Finishing touches on the building now.

The bridge and steps have been the main things, along with a visit from the National Trust Council and our Regional Director. Was a bit nervous about the visit, which was on tuesday, but it seemed to go well. They were certainly an interesting bunch of people and they seemed to really enjoy looking around the building and Swan Barn Farm. I hope they liked it, I like to think the Speckled Wood project is something the Trust is going to be able to be proud of.

Its been a real relief to get the bridge and steps finished. After all they are the ways you walk on to the veranda and access the building, getting them done has started to make the whole thing feel like it is nearing completion.

The bridge had consisted of a plank for some time, it couldn’t be built until the landscaping around the project had created the finished level of the track.

As soon as that was done we could get the joists in. They were douglas fir with the outside ones made of oak, from our own woods of course. This means they will match the pattern of the ones we used for the rest of the building.

It took a while for us to decide quite what shape to make the bridge. Somehow at right angles to the veranda the look of it seemed off. But then I remembered a converstation I’d had a while ago with our Curator. She had suggested building it at an angle, we gave it a go, and I really liked it, you can judge the results for youself, but it looked pretty good to me.

One of the nicest things for me about the building is the way the roundwood reflects the landscape and gives a direct link with the woodlands we manage. Unfortunately this does mean whenever you are working on it there are not a lot of square edges and there is lots of scribing and measuring and cutting out to make things like floorboards fit around posts… its all part of the challenge.

Spindles and handrails were next, pretty pleased with the results.

Then it was on to the steps on the other side of the building. I had a bit of a brain freeze at first and for some reason cut the supports the wrong shape. A bit of adjustment soon had them in order though and put us back on track.

I like the way they work with the slope and lead you up and on to the veranda.

Sometimes the practical details of a living space take a while to get right, things like places to store boots and hang coats, I guess you just don’t think about that too much until it gets near to people moving in. A coat and boot rack was knocked together in an effort to sort out some of these issues.

Meanwhile in the garden the first of our home grown produce is nearly ready. The salad has been doing well for a while. But I was really chuffed when I saw the peas were swelling in their pods.

I tasted a few raw straight from the pod, they were so sweet and delicious. I know they aren’t the most exciting vegetable in the world, but there is something really pleasing in the way they grow, and the act of podding them. Plus you just can’t beat some fresh pea soup.

We really thought we had the place pretty much finished this week. Unfortunately a visit from the building inspector on friday turned up a couple of issues we still had to address before it can all be signed off. Its nothing major, we need to put in some extra higher handrails outside and spindles on the staircase inside to fill gaps in order to satisfy some of the health and safety regulations. Its a bit frustrating to be honest, it wont take us long to get it put right, but it just fealt like it was finally done. Never mind, wont be long now.

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