After a break from construction since the Easter workshop, we’ll be back on site during St. John’s half-term break over the coming week. The aim is to pour the concrete pad foundations, bolt the steel shoes, finish off the last few bits of timber frame assembly and hopefully get the structure up! I applied for the amendment to the planning application back at the end of April, which would allow us to relocate the building so that it was at least 5m from the soak-away drain; luckily we got the approval just in time to go ahead with the work.

One unfortunate condition of the new location, is that we had to fell a beech tree – but this will be replaced by another tree, once the building is up. We also saved the trunk and cut it down into stools, which can be used in the new building. After the tree had been removed by John Wells Tree Surgeons, we could move the shed, lift the pavers and break the slab that was underneath. Thanks to really generous sponsorship from Hawes Plant & Tool Hire, we had a mini-digger, skip loader and skip to help us get rid of all the concrete. Nigel (who works at the Farm) and Keith (the school caretaker) helped out all through the bank-holiday weekend, and by Tuesday we were ready to set out the building.

Very luckily one of the pupil’s parents, Norma and Clinton Putnam, run a ground-works company and agreed to help out with the foundations – which required not just digging 900mm holes for the pads, but also removing 500mm of soil, to create a cavity underneath what will be the timber floor of the building. Clinton took one look at the digger that we already had on site, and decided the job required something a little larger! Without his machine I think we’d have been digging for the entire week, so we’re super grateful for his help.

Back at the Farm, we were cutting the two remaining beams on the CNC, and the front portal frame – which we didn’t get round to over Easter.  We had extra help from James and Sarah (my boyfriend’s brother, and his girlfriend), my friend Kevin (one of the associates at STORE) and his brother James, Tom (a friend from the RCA who was up at the Farm) and also Matt Insley (the music teacher’s husband). We were also joined by Lizzy, one of the Easter workshop participants, who came back for a day to help out. Thank all so much to all for your time & support!!