Our aim today was to try to finish lining the cloakroom. Mark started by tacking plasterboard in the ceiling then we moved onto fitting sheets of ply on the flat "roof" above the cloakroom and boiler room. We had to leave service access panels for the extractor fan and for the control centre of all the kitchen lights' wiring. Sarah also decided to attack the fast growing weeds in the courtyard, so she spent most of the day on hands and knees ripping out thistles and nettles.




This morning we got an early start wrestling the heatbank into its final location in the boiler room. Sarah also put another coat of preservative on the link's corner posts to protect them from the elements. We did not get much else done, as we were somewhat distracted by Jenson's (and BAR-Honda's) first race win in Hungary. With such a fantastic result we abandoned all plans for building and got celebrating instead, having a bonfire and barbecue with friends and a bottle or two (er, five) of champagne. About time.


Michael and Jody brought the first of the link doors on site today. They have spent the last couple of months manufacturing the doors and sliding track system at their workshop, so it was very exciting to finally see the first few doors go up. There will be lots of adjusting and tuning over the next week but we can already see that they are going to look terrific.





We were both home today, Michael and Jody were here as well, so we had a full house. Sarah was busy staining the recently glazed garage window then also did a trial staining on one of the bedroom windows which has been in place with just undercoat stain for over a year.



Michael and Jody fitted the right hand side set of doors on the north side of the link, while Mark was on concrete breaking duties, clearing a trench for the last section of rainwater guttering. By the end of the day we managed to get rainwater guttering fitted and plumbed in just in time for another heavy downpour .



We were indoors out of the weather today, getting up close and personal with the huge timber beam in the kitchen roof. Mark scraped and sanded excess white paint from the beam, while Sarah tackled the very fiddly job of painting all the big bolts black.


This morning we finished the sanding, scraping and bolt painting, then removed all the scaffolding in the kitchen. After lunch we made a start on plumbing in all of the heatbank connections. The weather cleared late afternoon, allowing us to get a first coat of dark brown stain on the link's north doors.



We were home today to get a few more tasks done and to spend time with Robin and Ken, visiting from NZ. We also had a brief visit from our architect Malcolm to check that the building was progressing to plan.



Later in the afternoon we returned to the kitchen, putting down a thin layer of sand to level the floor before laying the damp proof membrane. We then covered the floor with sheets of 60mm celotex insulation.



This morning we cracked on with the celotex insulation on the floor, finishing it all before lunch. Next job was to fit steel mesh on the floor which will strengthen the screed and also give us a grid to layout and attach the under-floor heating pipework. While Mark was cutting up the steel with the grinder, Sarah completed staining all of the beading for the link's north doors so they will be ready to glaze next week.




Today we finally got to the really exciting heating job: laying the under-floor water pipes. We started with a sketch on paper, then ran a string back and forwards, zig zagging throughout the room. Once we were happy with the route we set to work with 150 metres of 15mm PEX pipe and a big bundle of tywraps. Sarah zigged while Mark zagged and before long we had the whole room piped up. Crunch time came when we connected up the water mains for a pressure test, and happily we can report good flow and no leaks. We finished the day weary but delighted we can add under-floor heating installation to our building skills list.



The kitchen floor screed is booked for tomorrow, so Mark had today off work in order to make final preparations for it. We had an oil plumber on site running pipework from the oil tank to the boiler, and completing the water pipes between the boiler and heatbank store. That allowed us to get the boiler into its final location and get the flue attached. He also fitted the gas pipes that run under the floor, taking gas from tanks outside the north wall to the cooker on the south wall.



Meanwhile Michael and Jody continued installation of the link's north doors.




Mark had another day off today in order to get the kitchen floor screed put down. He enlisted Giles as shovelling and levelling assistant, and between them they managed to get 2 cubic metres of screed shovelled into barrows and wheeled over scaff planks into the room.

The effort to get the screed in was actually minor compared to the levelling and smoothing task, which required many hours of crawling on hands and knees with lengths of wood, guide strings and a spirit level. To top it all off the weather was unexpectedly warm and windy, causing the screed to dry faster than it could be levelled off.

Nonetheless by the end of the day they managed a reasonably flat floor without any serious personal injuries. Giles even offered to come back for more. He's hired.


We decided the screed was dry enough to walk on today, so we spent some time having a major tidy-up throughout the kitchen, link, dining room and lounge. We also managed to get a final run of network cable installed in the dining room, before the lower section of ceiling is plastered over and becomes inaccessible.

Mark completed what we hope will be the last of the rainwater downpipe plumbing today, taking water from the north side of the link roof.

We finished the day doing hard labour, breaking up the lump of leftover screed with the SDS hammer and shovelling the broken pieces into the hole surrounding the rainwater tank.



Today was a bank holiday, giving us a bonus extra day to work. We spent most of the day out with friends, but did manage to purchase a toilet for the cloakroom and a router with router-table for Mark's woodworking ambitions. We also spent some time planning the kitchen layout, using cardboard boxes, trestles and scaff boards to mock-up the shape of benches and appliances. It may take some degree of imagination, but this is what the kitchen is going to look like:



Michael and Jody continued installation of the link's north doors today, fitting the last panel of glass and the bottom lock pins. We now have a draft-free room with wonderful working bi-folds. Mark came home at lunch time to discuss plans for the next stages of work. We need to get the south doors fitted, then lay membrane, insulation, mesh, under-floor heating pipes and screed in the link. Once that screed has dried we will be able to put down the flagstones throughout the kitchen and link, then the temporary kitchen can be fitted. As always that means dozens of other jobs must be done too, from wiring to tacking to plastering and painting the last sections of kitchen walls and ceiling. Never a dull moment!





Green Farm Barn