Official Hiatus

Well, I’ve reached that point where I’m cutting the weekly food bill by buying less fresh vegetables, which are now the major trimmable expense, because I’ve trimmed all the others. And you know when you can’t afford vegetables, it’s time to get a job. So there will be no building news for a while (not that I was giving you much anyway) and hopefully a break on that front will mean that in 6 months or a year I’ll have lots of money and lots of energy and the whole thing can begin again in earnest.

Meanwhile I’m warm (my masonry heater is the best thing ever) and dry (thanks for the roof, Andy, and the windows Nora, Ben and Craig!) and I can do without plumbing and wiring for another little while.

Feel free to give me a heads up if you know anyone wanting a website, any graphic design, a wedding cake or tweed suit.

See you in a while…

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A Milestone Of Sorts

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Frivolously, we have continued to work on the gin terrace instead of making the house more airtight before winter. This has proved to be a good idea so far.

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The met office are saying the warm weather could well last into October, so there’s no rush, and having a deck in this weather is making us all a lot happier.

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Anna loves it.

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Jack loves it.

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I love it.

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We mounted the doors (and glazed them.)

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And I finally got to try the tenon cutter Anna bought for my birthday years ago.

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Which made the spindles to go in the railing (made from a bit of holly Steve was kind enough to cut down for me) so fast and easy to cut.

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Steven and I knocked the railing together out of mostly free bits, with surprisingly little trouble.

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And we had a celebretory dinner on the lovely deck. Not quite done, but useable and looking so good it gave me a bit of a boost.

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This is the house I made.

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Further Summer Antics

Up and down a bit. Mostly still good. Aside from the one anxiety attack that had me gripping the edge of the table and waiting for the panic to subside. But shit happens. Got to keep moving. At least I know to just watch a damn documentary about Georgian history and let it pass. And other than that, it’s been an ok week.

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Steve helped me get the frame for the wood drying solar kiln built and get the big window on it.

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The siding was mainly bits I had lying around, plus some OSB scalped from the ex warming hut.

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The side of the house, in addition to being more wind proof, is now more waterproof, because we rented a digger and put a drain in.

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Steve’s very lovely friend Darren came and drove it, since me driving it would have been a bit of a farce.

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We dug two drains and three soakaways. The one for the kitchen sink waste will be via a compost filtering system in this pit.

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Anna and I spent a fairly miserable, if productive, day building a dry stone retaining wall. Dry stone walling is my least favourite job after roofing.

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It is decidedly not  beautiful, but I think it is stable enough to hold back the soil.

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The cherry harvest came and went, and we will have gin next year. A very few cherries went into a tiny mug-in-the-microwave batch of jam which was delicious.

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Summer

This has become the longest warm, calm and sunny spell I’ve ever known in England. It’s amazing. I want it to last forever. If this has anything to do with man made climate change, I’m almost tempted to forgive mankind for it.

I’m also in a good mood, long term, because I’ve got new drugs for a slightly underactive thyroid, and because I’ve found an exercise I can do for my back that ACTUALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE. So more energy and less pain equals me able to do things like clear out some ivy and branble stumps and remove a raised bed from the back wall in preparation for a new wood drying shed.

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And at the same time, finally doing something about the giant hole in the house that pissed away all my heat last winter. I had been avoiding thinking about it all summer because I didn’t know what to do about it and my recent self has been unable to see that as a fun challenge that spurs me to creative problem solving. More like a giant scary unknown that makes me watch movies in bed all day.

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But the new me, which is more like the old-old me, just started knocking holes in the place, figuring it out as I went along. Which was a pain when I realised the ring beam had sagged toward the inside and needed jacking up. My bottle jacks were not really doing the job, so I called in Andy and he lent me is acrow props. Sorted it right out, and I was able to get the old window frame out and cut it up to use as the new supports.

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Insulation is now in, and I’ve put some treated wood cladding on the outside and will stuff and render the edges. Pretty it is not, but weathertight it is, and that is what I will care about come winter. I may well build a lean-to shed out from it to look a bit better and be a handy place to store tools.

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Anyway, summer. Everything about it is great. The orange sherbet rose is going apeshit.

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Turns out it likes nothing better than a good hard prune. Noted. The jasmine is also producing actual flowers after a prune last year. There’s something in it.

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In other news, last night we went to the pop-up theatre in York, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was fabulous, hilarious, engaging, so watchable and so funny I didn’t mind standing for three hours in the flea pit, which is what you get for the cheap tickets.

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The theatre is a sort of replica of Shakespeare’s Globe, but in scaffolding, built in a car park in York. It had a little food and drink village outside with actual good street food and entertaining musical sideshow. A really outstanding effort, highly recommended if you’re anywhere near York.

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I’m having a great summer. Thanks, universe.

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Rendering

The most progressy thing that’s been happening is the rendering of the outside of the house. It’s quite shocking how much better it is when someone who knows what they’re doing does it.

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Miki came back to help, and also put me in touch with Gemma who’s a really experienced professional heritage plaster. The results were amazing.

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I was the lackey, making gak and render so the skilled people could get on with the skilled work.

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Gemma’s partner Loukas came for a bit and did some more skilled work, agreeing to be paid in sewing jobs, like altering a wax jacket. More fun than rendering if you ask me!

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So here’s the result. It’s not done, but it’s a lot more done than it was before. I’m planning to spend a year saving up to have the same team back and finish it all off next summer. So let me know if you know anyone wanting sewing help or lessons, or wedding cakes, or anything else I can do for money.

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