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Rosies new house




I have known Rosie for many years now, and together we have been through some pretty interesting times. She is now 33 years and is still one of my closest companions and looks as stunning as she did when she was young.

 Last weekend she came with us to West Galway to visit some friends that we had not met since 1989. It was a real trip down memory lane as we parked up for the night just along the seashore.

Jimmy has owned Rosie for twenty years and we have recently restored her as she has been lying in wait a long time for this moment. She is now vintage. It would not suit city life or those with deadlines, as she is not a speed machine. But she suits us, we still have some more to do to add to her comfort, for example; she needs some sound proofing, some new seals around the vents, and possibly some glove pockets to keep an 'ol raincoat, maps etc. Some type of a perspex grill to keep Molly in the back as she was used to joining us in the front when we were just using Rosie for ferrying building and repair materials up through the fields before we put in a lane. But she is a real dinger and will be good for at least another 33yrs. So Rosie deserves a roof over her head ............

At first we thought of building a block shed big enough to house Rosie, the digger, the tractor and the rest of the machines that also need a roof. The cost of a shed that size would be out of our reach for the moment, then we considered a straw bale house which appealed to us. Finally we decided to use the space and materials that we already have, with the least amount of expense.




Last year we took down the front wall and the hag of the old house as they were in need of rebuilding and were unsafe.We set about turning a pile of stone into the beautiful building it once was, with some differences. The work is tough, some stones are heavy and finding just the right one for each position is a special skill in itself. Jimmy has just the skills and experience for the job, as he built a beautiful stone house in the past which is an incredible work of art


The first job is to make sure all is sound for the foundations all loose and soft soil is dug away then a few rows of big stones are placed making sure there is no rocking , care is needed with these first few rows.Also the gaps between these first rows are filled with small stones and blinded with 804 so as to keep the clay infill for the future 

rows away from the ground. Heavy going








The first row many to go? better not to think about it.





So it is my task to feed Jimmy with stone which he just seems to devour. We have unearthed the most beautiful subsoil to put between the layers. The colours are amazing, blues, pink, orange, reds and it feels like putty, it would make great potters clay....mmm.... maybe another time.................................................................................We have promised ourselves a treat when we complete the walls and before we begin the roof.

We hope to take a few days hicking in the Ox mts. with Molly and the tent but for now the snow has arrived so the work halts to make a snow woman                  



Its great to get the snow and we make the most of it every time . So we decided to build a snow man all went well until the carrot droped off so he had a gender change with a few handfuls of snow . I think they look cool.

So have you ever tried rolling in the snow and jumping into a nice hot bath complete with a glass of wine.......phew its not easy being green



All of the usable stone is now in position, so it is time to take down the chimney wall stone by stone and relocate each one. It has taken ten days work to get us to this stage, and while we are tired at the end of the day it is so satisifying to look at it's form, as with each new stone laid it becomes a beautiful thing.









Cool or what?

 In the meantime we have managed to aquire a piano from the Mayo freecycle, and we are enjoying unwinding and learning tunes in the evenings. it is a real treat, we have kept it in the kitchen with easy access to it in a warm room, so it gets used a lot, even visitors and callers to the house are making use of it.
So when we run for cover between the showers..............


We have made an amazing discovery..............

Just as we removed the bottom stone alongside of the old fireplace and were checking as to it's suitability for re-use, when we noticed there was some writing on the underside. We felt an unmighty energy and sensed a presence with us, it was a very emotional moment. The person who placed the stone there with writing on it had intended for it to be found, and we now feel we are the the people he had intended it for.

We have been trying to decipher the inscription both on the computer and with the aid of magnifiying glass. It appears to be "F1680"





Everyday we are living in a world full of surprises just awaiting to be discovered, " life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get"

Right now we are captured by the birds that have chosen to build nests to rear their families in full view of our kitchen window. They know that we, including Molly do not pose a treat to them. A family of great tits, blue tits and magpies are all busy and seem to be both hatching or feeding. What a privilege to be invited and allowed to wittness this miracle.

June 09

Work is progressing well most of the stone work is finished .Just some bits remain on the gable and around the windows. As the shed is thirty foot wide we have decided to make trusses on the ground and lift them into position.. .We will place the Purlins in after .


A view through the front window The weather is great here now temperatures are mid twentys..Heavy work requires the help of Dave our neighbour.


Getting the first couple up is the tricky part It is important to have both wall plates exactly level and parallel, otherwise the Birds mouths wont fit. We used a laser level and left one side loose to be fixed afterwards.













Ropes bits of timber and a ladder are used to get the last few into position , its getting tricky now with lack of space

The mob ile scaffold is one of the best things we ever got. It has a million uses.




Afew hours later and the rough structure is up. I now have to strengthen up the aframes with additional timbers. Also the wall plates have to be firmly secured to the walls A tricky one .

All the timbers need to be treated with preservative .



Coming home from the Friday session , she welcomes us through the rafters.



6 weeks later end of july 09





We have a guest from France staying for a few days  who has decided to give us a hand with the next stage , which is the felting .We are using a breathable felt as it is stronger and more workable than the  traditional tar felt.

Here we are  measuringup for the cutting Its a job where afew extra hands make life a lot easier.


Next stage is to roll out the membrane on a nice flat stonefree surface , we dont want any holes if possible.Accurate measuring and cutting makes for less wastage .















While the felt is held at each end it is fastened to the rafters with 3 x 2 timbers. Making sure it is as flat as possible but not too stretched.                                              





 If its a breathable membrane be certain to have the right side up.




A little while later and one side is done Halfway there!







Time for a glass of nice meadow sweet cordial...or something

The next stage......Sheeting