Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Resurfacing the Drive

Work is due to start on the barn development this coming April and due to the need for a link to the new water supply we had to run a series of pipes along the drive. Whilst we are digging it makes sense to resurface/hard landscape and clean up anything else we might want to do in the future regards piping for power and water. We had local company R W Gale coming to help us, and to make things clear from the beginning, we prepped the site with some marker paint:

Service duct required laying from cider barn to chicken shed:

Chopping out the driveway to establish a new planting space and relaying tarmac to create more functional access to garage:

Establish a new drain on the corner of the cider barn:

Run 3 new water pipes down the length of the drive to connect to the updated supply and
ensure that the run off from the new drain connects with the existing land drain on the lower drive:

Establish a set of steps from the dairy door up to the drive and created new planting areas either side of this:

Employ additional drain and run off from the outside of the downstairs bathroom:



 work began in earnest on a VERY COLD monday morning, with the chopping in and grading of the bank where the old leylandi trees were:

Amazed by the speed at which these machines got the work done, the old driveway was dug out in a mere afternoon:

Pretty scary seeing the place look like this, but we felt in very safe hands and by the end of the day you could really get a sense of how it was going to look:

Foundations were dug and laid for the new steps the following morning:

The water pipes laid:

Drainage and run off established from where we had requested:

 And the top layer compacted by the close of business: 

Due to the very nature of earth removal, the surplus had to go somewhere. 
Because we had already talked about some plans for landscaping the garden in the future, we thought we may as well start a bit of the process now. RWGale did triple check with us that it was ok to drive all over the lawn, we were fine about it and by the end of the day it looked quite the state:

We had slightly underestimated just how much surplus subsoil there was going to be and soon we had a small mountain in the back garden:


A worry for another day, but it was all worth it as we now had water pipes to service clean filtered water over to the barns:

A new set of steps up to the drive:

And a well graded, wider driveway leading up to the garage:

So another job done!

And all of that achieved in 1 whole week - well impressed!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Frozen Pipes!

It was REALLY COLD  this morning:

Sunrise looked fantastic:

And the frost on the ground - WOW!

But with freezing temperatures comes frozen water pipes - and as all of ours are above ground and sparsely insulated we had no running water from the caravan when we woke up!

Luckily, there was a tap running freely in the pumphouse, so we used that to fill the kettle and coax our pipes into action... it took a bit of time, but we got there in the end and managed a cup of tea for our efforts:

There is something quite magical about frost in the morning:

And when the sun peeks out - WoW! You forget about all the difficulties and just soak it all in...

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

New Neighbours

Mike spotted something in the field earlier today...

It looks like we have some new neighbours!

They were just as curious about us and we were about them:

Though I'm not too sure how the cats will react...

It looks like these guys are going to be quite the 
entertaining herd of lawnmowers for us this next month or two:

Let's see how they get on...

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

As the new year starts, it feels a good time to reflect on all that has happened in the last 12 months. What better way to do this than a selection of before and after shots...

So, here is the back of the house shortly after we arrived:

And now - after the addition of a new window opening (top left), 
solar panels, and kitchen extension: 

A suspect lintel of the courtyard steps has been removed:


The outhouse that stored fuel for the property -
 with seasoned logs and bags of coal:

Now updated to the 21st century, with pipes, pumps
and modern electrics that service the biomass boiler:

The old dairy back entrance:

Now, with remodeled windows and roof lights to the floor above:

 The old dining room:

stripped right back:

The old lounge: 

With larger fire place opening and plastered finish:

an old guest bedroom: 

reconfigured as part of the main bathroom:

One of the other bedrooms:

Claimed as the master bedroom and remodeled to incorporate, 
en-suite bathroom, entrance lobby:

and dressing room:

the smallest of the old bedrooms:

turned into a bathroom with the addition of a skylight:

An old neglected bedroom with suspect roof truses: 

Completely re structured with new roof and exposed beams:

An old servants staircase: 

Removed to create a more functional corridor, 
enabling the house to link and flow much better than before:

The old kitchen:

Opened up into the adjoining utility to create an open plan 
kitchen/diner that truly celebrates the heart of the home:

There are many other in progress spaces, but this selection reflects the best of what we have achieved so far... it's not until the 29th of this month that we will celebrate the anniversary of getting the keys. A lot has happened, a lot has changed, and after finally completing on the sale of the house in Nottingham just before Christmas, this really feels like a true fresh start this year, in a new space, our new home, our new life in Somerset.