Our first Bodgers’, Susie and Ben have been and gone, but what a journey to get here!
With the help of my little digger I have managed to landscape around the new shower so that it is completely submerged. It has always been my intention with this project that it should have a very low visual impact, my hope is that people will walk along the farm track just above the roundhouse and not even notice it this time next year, when nature (in the form of ivy and periwinkle) has started to take over again.
The straw bale walls have compressed and settled very nicely but they were in need of a haircut so that we could have a good key for the render, so this was done using an old pair of sheep shears, the Bengineer turned hairdresser for the day! The render is a lime and sand mix which for the first coat was pushed and massaged into the straw (gloves on), before the second coat, using trowels and floats was applied. It could then be smoothed off to give you something that resembles a wall. It was great to see Adam, our middle son (aged 16) getting so involved with this alongside Ben and Sam.
While all of this was going on I was busy cutting up our firewood stockpile to give us materials for making cordwood walls, not sure how we will be heating the house this winter but needs must! All of the walls that won’t be buried will be made from chestnut cordwood, logs cut thirty centimeters in length and laid on mortar like bricks. Aesthetically these highlight the timberyness of the building which I like.
Ali’s new project was to line the inside of the shower with sheets of OSB (large boards of chipped up wood – the OSB apparently stands fororrible shitty boards!). Being a boat builder we thought he would be good at keeping things water tight!! This was a very complicated bit of carpentry, turning a very curvy organic structure into a cube that sits on a shower tray and fits perfectly together with no leaks. In the meantime Ben was cracking on with his second fix plumbing, putting the sinks and shower tray in place and organising hot and cold water and all of the drainage.
All work had to stop on the roundhouse for a day so that we could transport Ali’s deck down to the woods and put the yurt up. It all went without a hitch but needed some muscles to carry the deck down to its plinth.
Once sat nicely and bolted together we could put the yurt up and organise the canvas and all the rope work. The whole area was really starting to look amazing especially when you consider what we started with at the end of last year, but we didn’t have long before the first punters were arriving!
On the big day when Susie and Ben were arriving, the morning was spent furnishing the yurt and roundhouse, clearing up everywhere, getting rid of two months worth of rubbish and accumulated tools and fixings, all the left over pipes and plumbing fittings and off cuts of different membranes. Then in the afternoon it was all hands to the pumps, putting down woodchippings on the pathway, terrace and pole lathe areas, gravelling the kitchen and doing all the final bits and bobs.
As our first clients arrived down the cleft oak steps, made and fitted so beautifully by Matty, Ali was leaving the area in the opposite direction having just finished sealing the shower and still covered in white mastic. Ben was driving the tractor off with a trailer load of stuff and helpers , Wendy and I were there to greet our first Bodgers in an atmosphere of complete serenity. Between us all we have created something truly beautiful!
Susie and Bens’ comment in the visitors book when they left pretty much sums up what we are about and why we do what we do and reads as follows:-
“thank you for such a wonderful few days, it has given us time to relax, admire the views and to think. Your hospitality has been perfect. The ginger cake and breakfasts delicious! We are honoured to have been the first in the Bodgers’ Yurt and look forward to coming back for future holidays in these peaceful surroundings. It will be a shock arriving in Hackney later!”(Susie and Ben)
It has been a pleasure to have them both here as our first bodgers!
Best wishes, a relieved and happy Matt x