We continued our guttering installation today, working on the front edge of the upper bedroom block. This roof will eventually feed our underground recycled water tank, so we needed to prepare trenches for the rainwater pipes that will link the down pipes to the tank. Hence Sarah was on trenching duty while Mark worked up a ladder.

Late in the afternoon we packed up the tools, scrubbed ourselves up then jumped in the car and bombed down to London to see Kate and Steve. We enjoyed a brilliant night of wining and dining, then stayed over at their apartment.


We headed home from London via B&Q in Northampton, stocking up on cement and lime. At home we continued the guttering installation, until Mark had a shunt off a ladder. It wasn't the first of the day... one corner of the barn proved particularly difficult to get to, and the ladder kept falling off the wall. The first two drops were fairly harmless, but the third time was more jarring, leaving Mark immobilised with a very swollen foot. Ouch.



Mark was home today, mostly immobilised by a bruised and swollen foot. It improved during the day so he was able to hop out to watch Michael, Keith and Jody as they installed a pair of steel lintels over the new dining room/link doorway.




Sarah had a day off today, while Mark hobbled back to work. Sarah helped install the date-stone in the new gable wall above the steel lintels. The stone, engraved 1709, will become a feature in the link between the kitchen stables and dining room barn.




Mark met Michael, Andrew and Phil on site to finalise the steel roof structure plans. Andrew had already drawn up the first revision of engineering plans, but today was our first chance to see exactly how everything will fit together, since with the old roof stripped we can now see where the steel trusses and purlins must go.

By the end of the day the old roof above the dining room was completely dismantled; the old timber truss and purlins have been carefully labelled and stored so it can be reassembled once the steelwork is in place.



New padstones were created in the dining room walls today. These are large blocks of concrete, poured in-situ into a cavity in the stone; they will be the anchor points for the new steel truss. We also have recycled oak brackets fixed to the padstones, which will support the old timber truss.





Today the concrete padstones were completely hidden by stone cladding. Jody chipped away to make a stone veneer, reinstating the original look of the old stone wall. Meanwhile Michael and Keith were removing the last timbers from the lounge roof when they found a problem: with the purlins removed, there is nothing left to support the south gable wall, and it is far from straight. To ensure the wall doesn't topple over a quick safety harness was needed, so we've used cargo loading straps to lash a timber brace outside the wall to the scaffolding on the inside.



Mark is working night shifts to support the team in Japan, so he got home around lunchtime. After having a decent afternoon nap he got back to the guttering, installing down pipes and drains that will be connected to the underground tank.




We continued guttering today, this time on the kitchen block. Once again the weather helped us by dumping sample rainfall periodically to test the joints. We also discovered that, despite instructions to the contrary, low modulus silicon sealant can be applied in wet conditions, and it does form a seal immediately.


After an early start to watch a disappointing Japanese GP, Sarah headed to work and Mark continued guttering. In the evening Dave and Leanne came to join us for a bonfire and barbecue, and the weather co-operated to provide a clear, cool night.





Today Michael and Keith constructed a timber template for the new steel truss in the lounge. This will provide the exact shape for the steelwork to duplicate. Meanwhile Jody built up the gable above the dining/link doorway enough to insert the link ridge steel beam, so with great amounts of grunting and groaning the guys hauled it up into place.




The new gable wall was completed today, including cladding the steel lintels in oak to match the other huge timber beams in the barn. The dining room truss was also mocked up in timber, again to provide a template for the steel fabrication.


Phil was on-site this morning to measure up the truss templates; he'll make the steel trusses and purlins over the next couple of weeks, so they should be ready for assembly by the end of the month.

Michael, Jody and Keith started repairing the old barn wall along the roadside. There are many worn and eroded stones that are coming out to be replaced, then the whole wall will be repointed with lime mortar.





Mark had an early start today, supporting the race crew on Shanghai time. Qualifying was all over by 08:00, so after a big breakfast we got started on the weekend's main project, completing the wall and ceiling over the temporary kitchen. With winter approaching we need to get all openings sealed and finish the insulation, so we built the stud work for the wall and fitted plasterboard in the ceiling. Once the down lighters were installed we started cutting and inserting sheets of insulation.



We had another early start this morning, heading into the BAR factory at 06:00 to watch the last race of the year, in China. It wasn't worth getting up for, as Taku failed to finish and Jenson's promising 4th fell back to 8th during a couple of mistimed safety cars. So now we wait for a better time next year.

Back at the barn we finished off the insulation and wallboard work from yesterday, then Mark installed the last section of guttering. We had a tricky non-square corner to deal with, so we had cut a custom angle last week and had it welded up by neighbour Dave. After a coat of gloss black paint it was fitted snugly into the corner.



As it was quite a warm and clear afternoon, we decided to enjoy sunset from the dizzying heights of the scaffolding in (er, above) the old barn. We hauled a bit of a picnic up two flights of ladders and settled happily overlooking the village. Dave and Jill came up to join us for an aerial inspection of their garden over a glass of red wine as the sun went down.



Mark met Malcolm on-site today to review the rapid progress of the last few weeks, and go over details of council's approval for the amendments we requested. Meanwhile Michael, Keith and Jody continued repairing stonework and repointing.


At the end of the day we headed to Heathrow for our flight to NZ; we're off to Auckland for a couple of weeks to catch up with friends and family and to participate in the Targa Rally. You can follow our Targa exploits online at http://356.targa-twins.co.nz.



Green Farm Barn