Monthly Archives: April 2014

Final toppings added

Written by stephen gale

Yesterday (Easter Monday) we managed (with help from Gordon and Liam) to get all of the toppings on the remaining end wall.  With all of the toppings in position, we have the opportunity to have a bit of tidy up.  The remaining toppings are put to one side and the left over pallets are stacked in the back field.  We do have some left over walling stone and this woo will be stacked in the backfield.

After the great weather over Easter, it has started raining today and it is due to rain for most of the rest of the week.  Ah well, at least we made the best of the good weather.

Placing these large topping stones is definitely a two man job.  They vary in weight, but are probably in the 50-75Kgs each.  These is me and Liam carrying one into position.

Placing these large topping stones is definitely a two man job. They vary in weight, but are probably in the 50-75Kgs each. These is me and Liam carrying one into position.

 

These stones are heavy and often it is difficult to get two sets of hands on them at a time.  This is my and Liam placing one of the topping stones - the sawn side is put to the back of the wall so that it cannot be seen from the sunken garden.

These stones are heavy and often it is difficult to get two sets of hands on them at a time. This is my and Liam placing one of the topping stones – the sawn side is put to the back of the wall so that it cannot be seen from the sunken garden.

 

The back of the stones are chocked to ensure that the top of the stones are level (or nearly level).  Occasionally, we chock the stones from the front, but we have to be careful as these can often be seen.  You can see one further down the wall on the right.  The chocks at the front usually run the entire width of the stone or even two stones.

The back of the stones are chocked to ensure that the top of the stones are level (or nearly level). Occasionally, we chock the stones from the front, but we have to be careful as these can often be seen. You can see one further down the wall on the right. The chocks at the front usually run the entire width of the stone or even two stones.

 

When it comes to nudging the stones into their final position there is no substitute for brunt force.  Gordon is pushing this one into it's final position.

When it comes to nudging the stones into their final position there is no substitute for brunt force. Gordon is pushing this one into it’s final position.

The stones are placed in position (they are not cemented into place).  They are chocked to ensure that the tops are (more or less) level.  Steel toe cap boots are a bit of a must. Liam is nudging this one.

The stones are placed in position (they are not cemented into place). They are chocked to ensure that the tops are (more or less) level. Steel toe cap boots are a bit of a must. Liam is nudging this one.

Although it is wet today, we managed to get all of the toppings on the end wall yesterday.  With enough time for a few drinks in the pub.

Although it is wet today, we managed to get all of the toppings on the end wall yesterday. With enough time for a few drinks in the pub.

We have  not built up part of the wall in the back garden.  This is to allow access to get the flagstones into the garden.  It is going to be a couple of months before we get around to laying the flags.

We have not built up part of the wall in the back garden. This is to allow access to get the flagstones into the garden. It is going to be a couple of months before we get around to laying the flags.

Finishing off the garden walls

Written by stephen gale
All ready for the topping stones tomorrow.

All ready for the topping stones tomorrow.

The walls now in the sunken garden are now at the correct level and are all ready for the toppings to go on - just as with the other wall in the garden.  The weather has been kind again to us today, so we managed to get it finished by lunchtime!

The walls now in the sunken garden are now at the correct level and are all ready for the toppings to go on – just as with the other wall in the garden. The weather has been kind again to us today, so we managed to get it finished by lunchtime!

You can see the large topping stones in the background.  Once the sand and cement has set, we will have a go at getting this into position.  Rain is forecast overnight, hence the plastic bag over the cement mixer.

You can see the large topping stones in the background. Once the sand and cement has set, we will have a go at getting this into position. Rain is forecast overnight, hence the plastic bag over the cement mixer.

We had some sand and cement left over, so this went into the top of the wall to help keep it together. Although this will be hidden underneath the topping stones, we left our mark!

We had some sand and cement left over, so this went into the top of the wall to help keep it together. Although this will be hidden underneath the topping stones, we left our mark!

We had another good day, so it was time to get the end walls up to the same height as the rest of the walls in the garden.  Then there are only the topping stones to go on!

 

Some more photos from placing the toppings

Written by stephen gale

Courtesy of Jo……

Yes, I did say the weather was good on this day.  By mid afternoon, the sun had come out.  I even took my hat and coat off and got a sun tan!

Yes, I did say the weather was good on this day. By mid afternoon, the sun had come out. I even took my hat and coat off and got a sun tan!

Me and Gordon trying to work out the best way of placing the toppings.  They aren't all the same shape, so some of them have to be chocked at the back to make the tops level (hence the yellow spirit level and the bit of string).

Me and Gordon trying to work out the best way of placing the toppings. They aren’t all the same shape, so some of them have to be chocked at the back to make the tops level (hence the yellow spirit level and the bit of string).

The boss.  Under a blanket.  Zep has selected these stones personally and they are now under guard.  Soon long as he doesn't fall asleep!

The boss. Under a blanket. Zep has selected these stones personally and they are now under guard. Soon long as he doesn’t fall asleep!

Walls in the sunken garden

Written by stephen gale

We have made the best of the good weather over the Easter Bank holiday and have been finishing off (or attempting to) the walls in the sunken garden.

We now have the large topping stones on the upper wall.  This is a two man job as many of the stones are too heavy to be lifted by one person.  Many thanks to Gordon for his help in getting this is place.  And no flatten fingers or toes in the process!

We are going to use reclaimed flagstones to pave this area, but this is going to have to wait for a little while.  We looked at new Ashlar flags (they would look too new) and Indian sandstone (really, what in Yorkshire!), but we are going to hang on until we have the money to put down reclaimed local stone.  At £50-60 a square meter it isn’t cheap and with around 100sqm in the sunken garden, it all adds up.

And while we are on the subject of money, we decide to invest in our own cement mixer.  We bought a second hand one on eBay for £150.  If we sell it in 4-6 months time for £100, it will have cost us £50.  In contrast to the £40/week it would have cost to hire.  It was a bit of a no-brainer.

We now have the topping stones on the upper wall in the sunken garden.  The smaller ones are just about manageable by one person, the larger ones require two to lift.  The end stone is a monster and two of us struggled, but we got there in the end.

We now have the topping stones on the upper wall in the sunken garden. The smaller ones are just about manageable by one person, the larger ones require two to lift. The end stone is a monster and two of us struggled, but we got there in the end.

The upper wall complete with toppings.  These topping stones are 30cms high x 20cms wide x 40cms deep.  There are cut from old stones in one of the local quarries.  Many of them are old steps, window heads or door cills.

The upper wall complete with toppings. These topping stones are 30cms high x 20cms wide x 40cms deep. There are cut from old stones in one of the local quarries. Many of them are old steps, window heads or door cills.

You can see the topping stones on the upper wall in the background, we are still working on the remaining walls.  Hopefully, these will be finished in the next couple of days.

You can see the topping stones on the upper wall in the background, we are still working on the remaining walls. Hopefully, these will be finished in the next couple of days.

We still need to get the end wall up to the same level before we can put the topping stones on.  We decided to invest in a second-hand cement mixer.

We still need to get the end wall up to the same level before we can put the topping stones on. We decided to invest in a second-hand cement mixer.

The domestic RHI Scheme is now live

Written by stephen gale

After a number of months of anticipation, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced that the domestic RHI scheme is now live and ready for applications.  You can see the press release here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-scheme-offers-cash-incentive-to-households-using-renewable-heating-systems-in-their-homes

The application process on the Ofgem website is also live and it seems ready to receive applications.  You will find out more here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes/domestic-renewable-heat-incentive/about-domestic-renewable-heat-incentive

From what I can see, the policy or process has not changed from what has been disclosed previously.  The rate (18.8p per kWH generated for ground source heat pumps) remains as discussed previously. 

I am just waiting on our green deal assessment and EPC before completing our application.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes to process.  Watch this space!

Update on the kitchen

Written by stephen gale

Last week 2 out of 3 of the kitchen sinks arrived.  It was a long journey from the US!  Hopefully, the third and final sink should arrive this week (although from the latest emails from the kitchen fitters, this is starting to look unlikely).

The sinks are Silestone Integrity and these are glued to the underneath of the Silestone work surface.  The join is exceptionally neat and barely noticeable producing the effect that the work surfaces and sinks are all made out of one piece of granite.  The sinks themselves are formed by casting a single block of Silestone and then milling out the shape of the sink.

With two of the sinks onsite we can fit the worktop and hob along the perimeter wall.  This happened last Thursday and we managed to get the hob powered up on Saturday.  So now we have a partially functioning kitchen.  At least we don’t have to go outside to fill up the kettle now!

Two out of the three sinks have arrived, so only the island unit is now without a worksurface (other than cardboard!).  Hopefully, the last sink will arrive this week and the kitchen can be completed.

Two out of the three sinks have arrived, so only the island unit is now without a worksurface (other than cardboard!). Hopefully, the last sink will arrive this week and the kitchen can be completed.

These are two of the three sink bowls that we have been waiting for to arrive from the US.  They were built into the worktops and installed last Thursday.  Now we have hot and cold water in the kitchen. Yippee!

These are two of the three sink bowls that we have been waiting for to arrive from the US. They were built into the worktops and installed last Thursday. Now we have hot and cold water in the kitchen. Yippee!