Happy f***ing birthday!

This was not the birthday surprise I was hoping for today. Tom had wasted no time in investigating the corner of the gable end wall above the staircase, and there is now quite a lot of light in the upstairs rooms that wasn’t there before. The results of his investigation are not at all good…

On a plus, we nearly have a floor that we can stand on in the loft. A giant Macky D’s cup tested it out first though.

The corners of the attic are much lighter than they were, it’s as if someone has taken the roof off. Oh hang on.

The front wall that Tom worked on yesterday installing multiple steel bars horizontally across the front and around the corners.

The cement pointing on the front wall was raked out, then the steel bars were installed and grouted in place. The ugly grey grout will be hidden once the wall is pointed in lime.

Left side of the chimney breast where Tom has removed some roof tiles so he can assess what is happening with the wall and the ends of the purlins. It’s really not looking too clever.

Right side of the chimney breast above the staircase. The purlin has been extended (badly) with two bits of timber nailed to the end. Even this is barely reaching the wall now. It’s balancing very precariously on a piece of stone and the end of the window lintel…

Up on the roof it is even more frightening. How is this roof still standing??? At the front of this photo is that purlin from the previous photo barely reaching the wall…

“Happy fucking birthday!” goes Tom, “we might need more stone…”

The gable end wall is crumbling away. It has been previously repaired, as it looks like there have been issues with this wall for a long time. The stone on the inside of the wall is crumbling very badly and this is what the purlin is sitting on!

This is the end of the beam above Zanna’s bedroom doorway that no longer reaches the wall. You can see it is several inches short. This will have a steel ‘shoe’ which it will be bolted into. This will extend the beam so it can then be bedded back into the wall.

The exposed wall of the gable end was smeared in a thick layer of cement, so much that you could see more cement than stone. We knew that this was a problem, you could see where it was eroding the stone. As Tom is taking this off, the stone underneath is crumbling away…

This stone has crumbled away so much there are holes through to the inside of the chimney. Tom will need to do a great deal of repair work up here, with some of the stone needing to be replaced completely. Our house was built using Hornton stone from a local quarry. It’s a relatively soft stone which is easily damaged by water ingress.

Our walls were pointed and ‘repaired’ with cement sometime in the last 60 years. This was the most damaging work to have been made to the walls. When it rains the water soaks into the walls, it seeps behind the cement and stays there, it doesn’t evaporate as it should. As the cement is harder than the stone, the stone gets damaged and crumbles, whereas the cement remains solid. The cement is really easy to remove in most places as the stone underneath, that it was once attached to, has crumbled away.

The front corner of the gable end wall where we have the cut throughs to the other building. This corner has almost gone. It’s pretty frightening looking at it from here!

The same corner photographed a bit higher up. Here you can see another purlin hanging on for dear life! The stone it is sitting on has almost fallen…

The purlin below that one is not as bad, but still barely touches the wall.

The same purlin photographed from above. It sits in the wall a matter of a couple of inches…

Looking down to the staircase and the chimney breast.

There is still a small quarry at Hornton, at the top of Edgehill, which is where all the stone for all the local villages came from. Unfortunately we need to find old Hornton stone that has been hand cut and weathered. New, machine cut stone would not look right.

Colin went out on a stone finding mission. He returned with a small amount of stone from the airfield, a pile that has been there for years. The land owner has said we can have this, but it is not enough, so off he went again to another local source.

There is a lot of stone here, but the land owner has promised it to someone. However, he said he could sell us a couple of square metres worth.

Another source of old Hornton stone, another friend of Colin’s who is happy for us to have some!

This was the first cake of the day, Cat bought me one which her, Colin and the builders surprised me with in the old house!

Our cousin and her family visited with more birthday cake and (too many) candles. Our older sister, Lucy, had sent me the beautiful sunflowers! Feeling very spoiled 🙂

Our newly ventilated house, but the light is beautiful!

Stunning, I think you’ll agree.

Cat trying to get up the ladder onto the new floor. She chickened out.

I wouldn’t allow Dad up the ladder, I had visions of him tripping over the side with his hands in his pockets.

Cameron is 6ft tall and can stand up here so that’s okay!

Our cousin, Alison, and her husband are both trained Architects and have been most helpful in the planning of the renovations to the house even before we bought it. They come up with very practical ideas and solutions about how to use the spaces we have. They also helped us move house in one day!

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