The National Botanical Gardens’ apple and pear event

On the 19th of October we travelled down to the botanical gardens with James’ parents to see the Apple and pear event being held there. We were fortunate with the weather and got a bit a of look around the gardens too!

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The menfolk became distracted by a tractor exhibition….

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The event itself though turned out to be a couple of stall selling appley products, honey etc…. And a LOAD of tables with every imaginable apple laid out….. Mmmmmm….. No photography allowed inside either!! Grrrr….. However there was one little stall located close to the entrance to the marquee. Dolau-Hirion fruit trees. The gentleman on the stall was a font of apple tree knowledge and listened carefully to our landscape description and advised us on types, root stock and types suitable for hill growing in west Wales. He is based at Llandeilo so we shall most definitely be paying him a visit!!

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Fun on the farm!

The weekend before last James’ parents came down for the weekend, and stayed in the lovely B and B my parents enjoy!

We got a wealth of things done and now have a new outside light, electrically powered pointing out to where we park up when we arrive, expertly installed by James’ dad.

James and his dad also fixed the leaky tank in the hovel!! (See previous post)

Whilst this was going on James’ mum and I took a shovel and went off down the lane which had flooded and was a bit of fun to navigate after all the rain… On our wandering we had found the water pouring over the bank rather than down the pipe into the stream…..

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Not having wellies I couldn’t get close, James’ mum bravely waded in with the shovel accompanied by the Labrador Bella who was over the moon at having so much water to splash in!! She located the drain and managed to clear the leaves that were clogging it. The vortex in the water once the leaves were cleared was immense!!! Once the water went down a bit, I could get close and cleared the rest of the leaves by hand and we moved onto the drain on the other side of the road….

This one was also invisible and had to be dug for….. This time through rocks and silt from the hillside, which had been washed down… The owners of the top fields have been digging out and clearing the drainage ditches and I think this was just the run off from that. All the loose stuff being washed down due to the heavy rains we had had! So once the second drain was cleared the pipe was once again gushing water in the right place!! Bella was a little disappointed though that her splashing pool had gone!!

Mental note has now been made to find myself some decent fat calf wellington boots!!!

James’ mum and I also found some more interesting bits on our wanderings and we have found that the drain cleared earlier in the year….

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takes a good load of the run off from the hill out of the second stream!!!

Bella the Labrador was also pleased to find this water to splash in!!

The before and afters!!!

So….. The path…

It took soooo much work and time and back ache I feel it deserves a before and after shot!!!!

Before…..

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After….

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So that’s two, no wait we dug one out… Three gates, a tonne of brambles and nettles, tyres, rocks, silage bags, mud, more rocks and rubble to give traction for the gator, digging, hedge cutting, strimming, digging, barrowing, gatoring, oh yes and a mound of cow poop!!!

BUT we can’t now get gator into the back field without running the sheep gauntlet!!

Path building

For the last few weeks of visits James and I have concentrated our efforts! post failed diggering at sorting, clearing, digging, rubbleing etc the path from the yard into the field behind….. This field is no longer orchard field as James feels we have too little flat land to devote it to orchard….. Orchard and I have been moved to a steeper part of the rough land next to this field….

It has been hard and messy work…..

Mud…

Rain….

Silage bags that come out of the ground like hankies out of a magicians sleeve…..

Tyres….

Rocks……

Old rusty metal work…..

Gates…..

Old bits of fencing…..

Well I’ll let the pictures tell the story….

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Leaks

Yes Leaks not Leeks!!!

The same weekend as the building news in the previous post…. Water began to leak from the hovel ceiling….. Now the previous owner had kitted it out in a rudimentary and temporary way, but then had lived in the place for 10 years!!!

We turned on the water, we turned on the heating as normal when we got there (the concrete slabs all round the place like to suck out the warmth and the place can feel quite damp on times)

Then the dripping started…..

It started above the green cylinder in the corner of the room drip….drop…. Drip…. Ugh….. James opened the hatch…..

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Turns out the over flow ballcock wasn’t working as it should so the tank was overflowing into the ceiling space and dripping through the pipe holes…..

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Thankfully last weekend James and his dad spent the morning taking it in turns to be legs poking out of the ceiling hatch and rigged up a temporary solution to the issue!!! Hurrah!!!! No more drips!!!

Building regulations

Hello everyone, sorry for my absence but James and I have been super busy between work and Tyddyn Bryn visits, emails, phone calls…..

Back at the beginning of the month bundling work was progressing with all the underfloor insulation going in!!!!!

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And we were on course for the underfloor heating to be installed and screeded by the middle of the month……

Then the builder and I agreed given a few issues with roof trusses that we should probably invite the building regs chap out for a visit……

He came out on the 2nd of October and since then we have stopped work…. Boo hissssssss…….. My builder met with him and then later in the day rang me with a list of 8 yes 8 points that need to be dealt with…..

1. Wall plates and roof truss clips…. Some have been fitted backwards so this needs sorting, but it’s fairly simple and easy.

2. The bathroom/bedroom three wall…. This wall is a cement and mortar wall that sits on a metal RSJ it is 4inch block and supports the roof….. No no no apparently four inch block is not good enough and steel is required and the wall balanced as it is on the beam needs taking down…. Ok said James and I we can make a stud wall and have a smaller bedroom! bigger bathroom and the steel could form a corner of a shower enclosure…. Oh but wait this isn’t the only four inch block wall supporting the roof….. No no!!!! The wall to the left of the gaping from door hole is four inch block that runs from the concrete base all the way up…. Building regs man wants steel in there too and a reconfigure of the wall…. But this could help with point seven…

3. The Esse walls…. We had the left hand wall moved and new lintels installed as the space was not big enough for our stove we wanted…. Now the right hand wall which supports the chimney is insufficient and needs to be six inch block not four inch block!!! Argh!!!! Starting to bristle somewhat by now!!!!

4. The building regs chappie would also like to know what is under the concrete base…. What lies beneath…. Structural engineers report needed…… ££££££

5. On a positive note the chimney liners that one of the builders said were upside down aren’t….. They are the right way up….. And the boss reckons said builder must have had whiskey on his cornflakes that morning…..

6. The upstairs flooring….. “There’s a bit of a bounce I don’t know if you have noticed” ummmm no says me….. All the new flooring joists have been let into the walls, the old walls, I.e. The two foot thick stone walls…. Not so many and they have installed noggins and bridged them across giving the floor a bouncy feel…. We have two options….. Take the upper floor in these places down and start over (hell no!!!) or beef up the stud work underneath from the concrete slab to support the upper floor in places it needs it….. So this means we need to take up chunks of insulation and add these struts in…..

7. Stairs…… They won’t work in the current hallway, head room and door opening space is an issue…. Even if we remove the upper floor…. Needs reconfiguring…. Which needs an architect to do….

And finally

8. Secondary means of escape…. All the upstairs velux windows in the plan are secondary means of escape…… The previous owner has installed the wrong ones…. Again two choices, FD30 doors throughout the house…. Or replace the velux…..

So thump…… Wind totally removed from our sails……

We have arranged a builder architect me meeting for the 28th…..

In the meantime I sneakily checked with the building regs guy myself and had the following via email…..

Further to our site meeting with your builder at the above I confirm the following points that need addressing as discussed.

1/ The single block partition supporting the ridge beam appears to be inadequate please provide a structural engineers appraisal including any recommendations for this support
2/ Please provide a structural engineers appraisal for the single supporting chimney stack
3/ truss clips to be provided on the inner leaf of the wall plate
4/ Please provide specification details of stairs. [Ref. Table 1, Approved Document K]. Minimum 2m headroom is required on the access between two levels. [Ref. Para. 1.10 & Diagram 2, Approved Document K].
A space 400mm clear of any door swing is necessary on landings. [Ref. Para. 1.16 & Diagram 6, Approved Document K].
5/ Any window provided for emergency egress purposes and any external door provided for escape should comply with the following conditions:
The window/skylight should have an unobstructed openable area that is at least 0.33m2 and at least 450mm high and 450mm wide (the route through the window may be at an angle rather than straight through).

Please note this is not an exhaustive list if you require any further information or help in any way please do not hesitate to contact me

I need a structural engineer….. £££££ again, but this may be better than forking out straight out on building if an engineer thinks some areas are fine…..

Overall I think this build may take a while longer than hoped…. Just hope that we get it completed before the mortgage deal is up for renewal and we can get it onto a normal rate rather than the self build rate!!