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Extension post # 3 – week 1

One down, around nine to go. It’s not been a week without issues, but no sign of an Anglo-Saxon burial ground so the build continues.


Mystery pipe

I was 100% expecting the footings to be dug with a digger but the two chaps who have done most of the work this week (Mark & Daniel) spent all of Monday excavating the whole thing by hand! I guess the extension isn’t big enough to justify a digger, but still, it’s a 70cm deep trench that’s 3 metres out and 6 metres across – fair play.

During the dig they came across a random pipe that seemed to have no purpose. We spent a while staring at it and discussing what it might be (I mainly nodded along as if I knew what they were on about) and agreed that it must just be for a soakaway that was probably at some point used for the garage. They cut through it and packed up for the day.

When I took Basil outside for his morning wee the next day, I was greeted with the somewhat inevitable. A trench full of what would best be described as, shit. It was bizarrely somehow worse that it was shit from not only our own house, but also from three neighbours who live between where the sewer starts and us. What does it matter, it’s shit?

I gave the main man (Gavin) a call to tell him about our surprise poo-moat and he seemed remarkably chilled about it which was actually quite reassuring. After a couple of hours more digging, Mark & Daniel worked out that for some reason, some genius linked a pipe up to the sewer to take some of the contents out to the garden. They said it might have been to irrigate the ground which seems a tad daft and also concerning that our garden may be sat on decades of waste. But ultimately, it turned out to not be a big issue as the sewer pipe needed replacing anyway to add a new access point. So a few hours of scooping out excrement later and we were back on track. By the end of Tuesday, the new sewer pipe and manhole were in place.

3.6 or 3?

Wednesday was all about getting the concrete in. Concrete truck arrived, wheelbarrowed into the footings, tamped down a little, job done. Very impressive how quickly they worked.

So Wednesday was a good day. Thursday, not so good. Gavin arrived looking sheepish, and delivered the news that the footing had been dug wrong. Jesus.

When we first spoke with Gavin in January, we had two versions of the extension we were deciding between. One was 3.6 metres out, the other 3 metres. I’m sure you can guess what happened next. Gavin had picked up the 3.6 metre version and given it to his lads to work to, but we’d confirmed in February that we were only after a 3 metre extension. A pretty costly cock-up (for them) and a day wasted for more digging and concreting. We weren’t overly impressed but were mostly disappointed they hadn’t spotted the error later – we could have had another 60cm of extension for free! By the end of Thursday, we were in the same position as 24hrs before, only with the footings now concreted in the correct place.

Actual building begins

Walls began going up on Friday which was pretty cool as it’s made it way easier to imagine the space.

The photo below is from our dining room window and shows where the bi-folds will be. It’s probably going to freezing by the time the build is done but I’ll be banging those bi-folds open allllllll day long.


Other than a couple of hiccups, I guess it was a fairly successful week. We get along really well with the guys which is great as it’d be pretty horrendous if we didn’t see eye-to-eye. I spontaneously offered to do them bacon sarnies on Monday morning which they got pretty excited about.

Next week should see the sub-floor get concreted, some more wall-building, and hopefully a little less faecal matter.

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