15th Oct: A Mushy One

I’m happy to report that, for now, the groundworks have stopped so all is calm again at the ‘Billy. Not that it wasn’t all very exciting, but suddenly things seemed to be picking up some serious momentum with a speed that felt a little out of control. Phase One of digging is over and I’m happy to report that all went without a hitch, even with me in the control seat for the digger. Well, apart from the midnight measuring session that I’d had a slight panic over whether I’d given Landtech the latest foundation to finished floor level design drawings… Fortunately, I had. It’s 380mm if anyone’s interested.

Up to finished floor, the new extension. Brick plinth, render, clay tile roof. Lovely!

As we stand today, the stable pad is down, the footings and foundations are in for the extension, aswell as block and brick up to finished floor (it looks big again) and the same can be said for the mancave. According to Simon, the beam and block is arriving Wednesday and Matty’s coming back to concrete the garage and give it a nice polished finish. That’ll keep Mr M happy.

That’s an after shot, obviously

I think I mentioned in my last effort that Helifix Hayley was due to arrive and give us the definitive guide to the amount of Helifix that needs to go in. If you’ve got a really knackered building that needs restoration then give them a shout. Basically, the bars are like steel knitting needles, with spines, that get chased in between the courses. You can’t see them, but they’re bonded in with a seriously high-priced epoxy resin and work a treat against any structural movement. Stu really rates it as a product, so it must be good – which is probably why initial quotes were around the 25K mark. Yowch. To win the 10 year warranty, you need an approved contractor to carry out the works. As luck would have it, we’ve got an utterly splendid team of guys just down the road who’ll do it as a change from the multimillion pound contracts they’re usually working on. They must have got wind of the cake on Friday deal 😉

A sort of before shot

I was, frankly, shitting myself waiting for Alan (Helifix contractor) to come back with a price. Although Stu has done some serious wonders with the stonework repairs, I had doubted just how much of a miracle worker the man is. But Jesus, if anyone can walk on water, then Stu can. The latest price for Helifixing is just shy of eight grand. A whole £10K under what I’d allowed for in the budget and a third of what had been originally quoted. Stu, you deserve a medal, not only have you done an utterly sterling job of rebuilding our little old house, you’ve facilitated the construction of my riding arena. You will go to heaven. And you will get a bonus gift 😉

Talking of Stu, he’s off for a week’s salmon fishing from next Monday and I hope he has an utterly splendid, whisky-fuelled time. Like us, he’s had a total ‘mare selling his house. On and off more regularly than a prossie’s undergarments his house sale has finally collapsed today on account of the completely schizophrenic people buying it. What is it about house buying/selling that brings out the total arsehole in people? Oh, our original chain-fucker (our buyer’s buyer) was called James Atteck. I promised to name and shame when the blog hit 10,000. It’s now done just over 30,000 so I felt I’d cheated some of you by not living up to the promise. James is a self-styled Doctor – giving him a more authoritative moniker than he deserves, and kidding everyone that he’s a trustworthy pillar of the community. He’s actually a Doctor of Engineering – so basically fucked around at Uni doing a Masters, probably sponging off his parents, instead of getting a job. James also works at Jaguar Land Rover. Silly boy. Richard can’t wait for the interview 😉 I do hope that chicken in the chimney is starting to stink…

Stu, or Jesus as we know him

Anyway, enough about arseholes, the house is looking beautiful thanks to Jesus, I mean Stu, and DependaPaul (who is STILL wearing his shorts, crazy fool). Now we’ve got the Helifixing lowdown, they’ve started re-pointing the old gal before the weather gets bad. God, it looks glorious. Like properly, properly glorious. All of a sudden, it’s gone from a dilapidated wreck to something more beautiful than you can ever imagine. Honestly, I can’t tell you how chuffed we both are about how well it’s looking. I think, when I first saw the house, I saw in my mind what I hoped it would look like and it’s going to be even better than that. It’s difficult to remember just how bad it was until I look back at old photographs and the story along the way.

And it has been a bit of a tale. I think when you’re in the thick of it, you tend to forget what you’ve put on the line to get there. We’ve owned the property for just over a year now and we’re ordinary people – we paid a hefty mortgage to cover the cost of our old house and the purchase of this one, because we effectively stepped of the ledge. Well, Rich did, I just egged him on.

Er, looking back, we must have been mad

But when you think back, and put it into perspective, black and white, it’s like ‘Holy fuck’ we really took a risk by taking out so much debt in today’s market. Fortunately, it’s finally starting to look like it’s going to pay off.

But I have to add that it’s all about the people you get involved. In all honesty, I doubt we would have done this if Stu hadn’t agreed to take it on way back when, when he arrived with his pad and paper, looked at the house and said ‘I thought you said it just needed a little bit of work, I’ll give you that you’re brave.’ But that’s actually what this whole thing is all about. It’s about nothing more than the people. The people who first broke their backs humping the stone here 800 years ago, the people who took that stone, carved those beams by hand and rebuilt the whole affair about 400 years ago and the people today, who are taking so much care and deliberation so that people can enjoy this home for the next 400 years or more. So thank you everyone, you’re doing a sterling job so far. And I’ll stop now because I’m in danger of sounding like a total softie which may well bust my ball-breaking budget attitude bubble, but know this; we couldn’t appreciate you more.



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