Year: 2009

Logs

I've really enjoyed Roger Deakin's 'Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees', the book takes you on a gentle journey, part biography, part manifesto, part travelogue. As I expect to be spending substantial amounts of time sourcing, collecting, cutting, splitting and stacking logs to keep us warm over the winter, one particular quote struck me as good advice - advice that I'll try to apply whenever I get around to building that wood store ... ...a mosaic of cut log ends that wall the whole of the south-facing end. The summer sun will dry out the end grain, drawing out the sap…
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Building Progress ~ September 2009

Straight in this month, no excuses and no delay... I've managed to spread the load on finishing the untreated oak stairs and banisters having roped TC into treating the stairs with white foundation paint prior to waxing. I completed sanding and filling last weekend and the bannisters along the landing have all been whitened & then waxed. We're using Osmo Polyx White Foundation as a base coat before applying wax. The white foundation coat keeps the oak nearer to its natural colour after waxing - without this foundation the oak would be darkened to the traditional waxed & polished caramelly…
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New bed

Somewhat in anticipation of being able to take up residence we've bought a great new bed for the barn. King sized, so an extra six inches for the baby to spread out in during the middle of the night whilst his mother and I teeter at opposite edges of the bed. Ours is a Snowdon organic mattress handmade in Wales and 100% organic (organic cotton and sheeps wool). We also invested in a hardwood bed frame which complements both the mattress and the room that the bed is in perfectly. There were two factors that influenced this purchase, firstly the…
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Island Micro Grid

Whilst way beyond my own humble aspirations for energy self sufficiency, the fantastically named Island Micro Grid just commissioned at the Centre for Alternative Technology is an interesting development. I was shocked to read: The developed world’s centralised electricity system wastes around 65% of energy through heat loss in power stations and transmission lines, before reaching our homes. How wasteful! And what a great reason to consider and for governments to encourage local energy generation. An Island Micro Grid is a way to connect together diverse electricity generation technologies (wind, hydro, photovoltaic etc.) and to use generated power locally rather…
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Building Progress ~ August 2009

The rainy damp Summer of 2009 continues ... damply ... I've completed regrouting the grubby bathroom tiling at long last. I've not fully cleaned them yet as I'm trying to avoid spending any more time on tiles at least for the next few weeks. The travertine floors downstairs have been completed and look great. I'll publish some more pictures as and when we get it things a bit more shipshape - the sink is currently in the middle of the living area having been moved out of the way to allow tiling in the kitchen. I've made a slow start…
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Chandelier

As I've already mentioned I bought a chandelier from Scavengers. It looked great on the web: My Chandelier Not too fancy (if that can be said of any chandelier and I think I'm having second thoughts on that one), classy (well I thought it was when I bought it) and in pretty good condition. When it arrived, well packaged but obviously traumatised from a boisterous journey that condition had somewhat deteriorated. Now the crystals have mainly come off their fixings and I'd sure the metal body of the chandelier has a slight twist in it (that wasn't there on the…
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Lammas ecovillage update

I wrote about the Lammas ecovillage back at the start of the year. At the time, I aired my feelings of ethical support, but real-world unease. Now things have moved on and the development has been granted planning permission not by local planners, but in an act of centralised government colonialism, by the Welsh Assembly Government, against the wishes of local politicians and residents. "The local MP, the county council, the AM and most importantly the local residents, were all against it and yet the Welsh Assembly has come in and just ridden roughshod over everyone's concerns." Preseli Pembrokeshire AM…
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Tiling – Starter for 10

From, often painful and time consuming experience, whilst not claiming to any kind of authority, I suggest the following sequence to tiling (others may have differing guidelines): Tiling Tips Get a level consistent floor. (More below...) [optionally] Skip this step if using glazed tiles. Seal / stain-guard tiles. If expecting a really messy job, or tiling an awkward space you may want to seal or prime before fixing to save effort later. Layout tiles.Check for colour and size variations. (more below...) Fix tiles with adhesive. [optionally] Prime or seal tiles. Protecting the tiles before grouting may sometimes be in order…
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“Starter for 10” series on MBC

Having dabbled in all sorts of areas of building and do-it-yourself that I really have should left alone, I thought I'd record (should I ever dabble in these areas again) and share some of my experiences, mistakes and (sometimes painful) learning. The aim of my new "Starter for 10" series of posts is just that. These won't be static posts as I'll add to them and refine them over time - in fact I'd love to receive any hints, tips or advice you may have. Any that are worthy of inclusion will be added with appropriate acknowledgements. I've already published these: Tiling Installing a…
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