The Festive Season

There’s nothing like a very stressful land purchase to make Christmas… practically disappear from my radar, actaully. I hardly noticed it, what with the frantic negotiations with Buildstore and discussions with our accountant about just how much of our company’s money we can get our hands on.

The latest is that Buildstore have approached Ecology Building Society and we have an “agreement in principle”, which (when pooled with the remortgage or the current house, plus the money we turn out to be able to lend ourselves from our company, plus some change we found down the back of the sofa) will buy the main plot and allow about a modest amount for build costs. Which I’m slightly afraid will build a small shed, rather than what you might call a house, but I remain optimistic, because I am willing and able to do a very great deal of the work myself (assuming I can get some training and advice) and I’m quite happy for it to take a few years.

We’d been assuming all along that it would take years to build the whole house, and had planned it in two stages anyway; a main dwelling of 2 or 3 bedrooms and an open plan ground floor, quite modest in footprint, to be followed, when funding allowed, by the construction of a sort of workshop/great hall/guest accomodation/social space/multi-purpose wing, with a connecting hallway between. The whole thing would be maybe 250 sqare metres of interior space, so reasonably generous, but we would build the dwelling bit first to save money, and then save up to begin the second stage.

It now looks as if we will have to build the workshop/great hall first, which will be entirely open plan with a sort of railed loft area above, and a shower room and small kitchen at one end. It remains to be seen where on the continuum between frontier cabin and great hall this building will fall; I am not in a position to accurately estimate build cost, being posessed of a great deal of enthusiasm and generalised engineering and practical skill, but not of any specific idea how to apply these to building a straw bale house, so I can’t say how much of the work I will have to pay someone else to do. I will make an appointment with Barbara at Amazonails the very moment I am confident this land purchase will go through.

Meanwhile, while it’s still the bank holiday and nobody’s available to discuss progress with me, I shall sit here with my mince pie and mulled wine and try a bit harder to feel festive.

(drums fingers)

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