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Day 15 and 16 Friday 24th January (picture below) The foundation block work finished for the house, ready for the cement  foundation after the week end. More loads of hardcore and materials arrived.

Day 17 I should probably not consider a Saturday 'a something happening' day, as not that many people work on a week end. It's just us 'horsey' people that usually do.

Day 18 Monday, Michael Rock was here again cleaning up the barn area after lorries had made a wet mess, and generally tidying it up before the hardcore was to be put down. Which Michael then started to do. The track came off the digger, but with Michaels determination, it was back on in no time. Richard thought our tractor had been stolen but we had moved it to get another bucket for the digger only to get that stuck too. It had rained a lot but to my surprise all men arrived and proceeded working. 

Day 19 Last night was a real wet night and even though it all looked very wet, everything continued on !. Lots of hardcore arrived which was continually spread, for the shed and the road leading around it, so that the equipment and everybody working here could get on site. The house had the pipes laid, needed for the radon barrier, which is now compulsory in building regulations. The hardcore was laid for the house, all ready for the radon membrane and the ground insulation that goes in first, that arrived too. As I got home tonight, I could see that our 'rather overlong' avenue was becoming a bit treacherous for normal cars (we unfortunately don't have a jeep) after all the heavy lorries that were driving up. We will have to do something about that. 

Day 20 Today the house floor was leveled with screed and the membrane, radon barrier was put down, followed by the sheets of polystyrene insulation, which then had metal reinforcing mesh put on top. (pictured below)

Day 21 and 22 SKServices from the North came and laid the under floor heating pipes. These pipes were attached to the reinforcing mesh in great detail and each time loop back to the manifold. I have to say I have my reservations about doing it this way because we will be heating a slab of 6" instead of 3" and I am not sure of the pros and cons of doing this. The amount of piping per room is calculated beforehand by computer and the length of pipe in each loop must not exceed 100 meters to ensure that the heat pump can run efficiently. It was a detailed job and took the two days to do. (Pictured below) After the week end, the raft of concrete will be poured and the mesh will be lifted so that the pipes will be approximately 2" from the surface. 

Day 20 and 21 3-4th February Complete halt due to the weather. The next stage is to pour the slab but we can't do that if it freezes. I chose to order the stable fronts from Buitenhuis, which I did last week and they were to contact me yesterday, hopefully today to finalize the exact measurements.  We are building the dividing stable walls ourselves therefore we have to have all the measurements exact  so that they fit in properly. One of the features we like in these stables is the hay rack design.  I will show you with a photo when they arrive. We are having a Monarch horse walker but have to decide whether we go for a 36' or 45' (45 we will go for) size. With a 5' or 6'6" track, one needs more rubber floor while the wider means we can allow turning but will make the track  a smaller diameter, as horses always hug the inside track.  Whether we go for a special electronic control unit for approximately 1000 more which can regulate speed and does an auto reverse. It is that 1000 that could go to roofing the walker in the future, so I can't decide!...five hours later.....talked with Trevor Holiday and agreed on the whole lot - 45', wider track, pushers, stoppers, electronic unit, auto reverse, fence and rubber up 4' inside and out. I can see that it will be many years before we have a roof on it!

Day 22 and 23 5th and 6th February. On the 5th Brendan came and lifted the heating pipes with the mesh to about 3" above the insulation, ready for the pour, and put in the waste pipes for the various outlets. Nothing happened on the 6th, we just have to wait. I called in to Peter Conaty of Conaty's Steel Fabrications Ltd, to give all the detailed measurements for the barn roof, as it will take at least three weeks to get it ready. Giving the measurements now should mean that, when the stable walls are done, the roof can start straight away, speeding things up. Our first foal is due on the 11th March. Will we have a stable for them then? One of the good things of this building method is that any fixings, bolts etc can be placed in the wall when the concrete is being poured and it should all happen very quickly. I also organized Garath Wilson of Stable Comfort to have a meeting with Brendan here on site, to make sure that the floor level and slopes suit the mats we are having installed in all of the18 stables. (A great luxury, but a cost effective one we think). We are also having two stables on both sides of the passage divided by a swinging partition, so that two 12'x12' boxes can become one 12'x24'  for a great foaling or foal rearing box. Here the mat can cover the whole width. Next I have to source water drinkers.

Day 23 Friday, the whole 6"deep floor, called a 'ground bearing slab', was poured,  leveled and smoothed. One half load was a little late arriving so a little corner didn't have the chance of a smoothing off. You have to wait a few hours before this can be done, but it didn't look any different to me. This is now the finished floor.

Day 24 Monday, nothing happened

Day 25 11th February, A change of plan due to the fact that the delivery of materials will arrive in a 40ft lorry and wont get up here. It is decided to start getting the stable pad ready. Micheal Rock is here leveling the arriving loads of gravel with the lads. Rock is also having to move the bank at the far end of where the arena goes, back another seven meters, as we had not allowed enough for parking between the house and the start of the arena. He is then leveling a place for the walker. Then a list of things which never seem to end! all which we need Rock to do. I ordered eighteen drinkers from Alfco in Trim at 27.00 each. They are the blue plastic ones with a bung in the bottom made by JFC. I felt that the drinker with the 'nose push' system would not be ok for new horses incase they didn't drink on their stay here.

Day 26 Rock is still working leveling the stable pad. Brendan arrived later and the damp course and reinforcing mesh was put down. The weather is beautiful. 

Day 27 Materials arrived first thing. The polystyrene first floor and metal frames, difficult to unload at the road entrance and it still has to be brought up on site.

Day 28 Friday, Michael was levelling the area for the walker and hay shed as well as trying to place unwanted clay, by incorporating it in the bank, lots of shoving stuff around. Brendan came and propped up the mesh ready for pour but the forecast is for more frost so nothing can be done until after the week end. We just have to wait and wait. Gareth Wilson of Stable Comfort called in to meet Brendan and discuss how the mats could be best fitted. The necessary levelling of the floor evenly to one corner was fine, whereas a centre drain would have caused the mats to wrinkle.

Day 29 Monday 17th. Everything was going to happen but couldn't, frost and the polystyrene walls are not coming till tomorrow, but the start of the steel frame that fixes to the foundation was started, Steel channels on the inner and outer part of the outside walls were fixed with nails on a damp course, while Micheal was making headway with the walker area and the back parking area.

Day 30 All go. The front two corner walls were put up today. Hardcore, loads of the stuff, had to come to do the parking area at the back, this will give us another way to come in and a great place for the lorries to park in the stud season. The bank was finished along the side of the arena. The middle passage of the stable barn was completed (see picture). The first load was too wet, so quick action had to taken to contain the concrete as it poured out everywhere. The next loads were fine. The window guy came and checked the plans again. The architect inspected the build again, necessary for the mortgage.  These three pictures taken on day 30

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