Today's mission was to get our heatbank system up and running, albeit with the backup electric immersion heater since the oil-fired boiler isn't running yet. Sarah set to work cutting and fitting insulative lagging over all the pipework, while Mark was busy with the wiring. There was a dedicated supply from the consumer unit to be wired in, then we were able to put power to each of the circulating pumps individually to check they were all running correctly. We also finished sealing the boiler's flue, and filled the hole in the stone wall around the flue with insulation, ready for repointing.

Today we started in the conservatory link, setting up some scaffolding so we could reach the ceiling for a couple of top coats of paint. A few hours rolling and brushing had the job cracked, so we can now continue installing woodwork without worrying about further paint splatter.



After lunch we moved to the short link. This has had a temporary ceiling for 18 months, so today we removed the temporary light fitting and wiring and replaced it with wiring for the final recessed spotlights. We then stapled foil insulation up, followed by battening and plasterboard tacking. The room is now ready for plastering over the brick walls and ceiling.



Michael and Jody started work on the conservatory link's south doors today. Having learnt a lot from the installation and slide-rail tuning of the north side, progress was much faster on the south.



Last night we had a late session getting the damp-proof membrane and celotex insulation laid in the conservatory link, so tonight we were able to crack on with the mesh. We used the grinder to cut sections to fit in and around the corners of the room, laid them all out over the insulation and tied the sections together with tywraps.



With the mesh down we were able to run the underfloor heating's main feed and return pipes through to the service cupboard in the link and on to the stairwell between the dining room and lounge.




There was a busy day on site today as we had several deliveries, including a large Shell tanker bringing us 1800 litres of heating oil. Jody brought all the glass panels for the link's south doors and fitted them.

In the evening we got the conservatory link's underfloor heating pipes laid out. Once all the pipework was zigged and zagged over the floor we plumbed it in and ran a pressure check. No leaks, so we're ready to bury it all in screed...

Today is the deadline we've been working long nights to achieve: the screed for the link floor was delivered at 10:00, so we had to have everything ready to go. Sarah took a close look at the screed truck... rather than a conventional mixer, it keeps the sand and cement separated in transit then mixes them on-site with a 3-metre boom auger. Consequently they can deliver any quantity very precisely, in our case just one cubic metre this time.

Once the screed was dumped we started shovelling as fast as we could. As soon as we got a reasonable amount in Mark started compacting and levelling the surface while Sarah continued shovelling. Four hours later we were somewhat exhausted but happy to have a nice smooth, level floor.





Today we continued work on the hot water system. The next stage was to power up the unit's controller, and finally power the immersion element. After a couple of hours we did a temp check and happily all was looking good. The last part of the mission was to plumb in the mains-pressure hot water, replacing the temporary header tank and hot water cylinder. Finally after a year in the caravan and 18 months in the barn with temporary plumbing, we have at last got mains pressure hot water. Mark celebrated with a very long very hot shower. Bliss!


Sarah spent the day chipping the old mud mortar from the stone wall in the short link. This part of the barn is a few hundred years old, so we are scraping some really old dirt out. Unfortunately it has been victim of some unsympathetic repairs over the years, leaving a mix of the old mud and newer cement mortar. Once cleaned out it will be repointed with our favourite lime mortar.

We started today in the kitchen, tacking plasterboard over a last few service panels for the heating system. Once that was complete we moved into the dining room to continue tacking plasterboard in the ceiling. It has been several months since we were last working on this ceiling, so it's overdue for finishing. Without the luxury of the full scaffolding we had to rely on a couple of scaff boards and ladders, which makes working with big sheets of plasterboard quite tricky.



This morning Mark returned to the link, finishing off the service access cupboard for the heating manifold and the section of plasterboard tacking above it. Later in the day MarkE came by to drop off the concrete mixer, so we got him helping with the dining room ceiling plasterboard. The extra pair of hands made a great difference, as we quickly got the north end of the room finished.



Michael and Jody continued on the link door detailing today, installing the soffet and closing trim detail above the north doors, and the cover panels over the steel beam on the south side. They also fitted latch pins to the tops and bottoms of the doors so we can lock up.





Today Michael and Jody were busy on site without us, as we were enjoying a break away for the week. Jody finished off the last few sections of plasterboard tacking in the dining room ceiling, then scrim taped and filled the gaps. Meanwhile Michael was installing door frame liners in the cloakroom and boiler room, then prepared those rooms for skim-coat plastering.



Michael and Jody continued plastering today in the kitchen and short link,  preparing the final sections of wall and ceiling for their final coats of plaster. They also repointed the stone wall in the short link.




We got back home late today and took time to check all the progress made during the week. The short link, kitchen and conservatory link are all looking great with all the screed, plastering and pointing complete. We are now ready to get some paint on the fresh plaster then we can lay the flagstone floors and finishes the latches, seals and trim on the conservatory link's big bi-fold doors.




Green Farm Barn