Friday, 29 April 2016

Progress week 1

Not much to report this week from us as a family. The builders however have got on a storm and have knocked down the old extension, cleared the rubble, dug footings and filled them with concrete. The building inspector came and declared that we couldn't have an open cavity under the footings, so the water tanks have to be filled with concrete. We expected it, but it's still a shame. As pictures are far more eloquent than I ever hope to be, here's the story so far...

You may recall that I said one of our chickens, Flopsy, was broody. I ordered some eggs for her off eBay, silver laced Wynadottes, as I have loved them from afar for quite some time. Now Blossom is broody too and we've had to split the eggs between them. I know Blossom is a good mum, as she proved to us last time. I still feel sorry for Flopsy (named for the Beatrix Potter books) though as she was turfed off her nest by Blossom. Hence the splitting the eggs between the two of them. That way if Flopsy gives up brooding, Blossom will take over. Here's hoping for some little chicks in a few weeks, keep them crossed! 

It's bank holiday this weekend so we plan to do something special. We're taking my mum out to dinner with my sister and her boyfriend tomorrow to a carvery. Some family time will be appreciated after the upheaval at home. Could the British weather co-operate and warm up just a little? Fat chance but we live in hope.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Happy Anniversary to my better half

Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband. Today we've been married 6 years and haven't we done some great things in the last six years, the kids are being the main one.

Anyway with all that's been going on we both forgot, but good old google photos showed me a memory and I managed to catch James in forgetting. I did confess just after that I had too!

This weekend we've burnt some wood from the demolition, only stuff with paint on that I wouldn't put in the wood burner. The builders had built the fire and we halved the wood in it putting some away for winter. We then took half again off to one side to put on gradually and it was still way too fierce, just about scared me to death. If they'd have burnt the original pile like they planned to tomorrow I think our woodshed and cabin would have gone up. I'll have to have a word.

On Saturday whilst James was doing some disconnecting the kids wanted to play playmobil. It was a  set we'd had from a friend's daughter and most of it had never been put together. By the time I got it all set up as a zoo the kids had long since lost interest. I took a photo though, I was proud of my work.

The boiler was disconnected and the pipes moved. It all went well and on Saturday night we had a nice hot shower. Come Sunday morning the bloody boiler wouldn't work. What's wrong you may ask? Who knows, it's done this before but as the only thing it will be heating water for is the kitchen tap we have decided not to bother messing with it until the build is done and it's in the final location. We'll boil a kettle to wash up. Still it's a pain in the ass, but I doubt it'll be the last before we're done.

Today we got some bits from screwfix and got into the garden to plant out some veg. I had to pull a whole load of leeks so I could fit stuff into the bed. The leeks went into a leek and potato soup that we had for tea and I put the rest in jars to freeze to eat over the next few weeks. You may notice that I have some re-usable tatler lids that I bought from and had shipped here. It was exciting to use them for the first time, even if only to seal the jars.

Excuse the mess!

I got up the ladder on Saturday to take some final pictures of our bedroom, it's like an earthquake hit.

Some of you guys were envious of our water storage tanks and I hear you. Unfortunately I'm not sure the building control inspector will be happy, but hopefully the tank at the back can stay, if we line it properly it could be immense.

Friday, 22 April 2016

The start...

Yesterday the builder came and started demolishing our extension, I can hardly believe it, it's finally happening.

Yesterday they stripped the roof of tiles and stacked them neatly for re-use. Today the guys turned up again and got to work. This morning I took the kids to soft play and when I got back there was all sorts of banging going on. At one point the house shook when they pushed part of one of the walls down! The doors that lead from the house to the extension have been screwed shut and had insulation board stuck on internally to keep us a little bit warm. The heating is disconnected so we have lit the fire tonight to make up for the extra draughts.

When digging out the steps at the weekend we found a manhole cover underneath. Undertake cover was a huge water tank, full to the brim with water. We used a pump to empty it out and it's about 10 foot deep by about 10 foot square. It is right next to where the new rear extension footings need to be so it's slightly worrying. I guess we'll have to wait for the building inspector to tell us what we have to do about it. 

Today the builder found a second tank at the front of the house. We had always presumed that the manhole cover was covering a land drain but low and behold it was another smaller water tank. We were told when we bought the house that it didn't used to be on mains water and this must have been where the water was stored. They are both linked to the guttering down pipes and have an overflow into land drains. Certainly the second tank is directly under where we need to build the extension, it could be expensive!

This week I went on my company national meeting, it was at a beautiful country manor house. I even stayed in a room where William Shakespeare slept, amazing! It was lots of fun and I had a little too much to drink on the Tuesday night, I must confess to feeling a little worse for wear on Wednesday morning. 

Anyway here are some before and after photos from this week.


Day one...

Day two...

Exciting and scary all at once.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Hauling stone and soil from my health and safety nightmare

Yesterday James and I went to the homebuilding and renovation show at the NEC in Birmingham. We've been before and it's a great place to get good ideas for your project and to make it way more expensive by showing you  things you didn't know you needed! We got some numbers for various manufacturers and merchants and some numbers for some local oak framing companies. Our dining room extension is not part of the current building plan but it will hopefully be done in the next few years. I've always wanted an oak framed house, but I'd be content with a small dining room extension! There were some beautiful oak framed house kits on display, and seeing them has renewed my desire. I did get the architect to put an oak porch on the plans for the house, I can't wait for the day we get to buy it. We looked at all sorts of other more boring things like coloured render and windows. My mother-in-law looked after the kids too for us so I even bought us lunch in the restaurant. It was good to spend some time together and has meant James has a three day weekend.

The porch that I want one day

The builder was due to start work on Monday but he's run behind on his last job so is going to start on Friday and work the weekend to catch up. Gives us a little extra time to complete some jobs although we're waiting until the last minute to disconnect the water in the bathroom.

Today we dismantled some rather dangerous steps that led up from the back door to the back garden. As we're having a grab lorry remove the rubble from the extension we thought we'd get rid of the rest of the rubbish while we're at it. Turns out there was way more stone in the steps than we realised and less rubbish. That's good news, less stone to buy for cladding the house and less rubbish to pay to remove. The kids helped do some digging too, they were at it for ages, I was impressed. There's a bit of soil left but as a man with a digger will be here soon he can move it with two passes of the bucket, saving us a few hours with a spade.

Steps at the start, health and safety is lax at our house.

Once we'd done

I think one of our hens may be getting broody too, I want some more hens so I'm keeping my eyes peeled for fertilised eggs. If she stays in the nest box for a day or two I'll get some eggs for her. 

I also did the first mow of the year today, it has given the garden a new lease of life, it suddenly looks less tatty.

This week is all about the final decommissioning of the extension, fingers crossed it goes smoothly.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Clearing the extension and unpleasant post

These last few weeks we've been emptying the extension ready for demolition. It's due to start a week on Monday, all very exciting.

We've also been gathering the various rubble from around the garden and putting it in one place to add to the other demolition waste.  

Last weekend we went to the charity shop and dropped off around 6 or 7 bin bags full of clothes, toys and household goods that we don't need. I absolutely hate waste and can''t throw anything away, which is why I had such a collection to give away. One contributing factor is that family always buy us Christmas and birthday presents, obviously it's super kind but so many are duplicated things we own or things that aren't to my taste. Anyway, hopefully someone will get use from these things. The one thing I will moan about though, bloody body lotion. The most useless creation known to mankind! I have so many bottle/tubs of lotion to rub into my skin. I never ever get round to using them and you know no one will buy second hand lotion from the charity shop so it's all been binned.

James has disconnected some of the electrical and lighting circuits from the extension and this week we will disconnect the rest (the royal we). The water pipes will also need moving this week.

Today we moved our bedroom furniture into the kids rooms and even threw some away. We had some IKEA chest of drawers that we'd bought 10 plus years ago when we first moved in together. Now they'd been fixed multiple times and I couldn't open two of the three drawers. James took much glee in throwing them out of the bedroom window, I think it may have been so I couldn't change my mind. I did however insist we keep the handles in case they're useful at some later date. As you can tell James is long suffering. 

We took it all to the tip along with some rubble to fill the car. With fewer drawers we both had to condense our clothes so I have made another pile for the charity shop. I don't think I've gotten rid of many clothes in over 10 years. I cleared about a third. Anything with holes in or stains went in the bin. I'm not much into buying clothes but I'd like to instate a one in one out rule to save me hoarding them again. I have things that are two sizes too small and if I'm honest with myself I'll never be a size 8 again!

There aren't many photos for the blog this week, I have however taken some of the almost empty rooms for posterity so you can see those. You can see why I am ready for something clean and fresh in it's place.

The dining room, mostly clear

Bedroom nearly sorted

Our downstairs back entry, walls are terribly damp due to no damp course hence the crumbling plaster.

The bathroom, some of the plaster board is already off where we've started disconnecting wires.

My weekend was brightened just a little bit more by a speeding ticket through the post, sigh. 35 mph in a 30 zone, guilty as charged I'm afraid. At least now they do driver awareness courses so I'll have to give up a day to attend. Not the end of the world but £85 lighter in my purse. I am pretty fastidious about sticking to the limit, evidently I wasn't concentrating. I will say one thing though, their efficiency in prosecuting drivers is astounding. I did the crime Thursday night and had my letter Saturday morning, I can't get Royal mail to deliver a letter that quick!