top floor and I eventually found time to get upstairs and help him.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Huge milestone today - watertight!!

The roofers were with us all day and by about 4pm we were officially watertight. Cue drumroll and celebrations.
I don't know what I was playing at, but instead of taking photos of the roof I went round the garden shooting the flowers.
It was also the day my magnolia flowered, which is almost as good as the roof.

Will be a bit more focused tomorrow.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Many deliveries today

Arrived on site nice and early and before I put my boots on the first delivery arrived. It was a stack about seven feet tall full of coily pipes topped off with cardboard boxes.

I got a stepladder to take it apart, and then we carried all of the bits indoors.
Just in time for the next delivery, which was the wood for our cladding all around the house.
The driver got his pallet carrier out and made hard work of trying to get it off the van. I started taking photos because I was so concerned that it might all over balance and fall off. He then changed his mind and we had to unload it all by hand, which took a while.

As soon as he had gone we started lifting it up and passing it on to the first floor through the front window. That took even longer and very tiring, so time for a tea break.

Afterwards I checked that the local tip was open, loaded up the car with rubbish and drove to it.
Got there and found out that it had closed, but is opening again in two days time, so we are now driving around with a very full car and no passenger seat. No, I am not going to unload it all and then put it all back in again.
Then another smaller wood delivery, and then something else in a huge box that was taller and wider than me. Don't know what it is because I haven't opened it, but it was addressed to us.
All this on a day when I thought that things might close down, apart from the tip which actually did, so we have loads of materials and are all set for a long time.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Blue cladding on the terrace

I have spent the last three or four days painting long strips of wood in five slightly different colours of blue and grey.
We have an idea for cladding the inner walls of the roof terrace, and hope that it will blend in with the colours of the sky.
This morning we spent a couple of hours trying out different sizing combinations until we had something that looked right and filled the space.

We then spent the rest of the day nail gunning it to the walls, and just before sunset we ran out of materials.

We have one more fairly small wall left to do, so I have ordered some more wood and then the painting begins again.
We are really pleased with the results so far and think that it will should look good with our artificial grass and loads of plants in pots.