DoUpDiary #14: The Perfect Combo: Concrete & Calamari

2014-08-26_0005It barely seems like the blink of an eye since the demolition started, but we’ve already gone through four different stages: giddy excitement, shock, dust loathing and mud crawling. As I sit eating a very late lunch (god bless M&S deli specials) on an outside step which was once inside, it’s weird to be enjoying the sun sitting where my fridge used to be. Can you see that white pipe hooked onto a wall above my lunch? That’s the only water feed into the house after the digger went through the spaghetti junction of lead water mains under the garden three times yesterday! No-one’s fault, with old houses like this one you’ve no idea where the original pipes are and it’s just pot luck if you hit one. Or three.

So the digger dug deep at the end of last week and formed all the trenches which outline where the new walls will be to form the front of the new extension and the garage. The view below on the left is from the existing kitchen out to the garden and will eventually be the view from the dining room into the kitchen. Strange to imagine.

2014-08-26_0002Could it have rained just a bit more for them, for heavens sake, in August?! Honestly, the place was a claggy mud bath as our ground is pure clay, great for forming solid trenches which don’t need shuttering, but boy is it thick, heavy and tough to dig.You can see how yellow is it, stickily grabbing every centimetre of our boots. I think we’ve mopped up inside about 76 times since Friday. 2014-08-26_0003And as the boys dug, the piles of debris got higher. My Bank Holiday Monday was filled with chopping up and burning endless unsalvageable pieces of timber filled with nails or covered in paint. The old metal water tank which fell out of the demolished roof space came in very handy indeed as a fire barrel, changing colour beautifully with the heat and blowing flame feeding oxygen through holes at it’s base into the heart of the furnace – perfect! I do quite like this battered old piece of metal actually, might just have to find a reclaimed spot in my new garden for it…

2014-08-26_0001So the trenches were dug, about 30 linear metres in all at 750mm deep, with the help of the mini-digger & lots of hand balling of mud by the lads it took about two days. They were inspected by our appointed building control company and given the ok – it was time for concrete! If you’ve never seen barrow mix concrete going in, here’s how:

The Barrow Mix lads were great, speedy, efficient and friendly. Just what you need. I had a go at pushing one of the barrows but at approx 10 stone of concrete to a barrow I was absolutely crap and couldn’t even get it to the trench, never mind tip it. Harder than it looks, let me tell you.

All then spread and levelled by Mr Groundworks, fuelled by two Si super special filled ham & cheese toasties 😉
2014-08-26_0007And, as usual, guess who was in the middle of it all, licking her bits….


2 thoughts on “DoUpDiary #14: The Perfect Combo: Concrete & Calamari

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  1. such a cute builders cat you have! So, coming from sweden with below 32 in the winter, I am gathering that you do not insulate the underside of the foundation? looks totally surreal to me =) the house would lift, move and crack for sure if you tried that here, fun that it is so different! saves so much money! I found apic on the elements we have to use here, costs an arm and a leg but the heating costs are lower I guess. And the house does not pop over next door for tea…

    1. She so is, and she knows it 😉
      No, there’s no specification for insulating under foundations, probably because our ground doesn’t get anywhere near as cold as yours. Interesting to see that image too of what is used in Scandinavian countries, thanks for sending x

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