With measuring tape, pencil and saw, Sarah made a start on the insulation in Bedroom 2. Unfortunately the gaps between the battens were not exactly consistent, but with some jiggery pokery, cunning measuring and use of the eye-crometer, we got the boards fitting in snugly. Meanwhile Mark made a start on the wiring: after making thorough diagrams of all the power and lighting loops we started running hundreds of metres of cabling through the rooms.




Today was time again for the annual village May Day Fair (bank holiday Monday). We wandered to the fair, had a quick look around and decided our time was better spent at the barn doing more insulation and wiring. With all the battening in place, we got more of the insulation installed in bedroom 2, its ensuite and bedroom 4.


On a rather miserable day, Michael pushed on and got the first course of engineering bricks laid for the front wall. These less-than-attractive bricks are needed for precision and strength, and they will be hidden by a low garden. We are looking forward to seeing all the recycled bricks, that we retrieved from the old floor, start going up.



While Sarah spent the day at work, Michael continued laying bricks and Mark cracked on with the ceiling joists above bedroom 2's ensuite. These had been sitting in place for a few weeks, but were not fixed in, so Mark bolted them to the rafters at the outer end and stitched noggins between them.

Once the joists were fixed it was back to the cabling, threading more cables and bundling switch sets together ready for the relay control boxes, that will allow us to remotely control every light in the buildings.



Sarah headed into work once more for another senior manager shift.

Meanwhile one of Mark's work colleagues brought his camera collection to take some colour and black and white photos of the barn. John spent most of his time in the older barns (lounge and dining room), capturing every nook and cranny of the old trusses and A-frames in the roof. We had some preview shots on a digital camera, and eagerly await the final collections from the film cameras.

Mark spent the rest of the day continuing with insulation and cabling in the lower bedrooms.


After working the weekend Sarah spent today at home. Her main job for the day was to apply a second coat of strain on the fascia boards below the edges of the lower bedrooms roof.

Michael and Keith pressed on laying the reclaimed brick for the outer leaf of the front wall of the upper bedrooms. We are starting to see the character of the building come to life as it begins to take its final look.



It's been two months now since the fiery demise of our wee Beetle, and today the replacement finally arrived. Thanks to Honda's recent purchase of 45% of BAR we now have access to some bargain deals on new cars, so we've taken a Jazz 1.4 Sport for our first hack. We will change it every 6 months, so Sarah can try a range of colours and models.

While the Jazz is far from pretty, our new brick wall is looking very good indeed, as the old bricks are nearly up to the top of the windows.


Sarah started and finished the day at work with early and late shifts, split by some relaxing hours building in between...

While Sarah was out Mark spent the morning cleaning the cars. As we are about to start re-roofing the upper bedrooms Porky had to be evicted from the garage and parked up in the field, where it came to the attention of some other Porkers. Fred and Ginger seemed to enjoy looking at their reflections in the nicely polished paint, then decided the wheels made ideal scratching posts for their filthy hairy hides. Time to build a temporary fence to keep the pigs out.



Once the piggies were chased away to a safe distance Mark got on with some stone work, topping the hallway stone wall and getting some valuable pointing experience. After the stone it was back to more insulation and some steel straps from the roof to the walls.

After a busy day we headed to Staverton, for Sarah to start the evening shift while Mark took a bundle of paperwork to catch up with barn design details. We stayed overnight in one of the recently refurbished hotel rooms, which gave us an opportunity to look at details of lighting, wiring and plumbing to aid our design.


After bacon butties overlooking the Staverton golf course we headed home for more building. Mark made up a mortar mix and laid two courses of brick in the link to form the base of a service cupboard that contains all the plumbing linking the bedrooms to the kitchen.

Sarah got stuck into sanding the purlins which are going to be visible in the open ceilings once all the plasterboard and insulation has been put in. Finally, Mark used the leftover mortar to plaster up the edge of the hallway wall where we had cut through an old wall earlier in the year. 


Today the builders got the front brick wall finished up to the top of the windows, which looks terrific. They are now starting to rebuild the eave between the upper and lower bedrooms, which will allow them to finish the flashing and the lower slates.



Sarah had the day off work so she chased up piles of building paperwork. We took the evening off, or at least off building: we jumped into the Jazz with Graham and Lawrence and bombed down to London, to see kiwi band Golden Horse playing at a tiny pub theatre in Kings Cross. They are apparently topping the charts down under, and gave a great live performance. After their set we found a tiny Thai restaurant tucked away down a back street.


Sarah was back to work today, so Mark enlisted Lawrence's help for yet more cable work. Once that was finished the sun finally came out, so it was time to tackle the upper bedrooms roof. This roof consists of corrugated rubber sheeting nailed to sarking boards, supported by purlins on the trusses. All bar the rubber sheeting will get reused, although much of the sarking is rotten and needs to be repaired.

We managed to strip off more than half the roof before the thunderstorms stated again, and got away with just one minor accident as Mark slid off the roof and crashed onto the scaffolding. Luckily he didn't have enough speed up to bounce off the scaffolding onto the concrete, so it was deemed a "good" fall and Lawrence awarded points for style.



Sarah had another early start at work, looking after the keen Sunday golfers, so Mark continued the roof stripping. After yesterday's shunt a less hazardous technique was required, so a token safety rope was used to ensure the roof ladder stayed attached to the roof. By the time Sarah got home the roof was all stripped and the rubber sheets were stacked in the back of the Focus ready for a trip to the tip.



After a brief stop for lunch we popped out to Ardley to dump the roofing. Once back home Sarah made a start on staining more fascia boards, to be used for the upper bedrooms. Mark started preparations for the upcoming plumbing work by knocking some large holes through walls ready for water pipes.



Michael and Keith topped off the lower bedroom and link roof today, fixing the last slates, capping with ridge tiles and polishing the lead flashing with patination oil. Now we just need to sort some guttering to finish it off.



We spent the evening making a start on the plumbing for the ensuite and utility. We have chosen SpeedFit push-together plastic plumbing throughout because its ease of use more than compensates for the higher price compared to copper.


Michael and Keith finished the first section of the upper roof today, repairing all the damaged sarking boards, installing the new wall plate, and topping it with insulation, battens, felt and more battens. We've now got a waterproof, warm roof, ready for slating.



Mark got on with more plumbing today, preparing for our temporary move into the lower bedrooms. We are aiming to get bare minimal functionality sorted, so we will recycle the water header tank, hot water cylinder and even the kitchen sink from the old farm shop.

Our temporary plumbing will utilise most of the final pipework for the ensuite and utility, so we do not need to waste too much effort. The header tank in the loft and conventional hot water cylinder will get replaced by a mains pressure system once the kitchen is built.


Sarah had another early start seeing the golfers onto the course, then returned home for brunch. After a bit of building work we had a further interruption as we headed to BAR for the Nurburgring GP. That turned out to be a great waste of time as our boys tootled around at the back of the field, barely able to trouble the Jordans and Minardis.

Back home Sarah got stripping, attacking some ancient black paint on a purlin that will be visible in the hallway. After a couple of coats of paint remover and some hard work with the belt sander she found wood grain. Meanwhile Mark continued plumbing and also prepared an access hole ready for a loft ladder in the ceiling of bedroom 4.


Green Farm Barn