Monday, 23 November 2015

Updating the Well

Hendy's arrived to start work on the new well. This involved a lot of digging and a lot of mess! They needed to install some new pipework, take down the old pump, install a new one and update the ancient housing of the old well. So, first things first - demolition! It had lasted an age, but it was time to say goodbye to the knackered old pump:

Jon was in his element, digging away and making a right old mess!

The black tank was a temporary water pump which they set up whilst the works were underway. And after 2 days of digging, burying and erecting the new housing for the well - it was starting to look a lot neater:

a new overflow pipe was installed and the water tested. Flowing at a rate of 9 gallons a minute(!?) we were definitely back in business:

A series of new pipes were connected up to the pumphouse. Then a new line was run over to provide a water supply for the chicken shed. The old piping was dug up here too:

Then all of the digging work was back filled:

Major surgery around the pumphouse - but all connected and flowing nicely now:

Like a scene out of the Somme in front of the caravan:

Down from the caravan to the bottom of the field:

Just a little bit further - can you see it?

Our lovely new, environmentally approved for public consumption service well:

Good job Hendy's!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Underfloor Heating

Exciting day today - the liquid screed arrived to seal the underfloor heating in the kitchen/diner! Mike and Steve had already prepped the floor by placing insulation down and plastic sheeting over the top. They also sealed up any joints with waterproof tape, to secure the flooring ready for the underfloor heating pipes:

The plumbers came in to lay down all the heating pipes:

With the ends left ready for connection at a later date in the old oil tank room:

The screeding team arrived the night before to lay levelling guides across the floor:

The truck arrived with the screed at 7.30am:

First of all, it was a case of testing the mixture before attaching it to the pump:

and when it was ready it was all stations pump!

The guys walked it through the room, spreading as evenly as possible:

Checking that it was all up to the same level on the markers:

And that it hadn't leaked into any other areas:

Once all clear and packed away it was block up the doorways so that naughty little cats can't get in!!!

The floor will be dry enough to walk on by tomorrow morning, but has to cure 1 day per millimetre. We are 85mm in some places! So, that's looking like the end of February before we can think about tiling! I'm sure we'll find something to keep us busy in the meantime though....?!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Plastering has started to happen in force now and things are starting to feel like they are turning a corner... No longer does it feel like we are destroying the place, but rooms are starting to actually feel like rooms!
The teacher's bedroom:

The kitchen -

where we really love the wavy edge near the re-located bread oven:


The living room during the four stage process -

1. the sand and cement waterproofing layer:

2. febtank for top coat waterproofing:

3. base coat plaster layer

4. top coat plaster:

Looks completely fit for purpose now and will look great when we get the woodburner installed...

We were really impressed by the finish of the febtank layer. This is the first time we have seen this product on a stone wall - we really like it! It is possible to paint straight on top of this, so we are going to look at using this in a few other spaces that we were wanting to expose the stone but were concerned about the effect this would have on damp. With this you can essentially create an 'exposed stone effect' with the added effect of waterproofing it at the same time - bonus!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Finders Keepers

In a few weeks, we will be having the underfloor heating installed in the kitchen/diner. Before this happens though, we needed to make some decisions about the wall of the dining room... Now that the space is starting to come together across the two rooms, we can begin to get a greater sense of how it works being open plan. We are becoming mindful of the need to create two distinct and separate areas across this vast space, and have talked at length about using a differing palette of materials for each area, in which to achieve this.

And, as we had been clearing lots of material out of the house and the barns, I have been stock piling various pieces of wood in the old chicken shed:


This has started to look like it was getting a bit out of hand of late and that before long we would need another space to start housing it all!? So, interested in the idea of reclaimed timber cladding, we decided that this would be a good feature for the dining room wall...

After the wall had been stripped of it's cupboards in the initial stages of the kitchen remodelling - the paper that was left behind revealed a very 60s feel:

We stripped back the paper (and saved it of course!),
then chipped away at the plaster to get the wall back to a stone finish:

Mike then erected a series of batons as a framework,
to which the collected timbers were then applied:

It was a really fun process, like constructing a huge collage. Each piece of timber was selected and cut to fit across the batons. These were then sanded and assembled in such a way that a balance of colour and patina was present across the whole wall:

And when it was finished and the light shone in - WOW!

It's going to be a really cosy dining space when it's all finished 
- but even at this stage we're ever so pleased with it :)

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Prepping for Winter

Before the weather starts to turn, we thought it a good time to get the water pipes insulated. Connected to the caravan, these were above ground and we really didn't want them freezing over during the winter months. We had previously put them under tile to stop us tripping over them, so up turned the tiles and attached some pipe lagging:

Following the pipes all the way back to the laundry, this felt good for the soul knowing we were helping our future cold selves:

We then arranged for a delivery of hay from our neighbour,
which as you can see Piper seems to approve of:

Mike had read somewhere that it was a good way of insulating the caravan - so as to stop the wind from blowing underneath. We had started to feel it chill down in the evenings, and didn't really want to switch the gas on for heating 'just yet'. So, we lined the bails around the outside of the van:

And after installing a cat flap in some ply board (in the place of one of the windows):

There was a perfect ledge from the new lining that acted as a step in and out of the van:

We were lucky to get this all done before the first frost:

The water is now drawing very cold in the morning - but the chill at night has had the edge taken off. I think we will try it a little longer by braving it with just a few layers of additional clothing, but I'm sure will be trying out that heating out before too long!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Trenching and Drainage

Whilst the weather is on our side, we got on to the pressing task of tackling the problems with drainage around the house. There is a large mixed bush sitting on the south western corner of the front of the house. It has grown over in recent years and blocked the drainage channel to the rear:

 So we cleared that out to see what we were working with:

There is inadequate run off from the guttering into this drain, along with some cement rendering on the outer face of the chimney in the living room. This has resulted in a severe pooling of water around the perimeter of the property and has effected the walls inside the house (they are damp and bleeding salt). So, we had the cement render taken off the chimney, adding in some ventilation for the stack:

A channel was chopped in around the perimeter of the house, which we then back filled with gravel to act as a french drain:

This worked well on the front of the property:

Unfortunately though, due to the height of the groundwater on the older part (the dairy) it was ineffective. We put an aco drain in its place however and this now seems to have done the job:

Next it was the task of fixing our 'down pipe that goes to nowhere' situation, on the outer corner of the old dining room:

The downpipe had been installed but there was no drain for it to run into and it had been like that for, well, ever... this seemed strange and was something we hadn't even noticed until there was some heavy rain. On closer inspection, of the walls internally, it became evident of the effects this had had here too - big cracks, damp wall:

So, Steve bought the digger round and established a new trench over to the lake:

We hit groundwater after a short while but placed a pipe on top then backfilled with gravel:


This was put to the test under a strong downpour and was very successful in draining into the lake. So test complete, we back filled the pathway:

built the wall back up:

and laid some cold tarmac down over the surface:

Whilst the digger was on site we got Steve to run another trench,
ready for the outlet from the en-suite of the master bedroom:

It made sense to get all this done together, even though it looks a bit like Armageddon in the garden now! At least all the water is getting away from the property now though - and fingers crossed by the time winter comes we will be nice and dry internally... or at least lets hope so!?