My last AGA saga…….

17 04 2020

You read it right, I have no more AGA sagas left in me…….. I don’t need more, I have everything I need (or want for that matter) right here now. Four and a half years in the making, our beloved AGA is finally going, and we’re loving it. To say it’s transformed our lives is of course an understatement. Not only does it produce great meals, it’s keeping us warm through the cold fronts (like today, 6C outside, almost 21C inside) and makes oodles of hot water, meaning no more trips to the shed for a hot shower.

If you’re new here, this saga started four and a half years ago when I drove uteII to Adelaide to pick up the dismantled behemoth I’d bought from Queensland even before driving to Geeveston to live. Having brought it here, with some of its innards needing replacement, I then fell on my feet again after meeting Geoff online who sold me the parts I needed for a very fair price too……. All I needed to put this whole show together was a house, and a hot water tank.

I’d laid a brick plinth some weeks earlier, and cleaned up the rusty base in preparation to moving all the bits from the shed to the house. Building an AGA is like putting a giant (and heavy!) jigsaw puzzle together. I did have an ancient building manual with B&W pictures. It helped, but not as much as John from England, a retired AGA engineer, whose assistance over facebook proved invaluable.

To bore those holes, I opted to buy a masonry drill with grunt, then found masonry hole saws on eBay. The tools were only going to be used once, but in the end they weren’t that dear. I wasn’t looking forward to this, but it turned out to be less hard than I’d anticipated, though when the drill broke through to the other side, it made a bit of a mess. As my father used to say, you can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs…!

Just soldering the one inch pipes together turned into a saga…… the gas bottle I was using was struggling to put enough heat into those larger fittings. It was fine on 1/2 inch fittings, but this was different. I even got Pete the welder to give me a hand, and he used a different bottle with different gas that made it all look so easy. Lesson learnt.

This may look intricate, but it’s actually dead simple. The two big pipes are connected to the AGA through the wall; the bottom one connects to the bottom of the wetback, the top one joins the top of the wetback to the top of the tank, which is where all the hot water goes, pushing the colder water down, through the non return valve, back to the wetback for more heating. This is known as a thermosyphon, involving no pumps or external energy. There’s no pressure in the tank, as I connected a pipe from the top of the tank, poking through the roof, and shaped like a shepherd’s crook (which is what they are called). Water does slowly evaporate through this vent pipe, and about once a week, the 1/2 inch ball valve (just to the left of the bigger one on the 1″ pipe) has to be opened to top up the tank. It’s with this valve that I filled the tank when it was all done. This alleviates the need for a TPR valve (Temperature Pressure Release). Our last system in Cooran had one of these, and it was constantly releasing water, plus they failed three times, unable to cope with the near boiling water the combined solar/wetback sources were generating……. At $100 a pop, I wasn’t impressed, and furthermore, I can see the day they’ll become unavailable, especially at this time…….

Hot water is extracted by pumping cold water through the 1/2″ pipe downstream of above mentioned valve. This pipe is connected to a stainless steel coil inside the tank. The coil is heated by the water in the tank, they are totally unconnected. The heated water comes out the top 1/2″ pipe, having been flushed through this coil. This is known as a heat exchanger. That water then goes to all our hot water pipes, and it’s working beyond my wildest expectations….. I could not be happier!

My mate Trev talked me into having an electric booster, because it’s possible that during the odd heat wave we get in Tasmania (we recently had a 39 degree day!) the AGA might not be lit. In this case we’d almost certainly have a glut of solar power, and we could run the 2.4kW booster off the batteries for a couple of hours in the middle of the day.

The AGA’s top plate was in poor shape, and cracked to boot. Having it re enameled was out of the question, as it would have involved a return trip to Melbourne and god knows how many hundreds of dollars. So instead I had it sandblasted in Geeveston, and Pete welded up the crack. Another great job, thank you Pete. By now he has a fair bit invested in this project, and he’ll get a dinner invite as soon as all this distancing madness ends.

Underneath the top, was cast the date it was made……. January 17 1955, making it about three years younger than the Cooran AGA…..

The top was painted with high temperature engine paint, which cost a lot less than re enameling. I was worried it might scratch easily, but so far so good, even though it’s not cured at 200 degrees as recommended, it’s bearing up under the strain.

The next big job was refilling the beast with its insulation, another aspect I wasn’t looking forward to having gone through this once before. John Nesbitt poo pooed the whole idea of refilling it with its original diatomaceous earth, but having moved it over 1000km, and me being reluctant to waste anything unnecessarily, that’s exactly what I did, all six rubbish bins worth!

At least this time, unlike in Cooran, this ordeal only lasted a couple of days instead of weeks! I then cut out a new blanket of ceramic insulation to cover the powder, the circular bits were stuffed into the domes to improve efficiency……..

Having fitted the top back on permanently now, the next big job was installing the flue; which turned into its own saga……. these days, there are all sorts of regulations about fitting flues to, surprise surprise, ensure you don’t burn your house down. So I contacted two flue tradies who separately told me it couldn’t be done because the stove was too close to the wall… I had actually done my research, and our AGA is 50mm farther from the wall than normally recommended…. I did this to give me extra room for the plumbing sticking out the back instead of the usual top with a two oven stove……. At this stage, I was starting to tear what’s left of my hair out, because the shit was hitting the fan in China, and I just knew it was coming here. Getting struck out by collapse this close to the light at the end of the tunnel was not an option, so I decided, again, to do this myself. I ordered a flue kit from a specialist firm 40km away, who promised me it’d be ready at the end of the week; as usual, they forgot to tell me which week…. I had already taken possession of my three metres of 5″ stainless tubing from Nubco, removed and replaced two sheets of iron off the roof to cut the batten that of course lined up exactly with the middle of my flue, and cut a round hole in my expensive hoop pine ceiling. It was nail biting stuff, but I got my flue kit, and the heater people promptly closed up shop……. Phew……

But it doesn’t end there. The SS tube didn’t fit, I kid you not. It was maybe 0.5 to 1mm too thick or something, a problem that simply didn’t occur in Cooran, and which I wasn’t ready for. I tried grinding some meat off – and you better believe, SS is bloody hard – to no avail. Glenda, bless her heart, said call Pete……. Pete suggested cutting slots every inch or so in the end to go into the flue box such that as it was forced in by tapping it from above, those slots would close inside the collar it was meant to fit into. It worked…. must be worth another dinner..!

First firing, a bit smoky as usual, you can see the shepherd’s crook too…

Having brought the AGA’s original top hat from Adelaide as more of a bit of nostalgia than anything else, I didn’t order a new one with the flue kit. Lo and behold, it didn’t fit either. How they mated a 6″ top hat to a 5″ flue remains a mystery, a mystery I managed to resolve with an angle grinder and some screws…

Anyhow, it’s all over, thank goodness…….. Bliss is a working AGA on a rainy and windy day like today…….

Talk about timing………

11 04 2020

Anyone not new to this humble blog will know I’ve been saying 2020 would be crunch time. Can I now say I told you so….? Having said that, I will freely admit that a pandemic was not what I was expecting. One was always on the cards of course, but a financial crunch of its own accord was what I was really expecting. But, in retrospect, all that was needed was a straw, any straw, to break the camel’s back……. and a pandemic will do just fine.

I haven’t written anything here since the water tanks arrived mid January, and as usual, it’s because I’ve been flat out, tired, and lazy, using my phone to communicate, said phone not being the right tool to update this blog…. just plugging the now 10 yr old laptop into a power point and tethering it to said phone seems, at the end of the day, such a burden on what’s left of my energy. It’s Easter, and I have nothing urgent to do right now, so you’re all in luck, with something to read while in lock down..!

The reason for the title of this post is that as anyone following me long enough will know, I was terrified that having built Cooran up to its potential, I’d start again down here in Tasmania from scratch only to be foiled by the very collapse happening right now. Without the following timeline, you won’t realise how close things got…….

Before any of this even started in China, we decided I’d have my cataracts removed. My opthalmologist Zoe did a fantastic job, she’s a glowing example of an Asian immigrant who’s become an asset to our community. By the time I had both eyes done – two weeks – the shit had hit the fan in China, and talks of a pandemic was becoming the only topic in the media. But my sight had improved beyond belief, should have done it years ago.

With new eyes, panic set in…… I had to have this place prepared for winter. The AGA had to be going, and the back wall insulated. I also have to have another fence built to keep the goats out of our non goat zones, and I don’t want Maggie tied up all day long for ever in a a day….

So while everybody else was panic buying toilet paper, I ordered a flue penetration kit. The heater people I decided to use, after two said it couldn’t be done because the AGA was too close to the wall, told me “ready by the end of the week”. Of course they forgot to tell me which week! I also ordered the Green Board material for the back wall, stuff made by the Rockcote people I knew way back in Queensland, and for whom I even took photos for in my previous life as a professional photographer, in the late 1980’s…… This fortunately arrived promptly, and whilst not heavy, its volume is 6.6m3. Two return trips to Hobart in the ute…… Just think of how much oil went into that little exercise…… As the pandemic worsened, I ordered the rendering for the insulation, even before any sheets went up, and bought three rolls of wallaby (read goat) proof mesh while I was i Hobart. The flue kit was ready that day, so I picked that up too. They closed the very next day………. Is that timing or what?

Literally everything I need to finish our project…. who needs a ute..?

So much has happened since my last post that just looking through what photos to use makes my head spin…. We killed our two pigs, who had decided electric fences were no obstacle to raiding next door’s back yard, a male lamb, and a goat kid. We now have 220kg of meat in the freezer, we won’t be going vegetarian any time soon…..

Our young French wwoofer watched the carnage and was a bit shocked by it all, but eventually agreed it was part of her education…. and she enjoyed the AGA meals too. As things were getting from bad to worse, she started fretting about going home to France. While she still could. Planes grounded everywhere, and all her friends telling he to stay here (including one doctor) she couldn’t make up her mind. She eventually found an affordable flight back, and I drove her to Hobart airport, which was completely deserted of people and cars. Well, cars being driven at any rate, because the whole place was just full of parked hire cars, and more campervans than I realised even existed….. it was like a post apocalyptic scene… Jessica is now back home where the pandemic is still rampant, we hope she manages well. At least we inspired her to start a veggie plot ASAP.

Not a person in sight, no parking nazis to move you along……..

I’ll post something separate about the AGA for all the aficionados, but let me tell you, it’s transformed our lives with oodles of hot running water on tap, and even a shower, meaning no more walks to the shed in the cold for a hot shower. Such luxuries..! Am I glad we had the foresight to prepare for this calamity, but all the same I feel mightily lucky for the timing.

First 2020 house update

1 02 2020

Another year, another decade…….. will Australia run out of domestic oil this year? Watch this space I guess. I haven’t blogged here in ages, largely sick of repeating myself all the time, and it’s been pretty busy here, trying to get this darn house done so I can get back to some serious food production. Since the bushfires, breaking my ribs, and the erection of the roof starting a building frenzy, the market garden has been thoroughly ignored, and we’re no longer food self sufficient I hate to admit…… In my defense, there’s been real progress all the same. Like running water…!

Setting up the tank pads was more work than anticipated (isn’t it always..?) and after having some great visitors from Queensland, one of whom is a builder, I was thankfully talked out of building another concrete pad and retaining wall, even though I had all the necessary left over blocks to do so. This one only needed to be 600mm high, so didn’t need the high strength of the wall at the other end of the house.The result is a timber one Charles the French wwoofer and I have now built.

A few days later, our new custom made 18,000 litres stainless steel water tanks arrived… they’re custom made because a standard 3 sheet high tank would not fit under the gutters; but because we were buying two, they cut the third sheet in half, putting one of those halves on each tank. The eastern tank even has a firefighting hose attachment in case the fire brigade need our water. We chose SS because we could afford it; it’s fireproof, should outlast us and our kids, and I detest plastic and plastic liners. As it is I’m resigned to using plastic pipes to connect the two tanks together and to the house, there’s no other way…….

The place still looks like a building site…… because it is.

The resulting running water is much appreciated, let me tell you……. Now for running hot water…! Which brings me to the AGA.

AGAs are, I’m reliably informed, loose bits of cast iron flying in tight formation! Having now put one mostly together, I don’t know how I ever managed to shift the last one in one piece without crashing it……. All the parts inside, and trust me, they’re heavy, sit on ‘tripods’ made of threaded rods or trunions that can be turned to adjust the height and level of everything. I discovered, from communicating through a facebook group of AGA aficionados that the top oven adjustment can be reached from the roof of the bottom oven. Better still, this retired AGA engineer told me to remove the original slotted screws and replace them with Allen keyed ones…. it does pay to know someone who knows more than you!

Anyhow, the stove was rebuilt to the stage a wetback could be designed by yours truly. Armed with scrap cardboard, scissors, lots of tape, and four hours (no less!) I carefully made a model of what I wanted Pete the blacksmith to duplicate in stainless steel……. Making a 3D model of a curved and sloping box that had to fit withing constrained positions turned out trickier than I thought. Again! I actually impressed Pete, especially when he brought the beast home and it fitted perfectly.

Pete measuring the mounting tabs before completing all welding……

While in Hobart, I had a win at Tradelink who actually managed to find me 32mm to 25mm adaptors with compression fittings, and even an expensive 25mm Italian made non return flap valve to stop the thermosyphon running backwards when the stove is cold…… Now all I have to do is bore two 50mm holes through the 200mm reinforced concrete block wall behind the AGA to connect it all to the new hot water system, and THAT, my friends I’m not expecting to be a walk in the park…….. but I love a challenge!

The only other major news is that the back wall has been finally waterproofed with bitumen paint so that it can be insulated, and then backfilled. This is the last step in ensuring the house reaches its full thermal performance capability……

Yep……. STILL looks like a building site.

A cool idea revisited

27 11 2019

It’s quite amazing what difference a few years make….. I often dump on technology as a problem within itself, but occasionally I find something that truly astonishes me. Anyone who’s been here long enough will remember my cool idea, now a staggering ten years old….. I wonder if that old freezer is still going as well as it did back then?

Anyhow, shortly before moving into Mon Abri in Tassie, we needed a new fridge, and I started shopping around for a suitable energy efficient freezer that we could run off our batteries. There aren’t anywhere near as many freezers to choose from as there are refrigerators, and thank goodness for that, it took me long enough to find what I wanted!

In the end, I opted for the same brand as the Cooran unit, which was discontinued many years ago. The brand is Haier, and interestingly, it seems they make a dual range of appliances; one is OK, the other is outstandingly better… Our new freeedge is a 220L upright unit. It’s actually a bit bigger than the previous one which was 175L. It’s a bit smaller than your average fridge, but you know me, I think everyone else’s fridge is way too big!

Remarkably, while searching for a clean photo of it, it no longer appears on Haier’s website, with the nearest freezer like it being 258L… We bought it online, which necessitated driving the ute to Hobart to pick it up, but I had to get our tiles at the same time so not such a waste of fuel.

Me being me, I immediately plugged it into an extension cord, the power station having not yet been connected to the house, via the usual thermostat switch I’ve been using for years, and my trusty energy monitor which I brought down from Queensland four years ago. To my amazement, the motor only draws 60W….. I was truly gobsmacked, because every other freezer I’ve used around the country has consumed at least 175W, and some as much as 250…..

The end result is that 39 days later when I finally wired the power station up and had power coming out of all the power points, I discarded the extension cord and moved the freedge to its final position in the new kitchen. The monitor said that it averaged 0.1kWh/day, and that at 30c/kWh (which I think is pretty average for grid pricing these days, it would cost $11 a year to run as it currently is.

The proof is, as they say, in the pudding. The battery bank, even in the current spate of bad weather we are experiencing, with winter refusing to go away except for a day or three now and again, are behaving as though there is no fridge in the house! After all, 0.1kWh is hardly a load at all…….

It can be argued that that it’s significantly cooler here than in Cooran, but the previous freedge consumed 0.25kWh/day, which even that was, I thought outstanding.

Not being a fridge, it doesn’t have all the convenient – and in my opinion un-necessary – fancy door trays etc, but it does have a light, and the drawers inside keep all the cold air where it belongs when you open the door.

Unrelated to the above, our first water tank pad is in place. Matt from next door finished cutting the footing trenches, I put all the steel in, and Caleb came back with his father Trev, an old hand at concreting, to help me pour the truckload of panic into the void. I was again lucky with the weather, not too hot, not too cold, and no rain, which I have to tell you is a bit rare this year for the cusp of summer….

Now all we need is for Mark to come back and lay the blocks we need to retain all that soil in the banks, and a stainless steel tank sitting atop the new pad to give us running water…… everything comes to those who wait, and I’m getting very good at waiting!

We’ve moved in…….

7 11 2019

Yes dear reader, after years of hard yakka, and two months of renting the neighbours’ house in town to weather winter, we have moved into our new house. It’s more like glamping really, because we don’t have running water, hot or cold, we’re trampling dirt in on the bare concrete like you wouldn’t believe, but it’s home, even if it’s still a building site….. and it’s closer to where we work. and it’s definitely more comfortable than the shed…… I haven’t posted much since my last update because it’s been either frantically busy, or I’m too exhausted to post. This is in fact the first time I’ve started the laptop since moving in over a month ago. You can thank the rain….

The house is basically built now. The double glazed clerestory windows eventually turned up, the gutters are fitted (we’re even collecting rainwater in buckets (pouring rain as I write, trenches for the rainwater tank pad full of water…) to alleviate the need to cart it 300m from the shed!), and the power from the power station is finally all hooked up……. But no lights yet, except those plugged into the walls so we can see what we are saying to each other at night…..! The solar battery system is performing beyond all expectations, though of course we’re well past the equinox, and the days are now much longer. But all the same, we have to cook and heat water from them, and they haven’t even come close to going flat yet. This is not what the system was meant to do with an AGA in the kitchen supplying all the heating services.

We even have a kitchen of sorts, with a brand new black stone sink and brass flickmixer from which no water comes out because, well, we don’t have water tanks even…… As the AGA, which has partly moved in, has a black top and copper/brass finishes, we’ve decided to make that the kitchen theme. We’ve even managed to find copper light pendants, which I must put it soon so we can get rid of the cardboard boxes all over the floor!

My custom made hot water cylinder has also arrived, sitting on its platform waiting for an AGA to be plumbed to. As you may or may not remember, I ordered this stainless hot water tank from EarthWorker cooperative in Victoria. With the freight over Bass Strait, it wasn’t cheap, but it’s custom made to my specs, open to atmosphere and not requiring a TPR valve, the device that kept ejecting boiling water from the system in the Cooran house and needed replacing three times while we were there….. It was a bit of a slow trip from Hobart with this thing upright on the back of the ute, but we made it…..

Glenda and I lifted it on its platform with a ratchet strap, and it turned out far easier than I had anticipated… as expected, it just fits under the ceiling, and is just high enough to ensure proper thermosyphoning between it and the stove.

The house is performing thermally pretty well as expected. It’s still a tad cool, because the back wall is not yet insulated let alone backfilled, and at this time of year we don’t get much solar ingress. I expect that by the end of Summer, the thermal battery, which is after all what all that thermal mass is, will be charged up ready for Winter. My neighbour Matt who dug our sewer trenches came over to backfill them on a 32 degree day and wanted to see how cool it was inside. To his amazement, it was 21 inside, a whopping 11 degrees cooler than outside! Thermal mass works…….

The above mentioned trenches are now also finished, and we can actually drain the kitchen sink and wash our hands in the bathroom which is partly constructed and gives a good idea of what it will look like when finished.

Next on the list are the all important water tanks, stainless steel too for longevity and ability to remain in one piece during bushfires. Following a post bushfire meeting in town organised by the Tasmanian Fire Service, we decided to install gutter blocking valves so we can fill them with water to discourage ember attacks from burning our house down, and we will also have a special fitting on the tank for the fire brigate to access our water in an emergency.

But the best thing about having moved in is being able to see out, especially at our amazing view of the dam, in all weather, even the crappy style! I will also put up another post regarding the latest on the farm…..

Everything started, nothing finished…….

9 07 2019

Having checked for my last Tasmania Project entry, I was shocked to see it was posted in March, more than three months ago….. a combination of Winter settling in – nothing much happens in Tassie in Winter – and the pair of us succumbing to the dreaded lurghy, making us sick for over a month. And of course we’re also doing our annual neighbourly duty looking after Our Mate’s Farm’s pigs while Matt and Coreen luxuriate in North Queensland’s Winter, fishing no less…..

The environment is slowly recovering from the bushfires. We were so so lucky they didn’t get any closer. Mind you, the total absence of bird sounds was quite un-nerving. I’m also a bit worried about the lack of bees. Smoke is, after all, how bee keepers control the bees, let’s hope they haven’t just all left looking for fresh air. One outcome of the fires is that we opted to upgrade our glazing from BAL 19 to 29. That should make the house pretty well fireproof when the eventual repeat climate change energised bushfires return, quite likely when there will be no fuel for helicopters either….. the future will be interesting.

The biggest progress regarding the house project is that our double glazing has arrived, some of it unfortunately damaged. We’re still negotiating with Stegbar over what they’re going to do about it. I installed it all regardless, except for the clerestory glass I ordered locally which has still not arrived after being told “two or three weeks”. Typical Tasmania though, I’m used to it now…….

Waiting for glass…

With windows and doors in place, I have started cladding the outside too, but that has been stalled because I need assistance putting up the long and floppy fascia and soffit flashings up first as the corrugated iron cladding goes on top of it all.

I’ve also started sheeting in the inside and filling the cavity with our precious wool insulation, with one bedroom finished, minus architraves. With all the EOFY sales on, we’ve been spending big before the economy tanks, buying all the tiles needed for the bathrooms and living space, a new freedge, the kitchen benchtop from a local sawmiller, a new sexy energy efficient Grundfos pump to get water from the as yet non existent water tanks to taps, and I’ve even ordered the hot water storage tank…

The hot water boiler story is quite interesting in itself….. I found a story on ABC News about these people who lost their jobs when a coal fired power station was closed in Victoria. The locals started a co-op the outcome of which was a new manufacturing group making stainless steel hot water tanks for solar use. It turns out they even make special versions for wet backs on stoves with stainless steel pipe heat exchanger, perfect for the AGA (which I’m starting to plan to move into the house soon). Negotiating with the co-op is proving challenging via email, with responses being on the slow side. Plus it has to be shipped across Bass Strait eventually, it never stops….

Winter being Winter, it snowed on the hills, and we’ve had more massive frosts complicating life a little in the shed. But it’s all exhilirating and makes us make time to smell the roses, so to speak….

Yep, that’s frost……. don’t know how they do it..!

Super Wwoofer and the roofing saga….

18 03 2019

When Gerard originally contacted me from Antarctica to offer help with our Tassie Project, I really didn’t know what to expect; except I had this vision of some bespectacled scientist specialising in climatology or glaciers. The person I did get was someone who’s completely raised the bar when it comes to volunteering, working long hours for fine tucker and lots of cider…. he is after all from Normandy where they not only produce some of the world’s best dairy, but lots of apples, cider, and Calvados. And he reckoned my cider was as good as any he’d tasted anywhere.

Pointy bit all framed up….

Before breaking my ribs, Gerard and I built the remaining rafter structure over ‘the pointy bit’, which I’d put into the too hard basket through lack of no one suitable to help me here…. Gerard very quickly impressed me with his carpentry abilities, and we had the job done in a few days……

To put the roof on, I also needed some insulation. The last house was insulated with cellulose, a recycled newspaper fluffy material that in the end left me disappointed. I would have used sheeps’ wool, but simply couldn’t afford it. This time, however was different, and I ordered 18 bales of the stuff from this cobber in Northern Tasmania who specialises in it.

The wool guy could not believe how much of his product I could load on my ute!

Whilst it’s ‘local’, I was amazed to discover the wool had to go to Melbourne for treatment and manufacturing into something useful for building….. then I had to drive 400km return to pick it up, but there you go, as I constantly say, nothing we do is sustainable. Worse, he somehow stuffed up, and could only supply me 2/3 of the order once I’d got to Campbelltown, so he had to ship the rest to Hobart where I had to pick it up, another 200km return….

As we started putting the Hoop Pine ceiling over the rafters, another wwoofer called Aurelien turned up just after I broke my ribs, and he quickly became Gerard’s apprentice. Aurelien is a chemist and not used to building, and it took Gerard a couple of days training to bring him up to speed while all I could do was watch and supervise. So frustrating…….

Acres of wool….. $3500 worth…!

The process involved screwing my heavy duty battens milled on the farm, on their edge, through the ceiling, with 150mm batten screws. Aurelien drilled the holes, and Gerard put the screws in. Working with rough sawn timber is time consuming, every bend, warp, and twist has to be taken into account, but slowly and surely, it all came together. All that wool was covered with Proctor Wrap, costing $10 a metre, of which we’ve now used over 100m…. this building’s not cheap, but the expensive insulation means no condensation, a bit of a problem in Tassie I am reliably told.

All closed in, now awaiting windows…. feels amazing!

By now, Gerard became known as Super Wwoofer! He was wearing us all out, but to say it was all worth it is a huge understatement. Unfortunately, I miscalculated when I ordered the iron 2 1/2 years ago, and we were 4 sheets short of finishing the pointy bit……. more frustration, and Super Wwoofer was clearly disappointed we could not completely finish the job, but frankly, I’m stoked beyond words, and I will never be able to thank him enough for the superhuman effort he put in.

So near…..

I drove Gerard to the airport yesterday, and I would be very surprised if he doesn’t show up next year after his next stint in Antarctica to see progress.

We’ve ordered our double glazing, and I’d be disappointed if we weren’t in the unfinished house before Christmas. It’s all too exciting!


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The roof is now ‘finished’, except for the numerous flashings that have to wait for more work to be done, and gutters, and water tanks, and…… Glenda and I performed our own little topping off ritual with a tree strapped to the roof and a bottle of Tassie bubbly….

The windows and doors will turn up in a month or so, and we could be at lockup stage some time in May, all things being equal.