One of the conditions set by the Malvern Hills District Council when we bought the site, was that the main walls had to be repaired within a reasonable time period (notionally five years). This work must take priority, but not necessarily at the exclusion of other work. We would have to rebuild at a rate of one metre per year, which sounded fairly achievable. However, two and a half years have flown by and; oh well.
The glass house above the Melon House had been partially cleared during the process, enough to reveal some of its features. What ever this building was intended for, had to be of high importance at the time. It had been engineered in Brunel fashion and designed by a professional.
As winter sets in, the brambles and nettles retreat once again. The Melon House (at least what remained of it) could now be studied without fear of getting stung. Nick Joyce, our friendly project Architect, and his 'time team' conducted a detailed survey of the building. Their brief was to compile a guide book for the restoration work which lay ahead.
The frontage is taking great shape and the unexpected feature fits in very well (pun intended).
Much work was required to reinstate the 70m long red brick path and storm water gulley which extends from the North West corner of the cottage to beyond the end of the Back Sheds. As usual every single brick had to be removed and cleaned while the new foundations were prepared. This was a punishing and lengthy task as it required constant bending down. Thankfully John is quite a short fellow, making him the obvious candidate for the job.
May arrives, bringing colour and sweet scents to the gardens. A perfect opportunity for celebration in the company of good friends.
And so .. .
Most of the timber, bricks and tiles were in good condition, enabling us to reuse them. However, this meant that there would be no excuses for taking short cuts. Every piece of this giant jigsaw puzzle had to be salvaged, cleaned and sorted first.
Another day on the tiles for John.. .
The boiler house floor was buried 4m below ground level under 3m of back fill. Several skips later we uncovered the entrance to the tunnels.
They say that the lawns and the sheds are in man's domain. Be careful what you wish for guys.. .
Notice the liberal use of electric fencing. You may think it a little extreme unless you are familiar with the carnage that rabbits on mass can cause in the garden, over just one night.
The Herb Garden is a prime target for the little fluffy devils. Indeed it had been a home to so many of them not long before.
This was to become a new formal rose bed, consisting entirely of Old English varieties.
February was advancing in harmony with progress. With the reeds and willow trees removed, the dipping pond was looking rather large and wet..
Even the vegetable beds were beginning to look like; like; like vegetable beds!