Friday 3 February 2006

Catch me if you can

I had this brought to my attention today - Why I Hate Weblogs so I'll try not to take it personally.

Anyway, the trip to France has now been completed and we're back in this country older, colder and wiser, or at least with the germ of a plan for future progress.

The willows were planted, not without a lot of grunting and complaining from me as I tried to hack narrow slits in the tussocky meadow grass to enable the cuttings to be inserted without breakage. It took hours, much longer than expected and looks much less impressive than I hoped but perhaps the new trees won't mind too much if they have a good spring and avoid the depredations of the deer. I'll have to take netting and old installation CDs with me next time to create a scare barrier to protect them.

One issue that I didn't know I had was that my order from JPR Willows was incomplete. They have left out the Salix Nigricans. Must write and complain but am not hopeful of receiving the £1 worth of missing goods.

Paul made a start on removing the Leylandii conifers that have been liberally planted to provide a hedge in front of the house. We can't quite see why it would ever have been considered a good idea to have these monsters installed because they blocked the view from the house and yet did nothing useful like wind breaking but many of them are dead now and the bonfire was quite impressive.

I spent some time looking at the state of the building I intend to become my studio. It's part of the separate dwelling which we have been referring to as the 'gite' and has the worst damaged roof but inside it appears to have a had a lot of work done on it with new roof joists, a raised roof line and repairs to pointing and windows. The date scratched in some of the newer cement work is 1979. It has probably been used as a cattle shed and hay loft for 30 years but the walls are reasonably straight and sound and I think I can repair the cob with lime plasters and finishes to make a smooth water repelling finish that will last another 30 years. The upper floor will make a good mezzanine level and if the roof is fixed will be quite dry and secure enough for quantities of storage area which pleases the hoarder in my soul. This building is one I intend to work on myself as much as possible.

For the first major project we have been thinking of converting the 'tractor' shed to a two bedroom house with living room and kitchen. This building has the date 1816 above the door, is almostly completely built of stone and has been well maintained over time although it has still been doing duty as animal accommodation rather than human habitation. By starting on this renovation first we hope to avoid any compromises that might be caused by living in the same area that is being worked on. We can camp out in the main house and completely gut the tractor shed during refurbishments, bringing it up to a high standard suitable for letting in the fullness of time and providing a comfortable home to move into while the main house is being worked upon.

tractor shed

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