After a relatively mild Christmas and New Year, the winter weather really hit this month as we had a couple of weeks of heavy snow. Although it had been well predicted, the worst-in-20-years snowstorms demonstrated the UK is woefully unprepared for extreme weather as the whole country ground to a halt. Our local council stopped gritting our roads after the first day, after which our usual route to Brackley became impassable and the other road out of the village was only slightly better. Nonetheless there was only one day when we were unable to get to work at all, when consecutive days of heavy snowfall and a lack of other traffic left the village road buried.

 

 

We measured almost 8 inches of snow around the barn, and it was piled up much deeper against the doors which made getting out quite exciting.

 

 

Between snowfalls we had a day or two of clear weather, and some of the snow on the roof started to melt then re-froze forming great icicles from the guttering. The melting and re-freezing made the driveway lethal, so we decided to take to it with shovels to clear enough space to park the cars safely. After a couple of hours of very hard work we had a good clearing, then the inevitable happened and the snow started coming down again! Thankfully it was a lighter snowfall so it melted in a couple of days as the weather improved.

 

 

 

 

 

We managed to finish the ceiling plasterboard tacking in the master bedroom this month. We've now got all the lights and switch wiring installed, the west wall is dry-lined and the ceiling is all in place, so we're almost ready for plastering.

 

 

With the bedroom ceiling done we moved into the upper hallway. This needed purlins and a truss sanded back, stained with Antiquator then soaked with Danish oil. Next we built batten framing and threaded light wiring through, then finally tacked plasterboard up.

 

 

 

Our final building task for the month was to move furniture and fittings in to bedroom three. We've picked a seaside theme, so we've put a large beach print on the wall above the door. There are also boating pictures and sailing paraphernalia elsewhere.

Once the furniture and toys were moved in the room looks pretty much complete, but there will be further remedial work required when we finally get carpets fitted.

 

 

 

After the heavy snow at the start of the month, we were surprised to finish the month working in the field in warm sunshine. The snow melted away and the trees and hedging have started the annual growth spurt so it was time to undertake some green-fingered maintenance. The elder in the hedges was cut out a couple of years ago but has been growing back so we set to it again with a bow saw.

The three big trees are suffering strangulation by ivy: these were also cleared a couple of years ago but came back with a vengeance. The fix was to clear a band around the tree trunks, so the ivy up the trees will die off just in time for the trees' spring growth to flourish. Now we look forward to some great spring weather so everything can grow and we can enjoy some warmth and sunshine.