Saturday, 14 September 2013


A couple of things have happened this week - first of all we've had the big sycamore tree cut down from the bottom of the garden. Unfortunately we weren't able to get the stump ground down as planned. Apparently the stump grinder weighs about 800lbs, and is self propelled, but wasn't able to make it down the rather narrow steps in our garden! Luckily with it being right at the bottom of the garden, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. The tree people took all the branches and wood away, but they did leave a LOT of sawdust! We collected 11 bags of it, and there's still lots there!

 The main news this week though, is that we've picked a builder, and he's hoping to start in about four weeks. He'll be doing the downstairs pretty much, so the two extensions, removing the chimney breast, the walls, and adding the new steel supports. A joiner he works with regularly will be doing the loft conversion, and he will hopefully be starting even sooner - maybe just a couple of weeks. It finally feels as though things are moving forward after weeks and weeks of ripping things out and going backwards!

We do have some wallpaper left to strip off in the hall, landing and stairs, so will hopefully get that done before anyone starts. We also have a man coming round to check whether we need a new damp proof course. We're not sure whether the couple of damp areas are 'real' damp, or just because they're rooms that mum didn't really use, and so rarely got properly heated. If we do need the new damp proofing, then that will mean hacking a lot of the plaster off downstairs, which of course it's better to do now rather than later.

So, although we've just about done everything we can do in the house, and will be handing it over to the professionals, this is where it starts to get really busy and hectic (not to mention expensive!)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Winter is Coming

Ok, I know not everyone will get that reference, but I like it!

It was a tough anniversary last week - six months since losing mum. In many ways it's flown - it's hard to believe I haven't seen her for so long, but at the same time, it seems to have been a really long summer. I think we've achieved a lot with the house. We've almost finished stripping everything out inside, settled on final plans, had builder, plumber and joiner quotes, and are about to offer the job to our first choice of building firm.

We've just about finished clearing the garden. The massive sycamore tree at the bottom gets felled today, which should make a lot of difference to the light, but now it's turning cooler and wetter, we're going to be limited with what we can do in the garden over the next few months. There are a ot of paths and small walls for raised beds to be removed, so we might get some of that done, but really it depends on how wet the autumn is, and when the builder can start - our access will be a bit more limited once things start moving on the build.

In many ways it feels like it's been a bit of a lost summer. Usually we'd have been on holiday last week - Al was off work, but we cracked on with work at the house instead, and put the cash saved towards the build. We'd also normally have spent the summer having lots of days out - either to the seaside or out for picnics at Brimham Rocks & Fountains Abbey, but again, all our free time seems to have been spent working.

I know it will all be worth it in the end, of course it will, but I can't help feeling a little sad that the summer's just about over and we missed most of it!


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Adele has nothing on Jay

So yesterday we had a bit of a fire. Well Jay did.

Took a trip up the road this afternoon. 24 hours after we left the fire dying down. Arrived and we could smell smoke. Wandered down the garden. Fire had burnt right down, nothing but ash.

However the ground around it was charred and smoking!!

Watering can was filled and emptied. The slabs used for the fire pit lining hissed and created steam!! Hot stuff!

So Adele set fire to the rain. Jay went one better, she set fire to the Earth.

PS Sycamore is coming down on Tuesday!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Hello my name is Jay and I'm a pyromaniac

The other day Jay told you about the garden incinerator we bought. She wasn't going to use it, it was all mine. That lasted less than a day. I've hardly had a look in!

As it could only be used for non woody waste, wood burns too hot and would warp the metal, we would still have to take the wood to the tip. I suggested a fire pit. So a raised bed, got converted and some of the many, many flags from the garden were used to line it.

This morning we wandered up the road to do a little bit, ok a lot, wheelie bin + 3 trugs + 2 ikea bags & stuff just lying around.

As the pit was to be my baby, I started a little fire.

Within a minute I'd been relegated to the incinerator!

Yes Jay was in charge of the fire. She was building it bit by bit, so that it could cope with bigger and bigger bits of wood.

Then horror of horrors garden waste was running out!

Thinking that was that I was expecting the fire to be left to burn itself out. But no. Could I start breaking up the trellis we'd taken down? That ran out. Could I dismantle the trellis that was still up?

Thankfully easily accessible wood ran out and lunchtime arrived. Home we went, yet again stinking of smoke. Another successful day.