Autumn 2013

Right that’s the summer over with, now I can get on with some real work without the distractions of other things (like holidays and playing with children, all that enjoyable stuff that gets in the way of progress)…

With few major jobs (painting, boxing in – nasty stuff!) left inside, mainly fiddly things that need finishing off, my thoughts are turning to outside. I’ve not done much outside since I laid the flag-stone patio in 2011, so plenty of attention is needed.

The hedge and further away the woodland that separates the barn from the field need attention in the form of clearing back and thinning out. I also (as ever) need to tidy up the yard, there’s still a lot of stone both dressed and raw stored out there. I’ll also need to build a new wood store. Once cleared there’ll be a space just begging to be filled by a shed.

I had every intention of saving up and buying myself a shed. However, sheds appear to be one of those products where you either pay through the nose from a reputable supplier or have to deal with shoddy suppliers, shoddy quality and potentially dodgy sales practices if you go for the more ‘reasonable’ end of the market. Thus put-off I remembered a leaflet that I picked up at the Royal Welsh Show earlier in the year relating to a week long training course in timber framing that is run relatively locally to me. So for now that’s my plan – to build my own.

In researching timber framing I came across an introduction to timber framing published by my alma mater, the University of the West of England (or Bristol Poly as I’m proud to say it was in my day).

More on the course and my plans as they evolve…

Building Progress ~ October 2011

Update on building progress during July 2011…

In like a bullet this month, no messing about…

My tile-topped boxing-inin the bathroom (wooden frames, with painted sides and a slate and mosaic tiled top) has grown and expanded – it now runs between the sink and toilet, then further across to the ‘other’ side of the toilet. Three square feet of vanity case storage! I just need to finish painting, fixing and smartening them up a bit.

Getting the back-lit mirror working in the ensuite… has been a big failure so far… I’m keeping away from that job for the time being. Grrrrr electrics.

The fencing around the shed in the field is pretty much done, just the fastenings for the gates to complete. I can then fix the now horse proof satellite dish.

I’ve recently turned my hand to carpentry. I’ll be writing further posts on this over coming weeks and months. Suffice to say that my skills are ‘developing’. The first project is to build shelves under the stairs. These will have a dual role, providing storage and boxing in the unsightly underfloor heating manifold.

I’ve also spent quite a bit of time tidying the yard. I’ve shifted a lot of the flag stones that were out there to the garden ready to build my second patio. Much of the left over sand and stone has gone to finish filling the trench that carries the sewage pipe and satellite dish cable from the barn to the field. I’ve also built a temporary log store using a left over sheet of corrugated iron and the remaining bricks that were ‘reclaimed’ from the barn floor. Things are slowly improving out there.

Building Progress ~ March 2011

Update on building progress during March 2011…

It’s been mainly outdoor work this month thanks to the pretty good weather.

I completed the flag-stone patio and I’ve concreted a top onto the dry-stone wall that runs along one side of it. I have built my (not-quite-as-deep-as-I-planned) barbeque pit and started to build a flag-stone fronted raised bed at the bottom of the main garden slope.

I’ve not made much progress in the wood with clearing trees to let the sunlight in, having been diverted by cutting and splitting logs that were kindly donated from my neighbours wood-pile. Next winters fuel is hopefully pretty well sorted. An additional benefit is that I’ve managed to get my chainsaw cutting much more efficiently by a combination of sharpening the blade and figuring out the correct tightness for the chain.

Now I’m back on to pointing with just a couple of patches to finish and hopefully no interruptions from the weather. I nearly made a start last weekend, but wasn’t happy with the mortar mix which was too yellowy as I used a new kiln dried sand, so I used that mix to start pointing the garden walls instead.

Garden ~ before

I have lots of retaining walls and raised beds to build in the garden and quite a lot of flags to lay as a patio. I’ve made a start over the past few weeks, but thought I’d post some before photographs before I get too far…

From Barn Conversion 2011
From Barn Conversion 2011
From Barn Conversion 2011

These were taken back at the start of February – things have already moved on as we managed to dig down the base for the patio another few inches with a borrowed digger last weekend. I was never going to get down there with a pick and shovel…