28nd Sept: All of a Flutter

I have to confess, for the first time this week I felt a little bit scared. Yes, I know, unlikely, but true. Up until now, it’s been easy, laidback and progress has been steady. The house, I can cope with. And might I say how gorgeous it’s looking! That ruddy great big hole in the front has gone, all the lintels (bar one) are in and the only bit of stonework left to do is the bit that Stu has been putting off since day one – that nasty old corner. Still, he’s at the end of the line now. He either does the corner or procrastinates some more until going on holiday in a few weeks time. Even Stu won’t manage to find other stuff to do for that long a period…

Before I get to the scary stuff though, the good news is that yesterday I got a cheque back from the Ipswich Building Society for the full application and valuation fee. Apparently, it’s rather unusual to be refunded but they sent it back because they got the impression that I wasn’t going to go away. They’d have been right. I’m certainly not an ambulance chaser but for the amount of time they’ve taken coming to this conclusion (been approx. 3months) then I should have asked for some extra for the ‘stress’. Still, we got the money back, the little guy won, etc and Brian the Mortgage Magician has sorted everything out for us.

Until now, Rich and I have been in debate about the man cave. We’ve got planning for a three bay garage, with office and shower room/toilet above. As Rich works from home and has an extraordinary amount of motoring paraphernalia including a race suit for every occasion, the idea of the man cave was that he could keep all of his crap in there.

Meaden Man Cave! But it’ll have doors

However, although we were always going to pour the footings for the man cave, we were going to hold off building until we’d finished the house and see where we were financially. I’ve always (selflessly) insisted we do the man cave early on – Rich does actually work really hard, believe it or not, and given half the chance he’ll be writing well into the night. I was hoping that if he’s in the man cave, rather than a room in the house, he won’t be tempted to work after dinner/all weekend/any spare moment and can have fun with me instead.

To that end, the man cave is going ahead. The Magician talked us through it – a little bit more finance now, finish the whole site by next April, have plenty of equity, re-mortgage with an offset on a fixed rate of around 3.1%. That way, we can also claim our VAT (5%) back in one hit, rather than losing out on the VAT claim for the garage.  Man maths, it’s the way forward.

Rich was at Silverstone at the weekend, and spent time in a mobile home smaller than ours. Sadly, there wasn’t a bit of chintz in sight – it was a bit more faux leather, but did have central heating so thanks to Neil for putting him up. Or putting up with him 😉

Racing GT86, nice way to spend a weekend

Rich was racing for Toyota in the new GT86. Despite a number of ticking’s off from the marshalls, the team brought the car home 3rd in class and 8th overall – pretty impressive for a car with considerably less horsepower than the rest of the field, especially as the car had never run before. It’s nothing if not reliable, then again, it is a Toyota! Thanks for your kind hospitality Scott – very impressed by the chrome in the ‘home. Not a patch on ours though 😉

Big machines moving in

Anyway, after a quiet Sunday night with a curry and a bottle of red, little did Rich and I know what was coming the next morning. People, and lots of them. With machinery. Big, big machinery. All of a sudden, our little patch of heaven has been overrun with what seems like billions of people, all with very important jobs to do. Landtech, the groundworkers (obviously all lovely else they’d be kicked off site) rocked up en masse this week and the place is unrecognisable. I knew things would happen with some pace, but never knew we’d got Usain Bolt’s form.

I can’t tell you how exciting that piece of concrete is!

Since Monday, the following has happened: the ground has been scraped back from house to stable are – we found some  clean hardcore under the ground (about 8in – that’s saved us another few £) so Matty has scraped all that up, used it to make the base for the stables, and built a great big pile of spoil and top soil. He’s going to re-grade it all afterwards so my veg garden won’t be a total bastard to establish.

Oh yeah! Three stables, two horses. For now…

Then, he’s done the hardcore for the stables, had them concreted, finished them and then done the apron for the stable yard. Three pours of concrete, very, very exciting. Basically, the stables are ready to be built – this is probably the most exciting part so far. Not because the house isn’t utterly brilliant, but because having the horses at home is going to be a real life-changer. Rich, having been away overnight, did mention that it looked quite ‘large’ compared to his man cave space. I pointed out that his has got two floors and that it’s not a competition. But he does have a point.

The man cave gets the go-ahead!

Having done the stables, they then moved on to the footings for the man cave – which were dug in a couple of hours max, and the concrete poured for them yesterday afternoon. Rich stood mesmerised for hours watching it all come together, more than likely fantasising about the cars he’d want to put in there. Stu and I managed to negotiate a power floated floor for an extra £150 and dinner for Matty. Rich will be a happy boy 😉

Matty, Dan and Simon doing what looks like pouring concrete

While that was all going on, the house was being given a chimney pot on the dummy chimney, the chimneys were pointed, the lining went down for the woodburner, another lintel went in, the upstairs floor was ripped out and the scaffold was dropped on the back wall. There were seven vans/cars, (not including ours), the scaffolder’s truck, a sand delivery lorry, three concrete lorries and about 15 people all with jobs to do. And I’m meant to be the project manager. Yikes. Just glad Stu’s around, he usually saves the day…

The chimney’s not particularly large, but Ben suffers from dwarfism

Today, it’s just Stu and Paul again so we can all breath. We’re going to have a ruddy great fire and nick some potatoes out the field – bake them and then have them for lunch. Usually we have cake on a Friday but after the drama of the week, I declared yesterday cake day so we had jam tarts. Today, we’ll have a civilised lunch before the drama kicks off again next week.

The last caption was a lie

And breathe…



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