I go to the gable-end of the bungalow to unravel a measurements mystery (the bungalow is clearly not the size the surveyor said it is, this has happened in a number of places and I'm not impressed), return to the extension-end a short while later to find another task that had been preying on my mind has been completed with ease. It's lovely being suddenly surrounded by a variety of lovely people, especially as they are helping build Anna's and my home.
We've been feeding the volunteers well, or more accurately: we've all been extremely well fed by a friend who has been doing the catering. I've always been extremely well fed on strawbale courses/volunteer weeks on other people's builds so it's nice to maintain the standard.
In two days we've filled the extension and wrap plinth with the insulating, draining and damp-proof foamed glass gravel; fitted Darren's awesome timber baseplate (including amending it to fit the actual door location - Darren built it exactly as instructed, but I built the door slightly in the wrong place... Kuba says it's better there but he may be humouring me); filled the base plate with LECA (lightweight expanded clay aggregate); fitted the uprights around window and door openings; clay-plastered the bungalow where the wrap bales will meet the existing walls; and finally put the first bales in. Anna and me have been waiting for this moment for well over a year now, and it feels great. There is, of course, still a huge amount of work to do but the bale building has begun. Knowing that soon we'll have complete walls - on which a roof can be built which will create a new indoors - is brilliant.
|Technopor foamed glass gravel, compacted as ever in layers|
|Clay plaster (a simple 2 sand : 1 clay mix) on the existing bungalow, ensures a level(ish) surface for the bales to meet, and helps prevent condensation at the join|
|Kuba mixes some plaster|
|Extra thick straw/clay plaster and timber ensure a secure join where the loadbearing strawbale walls meet the bungalow. The bales will be notched to fit snuggly around the timber|
|Chips, drizzle and seaside: Kuba and Anna enjoy the authentic English seaside experience|
|The baseplate is levelled with wooden shims and mortared in place|
|I want a giant wooden toy train to play with on this|
|Mike, Kuba and Jo examing a lump of Technopor, fresh out of a bucket of water to confirm that it is indeed impervious to water|
|Sharpening stakes to go in the base plate to secure the first layer of bales|
|Aksel and Civita fitting eye-screws, used to tie the wrap bales against the wall|
|Permanent window/door posts and temporary corner guides|
|Kuba making a long bale. This window is designed same size as existing bungalow front windows to match visually and keep planners happy. It means it doesn't fit bale size so well, so we'll need to make some bigger and some smaller.|
|LECA very effectively fills and insulates the voids in the baseplate|
|Kuba and Marcin notching a bale with an alligator saw|
|Anna and me lifting the first bale into place, assisted by Julia checking we put it in the right place|
|Pushing it firmly into place|
|Sam proudly fitting bale number 2.|
|Kuba and Chocolate at peace after a good days work|