Paddy and Jonny have started pointing the outbuildings. Last week we laid a new concrete floor in the end shed that was the original privy for the cottages. The floor in here was raised up with a large stone slab with holes in it. The ground underneath was full of organic matter and straw. I will leave you to work out how it all worked. We removed the large stone slab and dug out the floor – it wasn’t smelly as it hadn’t been used for 200 years! We then put down a waterproof membrane and a concrete floor. The floor level is just above the level of the drive outside to stop any water running in.
It is always a shame to remove original features, but this space just wasn’t usable as it was – there was a big step up and the floor was porous letting in a lot of damp.
We are using the same lime pointing that we used on the house and to point the flagstones in the patio. This way it all matches. It is amazing what a difference it makes.
This end of the shed was the original (18th Century) privy for the cottages. There was a large stone slab about 12 inches up from the floor. The floor underneath consisted of organic matter and straw. I will leave you to work it out! The slab has been removed and the floor has now been dug out. We have installed a new step and a concrete floor. This makes this space much more usable. It does however mean the door is a bit short.
Well, after 2.5 years we have managed to finish the dry stone wall along the side of the orchard and the top field. It was November 2012 when I finished building the first bit of “test” wall – I did this after attending a weekend dry stone walling course. I did keep a record of how many days that we spent dry stone walling, but lost count at around 20. I suspect that we have spent between 50-60 days over the last couple of years rebuilding this wall. We have worked on other walls around the property during this time as well as building the retaining walls in the patio, so we haven’t been doing nothing.
The finished wall is around 110m in length. The wall was in pretty bad shape when we started the project and the vast majority of it has been taken down and totally rebuilt – we have only managed to keep around 3-4 metres of the original wall.
The wall isn’t perfect, but then dry stone walls never are! They are a reflection of the quality of the stone that goes into it. This wall contains the well rounded gritstone that made up the field boundaries, but now contains additional stone left over from the building work or some of the demolitions. While the wall in the orchard is largely straight, the one along the side of the top field has quite a few wiggles in it – mainly due to trees. We still have some stone left over from the building work, so I suspect there is some more dry stone walling to come.
It is just over 110 metres from the gate around to the far Ash tree in the distance.
It is just over 110 metres in length and the original “test section” of wall is in the far distance next to the furthest tree. With each metre of wall containing around 1 tonne of stone, this has been a bit of a labour of love over the last couple of years.
The fields on this side of the wall don’t belong to us so for now we have just had a bit of a tidy up.
You can see the wiggles on both sides of the wall. Plus we also have a fair amount of stone to move before we can start mowing right up to this wall.
The bit of wall to the right of the original test section (it is a slightly paler colour) looks a bit of a mess! I think I might have to have a go at rebuilding that bit. If only for vanity’s sake.
The flagstones went down on the new patio before Christmas, but unfortunately the weather wasn’t good enough to be able to point them at that time – it was either too cold or too wet. Well, the weather has started to turn (I did say “started”!) and we started pointing the flagstones this week. We are using the same lime based pointing that we used on the house so that it all matches. Even at this time of the year, there is a risk of rain or frost getting to the pointing before it cures. The pointing is protected overnight with a large sheet of hessian. So far this has worked well for us.
It has take a week or so to complete the pointing on the lower (and larger) of the two terraces. I reckon that the pointing will be complete on the upper terrace too by the end of next week. You wouldn’t think that it would make much of a difference, but it really has pulled the whole area together.
The lime pointing is being mixed to the same proportions as we used on the house:
1: 1: 5 1 portion 3.5 N /sqmm Hydraulic lime : 1 portion white cement : 5 portions Nosterfield River sand
The materials have all been acquired from Womersleys that specialise in materials for restoration projects.
Now the weather has improved we have started pointing the patio. We are using the same lime based pointing that we used on the house. The fresh pointing is protected from the rain and the frost overnight with a large sheet of hessian.
It has taken the best part of a week, but now the lower terrace of the patio is pointed. It makes a tremendous difference to the appearance of this space.