It has been more than a month since our boundary wall went up, so today we were pretty pleased to see the builders back with the last of the surprisingly hard-to-find blue/grey tiles in order to complete the wall capping. It is certainly really nice to see a couple of hundred of our recycled bricks in use after all Sarah's lifting, scrapping, cleaning and stacking.


 

After months of anticipation today also marked the start of Ron and Jill's tour of duty: they flew in to Heathrow direct from their tour of Russia and Scandinavia, ready for three weeks in the UK. Sarah collected them mid-afternoon so we were able to settle in for a quiet drink and catch-up on a very pleasant summer evening.

 

Today marks one year since we first saw details for Green Farm Barn from the estate agents. Wow, what a year it has been! Looking back at the diary it took seven months to arrange and complete the sale, and we've been digging, breaking and lifting for five months already. It hurts just to think about it, and we're really only just getting started.

We spent the day getting away from the work, enjoying a fabulous summer's day touring the Grand Union Canal on a narrow-boat with Jill and Ron.

 

Sarah started the day taking Ron up to our local timber yard to buy a stack of trellis sheets and rolls of fencing wire. Meanwhile Mark and Jill continued lifting bricks from the floor of bedroom two (the old Turkey hanging room) and back filling the sewerage trench running along the edge of the neighbour's garden.

Around midday we got cleaned up and walked up the road to visit the annual horticultural show, run by the Weston and Lois Weedon Horticultural Society. There are competition categories for all sorts of local produce, from the tallest sunflowers to the biggest marrows. Sarah decided to enter this year, so we grew some sunflowers (disaster as they were less than half the height of the winners) and made a loaf of bread, which won third prize! We also entered a jar of Jill's passionfruit jam as a surprise, so she found a familiar jar amongst the collection of entries on display.

Once we had finished perusing the show Sarah collected her prize-winning loaf and we took it home to eat for lunch.

Ron and Mark spent the afternoon digging post-holes for the posts that will support the trellis, and concreted them in place. We finished the day enjoying more evening sunshine, with a barbeque in the field.

 

Today we started quietly, lifting and stacking bricks from the floor of bedroom two, delaying our noisy destruction for a more sociable hour. Once we decided it was time the village was awake Ron and Mark started work with the Kango, attacking the brick walls and troughs in the kitchen (stables). We hammered and battered away at the bricks for most of the day, eventually reducing the walls to a pile of rubble, and broke the troughs down to a few big chunks of concrete. Our efforts were rewarded with numerous grazes and bruises, but a great sense of satisfaction for a job well done.

As a quiet recovery plan we spent the late afternoon building a trellis wall to help obscure the caravan from the street. Mark and Ron lifted and hammered, while Sarah and Jill offered advice and supervised the positioning of the trellis panels. Eventually the job was done, so we wandered down the road to admire our handiwork from a driver's-eye-view. Now we just need something to grow over it to provide a complete screen.

 

Ron and Jill returned after a week touring the south-west. We continued cleaning and stacking bricks, eventually finishing with around 2500 neatly stacked ready for recycling on our new walls. We also hauled a couple of tons of concrete rubble into one of David's huge trailers; he uses the rubble as clean fill on the farm, so he is happy to take away as many trailer loads as we can fill.

 

Finally Mark and Ron undertook the tricky job of removing the old header tank and associated plumbing from the old farm shop, in the roof between bedrooms two and four. We had to drain out a few hundred litres of water that had been left in the system, then hauled the tank out leaving the wall bare, ready for demolition.

 

Mark and Ron prepared a short trench by the caravan, installed a duct then ran a power cable from the caravan up to the portakabin, allowing us to use the lights and heating to keep all our stored belongings warm and dry over winter.

Once powered up we tidied ourselves up and headed to BAR for the Monza GP. Mark was working on race support while Sarah, Jill and Ron joined a large group in the auditorium watching the race. It was another good result for the team as we overtook Renault for second place in the championship; more bonus money for GFB.

After the race Ron and Jill had a factory tour, then we returned to the barn to continue lumbering concrete.

 

 

We returned home from a three day break in Liverpool with Jill and Ron. It was the first break we'd had since whizzing through Wales with Ray in April, and Liverpool really surprised us with its waterfront redevelopment and historic centre.

 

Mark flew out to China today to attend the first ever Shanghai GP. Meanwhile Ron and Sarah started chiselling the old damaged plaster from the stone walls of bedroom four.

 

The Chinese GP produced another excellent result for the team, further cementing our claim to second in the championship. It also provided Mark a quick peek at life in Shanghai, which is growing at a startling rate.

Ron and Jill headed to Denver during the week, to begin the next leg of their holiday. Sarah continued working on stripping plaster from the bedroom walls, and filled more trailer loads of rubble to completely clear out the kitchen.

 

Mark returned from China after a wearying but successful week. It had also been a busy week on-site as there was much progress to be seen. As well as all Sarah's work on the bedrooms and kitchen, the builders had been back to complete the first coat of rendering on the neighbour's side of our boundary wall.

 

Sarah also started her new job as Assistant Manager of Golf and Leisure at Staverton Park, a swanky hotel and conference centre with attached country club near Daventry.


august

Green Farm Barn

october