In fact, it’s been up for a couple of months now. I have been very remiss in keeping you all up to date with developments here. Midsummer madness has been in full swing with the accompanying (seemingly required) state of keeping far too many plates spinning all at the same time because not one single plate can be dropped. At all. So, I have spun all those plates (and somehow escaped to Morocco in the middle of it all – which was totally wonderful and I feel very, very lucky indeed!)
The green oak frame is a very beautiful thing. A real piece of craftsmanship. So many hours of work and so much careful measuring has gone into it.
The frame arrived on a huge truck in individual pieces, each marked with either curved or straight roman numerals, corresponding to other pieces that they would be joined to.
Matching marks were sprayed on the floor to mark the placement positions.
The driveway was completely blocked and in order to get in or out we had to climb through the old lounge window onto the lane. My Mum did it brilliantly, still very agile in spite of her advancing years.
The next day the lads started to put it all together. It was so exciting I kept the children off school to watch. After all it’s not every day you get to watch your very own oak frame being built before your very eyes.
The weather was not quite on our side starting with a light mizzle, increasing relentlessly as the day went on. The crane operator was only here for the one day. He was working blind as all the posts and purlins had to be lifted over the main remaining wall of the house into the space beyond. One of the framers stood atop the wall, communicating with the lads on the ground and the crane man, watching the timbers as they were carefully lowered and radioing over directions ‘left a bit, up a bit, right a bit, down a bit, whoaaaa’ etc. This worked fine until the mizzle finally killed off the walkie-talkies. Then the whole job slowed down and instructions had to be shouted over the crane engine.
Were they fed-up? I don’t think so. Every time we went to see how it was all going they were full of beaming smiles and energy. By 6pm they were still going and as I drove the kids to swim club they were ploughing on to get all the pieces in place before the crane man had to go home. We gave them a couple of bags of sweets to help them along as there wasn’t much else we could do to help. They easily worked an 11-hour day – possibly longer – before the frame was complete enough to release the crane man and for them all to head off for hot showers, a beer or two and some sleep at a nearby holiday let.
The next few days involved some fine tuning and hammering in of oak pegs. It was amazing to see how the shape of the ‘new’ house was evolving.
And look how excited we were about it all – we’ve dreamed of this for nearly 30 years! (I swore I’d never put a photo of us up so this is to be the only one. But look. even Gigman is excited and he never gets excited about anything!
A few days later, when all the pegs were hammered in and all the finishing off was finished off, the sun came out and I took these photos….