Tag Archives: roof

The Path to Success

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Life in Wales was to be just that…a life, not an existence. When the weather allowed, we wanted to immerse ourselves in the landscape and create a home, surrounded by our four acres of land. Self sufficiency was another aim, using the wood on the land and planting new trees for the future was the first step; creating a vegetable patch, the second. My card for this month is II Wands and I embraced its message, gathering up the spark from the ace, propelling me along my chosen path and fulfilling my dreams of my life in Wales…and then reality hit me like a truck, out of control on the ice road…my partner and I have to work as well.

1655477_912692688801104_1676088900175960390_oThough we’ve been in our house since November 2013, without a roof and with major work needed at the house (heating, bathroom, sceptic tank), setting up my partner’s wood floor business in Wales is in its infancy so working away is the only option. Without him here, I’ve done my best, but this weekend was our first opportunity to make a real difference. On Thursday, I borrowed a strimmer from a neighbour, keen to get a headstart as the weather was dry and sunny.

I trimmed as far as the lead would reach but no extension lead could be found in the house. I read about using a white vinegar and salt solution to kill weeds and decided to douse the grass and weeds growing through our decking. I carried the two gallon can outside five times, liberally dousing the area. The following morning, I checked to find it had made no difference. I cleared nettles, barrowed stones and filled the holes on the driveway. I burned half the cleared bramble, twig and nettle pile, until the ash in our tractor wheel fire threatened to seep from its metal safety and a few spots of rain began to fall.

DSC_0157My partner came home. I’d cleared away brambles and nettles at the front of the house, dragging out the beech tree branches ready for chainsawing, splitting and barrowing…and then the chainsaw refused to work.

My head said ‘Forget it, you’re both tired. Give up,’ but my heart said ‘No way!’

Our fabulous neighbour lent us a chainsaw. Between strimming the driveway, extension lead having been extracted from partner’s car, I moved a dozen barrows…until we realised the piles in the wood barn were not going to work and we needed to move the wood we were using now. ‘You’re tired!’ yelled my head. ‘It needs to be done, you can do it’, assured my heart. By the end, my biceps were buzzing, my back screaming but the resulting wood piles were magnificent…and then it rained.

We worked in the rain on Sunday morning. I cleared nettles from around half our apple trees, my partner mowing without the grass boxes on as they clogged every five minutes and still it rained, a thundery downpour forcing us indoors. Just after four o’clock, the sun came out and we cleared the final uncovered logs from the front grass and finished mowing around the house.

Returning our borrowed tools, we sat on the riverbank with a cup of tea. DSC_0132

 

Whether its people or circumstances, we get knocked and buffeted on our path. Doubts creep in, as does the fear, both of the future and of failing. Only you can commit. Only you can turn a dream into a reality.

 

 

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A roof over my head

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I’m a simple soul. With a roof over my head, hot water to wash with and basic veggie food, I’m a happy bunny but so far, in our little Welsh farmhouse, we’ve not had much luck with roofs. How excited I was last year when the thatch went on but since then, it has continued to leak and our upstairs is still unliveable.

It’s been much the same with the byre…waiting for responses from CADW, work had to stop and then the letter came, intimating they may consider granting us a pittance but requiring an excessive amount of hoop jumping and no guarantees of help. So we’ve carried on ourselves, the last of my inheritance going into the byre but always knowing we didn’t have the money to finish it.

DSC_1420 This was how the byre looked in July 2015. The weather at the end of last year held up work as the clom wasn’t drying and wouldn’t support the roof. The builders tried and did a good job covering what they had done but hours of work were washed away while we waited for CADW. Architects, structural engineers and building inspectors were brought on board to finalise the roofing plans and in February 2016, work began again. DSC_0242DSC_0243DSC_0245Swathed in scaffolding, the little building felt happier inside, as if it knew it was being loved again. DSC_0247

With the roof trusses in at the end of February, our hard working builders worked through hail and snow to get the insulation on DSC_0254DSC_0256DSC_0258Finally, the byre is looking like part of the house DSC_0057After much deliberation, we decided where the skylights should go…it’s very hard to decide how a room is going to be used when it looks like a cow shed! DSC_0058Now the scaffolding is down, the inside feels amazing. DSC_0061The building inspector came this morning and he was pleased with the work. Sympathetic to this Grade II listed building, we won’t need to insulate the walls but we will the floor…not a worry for us as once the roof is finished and, hopefully, doors and windows in, we will have run out of money.

So the byre, one day to be our kitchen and social hub of the house, almost has a roof and the building has been saved for future generations to enjoy.

It’s raining outside…I’m sitting in my little Welsh farmhouse and I can hear the drips in the room above my head…