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  • Writer's pictureLara

August at Scatterbrook Cottage

Things have inevitably slowed down this month and, after the busy-ness of July, August has been a waiting game.

The DampMan still has not cometh so he’s the worst superhero ever. Although he is apparently having trouble getting everything he needs, that also seems to include a phone on which to let us know what’s happening.

We’ve seen some initial drawings from our architect, which we drew all over and sent back for some minor adjustments and are now awaiting the final plans, along with the structural drawings from the structural engineer. She came last week after we had a hole dug at the back of the house to inspect the footings. Given that the original building was a chapel built in 1819 they weren’t expecting to actually find any footings because in general foundations first appeared in construction at the end of the 19th Century. So we were very surprised when they found what looked like an arch under the wall. After the structural engineer had a look it was decided that a bigger hole should be dug further along the same wall. The next day that’s what happened and we ended up being able to see three arches…

Ian was panicking that it might be a cellar that no one knew about, which I thought unlikely given that the foundations must’ve been examined in 1987 when it was converted to a house. However, his sister, who owns an even older cottage in Yorkshire had once watched her kitchen floor disappear into an unknown cellar and we don’t want that happening.

After a bit of investigation and some help from Ian’s brother who is a retired surveyor, we found this, along with a report on arches as foundations so we are feeling a little more confident that all is well.

It’s a shame that they are under the ground really, as there isn’t much of the old chapel apparent inside the house. Apart from the chimney breast (which is plastered anyway) and the extra large front door, there’s no sign inside that the house was ever a chapel, what signs there are are all outside. There are lots of converted churches and chapels in Norfolk but they tend to be of the more traditional kind with obvious shaped windows and converted on an open plan basis.

We do have some pretty brickwork and some iron brick ‘anchors’ which we’re going to restore but looking at it you’d never know it had been a chapel. There’s not much online about it either. It appears on a local map in 1819 and I’ve been told it was used as a barn for storage for some time by the local garden centre that still exists behind us. I’d really like to know a bit more about the building. The only images I’ve managed to find of it is a photograph taken when it was in disrepair. I’m now wondering if we could uncover some of the foundations and have them on show under some of that glass that people put over wells in their living rooms… no maybe not, the house might fall down.

Other than that, the most progress has happened just this last week. Firstly, the conifer hedge is no more. Or rather it is, but a lot smaller than it was. It took three days for a local company, Target Trees to cut it down to size, and to remove the huge jasmine and honeysuckle which had grown over (and, as we expected, into) the garage roof. On the final day alone they took away 56 cubic meters of wood chip. The downside was we uncovered even more junk left by the previous owner, so now need another skip…

The second thing that happened was we have our first finished room! Remember this horror?

It now looks like this. The Ikea stuff should have arrived 4 weeks ago but it eventually arrived this week, and now the smallest room is a walk in wardrobe wardrobe/dressing room. I’m so pleased with it, not least because it means I can unpack all my shoes at last. It’s not completely finished as it needs a new door like the rest of the house but those will all be done at the same time as the extension.

So limited progress this month but, the dahlias have been wonderful…

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