Saturday, 8 December 2012

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Your invitation! This Sunday 2-4pm, our tea party. Bring tasties.
So you have an idea of what kind of cake is on offer:

 And Adams moved into his room, with all these drums!

Also consider yourself invited to our food co-op's festive dinner on 19-12-12 at 7pm - potluck so bring a dish! :-)

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Top coat plaster island patchwork in big room, where our first events will be held next week

Final hemcreting in Mandy's roon, we're using NHL2 lime as binder instead of Batichanvre, but its got shrinkage problems, so we're nailing and screwing it into the wall. Got savvy to hemcrete mixture getting everywhere, by clingfiling over windows...

Frankie paints her room! With ecopaint! Wow, decoration...

Gem's room...can you spot the hemcrete amidst the abundant normality? Rescued secondary glazing panels make me slightly less draughty! Excess loft insulation under my floroboards too cause im above the garage. I love my garrett room :-)

Simon's 8" strap-on...hones thtats what he called it!

What will probaably be the pampas grass' most beautiful face

Our house is bristing with scaff...a roofer fell off today! But he's unharmed phew.

The bright lights of Ipswich's First bus depot, and beyond!

A mirage of domesticity - Adam cooks curry for dinner. Kate embroidered the groin.

''This bowl..!"

Works at the house are rapidly progressing - we want a warmable space ready for xmas!
All thats left to hemcrete is Mandys room, which unfortunately is the BIGGEST wall we've had to do so far! Preparing the shuttering and frames was annoyingly laborious today, we didnt have big enough screws or dril bits. Jim saved us by suggesting counterboring first.
Once that walls done we can get the radiators connected back up.
Top coat plaster in the big room is headed by John, Helen and Gemma. Adam and Mandy are learning scratch coat, of which the only remaning portion is in the hallway.
We got the internet! This is the first blog post from our own house.
We got our electrics finished! Sockets can now be used upstaurs, and theres light in the garage and passageway. Woopee.

We've had tense text conversations about washing up and who does more.

And a strange spiky gelatinous mushroom has grown out of the ceiling in the kitchen, due to a damp patch left by the shower leaking - this is something we're contacting the insurance contractors who were called out a year ago on behalf of the previous owner.

Over and out. x

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Hemcrete Work weekend 20th - 21st October, 10-5pm each day

Come learn to install hemp-lime wall insualtion with us, help our house to be warrrrm :-)
We will simultaneously be plastering walls that still need it throughout the house if that floats your boat more.
No skills required - there will be heavy bucket lifting for some. Bring gloves and overalls if you can.

Halloween/ Samhain/ Day of the Dead PARTY 3rd November

If you know us, drop us an email or text/ call for details :-)

See you soon x

Friday, 28 September 2012

 Work weekend photos, as promised. Illustrating the process of applying hemp and lime internal wall insulation - contact us if you want to know more about it or want to come help and learn how. We have finished downstairs, still have 3 rooms upstairs to do. We'll probably also be doing it externally next spring. We'll be plastering over these inside walls when they've cured in 2 months time, thye'll be the best finished i reckon because we're practising plastering everywhere else in the house right now! Scratch coat swirl patterns psychedelic walls. x

Making the shuttering which will hold the hemcrete in place against the wall while it dries
Giving it a bit more welly - two blocks of wood.
First attempt - being polite with the hemcrete - tamping it down with a block of wood, having got it all gloopy in Karl's cement mixer.
Heave! Squishing in the awkward bit under the window sill

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Completion! Moving!

we got this in our veg box this week, hee hee...
Yes, we did it, after 2 years and 2 months of purchase nightmare, Random Camel Housing Co-op own 23-27 Foundation St, Ipswich. Completed on Friday 14th, coordinated our first work weekend, packed moved from and cleaned the address some of us previously lived at until the following Wednesday, and are now camping out on our very own building site. In a giant tent pitched on old carpet in the nettley garden. Better photos to follow soon - all the cameras are in boxes hidden under other boxes!

The hemcrete is progressing apace - most of 2 downstairs rooms done, 3 upstairs to go, the hem-crew have got their semi nocturnal groove on. Almost all the repointing is done and we're practicing with the lime plaster. Its demoralising to keep finding blown areas of original plaster when you think youve done all the chipping away and scraping and sweeping of dust. We're all fully dusted now - unwanted dreadlocks abound, as well as chapped dry skin and lips. Aqueous cream and latex gloves are being deployed.

Our previous-insurance-claim boiler has been deemed unfit for purpose as it only powersone of the three showers we have at a time, and then oly if you dont turn a tap on elsewhere. Something else to pursue them for. However, having a hot shower is being enthusiastically and noisily appreciated!

A window in the attic-hatch room mysteriously got fixed, while another elsewhere got broken and then got fixed in swift and sheepish fashion. Recycling bins got sorted. One kitchen has food in it and sometimes that food is cooked in it, while another kitchen has plastering tools in it. The drains got blocked with lime and hemcrete. Scrabble is to be played, a squat-chic one-night-and-one-table-only bistro appears. Holes where old wall light fittings once were, fill up. Furniture is constantly shifted, sometimes out of the house to the dump. Sunlight beams through the window panes, silhouetting delicate geranium foliage, illuminating beautiful floorboards.

Everythings overwhelming. We need help and are working there most days, please drop by if you want to lend a hand, its more fun with more people! :-)  Or bring us lunch or cake xx

Friday, 31 August 2012

Ecology issued us with a revised offer of loan yippee! So paperwork-wise we're good to go. However, our solicitor has gone on holiday this week, holding up the exchange of contracts. This in turn delays completion, which means that we might not be formally ready to move into the houses by the time the new tenants on the place we currently live in are due to move in. Grr!! So we're looking at mid-end September at best for moving in.

We have hit a steep learning curve with the immediate practical job that needs doing - re-pointing and replastering walls in 25 and 27, as well as Hemcrete-ing the interior of the front walls. We are using lime plaster from a local company, who import it from France - there's none made in UK anymore. We chose it because the walls are solid red brick and need to breathe; 'modern' gypsum plaster suffocates walls. For more info go to:
Hemcrete is essentially lime plaster with hemp stalk fibres mixed in for their insulating properties - neither 25 nor 27 have any wall insulation nor wall cavities, so after extensive research and price comparisons between the Breathe insulation system, wood fibreboard and Hemcrete we settled on the latter. We'll be applying it ourselves by casting and shuttering onto the inside of the walls - some straight onto brickwork, some onto the original plaster once stripped of wallpaper and old adhesives.
Lots of people have offered us the loan of plastering tools & equipment, tutorial DVDs and advice, as well as elbow grease! Thankyou Jnanamitra, Harsharatna, Samira, Dave & Jood, Paul, Noel, Karl, John and Jenny, John Taylor, Das, Margaret, Tom B...anyone ive missed too!
If we'd had a chance to arrange the plastering and this first phase of Hemcreteing as a public workshop we would have, but it took us by surprise somewhat. If you're interest in coming to help within the next two weeks please do contact us, and ill put out days we're at the houses working by text - likely to be Sunday this weekend and most days next week.

 beautiful wallpaper is revealed beneath

 200l hemp shiv bales in our living room

35kg sacks of batichanvre - a lime binder for hemcrete

the front wall of no. 25, all bare n nekkid for the first time in probably 200 years

 mixing one part NHL 2 lime with 3 parts coarse sharp sand and a bit of water to make mortar

 wetting the joints between bricks thoroughly before repointing bricks - lots of the mortar is crumbly

 sporting glamorous dustmask and protective overalls, Frankie strikes a pose
 Das n Hel try all manner of methods to strip wallpaper and associated gunk off walls upstairs

 more mixing

The rewiring is progressing apace, some fittings are now on ceilings, but it cant enter phase two and the leccy cant switch on the new circuits until we've plastered over the channeled in drops and around the fronts of sockets...pressure!

Its all a bit tense in Camel-land...x

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

We've given notice on our current main abode! Which expires 26th August - so we're in the end stages now. Unfortunately, having been so proactive hasnt pleased our solicitor, and the mortgage provider have asked us for lots of updated information since we started this process of purchase with them 2 years ago...
All us Camels are running around preparing the house for imminent works like Timber Treatment and Rewiring, and afterwards replastering and insulating at the same time. These need to be done before we move in. Then we're organising workshops in more hemp/lime solid wall insulation, eco-plumbing (woodburner/immersion heater/solar thermal central heating system), making wooden double glazed windows, making wooden garage doors, over the autumn. As well as having roofing work done. Argh!

The garden is benefitting from brutal pruning - we discovered another rose behind several buddleia trees!

And the accounts and annual return are done. At the 11th hour.

Today me and Helen went to the houses and pulled up carpets, innoculating ourselves with evil black foam underlay dust particles. Puled out tacks. Pulled off gripper rods. Swept up afterwards and ate our new favourite biscuits - tripple chocolate chunk cookies from the Fairtrade shop at the top of the road. Vegan! Fantastic!!
Tomorrow we'll go back with boys and remove every 4th floorboard in the rooms upstairs.

We have guarantors for all of our Radical Routes loan.

Those residing at Burrell Rd are purging and packing up our stuff in a zombie-like fashion. Street stalls are the way to go, no lugging stuff to car boots or charity shops! Its nice looking out the window and seeing people rummaging through your stuff, intent on picking out that shiny pebble they didnt know they wanted.

Being at the Foundation Street houses during this time; being part of the process of making them liveable while theyre empty and partly demolished...its a great aid to personal purging. Of my own material possessions, and emotionally. This is the first time ill have lived in a place i can call my own, that i can make structural decisions in. So i dont need most of what clogs up my bedroom like cholesterol! And im just about to turn 26; into my second quarter of a century. Big change. I want to pare down the impact of my life, go travelling on my bicycle with all that i need in my paniers, roam. Its helping me value space, and minimalism.  Ive held on to a great deal of 'stuff'. My first stereo (that doesnt play copied CDs or have an input for MP3 players) my childhood monster alarm clock (whose hands dont turn naymore) my best friends jumper (which doesnt smell of him anymore) jars of unidentified translucent goo...and PAPER!! that ive never read the contents of and never will. CLOTHES, enough to seed a small boutique...
I will still be myself, Gemma, without all of these things.

Swing by and help yourself to our wealth. Burrell Road, opposite St Mary church.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

We got our certificate of structural integrity! Which means the subsidence remediation is almost complete, and we can progress with exchanging contracts (because we've also been offered an insurance policy). Woo hoo! Hoping to move in end August. Chimneys swept, damp proof course injected. Bought lots of reclaimed floorboards. Strimmed the allotment, harvested 'chokes and strawb's. Bicycle ball happened and was successful.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Front right room shutters to hold up concrete
The underpinning continues, and becomes another of our sagas, punctuated by restrainedly weary sighs. It will take 3 more weeks from now. wait for the concrete to dry and be waterproofed. Why didnt they tell us this 3 weeks ago, when they told us it would only take TWO weeks?!

We have visitors, they have BOOMboxes!

A few days later, shutters in and metal framework awaiting concrete

Constable's masterpiece looks on the scene with interest

In the cellar, lurk metal scaf poles...with intent.

More visitors to our garden full of discarded building materials

Our lovely view over the 'waterfront'...