We had a very productive day with Mark continuing the cabling in the kitchen ceiling, including the lights and the power loop. We set up scaffolding boards and ladders to give Mark boardwalk access in the ceiling; it wouldn't pass a health and safety check, but it's functional. Meanwhile Sarah was set up for some more fascia board staining, enjoying the April sunshine. She also painted a sealing coat on the four corner posts of the link, in preparation for the glass doors.



We were back in the dining room today, cracking on with battening and plasterboard in the lower part of the ceiling. We set up another wobbly scaffolding arrangement to reach the ceiling, then carefully measured up each of the plasterboard sheets, scribed and cut with curved edges to fit the old purlins. By the end of the day we'd completed battening all the way around the room, and tacked plasterboard all along the west side.




Michael continued work in the link today, fitting hardwood cladding over the steel beam on the south side of the roof. Although it was beautifully sunny today the forecast predicts plenty of rain on the way, so Michael finished the job by wrapping the timber in plastic to protect it from the weather.


Mark continued evening shifts throughout the week, working on the ongoing cabling throughout the kitchen and link. Tonight we got the last bundle of cables installed for light switches and power sockets in the corner of the link.



After a long weekend break abroad last week, we've been busy back on cabling duty each evening to make up lost time. Today is the start of the Easter four day break, so we got cracking with some big jobs in the kitchen. The first major task was in the kitchen: we need to install the boiler and associated plumbing as soon as possible, so Mark started by preparing the boiler room floor. We laid DPM, covered it with 60mm celotex insulation, then built some shuttering so we could pour a concrete floor slab.



Sarah was in charge of concrete production, which Mark barrowed and shovelled into place then spread about until it was level and smooth. By the end of the day we had a perfect base for the boiler room structure, so we celebrated with a bonfire and drinks with the neighbours.


The Easter break is very busy for golfers, so Sarah headed to work and left Mark to it. Yesterday's concrete was just starting to set, so Mark left it alone and instead spent the day on car repairs. After the recent skirmish between the Focus and trailer the rear wheel arch needed to be bogged and resprayed, which was pretty straightforward compared to recent building jobs.


Sarah headed back to work once more this morning and Mark cracked on in the kitchen. The shuttering came off the concrete pad, but it isn't ready yet for building on, so Mark returned to cabling. There was also time to apply another coat of tanking to the kitchen's north wall, to ensure no dampness penetrates through the old stone wall below the outside ground level.

When Sarah got home we spent more time in the kitchen checking our plans for appliance and bench layout, to ensure we end up with enough power sockets in appropriate places.


Today is Easter Monday and Sarah is back to work for a half day. In the mean time Mark got stuck into building the boiler cupboard and cloakroom stud work. The first stage was to fit a large beam across the span from the truss to the end wall, then install ceiling rafters. Next we pre-assembled the wall studs and noggins and fitted them in a few large sections. Top job, if we do say so ourselves.



Recycling rain water is a fairly new idea in the UK: it's generally not considered suitable for potable (drinking) water, but we will use it in toilet cisterns and the washing machine, plus outside taps for the garden and car washing. Today the 1200 litre underground tank finally arrived on site, assisted by Mark, Max and Duncan. We couldn't drop it into the hole just yet, as that's filled with water again and requires yet another trip to the hire company for a submersible pump to empty it.


Sarah was off work today, so her main mission was to hire a submersible pump to drain out the water tank hole. Mark got home earlier than usual to meet the delivery of more shingle, needed to surround the tank. Before the delivery truck arrived we got the water tank ready for burial; we discovered there was some stray rubbish in the bottom, so Mark rolled it over and climbed in to clean it out. Once Sarah stopped laughing she managed to take photos and help Mark clamber back out.



The TP delivery guy helped Mark drop the tank into the hole, then offloaded a few tons of shingle. Once he'd gone we had a visit from a local stone flooring specialist, who confirmed our options for the flooring of the kitchen, link, dining room and lounge. We've selected the type of flagstones we'll use, but still have to finalise colours, so we'll get some samples in some time soon.


Today's task was to plumb in the water tank, and get it firmly settled into the ground. That's harder than it sounds: it the ground becomes water-logged when the tank is empty it can generate enormous thrust in its attempt to float, so Mark had to strap it down the the steel hoops set in the concrete base at the bottom of the hole. Before strapping it was carefully aligned to ensure in- and out-flows are in the right place. It was then tied firmly in place and connected to the 110mm pipes. Once all that was sorted we started shovelling tons of shingle around the base.



Sarah was home today, and managed to coerce former work colleague Rachel to help out with some painting work. Together they managed a second coat of burgundy in bedroom four, and got a couple of coats of dark green on the end wall of bedroom two.



In the evening Mark made slight changes to the boiler room wall framing to incorporate the recycled-water header tank, recessed into top of the wall and ceiling. The recycled water system has a simple controller that pumps water from the underground tank to the small header tank in the ceiling, from which it is gravity-fed throughout the bathrooms and utility.


Michael and Jody have not been on-site for most of the month as they are manufacturing our windows and doors in their workshop. Michael joined us today to fit the fascia to north side of link, again cloaking the steel beam.



Our oil-fired boiler is due to arrive soon, so Mark prepared a hole through the kitchen wall for its balanced flue. The old stone wall is half a metre thick, which is just thicker than our longest SDS drill bit which makes lining up the inside and outside holes difficult! We eventually got through, with the aid of crow-bars, mallets, cold chisels and the SDS breaker.



This morning Mark finally put the last cables in the kitchen ceiling, while Sarah applied another coat of stain to the link's north side fascia boards. After lunch we rolled out the foil-sandwich insulation and started tacking it into the kitchen ceiling. After a few hours of pulling and prodding we managed to get all the insulation into place; it proved somewhat more difficult than in the dining room and lounge due to the lack of scaffolding. Nonetheless we got it all under control, and the kitchen is now looking much brighter and warmer!




Green Farm Barn