Whoop Whoop........our electricity connection is finally underway. I know it doesn't look like much, I mean we are talking a trench with a tube and cable, but for us this is epic progress! Western Power are coming next week to do their bit and then EON will come to connect to the meter. The next step is to get the electrician back to finish inside and...........no, slow down, take it steady. I think I mentally moved in for a moment.
What else has been happening whilst we have been waiting for electricity? Around the site there has been steady (if slow) progress.
Brick cleaning..................is finished!!!! After a herculean effort by Richard and to a pressing deadline, all the bricks are cleaned and stacked, or have already been built into barn 3. It's not been a fun job and friends and family have all chipped in (geddit?), but the vast majority of it was done by Mr Brick himself. I think it would be safe to say that he would never want to clean another brick in his life. The front of the barns has been cleared of bricks and looks much tidier, and the bricks are all nicely stacked onto pallets in the courtyard.
Windows in barn 2 are installed and make it look so much better. The 'barn' doors are also fitted in both barn 1 and 2. These look like half timbered barn doors from the outside but from the inside just look like a window. The idea was to preserve the appearance of stables and cowsheds but without having a load of long glass doors and windows.
Barn 3 is almost ready for the roof. There is some final brickwork to finish off the apexes and then the felt, battens and tiles will be added. The bricklayer is back with us next week so we are hopeful of some speedy process in the good weather. We already have residents in the kitchen - I startled a baby blackbird yesterday which had fledged from it's nest in the floor joists. The tell-tale droppings in the middle of the kitchen gave it away. At least it has time to grow up and leave home before the roof and windows go in!
It's getting very close for a final go ahead for electricity. We thought we had passed the finish post after all the documents were signed and we had paid a kings ransom for the privilege and had a date from Western Power for installation in September. However, after instructing our builder to start the groundwork it has now transpired that we haven't had the final go ahead and there a more bills to pay. Funnily enough, starting the work seems to have prompted some action. Talk about a tortuous (and expensive) process. It has been a traumatic time with a 3 way solicitor exchange and deeds discussed and signed by board of trustees at their quarterly board meetings. It has been beyond a joke, but we are looking forward now to completing barn 1. We may actually move in this year!!!!!!
With all the recent delays we decided to get a second opinion from an expert.
Bob the Builder
Checking the plans
Inspecting the new brickwork
He loves the windows
Checking the equipment
And finally, a little bit of brick cleaning to end the day.
We are wondering if we will ever get electricity. The paperwork has (finally) been drawn up and has been to the charitable trust's quarterly board meeting. Yes, I did say quarterly. There is no wonder this is taking for ever. However, we have heard nothing yet. And no-one has asked us for money so all we can do is send emails and make phone calls.
Meanwhile the build is continuing on barn 3 with a mad scramble to clean bricks to keep up with the brickie. The weather has been either summery with 25C temperatures or pouring down with rain and cold and horrible so it's been a case of making walls while the sun shines!
After lots of hard labour this weekend (mostly not mine), the brick situation is beginning to look under control
Well, it's April and we still have no electricity. In fact, we are still waiting for the legals to be competed. Absolutely shocking state of affairs. We regularly contact Western Power, who then speak to their solicitors, who then speak to the solicitors for the landowner whose land we need to cross to obtain electricity. We can't speak to any solicitors direct, except of course our own, as the other solicitors are acting for their clients and not us. We have been told that it is 'very close' since January. Thank goodness it's not 'in the middle' otherwise we'll be waiting for electricity this time next year.
So after that mini rant about electricity, where are we with everything else? The good news is that despite the repeated spells of white stuff out of the sky, barn 3 is progressing nicely. It is almost at first floor window lintel stage and is looking really nice. We went 'upstairs' the other day to check out the first floor and it really gives a feel for the views from the windows and the roof height - we were a little concerned that we would be 'stooping' where the slope of the roof meets the top of the walls, but it looks like it is going to be airy enough for me at least, and only very tall folk will have to be a little bit careful.
Barn 1 hasn't been finished yet. The electricity situation has dampened down the drive to push to a completion. When we have a date for electricity it will hopefully be all systems go and we will re-order the kitchen to time it to be fitted at the same time as the electricity is switched on. The bathrooms can also be completed as the water will also be connected up at the same time as the electricity. We seem to have paid a lot of bills eg water and electricity without seeing any of the actual products! Interestingly we did get a bill for a tv license which was mildly amusing, and no, we didn't pay it. While rain and snow has stopped play (brick cleaning) we have been doing some of the more fun research like looking at lighting and wooden floors and bathrooms. I have to admit that it would be nice to have a normal life back and actually live in the barns.
Now there is a push to clear the front of the barns. The huge pile of bricks to clean has almost been converted into a pile of rubble and pallets of bricks. The process entails digging through the brick pile and sorting out the good bricks from the broken bricks. The good bricks are cleaned and stacked on pallets and ultimately converted back into barn building. The brick pile is the remains of barn 3 which was scooped up and shifted around to the front of the barns. As we have time pressure to tidy up the front (at the neighbours request) the good bricks are being partially cleaned (the big lumps of mortar knocked off) and then palleted up ready to be moved into the courtyard where they can be finished off and used for the rebuild. This has become a critical process as the bricklayers are running out of cleaned bricks.
Now isn't this a cheery sight? The log burner is fully commissioned and being lit daily. It's the first thing the builders do when they are having their breaks!
Barn 2 has no more progress although the windows and doors have been ordered and will be delivered at the end of April. That will make a dramatic difference to the look of the buildings and will mean that we can take most of the railings down from the front. We are hopeful of faster progress from now on assuming we get some flipping electricity.
At last.....the log burner is in! And tomorrow it can be lit. It's so exciting!