5th July 2006

Just for a change, I'll start with the last, first. It's another completely irrelevant photograph - so we'll get it out of the way. Taken at 05:00 this morning on my way back through the Highlands. I'm glad I didn't have to pay for this roof...

The only other points of interest on the journey were the two emergency stops for deer the size of horses with brains the size of walnuts and the regular and very sudden appearance of kamikaze rabbits.

Some photos from yesterday:

The roof... almost built (but not treated - it'll be a tad darker). I think it looks great, mostly because the joiners who are building it really want it to look great - and every bit of wood is being cut to fit perfectly. (You can imagine what a bitch the 'wee' fiddly bits next to the main roof joists are.) 'Coving' to the wall and Velux detail to be added.

It actually looks even better from downstairs looking up, but there is so much bloody scaffloding in the way, it's impossible to get a decent photo.



bloody scaffolding >



I mean, if you are going to have a coffee break, this is a pretty good place to have it, right?







And... a first coat of paint, and even an internal door.

We decided right at the start that upstairs was going to be carpeted so that there would be some 'softer' areas. This also meant that the upstairs wood floor could be nailed into place (avoiding the underfloor heating pipes at risk of death!)

This is also a good shot to show the importance of the six metre pole being er...six metres and not five (as it was when delivered). You can see that all four HUGE roof joists kinda' need it.





The Bruce and John the joiner on 'otter watch' on the break. (There is a family living down below somewhere.)


...and without a hint of a dead deer or squished rabbit - the car on its driveway for the first time. (Sorry.. it's a bloke thing).


Talking of cars (which we're not) : I've been enjoying reading this blog for quite a while. Another Highland rampage.


6th July 2006

Arghhh. The plumbers have left the site (AGAIN) and haven't finished connecting the water cylinder - and the water cylinder is connected to the pipework - and the pipework is connected to the heat pump - and the heat pump is connected to ... well nothing yet as the fitters arrive in ten days and things are not ready for them. Ug.

I'm also running out of money quicker than patience. I am part funding the project with a loan (which has run out) so all the bills are being paid from my personal account... which now has an overdraft the size of Cuba.

At the start of this build I looked like this:

And now I look like this:


7th July 2006

A quick word of praise (rare I know).

When ordering the kit I asked for all door and window 'furniture' (God I hate that term) to be of brushed chrome finish - but we've just discovered that the internal door stuff is shiny gold (yuk).

So I e mailed the agents Sustainable Buildings this morning who e mailed the log home supplier in Finland Arctichouse and within three hours replacements had been ordered without question or fuss.

Nice work chaps... you should all move to Scotland.

By the way... it's seven weeks today we are due to move in (gulp).


8th July 2006

A 'cut and paste' from the Artichouse website:

"The old Finns knew how to appreciate polar pine. Centuries ago they built the first log houses with polar pine utilising its unique attributes. You can find log houses in Finland today which are hundreds of years old.

For our log houses we use only the highest quality, polar pine. The trees used are between 90 and 120 years old. Because of the extreme atmospheric conditions they grow very slowly, which means the polar pine develops a special red colour, a dense structure and even, symmetrical growth."

...as seen on this photo taken on day 1 of the build >>


That means our house is already about 100 years old! ... and there was me thinking it just felt that way.


9th July 2006

We are packing. This is a good thing. We will spend six weeks packing. This is not so good. Due to the fact that we both work from home, and thus have ENDLESS GUFF, we have spent £150 on boxes, bubble wrap and sticky tape. This is a bad thing.


10th July 2006

Here's the plan.

This week: The plumbers turn up - finish all the pipework for the heat pump and fit the storm collar to the chimney. Meanwhile the joiners continue building the floor and roof. A local landscape gardener turns up, clears a lot of the building detritus, landscapes two large areas of the plot and builds a dry stone wall.

Next week: The ground source heat pump people turn up from Stirling, fit the pump and commission the heating system. The electrician turns up to facilitate this. The joiners fit all the internal doors. The tiler arrives and tiles the floors and walls of the bathroom and two en suites. The builder with the digger turns up and back-fills the trench. The carpets are ordered.

The following week: The air conditioning people turn up from Glasgow and fit and commission the system. The electrician turns up to facilitate this. The fireplace turns up and is installed. Some of the joiners become painters and decorators to continue the work that the decorating firm started - but didn't finish.

The following week: The kitchen is fitted. The joiners build the balcony and banisters and finish internal window details. The newly promoted painter decorators treat all internal wood (including floor and roof). A Template is drawn for the granite worktop and sent to Cambridge where it will be cut. The scaffolding firm remove the last of the scaffolding. The removal firm is booked.

The following week: The cooker, hob, hood, microwave, dishwasher, fidge, freezer and under-cupboard lighting are all fitted. The electrician turns up to facilitate this. The carpets are laid upstairs, the plumbers fit the taps, toilets, bath, showers and dishwasher, The tiler returns to tile the kitchen. The joiners build the stairs and more banisters. The granite worktop turns up and is fitted.

The following week: The electrician fits all the switches, sockets, lights & smoke alarms. British Telecom turn up and fit two broadband connections. Sky TV turn up and fit a satellite dish. The joiners finish off all internal work they haven't finished. Final decoration is completed.

The following week: We move in.

Whadda' ya' rec?


13th July 2006

The only problem with the above plan is it needs people to turn up.

"We will be back on site on Wednesday to commence installation of Thermalstore so it will be completed by w/e 07-07-06".  


14th July 2006

  The Geo Thermostore - now in the 'plant room' is designed specifically to work with ground source heat pumps (and solar panels) ... it stores and circulates water at two different temperatures, for domestic use and for the underfloor heating system. Energy from the solar panels heats the water as much as possible before the heat pump is utilised, thus providing 'free' heating and hot water whenever possible. The heat pump carries the burden in winter, absorbing warmth from the earth (via the 60 metre bore holes we had drilled). Almost as important, is that it looks like part of a second world war submarine.


Opposite: The downstairs 'floating' wood floor is being laid onto the screed.

This is not fixed to the walls, allowing it to expand and contract without cracking when the underfloor heating is on.







16th July 2006

Our next door neighbour here in the Lake District runs the Honister slate mine As if it wasn't enough flying a helicopter to work and building an ampitheartre underneath a mountain, he also gave us a good deal on a very chunky plinth which we decided to set onto (and into) the wall of the house. This might seem a tad 'twee' but the house will be around a lot longer than us and it'd be good to read in a couple of hundred years.

Back to our neighbour... luckily we have a helicopter landing pad at the top of our driveway at the new house, so he can visit when we move. (OK, it's the bit of land we unloaded the house kit onto... but it's been used as a landing pad before, and helicopter landing pad sounds so much more cool doesn't it).

Let's just hope the house is completed this year or we'll need a shed load of Tippex.

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