' the Woodlouse: Mud


Sunday, 17 June 2012


Today's instalment of catchup photos: start of ground-works, followed inevitably by the start of the returning rain after a couple of weeks sunny reprieve (during which - of course - I was working inside).  The day I took the tiles of the roof it started raining, and the day after earth works began it started raining.  It's starting to feel personal!

Excavation for the strawbale wrap, exposing the original concrete strip foundations on which the wrap foundations will sit.  This is at the front of the house - at the back they're a metre down.

They had to swap the mini-digger for a micro-digger to dig this foundation and drain out.  The mini-digger fitted, but didn't have room to swing round, so could only have dug in the centre of the space.

Scraping back the topsoil ready for conservatory (rainwater tank lurking in left of photo)

Conservatory footings marked out

Service entry - defunct gas pipe, current electricity cable (until we move it) and original 1960's phone line.

Conservatory footings before the rain.  1 metre deep to allow for movement of the clay soil without harming the building.  Building inspector has agreed we can follow height of original foundations - when they step up, the new ones can too

And there we go: the rain returns, fills the nice square-edged trenches with rain

I really regret not having sorted out some kind of temporary guttering sooner

Same problem at the front.  Rain pouring off roof into the trench (then running around to the back to fill the conservatory foundation with even more water)

A rainwater drainage pipe that can't be used yet!  Yet to be connected to gutters and rainwater harvesting tank

Temporary lack of functioning toilet begins: breaking into original clay foul drain, to link into new drainage (yet to be constructed).  Plastic pipe (50% recycled plastic) connected to clay pipe by rubber gubbins

New inspection hatch going in.  Left-hand connection will run under utility room to bathroom; middle connection (bottom of photo) will connect up to extension WC and sink in Anna's studio

Beginning of my attempt to reconnect drains to loo as quickly as possible - girt hole in the utility room floor.  Sliced through floor with disc cutter (there's now no water in the utility room as the pesky water pipes got in the way and I sliced through them too)

I started off with a little breaker, but the concrete floor slab proved too much for it so I had to upgrade to this.  That was fun.

Thankfully, I took care and managed not to smash through this - the mains water pipe where it enters the bathroom, perfectly in line with where the toilet is being moved to...  More saltglaze pipe, made up the road in Poole.


Trench sides starting to collapse with the rain, about a foot of water in the bottom

The lagoon
Rainwater harvesting tank (2700 litres) in a girt big hole
Pea gravel/pipe-bedding going in

Pipe to the right = service pipe (will carry power cable for the pump and water pipe supplying house with rainwater); Pipe at bottom = rainwater pipe (all the gutters on the tiled roof will feed into this one)

Lovely pile of clay from the tank hole.  I was worried we might not have good enough clay from the foundation excavations for clay plaster - then they dug this lot out :-)  Much better clay, dries solid, should make good plaster.

Last bit of hole covered back over with earth
Temporary guttering up at last.  The ladder is now an integral part of rainwater control.

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