The extension – we have lift off

We are a go-go!

So, just 12 weeks after we had sausages and wedges for dinner and decided to extend our lovely house we have started. Now, I’m no expert but I think that is pretty good going. Include in that the madness of Christmas and New Year, 3 or 4 bouts of snow, getting sign off from the council and a weekend away in Paris and that’s not that bad.

As we decided to project manage it ourselves we’re calling in favours left, right and centre. This is great for our budget – nice and cheap and no ‘extras’, but it does mean we’re at the mercy of people’s goodwill.


Our first job was digging the footings. Some of them are more than 2 metres deep due to the type of soil we have and the trees that surround us. 2 metres is deep, so we needed to get in a digger or a very tall person. We went for the digger option.

Day 1 and we had Mr J, my dad, Mr J’s apprentice, digger-man operating the digger and two other helpers. I was of course CEO of Operations and Head of Catering. Bacon sarnie anyone?

What a day. It was a good day as we finally got started. But not good in that by the time we finished after about 9 hours we were nowhere near finishing! We’re on a pretty tight timeline with the different people we’ve got in doing all the different trades and to not finish on day 1 is a total pain in the bum. We’re on the back foot straight away.

In the spirit of knowledge is power, here’s what we learned…

Lesson one – there’s always trouble underfoot.
By all accounts the digger would get it all done, easily. Within the first hour it became clear that this wouldn’t happen. We apparently have the most solid soil in all of England! Why?! Why us!

Lesson two – always overestimate.
“Footings will be done in a day”. No they won’t. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will our footings.

Lesson three – just because you’re a girl doesn’t mean you can escape.
Full on digging, wheelbarrowing and generally getting dirty and mucking in. As well as doing the catering.

Lesson four – you will run out of bacon.
Twice. And milk. Make no mistake – building sites up and down the country run on tea! Don’t ask – just keep it brewing.

Lesson five – a 8am start actually means 2pm to some people.
Digger mans hangover was to blame. Apparently it was a pukker night out though!

We have to get back on track quickly if we want to keep all of our workers and not lose them to other jobs. So with some schedule juggling we now think our ‘1 day’ footings will be ‘4 day’ footings with a couple of evenings thrown in! And the one grab lorry that was estimated? That’ll be three so far then.

So there’s no going back now. And it does mean I’m one step closer to doing the really fun stuff (like decorating!)


One thought on “The extension – we have lift off

  1. Love it! Got your card and felt your pain, gotta love making builders tea….don’t fancy the digging and wheelbarrowing much tho. How’s a girl to maintain a manicure whilst doing that?! Thanks for the card doll…soooooo looking forward to seeing you in July. Hope the extension flies up and your entertaining in it before the summer, I expect it to look House and Garden worthy by the time we darken your doorstep ; ) much love doll xxxxx

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