Thursday, 28 November 2013

An amazing sky

Today the sky has looked amazing with the low sunlight picking out the trees against a darkening background.


This time with no glass but a superb view from the barn out over the landscape.

The 'beasts' are here!

The cows have arrived - this one with the soft brown ears is definitely the bravest, the others crept up cautiously to see whether I was friend or foe.

No more pile

Our huge pile of soil and rubble has now relocated and we have a much needed decent sized parking area in front of the house again.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Gate post

Our friendly farmer came to put up a new much needed gate post. The previous arrangement relied on two gates propped together and we frequently found both lying on the ground. The post knocker made quick work of the task and although very near our water pipe managed to avoid going through it.

A visit and a change of plan

We were excited to have my brother and his wife (not forgetting Harry) visit us at the farm. However Rob's immediate reaction was that the study and our bedroom would be better if they swapped places. Once he left for Wales we returned upstairs to ponder and it was obvious that changing the two rooms round would be a much better plan. Fortunately the electricians have just begun the wiring and our decision won't impact on their work.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

On his knees

Yes Dave is back on his knees cleaning up after the builders - or in this case the joiner. We have a doorway now into our bedroom and lots of plaster on the floor!

The bathrooms form

Our en suite bathrooms suddenly take shape as the stud walls begin to go in. It all happens very fast.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


The first layers of the floor are down and it's a novelty to walk from room to room on the same level. It gives a much better idea of how the different areas will work for us.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Later still

Getting ready to drive home the sun has almost set and the trees are silhouetted against a dark sky.

Late afternoon sun

The sunlight streams into the kitchen this late afternoon in November. I am so looking forward to spending time here.

Just checking

Now when we arrive at the farm I am able to go and visit the sheep. They seem to like being at the top of the slope nearest to our boundary. They have already eaten a huge amount of grass, but I guess most of them are eating for three!!

A cold start

Frost cleared quickly to brilliant blue skies, we ate our sandwiches in the cart shed and then picked a small bowl of autumn raspberries. Dave is holding a sheet of ice from the water trough.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Brace Yourself

Dave fixing braces to the house walls! The structural engineer has advised that as well as the underpinning and stitching, further support should be provided by putting braces up through all three floors. Dave gets to secure them in place. Finally we no longer see daylight through the cracks which has to be progress!

Fencing for 'the beasts'

Today the fence went in between us and our neighbour (on the other side of our land to the sheep) - it was hard work as they had problems with their post knocker. They need the fence to keep in 'the beasts' ... we await these with interest!

Thursday, 14 November 2013


Much to my delight we have a field of sheep as our new neighbours. Once I saw the fence was up I kept hoping for some animals to arrive. Today I saw a lorry go by and so I rushed down to welcome them. There is lots of lush grass around for them to enjoy.


We have a really blue sky now that the frost has gone. The light shows up the furrows in our big field. It's my first chance to look up at the house now that the power cable is out of sight.

A hard morning's work

Our team have finished barrowing the concrete into the house and the freshly washed wheelbarrows are drying by our spoil heap.

First Frost

We woke today to our first real frost of the year although by the time we reached the farm the sun was out and only the area by the hedges was still white. Fortunately it has firmed up the mud which is a definite improvement.

It's busy outside

Today is one of those days when everything seems to be happening at once. The concrete is still being mixed when the tractor arrives to fence. Fortunately it isn't raining (and it's handy we own the road!)

And more concrete!

After taking out so much old concrete flooring it's now time to have it replaced. It was exciting to see the lorry deliver the first load.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


We seem to have taken more wheel barrows of concrete and soil out of the house than would seem possible. At last though the end is almost in sight. The floors are now being insulated ready for the first layer of concrete - due tomorrow.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A Hard Winter?

Most of our holly is now covered with berries which I believe is the sign of a hard winter to come. That is also the long term forecast so we shall see ... meanwhile the robin is singing his heart out in the hedge.

Moss Stalactites

The moss on the cart shed roof is starting to develop into stalactites! When it rains they are so full of moisture that they drip slowly for ages.

Western Power

Today is the big day (finally) and Western Power have come to take our electric cable off the pole and put it underground. Work started yesterday but didn't go well, the pole was too old to be safe to climb and eon left their part of the job once they realised 'their' meter was attached to 'our' bit of asbestos board.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Green leaves

Although we must be on the verge of winter our oak trees are still holding their leaves and they have hardly changed colour. I have never seen so many acorns. At this time of year every glorious day is a blessing.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

View from the Bath

This will be the view from the bath for our guests!! By then I should have been able to get the windows rather cleaner but this is just to tempt you!

A Perfect Blue Sky

Today the sky was a perfect blue. We are still clearing rubbish from the fields and hoped to catch a glimpse of the hounds who were out running - but we didn't get to see them.

Friday, 8 November 2013

A Woman's Work

Once again I am back cleaning out the barns. I have polished the remaining glass and can now enjoy looking outside whilst I work. The views are amazing - if we ever have enough money this would make a fantastic barn to convert to living accommodation.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Ground Source Heat

We had initially considered using a ground source heat pump but following some discussion about how much this would save reluctantly rejected the idea. In the last few weeks though we have watched a neighbour installing his system and after chatting to him we have decided to get some more information as this feels like a better long term decision than oil. We just have to decide if we can afford the up front cost, although we would get money back through the Government's renewable energy initiative.

We left the pipe laying chaos behind us and drove over to a local company to look at their products.

Busy, busy

The front of the house looks more like a car park today as we have lots of people on site. It is exciting to see the rate of progress.

Connecting Pipes

Our job was to connect up the pipes to put in the trench. This sounds easy but in practice we just couldn't join them together. We broke the first one (but fortunately have a large number of spares), eventually our building team brought together the man power of 3 and managed to force the pipes to join up!

Trench Warfare

Well we now have a long trench dug across the 'garden' and it is happily filling with water. We have been to collect the tape and pull cord. This entailed a trip to Derby and a long delay in traffic.


Digging has started in preparation for putting our electricity cable underground. Because we have three phase entering the house it looks rather unsightly and so we decided to pay to re-route it. We have to dig the trench and insert the pipe, Western Power then comes to finish the job on Monday.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


Inevitably after the rain comes the mud. It is frustrating trying to get to the skips and the more we barrow out the messier things get. We are glad to get into the shower once we're home.


We have been lucky with the weather so far this year but today we have rain - everything is grey and very damp. The birds are still singing though and the raindrops catch what little there is of the light.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Going In ...

After a long time removing concrete and tiles from the floor and digging out the earth by hand the time has come to get serious. We now have a digger inside the house!!

Paw Prints

When we were discussing our handmade bricks with the person who is doing our pointing he told us that he had seen a number of places where a cat must have walked over the bricks before the clay had dried. It is hard to think that this happened more than 200 years ago. One print is on the front wall just beside the central window. In the photo above it is three bricks up from the bottom and on the right hand side of the central brick.

My attempts to woo the little stray tabby haven't been very successful so I shall just have to enjoy my special cat stamped bricks instead.

Bricks (and more bricks)

Everywhere we dig on site we find bricks. We wonder if the land was used as a brickworks at some time in the past - it has a seam of pure clay running through and as well as perfect bricks many are strange deformed shapes. These ones though, like many we have found, bear the imprint of someone's thumbs. It is an incredible link with the past.

Monday, 4 November 2013


Now that the clocks have gone back our working days are shorter but the bonus is that we get to see the sun set. I realise that the trees are now bare with their leaves finally gone.

Saturday, 2 November 2013


The days have suddenly become cooler and from our upstairs window the trees can be seen changing colour. A lovely sight despite the damp weather.

Friday, 1 November 2013


The house without the scaffolding. We are so pleased with how it looks. The downpipes are going on too, but this work as you'll see isn't finished!! Most of the pointing has now been completed too. All that remains are some structural repairs to the walls and replacement of the remaining damaged bricks.

The scaffolding is down

The scaffolders have been unable to come this week to take down their scaffolding, so teamwork - three builders and two of us remove it from the side and back of the house so the brick repairs and re-pointing can continue.