Tuesday 20 October 2009

Cider press conservation

We had great fun fixing and pressing into service an antique cider press last weekend.

Next weekend we hope to get up to 100 gallons of cider on the go........

Thursday 15 October 2009

Wood Awards

Well apologies for not saying to much recently, have been distracted mainly by my step son Dicken who was seriously injured in a car accident in France. He is recovering remarkably well now after his 5 week stay in Toulouse hospital for serious head and chest injuries.

But back to the wood awards, They gave me the conservation award!

I am now getting a wall full of certificates and trophies!

Giles Downes the Chairman of the Judges said "A labour of love undertaken to rescue this house and restore it to its former glory. The quality and attention to detail achieved throughout make this a project worthy of great praise and admiration."

So I am considering my options of what comes next. I am available to help plan sympathetic conservation and restoration work and could be starting an educational facility too. I may also become a training assessor for the National heritage training group too.

Anyway, off to the RICS awards tomorrow. I am running up against some seriously large and complicated internationally recognised buildings so the odds are very long, but the Rics say this about their awards "They recognise the diversity of talent behind such projects - the property developers, engineers, planners, architects, and surveyors - and raise the profile of the vital contribution they make to our society, whether it is a small scheme achieved by the vision and persistence of one person, or a high budget, global development." So who knows maybe as smaller scheme could take a prize.

It has come across as unusual that I have choosen to do this project and then learn about all of the aspects to undertake it to a very high standard to a reasonable budget managing and undertaking the work myself with a few specialist subcontractors. This appears to set me apart from many others in the field. I have received comments like "the world is better for eccentric people like you" from judges!

Saturday 6 June 2009

I have just found out that The Wood Awards have short listed us with Apethorpe paneled room and Shaw House Newbury. This means we will be Judged and find out the outcome in October in London.

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Well I am in the throes of cleaning all of the shards of pottery, glass and other artefacts found in and around the house whilst working here. It would seem that hopefully a group will arrive later next month and identify the majority for us. At a quick glance it would appear the oldest item is contemporary with the building so i am guessing it was a virgin site at that time although I shall await the outcome of the visit.

We also have many snack wrappers left from the original builders bones and oyster shells.

We did find some shoes down the well and a pitchfork.

This is one of the final episodes to undertake identifying these items.

I do hope to soon get to the archives to learn more about the history of the building too.

We have at least two local groups now coming to examine our spoils and identify them.

It would seem that there is no archaeology older than the building, however I believe that the site was stripped clear of all soil, quarried to create cellars and culverts which would then provide well over half the building stone for the project. The net result of this was it would have removed all earlier evidence.

Sunday 31 May 2009

I made myself a promise some 16 years ago to save the building. I also had two other objectives, to create my family home and showcase what is possible to achieve on such a building to encourage others and also for me to maybe make a living at something I am good at. Well I have achieved all three, as reinforced by the several awards received in the last year and I still cant believe we are of to the RICS national finals in October against multi million pound projects.