Strawbale House

This blog is intended to chart our progress through the self-build process, from half-hearted plot-hunting through to completion of the build. The twist is that we're building the house from timber and straw (hence the blog title).

Click on the image at the end of each post to see that day's photos.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

January 29th - catch-up

First diary entry in several days. Last night I finally got home at 1am after a bit of a marathon wiring the boiler (which involved lifting the vinyl floor in the pantry and squeezing through the tiny hatch to access under the floor and pull a cable for the cylinder thermostat).
We were supposed to be moving in tomorrow, and had booked a van and lined up a small army of helpers. That was until our landlord pulled a bit of a flanker. He turned up this morning and informed us that we are required to give three months' notice, rather than the one month we provided. Can't understand why he waited until the day before we were moving, when we gave him a letter a month ago. The result is that we've decided that since we have to fork out another £600 (he's letting us off with two months' notice) in rent on this place, we might as well use it for a while and make the move a bit more relaxed and less of a stress. Who knows, we might even have a phone connected before we move...
Over the last few days a huge amount has been done on the build. The boiler and hot-water cylinder are now installed (by Jim Lauder, a local plumber, and seeing the spaghetti of pipes, I'm very glad I didn't tackle it myself!). The shower is in place (thanks mainly to Melvin, with a bit of help from me) and I've done a fair bit of joinery, skirtings, architraves and a very pleasing oak window sill in the dining room. I've also floored the utility room and the cupboard under the stairs, and Carlo, a local joiner gave me a hand at the weekend to fit doors on all the bathrooms. Rob the painter came back to paint the cupboards and touch up any knocks we'd made. He was horrified and a bit grumpy at the state of the walls, which are pretty mucky in places and liberally pock-marked. I think we probably had the painting done too early. He did what he could with the small amount of remaining paint, and said he'll come back when we've completed the moving in process. The paint does seem to mark incredibly easily, and with the four children dragging hands along walls, I think it's going to look pretty tatty pretty quickly.
I've hardly been taking any pictures, mainly through lack of time and inclination, and partly because my camera battery has packed up, and a full charge only lasts about ten shots.
I think I might have finally cracked the mysterious leak in the patio door. I had a good look at the design, and decided that the gasket where the bottom of the door meets the frame was crap. It was very thin, and didn't seem to be compressed at all when the door was closed. I removed it and replaced it with two strips of self-adhesive foam draught-excluder. Today it rained for several hours, and not a drop came in. I can hardly contain my excitement. I also switched all power off and installed proper 25mm tails between the metre and the fuse-box, in place of the much thinner cable I'd used temporarily. This was fine for when we were just using a power-tool and a few lights, but now the house is ready for full load (simultaneous washing machine, cooker, dish-washer etc)
I've gone back to the building society and asked to borrow and extra £10,000. This necessitated another valuation (and another £75 fee), but it should just about get the place finished, although a good bit of the landscaping will have to wait till the spring or summer.

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