Snowing solidly for three days

Snowing solidly for three days's like Little House on the Prairie

the kitchen taking shape

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Electricity cable connected today, but no power yet as the meter man came yesterday and wouldn't put the meter in until the cable was connected. I'm sure that EDF told me it was the other way round. Have now made another appointment for the meter man.
Still slow progress with the builders. Their previous client is proving very demanding and keeps changing things that have been finished and delaying most of them from coming to us. I don't have many demands - just that they get on with it!
The guy in the caravan is in a ridiculous squabble with the roofers over them scratching his chair. Trying to get me to intervene as if I'm their (or his) mother. He is spiritual (apparently) so needs special treatment.
More details to be changed on the drains. The latest price for connecting to the sewer is £26,000 and rising. Maybe we could do without a kitchen altogether.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

More bizarre demands from the planners. They don't want the roof lights on the big barn to be symmetrical because farm buildings aren't symmetrical! They also want granite sets leading in to the field entrance - this goes straight onto farmland so seems a bit over the top. They say they don't want to make farms look suburban and then demand something like that. They seem to like spending other peoples' money and making changes for the sake of it.
Picked up more rubbish from the fields including a milk crate, frying pan and a pair of Ugg boots.
Maybe we really are bonkers. Was interviewed by a woman from the local paper who clearly seemed to think so.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Interesting debate about travellers:
Strawberry shortcake did the trick - foundations for the farmhouse extension now all dug and filled with concrete. Building inspector has signed it off which means we have officially started on the farmhouse. That's good because the planning permission runs out in July and it took long enough to get it so don't want to start again.
It also means we can leave the farmhouse for a bit while we get on with the barns. The small barn is a priority and after that, the big barn and stables which will be a 4-bed house. I would like to get that watertight before the winter.
The farmhouse is a longer project as it is more complicated but hopefully can be done in tandem with the big barn.
Phase 2 is the new-build eco house as we will have run out of money by then. We will have to sell something to fund that house where we will ultimately live and is what this project was all about in the first place!
When we can move into the barn later this year, it should be easier. Then we can start sorting out the fields. My role at the moment is making sure everyone knows what is going on and who has said what to whom. Each of the houses has their own particular concerns so budgeting is also crucial. Like George Osborne, there will be cuts to come.
The council looks set to approve our new field entrance which is in record time. It means we can get the field access sorted before the concrete blocks are removed.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Farm now all barricaded with concrete blocks, looks like an urban slum, but safer I hope. A bit of demolition and foundation digging for the farmhouse extension should be taking place in the next couple of days. The builder is touchingly keen to preserve the wisteria, so we'll dig it up and plant it somewhere else.
I've been getting worked up about executive pay, as well as drains.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Spent all day yesterday burning old furniture dumped by the travellers and took another car load to the tip. I reckon there is about another bin bag to pick up. It's a bit pathetic really, all the debris of a consumer lifestyle. Can't help feeling a bit sorry for them, but they don't help themselves.
But the drains remain a mystery. They are a bit like the collateralised debt obligations invented by the banks - a way of insuring for the future, but no-one knows what they do or where they end up. Still trying to find the route through the neighbour's drive.
Windows due in on June 28 though which is a big step forward and most of the first fix electrics done. We still have to move in mid-July so will have to rent somewhere.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

And I thought drains was all I had to worry about. A group of travellers arrived at the farm on Saturday, putting off any further thoughts of sewage. They have now gone, after being told to move on by the police on Monday.
This was after we caused a big confrontation with another group that was trying to arrive on Sunday morning. We blocked off the gate they were trying to come in by, causing a huge tailback of caravans in the road, a big traffic jam, lots of screeching and shouting and even intervention by the vicar whose church service was disrupted.
Saturday's group cut through a chain on the farm gate, took it off its hinges and pushed it over, so about six or seven caravans drove into one of the fields at lunchtime.
Someone rang me from the pub to tell me about it and I was on my own all day so I went straight to the police. The police came with me to reason with them, but as it is a civil offence, they told me to get a court order to remove them which is impossible at the weekend.
We had inherited the mess from a group that were there two years ago, before we bought the farm, and that took weeks to clear up, so it really upset me to see them flattening the hay and driving their quad bikes around. I spoke to the travellers' boss who told me they would clear up and not cause a nuisance and only wanted to stay for a few days.
Of course, as soon as I'd gone, the neighbours are all ringing up about the noise and the quad bikes racing on through the night.
By Sunday, I was no longer upset, but angry. I went up there again without the police, but this time James came too. I spoke to the same boss and told him he had not been telling me the truth when he said they would be quiet and clear up and that I wanted them to go. He asked for £500 to leave, but warned me that more were on the way.
This is when we blocked the gate with our car. That didn't stop them though as they eventually realised they could get onto the land through another farm gate further down the road. We now have about 25 caravans on the field. By now, the police are taking it seriously as we have caused a blockage in the road and disruption in the village.
The police inspector arrives and he then talks to the travellers.
The police later say they will use their powers to serve notice on them to leave. I think this is using section 61 of the criminal justice act 1994 that was brought in to stop illegal raves. Anyway, it means we don't have to go to the courts and is a lot quicker. Some of them left on Sunday night and the others went at 1.50pm yesterday - ten minutes before the deadline set by the police.
A big relief all round after a very stressful weekend. I cleaned up 16 bin bags of rubbish and haven't even started on the toilet paper or the dumped furniture yet.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Connecting the drains to the sewer in the road is going to cost £20,000!! We need to look at other options, maybe we can re-use some of the existing connection. Roof is nearly finished now, more work starts next week.
Turns out I'm not as low-spec as I thought I was. The kitchen is way over budget so will have to try and knock some things off. Everyone else has voted for power showers rather than granite worktops, but even without them, the cupboards are more expensive than planned.
Big meeting on Monday to decide on electrics and radiators.