' the Woodlouse: 'Pause' button please


Friday, 15 June 2012

'Pause' button please

It's been a while since the last blog, I've been keeping my head above water but sometimes it feels like only just.  The daily need for build-related decisions is relentless, likewise the need to keep on top of ordering materials and trying to book in help when needed.  We already have a very tight schedule and this dammed rain keeps coming.  I'm still adjusting to the reality of a world without Dad in it and would really like a handy big "Pause" button to give me time to think.  All that said, although the project continues to be a seamless stream of anxieties too, I am mostly still enjoying the practical tasks.  It's very satisfying when things move on and another visual sign of a completed phase clicks into place, especially when it's after something I've done myself.

The ground-works are well under way but just like the roof-work was, they are being slowed down by an incredible amount of rain.  It took the best part of a miserably wet day to move a pile of earth from the back garden to the front of the bungalow because the little dumper was up to its axles in mud.  On a dry day that probably would have taken about an hour.  However, the footings for the strawbale wrap of the bungalow and for the conservatory are now in place, ready for me to start brickwork later next week on the small plinth walls that will support the bales.  Lots of drains have gone in, as has the the 2700 litre rainwater harvesting tank.

Photo's of all the above to follow in subsequent posts - there are far too many photos amassed from the last month to cram into one blog.  I'll put them up over the next few days.  Today it's photos of the finishing of the loft and ceilings.

"bat slate": provides access through hole cut in tiles to loft space and bat roost

Top half of the solatube, pre-ceiling

Verges (the sloping end of the tiles at the gable end of the roof) mortared up by myself and Kit; some nice lead-work by Gary the Roof, using lead reclaimed from the chimney stacks I took out.

First glimpse after the scaffold came down.  I lost my lovely Lisa Hammond mug to the scaffolders, I think one of them took a shine to it.

Month a half of work and from the front it looked like we'd just cleaned the roof!

Header tanks for rain water harvesting system installed (pump in ground tank feeds this tank, making the system powercut-proof).  Also shows extra timber to support loft floor above insulation depth.

I put in extra timbers and used scraps of board to provide safe future loft access above the depth the insulation will come to

This exciting bag of gravel was waiting on the doorstep one morning for me to approve for use for cement-free foundations (more on those in coming blog-post)

Bits of Spring managing to happen, despite the awful weather

The good, the bad, and the very ugly.  First attempt at plaster-boarding with the screwgun.  I got better...

Yaay! Gas supply permanently disconnected.  No more fossil fuel for us.

Plasterboard lifter - the lone ceiling fitter's friend, along with the electric auto-feed screw gun

The sloping ceiling and flying gable were a bugger to board out.  I had help for this room, but that didn't stop us making a hash of it in a few places.  Came good in the end though.

Screw strips for the screw-gun

I find this so pleasing: the lens at the end of the solatube, after I fitted the tube down into the new bathroom ceiling

It's even shinier on the inside.  Solatub, rainwater header tank, and last patch of blue glow from the roof membrane


  1. A great big pause button and maybe a reset button too. I feel your pain. I'm 3 years deep in the same situation and surprisingly its the decision making process that has me at a stand still. Always wanting to do what's right without sacrificing quality. Whoever said alternative building is easy was a fool. Chin up, carry on. The pictures look great.

    1. Thanks! Yes, it would be so much easier if we didn't care, and could say "sod-it, flood it with concrete" etc. Pesky scruples...