We both took the day off work today with the intention of getting more plumbing done. The birthday girl started the day playing a few holes of golf, while Mark collected more building supplies. Cass came to join us for lunch, bringing a great selection of goodies to munch on. After a great feast stretching into the afternoon we abandoned plans of building and had our first day off in ages.


After yesterday's rest we were ready to get cracking today. Sarah went to work for the morning while Mark continued plumbing, then when Sarah was finished we met at Jewson's in Northampton to collect our windows. Following weeks of delays and problems we finally decided to collect the windows ourselves to avoid further damage from delivery. After photographing every window we stacked them into the back of the Focus and the Jazz, and certainly surprised ourselves and the blokes at Jewson's as we fitted them all in.



Once all the windows were safely stacked in the stables we started on the big job of the day: stripping the east side of the upper bedrooms roof. We set up some scaffolding so Sarah could reach the bottom third of the roof, while Mark clambered over the upper section, this time without any falls.



Most of the roofing was destined for the rubbish tip, so we stacked it into the back of the Focus. The good sections of roofing were stacked away ready for recycling in another project in future.

Finally we finished the day by moving in... we decided it was time we spent a night in the building so we set up camp beds and lights in bedroom 2. With all the layers of insulation on the walls and ceiling it was very cosy; even Lester was happy to curl up for her first night in the barn.


After a sleep-in Sarah popped across to the rubbish tip with the old roofing while Mark connected the new plumbing up to the water main. Time at last to turn the tap and pressure test our new plumbing... thankfully it was all completely dry. Next step was to build ourselves a bench and sink; kiwi bach style we recycled the old farm-shop sink and built a frame for it from off cuts of rough-sawn tanalised roofing timber.



Michael and Keith completed a few days of hard graft today by finishing all the sub-structure of the upper bedrooms roof. They replaced rotten sarking boards, added 50x60mm battens between sheets of 60mm insulation, topped with breathable (bright blue) felt and slating battens on counter battens. So we're all waterproof now, ready for a couple of thousand slates to be nailed on.

Sarah had a day off work, so she spent the day finishing sanding down the truss in bedroom two, including wire-brush cleaning the old iron fittings. Once that was done she continued raking out old mortar from the stone wall in the hallway of the lower bedrooms.



Michael and Keith fitted windows to the upper bedrooms today: four on the west side and three on the east. We don't have any catches yet, since we chose not to have the standard ugly brass fittings that normally come with the windows, so while we are waiting for them the windows are held shut be stripes of batten nailed to the lintels.



Sarah was working today, so Mark was home alone installing insulation in the ceiling of bedroom 2. Michael and Keith put the first layer of insulation in earlier: 50mm sheets fitted between the rafters. Now we are adding a further 60mm of insulation in bigger sheets oriented the other way, to provide an extremely warm and quiet ceiling.



Michael and Keith got the first few rows of slates mounted on the east side of the upper bedrooms roof today. They've also hauled a couple of thousand slates into stacks on the roof: around 3.5 tonnes in all.



Sarah was working this morning, so Mark headed to Milton Keynes to join Graham and some other kiwis in a local pub for breakfast while watching the Lions play Otago at our old home ground of Carisbrook, Dunedin. We were, not surprisingly, outnumbered by Lions supporters, but it was a well humoured crowd and we all enjoyed a good match, which the Lions eventually won but our Otago boys certainly played well.

Straight after the match Mark headed to Northampton with the trailer in tow to collect a large load of plasterboard. Sarah got home shortly after the arrival of the boards, so we spent the afternoon fitting sheets over the insulation in bedroom 2.




Long-lost Dunedin friends Jason and Gillian recently arrived in the UK, so today they came up to visit us. It's been several years since we last saw them, so we spent several hours catching up on all the news from down-under. Jason also got involved in the plasterboard work, clambering up the scaffolding with Mark for more board-fitting in the ceiling.

Late afternoon we all headed to BAR to watch the US GP. What a mistake that was! The race was a complete farce, but at least we had an opportunity to show Jason and Gillian around the factory, and we met up with Graham for a real Otago reunion.



Michael and Keith completed slating the west side of the roof today; it looks terrific!



Today Mark went out on a hunt for the lesser-known blue-clay 105 degree roof ridge tile: they've proven ridiculously difficult to find, but after some chasing 33 were located in Banbury today. Once tracked down and captured they were transferred to the barn for safekeeping

This evening we finished fitting plasterboard in the ceiling of bedroom 2. Once that was completed we then fitted the low-voltage recessed lights and powered them up to ensure all were working correctly. Let there be light!




Michael & Keith had a rain interrupted day, as after a couple of weeks of stunning weather we were hit by thunderstorms and torrential downpours. Nonetheless they managed to get a couple of hours of dry conditions to start slating the east side of the upper roof.



When the rain came down they moved indoors, installing windows on the east side of the lower bedrooms.



Sarah had another morning at work while Mark headed to Milton Keynes to join Graham again, this time supporting the All Blacks for the first Lions test. The crowd was much the same as last week; all except us proudly wearing their Lions shirts, but before long they were mumbling quietly while we roared at the AB's successes.

After the match and Sarah's morning of work we had our first attempt at dab-and-dob plasterboard fixing to the internal block walls. We decided to rename this method "splatting" since that was our preferred technique for placing the plaster adhesive on the walls. Despite the apparent mess we managed to get a few sheets fixed in very little time, so we must deem it a success.



Sarah started the morning supporting her golfers again but was home by 10:00, so we dashed up to Northampton to buy a loft ladder & hatch plus a stack of other supplies from B&Q. We were back on site for lunch, then had a very busy afternoon fitting the loft ladder and splatting a whole lot more plasterboard to the walls. By the end of the day bedroom 2 was looking more like a real house and the plasterboarded walls and ceiling help accentuate the old timbers of the purlins and truss.



Michael and Keith have very nearly complete the upper bedrooms roof; just a few more slates need to go on and the last metre of ridge tiles then we can have our second topping-out celebration.



After Michael and Keith finished for the day we started the night shift, continuing our plasterboard efforts in bedroom 4. Earlier in the week we had completed one wall of dab and dob plasterboard fixing and fitted two layers of insulation in the ceiling. Tonight we got most of the plasterboard fixed on the ceiling, which took a great effort as we balanced the 2.4m x 1.2m sheets on our heads while keeping our hands free to insert screws into the joists and noggins. We also managed some fiddly fettling fitting fixtures in the form of lights, switches and sockets.



So the end of the month has come and we're still in the caravan, but barn habitation is now tantalisingly close...



Green Farm Barn