Marching on

March will be remembered for my Mother’s 90th birthday and for several emergency medical visits with 2 other family members. Thankfully both are now back to ‘normal’ but I have spent as many hours in waiting rooms as I have on house-building! Nevertheless, the house is progressing. The heating engineers have fitted a boiler for the central heating and hot water systems, but we are now waiting for the manufacturer to convert it to run on lpg as we have no mains gas. The electrician, Mark Garrett, has installed what looks like miles of cabling – even working on Easter Sunday and Monday to finish the job for us. And we have installed pipework for the central vacuum system. This posed a few problems for us as it is designed to fit into a traditional breeze block wall. But after a lot of thought, measuring and debating, coupled with a little bit of trial and error, we finally came up with a solution.

Outside, the cladding is slowly marching up the wall which faces East. It is the most visible and has the largest number of windows, so it has involved a lot of accurate measuring and each individual piece has been double-checked with a spirit level before being fixed in place. Because it is oak, the holes all have to be pre-drilled and countersunk before the stainless steel screws can be inserted. As the cladding goes up, so the pile of timber goes down and we worry whether we have ordered enough. I have visions of the final wall consisting of hundreds of tiny offcuts!

Also during March our work was regularly accompanied by birdsong from the hedge and we had visits from flocks of migrant fieldfares and redwings. These have now moved on as Spring weather has finally reached us. No longer are we having to add an extra three layers of clothing every time we come outside to work on the house.

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