What do you do when the work you are doing demands dry weather and it’s November in Wales? The short answer would be “nothing.” However, there have been a few steps forward in my project to build a verandah for Jean Slater with help from builder friend Neville Hughes. My hope is that this work will pay enough to fund my trip to Scotland in May.
I have made a start. On two half days I managed to screw 2×2 battens onto the very uneven walls of the bakehouse. On top of the battens will be a waterproof, breathable membrane. Behind the membrane will be sheep’s wool insulation and on top of the membrane will be hardwood cladding. Jean would have liked me to press on with the cladding, but until I know what the ground level is going to look like I can’t decide how to finish the bottom row of cladding, and I have to start at the bottom and work up. In addition I have to keep the wool dry, so I can’t really do the cladding until I have a roof in place.
We had a site meeting a week ago with Neville, Geoff the excavation expert and his side-kick Richard. It was a long process of looking at all the ways ground could be shifted to make this project work. The verandah is going along the SW side of an old building called “The bakehouse” this was where the bread for the farm would have been baked and it also has a second storey which became “The Schoolhouse” where children from the local farms came for Sunday School. The whole farmyard is on a level near the bottom of a bowl shaped valley. From the front of the house, which faces SE there is a steep drop down to the infant Marlais stream, and from the side an equally steep drop down to a tributary stream on the SW. In theory this should mean that the site is well drained, but as things stand at present, the bakehouse, and hence the verandah is cut into the slope so the ground rises before the water can get away. In this picture from left to right are: Richard, Neville, Jean and Geoff.
To sum up, these are the problems Geoff is facing:
- Exposing the foundations (or lack of) so that the walls can be protected from damp.
- Finding and protecting electricity cables and an oil pipe.
- Digging drains to take the roof and surface run-off water away.
- Working round the young but well formed poplar tree. (on the left in the top picture.)
We reached a consensus that Jean would pay for Geoff to do a day’s exploratory work before he can decide on an estimate for the whole job.
Neville is liaising with him and will let me know when they hope to start. That was a week ago and the forecast today shows rain every day until next week-end.