Monday, 2 March 2015

Gonna build a house! # 2

Monday Moments will be in the garden... quite a lot... just like yesterday.

It's a beautiful day here again, as yesterday was, just cold enough to need to wear a fleeece out in the garden but not at all a bad temperature for the beginning of March.

Spring 2014
The garden priorities yesterday were to remove and replant the shrubs on my front drive which I want to keep. Sometime soon, perhaps by Wednesday or Thursday coming, the left driveway border is going to be dug up. A ditch will be excavated so that the services can be laid in for the new house which will appear on what used to be my back garden. I say used to be because the land now belongs to my daughter and son-in-law.
Summer 2014

I really like these 'Bells of Ireland', therefore they've been repotted in a large tub. So have cuttings from my hydrangea and a half dozen others. Like this... 'Bride's Blossom' least that's what I call it when I forget its real name.

But this series of blog posts is about the new house. The last photo shown on blog post #1 of the 'Gonna build a house!' series was taken back in November 2014 when the back area had been flattened.

Early November 2014

November 2014 and the wild grass is beginning to take over the flattened plot.

Late November 2014

Abandoned and forlorn the only thing to deccorate the plot was builder's tape to mark out the perimeter of the house. At this stage we knew the housebuilding was going to happen but it's still very difficult to believe that a fairly sizeable three bedroomed house will appear on the plot.

By February 2015 things were moving forward.

February 17th 2015
Back came the 'diggery mannie' -  Aberdeenshire speak for the Komatsu digger operator. He removed even more of the soil which was carted off in a large trailer.

My daughter and son-in-law have chosen a very eco-friendly builder who sends the unwanted soil etc to a site which recycles the remains. The larger stones and granite pieces are removed and crushed, after which they are used for backfill hardcore. Building regulations in this part of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, are strict these days over how stuff is disposed of (probably standard across the country) and the services used by 'our' builder meet the best criteria. ( I'll call him that even though the land and building operation has really nothing to do with me now)

February 17th 2015
In little more than an hour or two, the 'diggery mannie' had the area ready for the next stages- digging the trenches for the foundations.

The soil in the plot was excellent for growing plants  - very friable, very free draining and extremely deep, the topsoil depth being a good 3-4 metres below ground level before it got to the sandy level. However, what was good for planting wasn't the easiest for building a house. The 'diggery mannie' - a young man extremely skilled at his job - kept excavating till he reached the clay bedrock.

Such a deep soil depth means a much deeper depth of foundations so there will be a LOT of input to the sub floor level of the new house.
February 19th 2015

The sand levels which were dug out for the foundation trenches were piled up in the centre areas since a lot of back fill will be needed under the concrete base of the house.

No, my daughter isn't about to toss my granddaughter into the ditch - there's a wee bit of February-nose-wiping going on since we are never virus free in our house.

This is another strategic moment where my granddaughter was imagining where her bedroom will be. I'm over the moon to say that there's also going to be a bedroom up there for Grandma i.e. me (naturally, not on the architect's plans) - though it would appear that Granddad is going to sleep elsewhere!

When the 'diggery mannie' was finished the historian in me was champing at the bit. I couldn't wait till he had gone before getting down and dirty- just to make sure that nothing of historical importance had been turned over and would be lost. I hadn't been joking when I'd said to the 'diggery mannie', and the site manager, that I wanted to know if any ancient Roman coins were turned over!

Did I find anything down there? Sadly - NO. Soil, sand and eventually the clay level but no telltale twinkles of metal artefacts or other items. Having dug the plot at various times over the last 25 years, though not usually quite so deep as the digger, I'd never found anything of note before, except Victorian glass bottles near the driveway end. It wasn't really all that disappointing that the main part revealed nothing. Naturally, I was down there scouring around- just to be sure! Getting into these trenches isn't so difficult- I'll let you think of what it's like to clamber out.

21st February 2015

Stay tuned for #3 of the 'Gonna build a house!' series tomorrow!


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