Planning permission

My planning application has been permitted :)

We finally got it submitted at the start of June – they send you this yellow notice which you have to stick up for 21 days – here is mine attached to the gate.

planning permission

It was permitted on the 8th July but then there a 21 day period where people may still appeal – it ends on Tuesday though :)

The next stage is building regs but my designer was on holiday for two weeks just after the planning was approved, he’s asked for quotes from some structural surveyors but not heard back yet. Grrr.

In the meantime it does mean I can get started on the driveway as that doesn’t need building regs plans – I got two quotes and was fairly shocked by both of them, so I’ve gone for the less shocking of the two (which actually was the guy who I expected to be higher). I’m not good at this quotes business, I felt like a bit of a whore for having two stonemasons on the go at once – but I guess that’s the way it works.

Also while chatting, one of the stonemasons said “well, you’ll be a year with this project yet” – which freaked me out a bit, so I decided to get started on as much as the inside stuff as possible as well – instead of the “do it all at once” attitude I’ve had thus far. In the past week I’ve had an electrician, a double glazing guy and a chimney sweep around. They are all doing me quotes – the electrician to do some of the rewiring which won’t be affected by the building work (most of the bedrooms), the double glazing guy to replace the panes of glass where the seals have gone (and also to replace the french doors – although he recommend just adjusting them and leaving them as they are), and the chimney sweep to install a woodburner in the lounge – not exactly a priority but if the room is getting replastered, it seems silly to leave the old fireplace there. We’ll see when I get the quotes back anyway.

Kai Kristiansen Elbow Chairs

I got these chairs from a second hand shop a few weeks ago – I didn’t blog about it before as it was just after I’d written about the chairs I’d scavenged and I thought two chair posts in a row would be even more dull reading than my usual prattle.

kai kristiansen chairs

I discovered them under a stack of second hand clothes. On enquiry I was told they were £15 each – I thought it was a little much. You can’t see in this photo but there is a crack in the arm of one chair. They are sturdy though and I did really like their shape – so I bit the bullet and bought them.

When I was carrying them out of my car – I saw on the bottom they were marked “KS” and “Made in Denmark”. Given that the Danes were famous for their mid-century furniture, I had a bit of a google and discovered that KS stood for Korup Stolefabrik Mobelfabrik, these particular chairs were designed by Kai Kristiansen and are sometimes known as Elbow Chairs – they are available for sale for $775 CAD each (~£420)! Madness! I have to admit, that made me feel a little better about paying £15 :)

On a general note – I’ve still not submitted my application for planning permission. The Conservation department and the Highways department are in negotiation over the height of the wall which forms the entrance for the driveway and I can’t submit until I know what height they have agreed upon, so the wait goes on.


Yes, this is a post about compost, no, I’m not going to apologise for it – it’s probably the first of many.  I’m turning into a weird compost geek.  Today one of my colleagues mentioned his neighbour likes to cut other peoples’ lawns – “Oh,” said I “does he have a compost heap?” – because clearly I can see that sort of behaviour being totally plausible in the quest for more compostable materials.

So anyway, I built not one, but two, compost bins and I’m planning a third – so I can run the “three bin” compost system.  I’ve read a ridiculous amount of (often contradictory) information on such topics as hot versus cold heaps, how often you should turn your heap, how much water does your heap need and the correct ‘recipe’ of carbons (browns) and nitrogen (greens).

I built the first bin Easter weekend in an almost entirely Agile manner (to borrow a buzzword from my day job) and like the output of an Agile project I managed to make something which does the job for the limited materials I had (two pallets) but is not pretty to look at.  I got a couple more palettes the next weekend and added another pen to the side.  In an ideal world I’d like beehive style composters but frankly I wasn’t about to spend a fortune on wood just to make compost – perhaps I’ll upgrade in the future.

I’m boring myself now so here’s some photos (all over which were taken on my phone so apologies for the quality). Here’s compost bin number one:

one compost

I probably should have explained why I even need a compost bin – basically the garden is like a jungle – and I’m only succumbing to hyperbole slightly here, for example, I noticed a whole lot of little seedlings appearing in the grass like this:

sycamore sapling

How exciting I thought, I wonder what they are - a week of so later realisation hit me… they’re sycamore saplings.  If I did nothing about them there is a possibility the lawn would actually turn into a forest! I’m still generally leaving the garden alone this year to see what comes up and what flowers but there have been a few things which I thought I could fairly safely prune back – so I was ending up with piles like this (this is a small pile).


I bought a second hand garden shredder so I could make it into this:


Which I then added to my compost pen (yes, there are two now and I turned it so it is all in the second one).  All the stuff in that bin has come from the garden – I’ve not added anything.  The bins aren’t finished yet – once I’ve got the third one up I’ll makes some sort of front which lifts off and a lid to keep the rain off but in the meantime part of a pallet and some planks will do.

compost before

The above photo shows the pile on Saturday – and here it is on Wednesday!

compost after

See how much it has composted already?  It’s crazy – it’s super hot inside and there’s lots of a grey ashy substance which at first I thought was due to it burning – but it’s no way near that hot, it’s just the actinomycetes (bacteria) doing their thing :)

Honestly – compost… hours of fun!