Sunday, 16 October 2016

The water-tight milestone!!

Today we achieved a major milestone, the extension is water-tight. Over the last fortnight we have managed to get the bay window roof finished. A very kind carpenter and his brother (James' friend) stepped in to get the roof on after the builder who did the house and the one after that didn't turn up to do it. We decided to put a fibreglass roof on, I love the look of a lead roof with mop rolls, but after our luck with contractors recently we just wanted it water-tight and decided to cover it ourselves until we decided what we want done. We're pretty pleased with it now so it may well stay.

James spent hours routering the wood so that the fibreglass corner pieces would fit flush to the roof. Then came the fibreglass bandage and then fibreglass matting with a resin covering. We sanded the covering once it had hardened, painted the next layer of coloured resin, sanded and painted again over  the course of a few days. Yesterday James fitted the lead flashings, pointed it all in (covering the end of the concrete lintel with lime mortar) and today painted them with patination oil to stop white lines running onto the roof over time.

Today we also fitted the oak plugs into the stable door and used a piece of oak to plug the gap above the door. It means that there are no longer any holes in the structure and we are weather-tight. 

Little man has been at school for 6 weeks now and I cannot believe how well he has been getting on with learning his letters. Today we did a spelling game together and he managed to sound out lots of simple three and four letter words. His writing is coming on beautifully too, it's unbelievable how fast he's gone from only knowing the letters in his name to the foundations of reading. 

James and I have been trying hard to spend a bit more time engaging with the kids in some one-on-one time. It's very easy when you're so busy with work and building to overlook the children and let them entertain themselves. We're lucky that they join in for most building and gardening related activities but we wanted to try and play a few more games with them. I'll be honest at times and say that sometimes it's  a bit repetitive playing holidays or ice cream shop with them but they love it.


Saturday, 1 October 2016

We have grass!!

This photo is nearly a week old and it's even better now, but the point is... the grass seed has actually sprouted. I am so thankful, I will not have to spend another weekend with the rake, the roller and a spade (and subsequent blisters).

I've had a pretty uneventful week, James has continued to plasterboard the upstairs extension. 

I managed to get the rock wool insulation in the loft space on Thursday night. First it was rolled between the joists and then on top at a 90 degree angle. We thought that the hardest part would be putting the insulation between the joists but the final layer was way harder to do. It's hard to roll it out and not go through the ceiling once you can't see the joists and not back yourself into a corner. Plus the face mask to protect your lungs from the fibreglass makes it unbearably hot and did I mention itchy?! Fibreglass is the devils material, looks soft but hurts like hell. Anyway once the heating is up and running it should be toasty warm in there.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

My week of relaxation and last weekends mammoth grass seeding

I have spent this week on a residential course for work. About a month ago I changed jobs again! I am doing a few days a week in a local GP surgery as a practice pharmacist, with the other days spent locuming in community pharmacy. There is a fantastic training program at the moment that is sponsored by NHS England to help increase the number of pharmacists working in practice to improve patient safety and increase the number of appointments available. So I spent four days brushing up on my communication and diagnostic skills using medical actors. The hotel was near Reading and was set in beautiful grounds. The people were fun too and I managed early nights reading my book in bed and having a lie in to 8 every morning; poor James had to manage the kids at home.

My very pretty hotel

Last weekend was spent in levelling the garden out as best we could using a roller and rake, followed by sowing grass seed, re-raking and watering. It's not that huge an area but it didn't half take forever and I got blisters on my hands from the rake. Still no sign of grass but I live in hope that I won't have to do that job again!

The back garden after levelling and sowing

Whilst I was enjoying a restful break my hard working husband (as well as keeping the kids alive) managed to get the bath tap plumbed and mounted to the wall, so upon my return I tested the facilities and it was amazing to have a bath inside my own house. It wasn't quite the peaceful scene you'd imagine, James was putting some plasterboard on the ceiling and there's no electricity so it was a bit dark.

The hole in the wall is where the bathroom cabinet will sink into the wall, but for now it acts as a good window to let in some light. We are thinking that next year we'll put in a Velux window so that there is some natural light, but as with all things it will wait for some money.

James has continued to put up more plasterboard on the ceilings in preparation for me to be able to unroll the loft insulation.

This morning I did some locum work and when I got home we had a family session making blackberry and apple jam using fruit which James and the kids had picked from the common. The house is coming along great guns now, we're on a roll.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

We have a toilet and hot water in the house!!

So it's time I caught up with what's been going on here. I'm not sure if I said that we have a toilet in the house, an actual real life flushing toilet. James has worked like a trooper putting in miles of pipes for the heating and hot water and even  plumbed in the radiators. Today we even got the boiler plumbed back in and sparked up, so there's hot water too!

The weekend before last we finally had our drainage dug back in, not a moment too soon as the autumnal weather has meant plenty of rain. 

Whilst the digger and dumper were here we had the back garden dug back bit further to give us space for a patio behind where the dining room will one day be. The digger driver gave us two options for the soil that needed removing. The first was to have it removed by a grab lorry and the second was to have it re-distributed around the garden.  Now the first option costs and the second doesn't (well not as much). I'm sure you can imagine which option we went for! It has also given us an opportunity to make the garden more level. The only negative being that it now means we have no grass left and the veg beds had to all come out. So this weekends job for me is to try and roller the ground flat and re-seed the lawn before the winter weather sets in.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Happy 5th Birthday little man

Today was spent with our family at home, opening presents, playing games and eating cake. The little man enjoyed his day so much, with his favourite presents being a space station and a Scooby Doo mystery house. 

To both my children, when you are older my angels I hope you look back on these times with joy as I know I will.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Croft Castle - Battle re-enactment

Tomorrow is a special day, the wee man's 5th birthday and today we took him on a special day out to Croft castle. It's a national trust site and as we're members we can go as often as we like. 

This weekend is a living history weekend for the battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461, one of the battles of the wars of the roses. 

Both the children had a fantastic time visiting the castle, watching the battle re-enactment, walking round the camp, watching dancing, trying on costumes and holding weapons and watching a gun display. They even got to hold a ferret! 

The little man got to choose a present for his birthday and he chose a bow with a quiver of arrows. What a refreshing change it was to forget about working at home and just enjoy their company.

I'll confess here that one thing I have always wanted to do is living history re-enactments, perhaps when the kids are older and we have more time I'll get to dress up and sit round campfires with fellow history addicts.

Monday, 5 September 2016

First day of school!!!!

It was the little man's first day of school today and he looked so grown up and so small all in one contradictory package. James has taken a few days off to try and get the bathroom to the toilet stage so he took him into the classroom. Apparently within 2 minutes the wee man shouted 'bye daddy' and James slunk off not quite ready to let him go. His confidence has come on leaps and bounds in the last 12 months and we are so super proud of him.

When he got home he got to have a sit in the digger, so all in all a great day to be a little boy.

We've been hard at work every spare minute so I've got so much to tell you all and show you but it'll have to wait for another night. I did at least get the important pictures up!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Insulation and plasterboard

This week I have been cutting insulation to go into the 'side bits' of the roof (technical term). Building regs states we need 12.5 cm depth so 10cm has gone between the rafters and 2.5cm over the top. Whilst I've been doing that in the evening James has been cutting plasterboard to put on the sections of wall where the radiators will go. 

He was busy in the extension this weekend and didn't it rain! The kids spent hours playing outside and they were soaked through. 

Today James dot and dabbed the cut plasterboard on ready to fit the radiators in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed we'll get the boiler fired up in the next month or so before the cold weather sets in. It's hard to believe how much thought has to go into doing things in the right order, there should be a guide on what to do when, it would save us  making some rookie errors.

Today I gathered some seed from the wildflower bed to fill in any gaps where they don't self seed next year and to grow in some more spots around the garden. Problem is I don't know what some of them are called so I've had to label them things like 'flowers with big heads' and 'long light purple flowers', I'll refer to my pictures when I come to sow them next year. 

Little man and I also gathered some damsons and raspberries, which have been ripening in bucket loads for the last few months, the freezer is getting full so a day of preserving is needed again, yay.


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Windows are in!

Windows are in and we love them! In true style the window manufacturers put vents where they shouldn't be and they'll have to replace 4 panes at the front of the house that have vents in. 
Building regs mean we need vents in one window per room and I had them put at the side of the house as I think they take away from the nice clean lines of the window. Plus the manufacturers forgot the vent covers on the vents that are supposed to be in. But for now it's water tight and the window fitter says as the frames are in it won't take long to replace the opening panes when they come. Just the bay roof and we'll be ready for winter weather. 

This evening we had a plum and blackberry crumble with the fruit the kids picked today, blackberry season is just starting and hopefully there will be loads more to come.

Baby girl has had her two year development check this week and we've got to try and work on her talking, she is pretty hard to understand but they all develop in their own time so I'm not worried just yet. The health visitor says she'll call me in three months to see how she's getting on.

We also stopped by at the garden centre with friends and the wee man asked to ride a pony. He actually asked to do it!! He's pretty apprehensive of anything new or out of his comfort zone and I was incredibly pleased that his confidence has grown and very proud of him.

Here's hoping for a great week for everyone.