Weather and Illness Stop Play

By | 7 Feb 2015


Although in our immediate area we don’t have snow, it is still bitterly cold outside with an icy wind and of course that cuts right into the yet-to-be-refurbished house I’m glamping in.

It’s too cold to point around the windows, too cold for mortar in a new door opening we want to make, and the render on the chimney inside the barn also can’t be continued as it seems there may be a leak from the room/chimney.

The same roof and chimney that have only been just been renovated and replaced!

Current workman said he needed to be sure before I called the builders responsible back in to fix it.  So it’s being left for the moment to see what happens after the next rain.  Hope it’s soon as it will hold up some of the work otherwise, and hopefully there won’t be a leak.

It’s stressful having to get builders to redo their work.

For my jobs, it’s too cold to ‘badigeonner‘ the fruit trees (coat the trunks with a lime mix against fungus etc) – even if I wanted to be working outside in the freezing wind – and as I kept hitting my hand with the hammer while taking off the old crépi, that too is a no-go until the bruises are gone.

Our workman has other things he can do in the meantime, that can be worked on for a little while without requiring the other items to be finished , but it would be nice to start having some jobs completed.

On top of this, our workman is having a really bad time recently.

Firstly he had some trouble with his former and new landlord after he moved home.  The new place’s heating didn’t work and the landlord thought it was up to his tenant to pay for the repair, whilst the old landlord demanded that he repaint the previous flat even though he had agreed to them painting it a different colour whilst they were there, plus some other demands.  It seems that nothing was obtained in writing though and the landlord then wanted it done the same day, which was the last day of the rental period or he wouldn’t return the deposit.

Being a sometime landlord myself, I know how wrong their treatment is of him, but he doesn’t have many options.  Our workman says that to add insult to injury, he was the only tenant in the building who didn’t get into arrears.

The result of this is that he’s needed to take a lot of time off to deal with it, and obviously had his mind on it, and then disaster happens…

Whilst picking up some supplies, a forklift goes into his leg.

He didn’t think it was a bad hit at the time, but the next day he needs to leave early and so tells me about the accident and how much his knee is hurting.

Of course, the first thing the dog does is jump up on his leg to say hello – big wince.

He goes to hospital and while there, they discover he has rheumatic arthritis.

It seems that long-term, he will need to give up doing this type of work, which apart from being his only current source of income, it is something he says he loves to do.  Luckily he and his wife have come up with another idea for them to work on though.  Who knows, in retrospect it may be the best thing that happened to him, it’s just in the meantime that it’s tough going for a young family.

For our project, it’s probably a good time to slow things down considering the weather.  I’m resigned to passing all winter in the cold and draughty main house, anyway.

For the water problems that I mentioned in this post – Our First Big Bad Surprise – we dug up the original French drain to take a look.

It was full of earth and grit and was wrapped in a plastic sheet.  One end hardly reached the edge of the barn and had no end-cap, the other brought the water out right by the far edge of the barn.

Both ends of the barn had stone semi-circles dug down below foundation level that seem to just encourage water to drain under the building.

It’s no wonder there are damp problems.

The concrete and cement used on and between the stone is just a tiny part of it.

I’m collecting quotes for the work.  None so far have given the same advice, so it makes comparison rather difficult.

One said the gravel used by the previous person wasn’t the right sort, another said it was although we could put a more expensive sort down if we wanted.  One wanted to put a plastic ridge against the house and thought the drain should be put next to the wall.  My  own research online says it should be about a metre away from the foundations of an old barn, which are unlikely to be very deep.

Debris against our walls

Just one pile of debris against the barn wall

It’s rather a long ditch to dig by hand, but I’m still considering that, having  received some heavy quotes.

However, the area also needs levelling and general clearing of debris left behind by previous owners – and previous and current builders who inconveniently dumped  a lot of debris against the building walls.

If I could operate a digger I’d definitely do it myself.

You could call it control issues, or you could call it that when a job needs doing properly (and cheaply), it’s better to do it yourself.

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