Today the Weedon Lois and Weston May Day Country Fair was in full swing, bringing hundreds of visitors into the village. The weather was perfect, so Twin Cottage looked its best with the For Sale sign hanging out the front. We spent the day inside doing the final titivating ready for our first viewings tomorrow.


It has been raining all week, so the 1m deep gate post hole was full of water. Not a problem as we bought a drill-powered water pump a while ago for this sort of job and it worked a treat. Fired the generator up, powered up the drill with the pump attachment and we drained the hole in no time. Once we'd pumped out the water we made up a coarse cement mix and jammed it in around the post. With so much ground water soaking back in we decided to leave it overnight to set before putting soil on top.


To provide a bit of variation we moved indoors into the stable and attacked one of the double-brick dividing walls in the kitchen, with a sledge hammer (and safety goggles and hard-hats!). Great stress release bashing away at the bricks, but it soon got very very tiring as we discovered just how well the walls are made, so they don't come down easily.

 


After starting the fence a month ago, we finally filled up post hole, nailed in the rest of the rails. Top job, looks great.

The next challenge is to sort out getting some services on site before the caravan arrives. The quote from the power company included a very expensive trenching job along the road and through our gate. To make things more cost efficient we decided to re-route the electricity and sewerage through the yard from the south west corner, so we marked out the trench with spray paint.

Since our bricking skills are not up to standard we organised a local builder to knock up the southern boundary wall. The cleaned-up wall is currently 1.2m high, so it will be extended to 2m using concrete blocks, then rendered with a Cotswold stone coloured plaster and capped with a row of our recycled bricks. The building supplies arrived today: 288 blocks, four tonnes of sand, 25 bags of cement and a selection of stainless steel beads.

 

Planning permission for caravan arrived yesterday which was a great relief. Now we just need to get the house sold, power, sewerage and water on and we'll be away...

We built a timber fence around the pear tree after the sheep managed to flatten our first wire version, in their efforts to munch the luscious leaves.

 

 

Beautiful weather today, and we were forced to stay away from home while the agents were taking more people around, as a result of them finally getting Twin Cottage advertised in the papers. There were no pressing jobs at the barn, so we relaxed in the field in the sun enjoying a picnic, reading the Sunday papers and did our best to avoid assault from the overly inquisitive sheep!

 

Today we accepted an offer on the house! They viewed yesterday and came through with a very good offer. Fantastic news but as things take a long time to happen, we are probably 8 weeks away from moving. Thankfully the buyers have no upward chain, so at least we are not having to wait for them to sell another house first.

 

 

After having marked out the site for the trench it was time to attack the concrete. We decided to hire a handheld concrete cutter which is like a chain saw with a diamond-tipped cutting disc instead of a chain. Mark spent most of the Saturday cutting through the concrete. At the end of the day we attacked a corner with the drill to check out the thickness: we were expecting it to be 2 - 3 inches thick but found it is more like 6 - 8 inches in places. This will require a beefier cutter!

 

Mark took the day off work and hired a much more impressive concrete cutter: 4hp Honda engine, 16 inch diamond-tipped blade with water cooling and a 7 inch cutting capability. This was a serious piece of kit for creating concrete mayhem, dust and a hell of a noise. It did require full safety kit of goggles, earplugs, dust mask and steel-capped boots.

By the end of the day we had the trenches diced and sliced and ready to dig.

 

 

 

The next toy on site was a JCB mini digger. Having never used one before we got a friend over who had previous digger experience, then had the first play in a field well away from buildings. It didn't take too long to get the hang of it, although with six motions to control with each hand and two for the feet it takes a bit of concentration and co-ordination!

 

As well as his digger expertise, Phil also brought a Kanga hammer and breaking bar over to help attack the concrete. Unfortunately we soon discovered that even though the concrete had been cut it was just too big for the micro-digger to lift, and too thick for the Kanga hammer to break up. We soon decided on an alternative strategy, concentrating on removing enough concrete to get a trench through to a temporary power box, since the power company are due in a few days.



Once we got the concrete lifted the trenching went very well, especially through the neighbours garden, behind the old barns out to the street. The size and manoeuvrability of the JCB was really impressive as we snuck between the trees and bushes of the garden to get the trench dug with minimal destruction of the surrounds.

Having finished the main trenching yesterday, we were left with the task of tunnelling under the wall to join the two sections of trench together. Unfortunately there was no chance of digger assistance, so we were on our hands and knees in the trenches with spades, trowels and a breaker bar. Finally we got through and got the levels sorted and laid the conduit ready for the power contractors.

Our final task of the day was to prepare the draw-cord to pull the power cable through the conduit... not as easy as we expected, but a bit of Kiwi ingenuity and gravitational assistance saved the day.

 


Bank holiday Monday and Mark had headed off to test in Europe, so Sarah took the mini digger into the field to practise her digging skills by making a start on moving the earth from the back of the bedroom walls.


april

Green Farm Barn

june