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The Beginning

 

The story of our Jessamine building project started in November 2005, when we planned the extension to coincide with the re-thatching of the roof. We had plans drawn up and submitted to the council then (naively) eagerly awaited approval. Well things just didn't work that way! The plans were rejected and we were mortified. We knew that the thatch was rapidly deteriorating and if not replaced by the summer of 2006, we would be in serious trouble. After many phone calls and face-to-face meeting with the council we were able to resubmit the plans. By that time we had lost 5 months. We got the plans redrawn and resubmitted, taking cognisance of the advice given by the council along with the advice of the architect. Success! In July 2006 we had our planning permission.


 

Ian started to mobilise the troops! He had found a Master Thatcher (Chris) and accepted his quote. Chris recommended a builder (Terry) whom he had worked with before, and Ian found a carpenter (Ken). The builder knew a person who would provide the scaffolding (Marcus). The wheels were finally in motion and work started late in August


Footings

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The footings had to be exposed so that the building inspector could see what sort of foundations there were and what needed to be done. On Sunday 20th August, Terry sent one of his contractors to accomplish the task. The wheels moved on another inch.


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Scaffolding

Marcus, who was responsible for the scaffolding, liaised with Chris the thatcher and Terry the builder and established that the scaffolding would be required by the end of the first week in September. But before he could, erect the scaffolding, the oil tank (used for the central heating system) had to be removed. With David's help, Ian removed that obstacle. Not without its difficulties, i hasten to add. On Sunday 2nd September, the scaffolding went up! The wheel moved another inch

Foundations

 

We waited expectantly for the builder and the thatcher to arrive. It was to be another 10 days before anything happened. Murphy who contracted to Terry arrived on Tuesday 12th to start to dig the foundations for the new stairwell. Due to inaccessibility, Murphy had an unenviable task on his hands. The foundations had to be hand dug and the waste soil carted away via wheelbarrow.


Thatching

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Chris, the Thatcher arrived on Monday 18th September to start organising himself and the straw for the thatch. The work started and the wheels moved on! As more straw arrived, it began to overflow into the road. Chris had to receive his order of straw in stages!


 

Another month rolled on and the end of October approached. By the original estimates, the work that was to take 6 to 8 weeks beginning September should nearly have been finished. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be. The thatching took longer than expected due to Chris’s ill health and bad weather.


Building

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On the building front the new walls had started to go up....and on Tuesday 24th October, the breakfast room roof was taken off, leaving the house exposed to the elements.


 

The pace of work had really been disappointing, and I started to worry about the weather. With the breakfast room exposed as it was - with just some plastic sheeting stretched over the scaffolding poles to keep the rain out - and the evenings getting colder, we were facing a miserable time.


By Mid-November, Praise God, the roof trusses were in place and the window frames had arrived. They had to be hand-made so that they matched the existing window frames. The Chippie had hoped to have the roof felting in place by that time but the weather had not been favourable so work has once again slowe

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At the beginning of December 2006, Ian and I took time off work and rolled up our sleeves to get things moving along. It was amazing to see how much progress had been made. The windows had been fastened in, and painting started. Unfortunately, it started to rain before the exterior paint was dry so it had to be done again.


 

Four months after the start of an 8 week project, and there was still so much to do. Chris expected to complete the thatch by Christmas – but didn’t – and the plumber, who said that he would like to take on the work never returned. Ian and friend Andy rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in.


Kitchen

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Now you see it.....


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Work on the Kitchen started in mid-January 2007. One Monday morning, when we went to work we had a kitchen. When we returned, we didn't.


 

The Thatcher is still slowly but steadily getting on. He started the ridging work by mid-January 2007 and expected to be finished in 2 to 3 weeks. In the meantime, as the newly plastered interior walls dried, we started to paint the new bedroom and study. The Kitchen project was expected to last 2 weeks and then a break while the granite work tops were measured, templates made then cut to size.


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The workman took exception to Ian’s criticism of shoddy workmanship and stomped off site – never to return. The granite tops arrived but they were the wrong granite and the cupboards were waiting to be fitted. Once again, work stopped while all concerned sorted out whose problem it was to rectify while we were piggy-in-the-middle. Finally all was well that ended well. After eight weeks we had a lovely new kitchen.


And Finally...

 

The thatcher thatched, the plasterer plastered, Ian and I painted and re-planted the garden. By the middle of the summer 2007 (only a year behind schedule) the Jessamine project was drawing to a close...


 

… and we could enjoy the fruits of our labour


 
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