Tony was working today;
& so set off early after a brief catch-up discussion with project manager Paul, about the progress (or relative lack of it) on site owing to the unforeseen circumstances of the previous week.
We had been told to expect the construction team, first thing in the morning; however by 11am they still hadn’t arrived & in fact only came just before an expected load of concrete which itself was then also delayed owing to an order discrepancy. As it transpired, for us, this was just as well; because only 400m³ was needed for the job rather than the 600m³ the construction company had pre-ordered at our expense – which with Paul’s timely interception was thankfully reduced. As he observed, it would have been like pouring pound notes into the hole (money we haven’t got); what a waste.
Discussions resumed about the thorny problem of the site levels, & what could be done to remedy the situation. Tony had left in a hurry & so was not readily available to consult; he’d spoken to Wyn the previous day & I’d gathered that Wyn had agreed to rectify the levels.
But we considered there must be an easier way; as the current proffered solution would mean either leaving a huge ramp in front of the livestock entrance, which would make it impossible to drive a tractor into the building (& we’ve had enough of clearing vast swathes of muck by hand) or extending the ramp right across the yard, making it difficult if not impossible to access the haybarn, which has a steep downward ramp already; besides which, I don’t want to mess up the levels on the yard as we only had it regraded & resurfaced a year ago at not inconsiderable expense!
Unfortunately however this new compromise will cost us considerable money, as the building will need additional boarding to bring the incorrect end back to ground level, as well as some shoring up of the supporting posts with yet more concrete; & regrading of some of the surface soil. I’m not convinced we should be the ones paying for this; after all, as we have not been provided with the agreed level site I do not see why someone else’s inaccuracy should cost us yet more money. But I’m sure we will resolve it somehow as the groundworks chaps have been very decent & helpful.
Tony managed to get a few hours at a technical exhibition in London, before heading off for work; newly enthused after our course in Italy, he’s been pricing up the last bits of equipment we require for the Dairy Complex. To be honest I just want to get in & get stuck into my lovely vat! But I didn’t envy him then having to work after already having had a relatively early start, poor man.
Iori arrived, to look at the Rayburn. The wick was badly coked up & needed quite a concerted clean. And the chimney really isn’t drawing at all well; however he concluded that rather than replacing the whole thing, the best solution would be to drill through the outside wall at the point where the chimney pipe bends, & then affix an access hatch. It appears that in the past the hole has been repeatedly replastered until the next time the cottage occupants got smoked out!
He also advised that the chimney probably needs relining, as we’d already suspected; but I took heart that this isn’t quite so difficult as we’d anticipated, as an expandable liner can be inserted into the existing chimney with relatively little difficulty. So the disaster of having to completely dismantle & rebuild the chimney (which was repointed & recapped, only last Easter) thankfully seems to have been averted.
Iori carefully relit Old Fat-Arse….& the Rayburn reluctantly sprang back to life, puffing unwillingly at the fresh air outside. Alas, as the heat increased so proportionally again did the dreaded, furnace-oil stench (although thankfully not quite as bad as before); & my headache & stinging throat returned. I’d had 24 hours of clear-air bliss; but now we were fuming again…..& will be, until the drier & warmer weather of the Spring permits us to again extinguish the heart of our home for a few days, whilst Old Fat-Arse is finally fixed for another 30-or-so years…..ohhhh, roll on continuous-burn biofuel for Rayburns!