LES GUIS - 2010
Having left 2009 with the new stairs up to the attic, we begin the year 2010 with the stud walls on the 1st floor.
I moved the stairs round for a very simple reason, namely that there are only two windows on the first floor. The stairs were in front of one window but I need that window for the shower room that I'll be installing, so the stairs have to go somewhere else. They can pick up their light from the window at the side of the house in the attic.
This means that I have to demolish the existing wall, which is now serving no purpose, and put three stud walls elsewhere on the first floor. This will give me a bedroom, a shower room, a stairwell and a storage cupboard.
The local council had finally made up the dirt track at the back of the house where I have a couple of tiny plots of land. It's my intention to turn these into car parking spaces so that I can move all of my possessions off the public highway and put them under my control.
Here's one of these small parcels, cleared by hand for the moment, and the old Passat is parked there. At a later date, the old Subaru 4x4 came to join it.
Even more exciting, one of the guys at the football club has a huge JCB-type digger (it pays to integrate with the locals of course) and I have another patch of land, right by my barn and not 20 metres from my house, that contained a collapsed cottage and all kinds of other rubbish
Half a day with the digger, two lorry-loads of limestone chippings and then another half-day with the digger to tamp it all down, and I now, finally and at long last, have a place all of my own to park Caliburn.
Last year, I showed you the temporary vegetable garden out at the front of the house.
In the spring I started to clear the area at the side of the house where I wanted to put the permanent version of the vegetable plots. In a rather delightful aerial photograph, taken by poking my head out of the window at the top of the stairs, you can see how much I achieved in 2010, complete with greenhouse and mega-cloche. It's not finished by a long chalk.
We were back roofing too in the summer. The roof on the barn was pretty dismal - if anything it was even worse than the one on the house had been. That couldn't be left much longer and so in another exchange of labour with Terry we cracked on and did that too.
You've no idea how happy I am now that the question of roofs can be left for another 20 years or so. The barn and the house roof were the two most vital tasks and I can now turn my attention to other things
Like the question of the downhill lean-to. That was half-falling-down when J bought the property and a couple of years later another part of it collapsed. If I don't do anything with it soon, the rest of it will fall down and then I really will be having problems.
Now that I'm on a roll as far as work goes, I'll make a start on it. espexially as seeing that Terry and I are working on a neighbour's house and we have things like a cement mixer within wheelbarrow-pushing distance for the next week or two.
One thing that I had noticed while I was working on the lean-to was that the pointing on the side of the house was absolutely dreadful. The holes were such that there were even bats flying in and out of them.
That's not a very healthy state of affairs at all and needs to be dealt with before I think about putting some kind of more-permanent roof on the lean-to, because it will be inaccessible then.
And when time permits and the weather is fit for nothing else, I'm working indoors in the bedroom.
This is slowly taking shape, and you can see where I'm building a fitted wardrobe down at the far end of the room. That's the north side of the house so I've packed the wall with insulation and the wooden walls of the wardrobe will provide added insulation against the cold northerly winds that we have.
But it is not going to be anywhere near ready for Christmas. I shall have to continue in my little attic. I'm quite comfortable and really at home in there.
You can keep up-to-date with my antics on a more-or-less daily basis by reading my blog