Michael and Jody finished installing the steel lintels earlier in the week, so today they fitted the rafters on the north side of the link roof. Suddenly the buildings look a whole lot more integrated, and we can get a real feeling of the space in the conservatory link.



Michael called in this morning to discuss details of how we will finish the south side of the link roof. We resolved some tricky details of how the slate and glass with fit against the brick wall on the kitchen end, and tuck under the thatch on the barn end. Once Michael was sorted we set to work in the dining room. Mark started by finishing off the ventilation ducting in the top of the ceiling.



Once Sarah was back from work we got on with stapling insulation to the inside of the rafters in the top section of the roof. After considerable fiddling to fit the quilted foil insulation over the rafters and under the purlins we started battening over the top, and by the end of the day had completed the top section of both sides.


Today we were on plasterboard duty, tacking up over the battening we'd finished yesterday. Sarah was in charge of the battery drill with screwdriver attachment, while Mark got the short straw having to clamber up and down the scaffolding to cut each section of plasterboard on the ground, lug it up to the top and hold it in place for Sarah to screw in. We got the tacking finished by late afternoon, so the next stage was to put the insulation and battening in the hip end.




Sarah was home today, painting the undercoat on the ceiling under the mezzanine in the lounge. Meanwhile the new link roof was progressing at pace: after a couple of days finishing the rafters, felt and battening, Michael and Jody got on to slating. They got the north side covered very quickly, then moved on to the more difficult south side. This side has slate along the top and down each edge, leaving a big opening that will be glazed to let the sunshine stream in.




Sarah was off work today, and took a break from building by going shopping instead. Meanwhile Michael and Jody continued work on the south side of the link roof, fabricating the lead-lined hopper that will constrain rain water between the thatch and slate sections of roof. We want to put a gargoyle in this cavity to finish it off, so the rainwater can be channelled out through the gargoyle's mouth.

The replacement Jazz arrived today, red this time to replace the stolen blue one. We'll try to be more careful with this one...




Michael and Jody fitted the link ridge tiles today, but came up one tile short! We'll have to wait for some more to come into stock at our supplier's yard, so meanwhile the boys moved on to brickwork at the foot of the link doors.




They also made progress on the south side of the link roof, installing the glazing bars. These are ugly aluminium joinery, but they won't be visible as they will be clad with hardwood, inside and out. The finished product will appear as stained timber and tinted glass, neatly aligned with the six door panels of the wall.



Mark got back from Bahrain yesterday, where he'd been testing for the week. Consequently we had a bit of a sleep in before returning to the dining room ceiling. Our mission for the weekend is to get the upper sections of plasterboard tacked in, so they can be plastered during the week, then painted and ultimately so the scaffolding can come down.

We started by tacking the west side middle section, fettling and fitting plasterboard around the dips and curves of the old timber purlins and truss. Once that was done we had to finish insulation and battening of the east side and hip.



Sarah headed to work today, so Mark continued plasterboard tacking in the dining room. There was even more fettling and fiddling today, doing the east side and hip end. By the end of the day it was all complete, ready for plastering, so Mark spent some time clearing up rubbish and moving tools and materials so the scaffolding is clear ready for plastering to begin.




Snow! After feeling like spring was here earlier in the month we've had a week of bitterly cold winds, and today the snow started falling, although it hasn't settled for more than a few hours.




Michael and Jody have been busy plastering this week, finishing the top and middle sections of the dining room ceiling today along with the hip end. Once again they've done a great job, producing a super-smooth surface cut neatly against the edges of the old timbers.



James Littlejohn came to visit today, with mates Charles and Sally. They're all kiwis living in London, doing the traditional OE with city jobs between stints of travel. We decided we wanted to give them some big building jobs out in the freezing wind for the full country life experience... luckily for them there weren't actually any suitable jobs to hand, so we got cracking inside painting the dining room ceiling.

With five paint brushes on the go we managed to get the undercoat completed on the top two sections of the ceiling in no time at all. That left us with an unusual dilemma, as we had to work out what to do while we waited for the first coat to dry before continuing in the dining room. The solution was to move to bedroom four, which we've been living in for six months with plaster on the walls but no paint. With a quick team effort we moved the furniture out of the way and got undercoat on all the walls and ceiling.



With all the work done for the day we moved into the field to build up a bonfire for the evening. All the rain we've had recently left the wood very damp, but a few litres of diesel helped convince the flames to take hold. Once the fire got big enough to thaw our frozen limbs we had a very enjoyable evening eating, drinking and telling tales.



Sarah had to pop to work first thing this morning, so Mark made brunch for the painting crew before we got on to painting a second coat in the dining room ceiling. Once again we made short work of it, so by the time Sarah got home we were all done.



We headed out to give our visitors a tour of the village and a late pub lunch, but found we were actually too late for food at the local so we ended up in Brackley having an early dinner instead. We then finished the day with a quick tour around the F1 factory, before James, Sally and Charles headed back to London. Great work guys, many thanks.



We finished the month with a quiet day, as we've been caught with a few delays. A visit from the building inspector has given us the all-clear on the link roof, so we can consider the external structure to be complete as we approach our second anniversary. However we haven't got the glass roof panels yet, and the recent snow has delayed finishing the frames. We've also had a delay with the glass door panels for the sides of the link, as we've found off-the-shelf units won't quite suit our needs, so we will take a little longer to get custom-made versions.

On the plus side we've made great progress in the dining room ceiling, and we're preparing a cunning plan to push on inside the kitchen block as soon as the link is done. More next month...



Green Farm Barn