You'll be aware of the effect; clean, fix or improve something and you'll notice the other things that need doing around it, either by highlighting or a knock-on effect. Well it all started with four elements.
1. that the interest rate from the banks....... isn't.
2. that the snow was difficult to clear from the gravel drive.
3. that the price of oil continues to rise as it runs out.
4. that the porch roof leaked when the wind brought rain from the North East.
Being of a parsimonious nature, I thought I could do better than let the banks and fund managers mess about with the world economy and (more to the point) with my money as it evaporated. So we bought some solar panels, and they are doing quite nicely thank you, turning sunlight into money.
It wasn't long before we noticed that the panels didn't do much at night, so we enquired about domestic wind turbines. That, it appears runs into a local government bureaucracy nightmare so we were directed toward Ground Source Heat Pumps as a suitable way of improving our balance of payments, while remaining relatively sane. They run on electricity, but cost much less than oil or gas to heat the house.
Pity about the turbines, maybe later. Wind is one thing we are not short of.
So we put in the G.S.H.P. and it's working nicely thank you.
One factor we hadn't considered was that when you dig a trench, about 450 cubic yards, the mud that goes back in last is not guaranteed to be the stuff that came out first. We have a thick yellow clay layer about 2 feet down. A lot of it was now at the top, so when it rained we had a Somme reenactment opportunity, and the cats would regularly bring some of it in to show us that they didn't like it either.
A new drive seemed in order, it would make the snow easier to clear. Sometimes we can get three or four feet of snow in several bursts, if you drive over any it compacts to ice and you slide downhill onto the main road. Not nice. Monoblocking solves that, we would get rid of the mud, facilitate snow clearance, have a nicer looking drive and be the envy of our neighbours.
What's not to like?
It became obvious as the work progressed that we should raise the drive to be level with the garage forecourt, the steep ramp tended to be icy in winter and could scrape exhausts, it would also prevent rain water from running into the porch. So we did.
I had realised that this would leave the drive higher than the porch floor, so the floor needed to rise 7 inches to avoid a step down on entry, and we'd need a new front door. The old one was falling to pieces anyway.
Raising the door, and the porch floor, meant the roof had to go up too, but the porch roof couldn't be higher than the roof next to it. So the roof went up and back. Tucking it between the roof tiles was an easy way of getting a waterproof joint. The difficult bit is holding them apart while you push the polycarbonate sheet between them. So I held the tiles apart with ice cubes and then chased them in with the polycarbonate.
New external doors are rather expensive but, some months earlier, Bev (next door) had pointed out that B&Q had a sale on, and I had found a suitable £499 door for £40. I don't think B&Q would want to sell at a loss, but it does make you wonder what the mark-up is.
The actual trigger to start me lifting the roof was when a roof tile fell out of the other side of the roof, (bloody roofers). Having hauled the ladders out I thought I'd fix a few other things, like clearing the gutters and repairing a ridge tile while I was up there. Then I took out the redundant Oil burner chimney, that led to the removal of the Oil burner itself (on the right), it is looking a bit cold and lonely, but on the upside Fiona has an extra double cupboard in the kitchen. Filled it in 30 minutes.
I'll need to tidy up the patchy polycarbonate sheeting on the porch side wall at some time, but that should do for now. I think the knock-on effect has stopped for the moment. I still want a wind turbine though.