Every time Rich and I go for a little wander round the house, we say to ourselves, ‘This is the worst it’s ever going to look.’ We said it when we first came to view it last March, we said it after ripping the insides of it out and we said it when the roof came off. At some point, it’s going to start looking a little more healthy. Just not today.
The tail end of the week and the start of this one has been all about getting the back wall down, leaving three walls and the floor aswell as the lonely little staircase that, from the bottom, looks like it goes straight into the sky – largely, because it does. There’s not a lot left, it has to be said.
The back wall was probably in the worst condition of the lot – it was going to take about £7K of structural steels to pin it back together and re-attach it to the house. As it’s going to be covered by the extension anyway, we figured best to take it down, rebuild in block and use the stone to replace and repair around the rest of the building. Serves two purposes really, saves money on the pinning and means we don’t have to buy in any more stone. But blimey, the house doesn’t really look its best at the moment!
After all the excitement of last week, I suspect progress is going to slow a little but then, demolition doesn’t take long, it’s the re-building afterwards that takes all the time.
On the upside, we’ve scavenged a load of oak timbers from the roof structure of the old cottage. The initial plan had been to commission the utterly lovely people at Border Oak to build a frame for the new extension. However, despite Border Oak having the patience of saints, we missed our build slot in the factory – the halfwit at the bottom of our house sale chain strung it out so long, we couldn’t keep the schedule. We didn’t know whether we were moving or not for about six weeks. Then, on the day we finally got to exchange, aforementioned halfwit held everyone to ransom by insisting on a massive reduction at the last minute. With hindsight, dropping our pants on the price was the right thing to do, especially considering the market, but it does mean we’ve had to re-think the Border Oak element of the build. Instead, we’re going to re-use the bits of oak that we can, somehow fitting it in to the new structure of the extension. Time will tell if it was the right move to make.
We had a mostly quiet weekend, owing to the fact that Stu knew the temptation of leaving the digger on site would be far too much for both Rich and I to cope with and so took the digger key with him. Bummer. We endeavoured to start it using all manner of items – spoons, screwdrivers, random keys, the neighbour, but to no avail. The little Kubota sat there staring at us, no laughing, about its weekend off. It’s probably just as well, it would only have ended in tears. Instead, we had a fire 😉
There’s one aspect about living in the wilds that I just can’t get my head around and it’s the openness and nature of the whole place. Although we can see the twinkling lights of Yax Vegas in the evenings, there’s no light pollution whatsoever. Last night we sat in the compound looking at the stars (still no telly, must be a record), I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many. It was properly lovely.
By day the pond is alive with a fleet of baby moorhens that scatter across the pond like cartoon characters, the trees are full of birds from wrens to woodpeckers, a lady partridge is sitting on her nest a few feet away from the chaos of the build, the barn owl makes a regular appearance at dusk and real wildlife – Mr T and Badger, are more chilled out than ever. Can’t think why we didn’t move years ago! Still, I reckon it’s definitely going to be worth the wait 😉