Friday, 12 April 2013

Its been a long winter - but we've been drying out!

Finally we seem to be emerging from the winter freeze and work can now begin on removing the remaining render ahead of the arrival of the experts to sort out the brickwork and lime mortar pointing. This has been the worst winter for snow since we moved here almost 20 years ago. Here was the scene that greeted us a couple of weekends ago....

I've now started to clear the rubble from below the gables so that we can get a scaffold tower up and the render removed from the tops of the gables on the North and South walls.

We have already noticed a big difference inside the house with less (or even no) condensation in the places where we used to find it - so the walls have already started to dry out and warm up since the render was removed. The brickwork and mortar, although in a poor state in places, has dried out tremendously over the winter and the walls are starting to breathe again.

Even parts of the walls where the bricks and mortar are in a real state have dried out very well. The wall in the photo below was one of the wettest spots and is now completely dry, despite being south facing and open to all the winter rains and gales.

Although I have taken a rest from render removal over the past few months I've not been completely idle. This winter we have created and planted a fruit garden in a small paddock where we previously grazed our miniature Shetland pony Herbie. He has now moved to new accomodation and the veg and fruit garden has been developed where he once munched the grass. Hopefully all those poos will have increased the soil fertility too!

This was the paddock being levelled in October 2012 in preparation for creation of the fruit garden.

And this was the start of the fruit garden on January 4th 2013 - putting in the supporting poles and wires to espalier and fan train the apples, pears, plums and cherries as well as a bed of raspberries and some blackcurrants and gooseberries.

And finally on March 16th the finished article, complete with traditional hedge, expertly layed by Ben Booth-Jones from

Watch this space, I'll be starting to update the Blog again as work starts to get the scaffold up and the rest of the render removed.


  1. Hi, I hope you don't mind me following your blog as I came by it from your posts on period property site.
    I am about to embark on renovating the exterior of my old York stone farmhouse which has pebbledash all over it and quite a bit of damp. Your photos are great and I am interested in what is going to happen next. Lesley

    1. Hello Lesley, I'm delighted that you are following the Blog and thanks for the kind comments. My motivation to start this Blog was as a means to document the story for ourselves but I've realised over the past few months that it can also be useful to others in similar situations. That's why I put the link on Period Property. I've had a lot of hits in the past few days since putting it on there so I hope people are finding it useful. So, welcome!

      We used to live in Yorkshire and its hard to imagine anyone smothering beautiful York stone with pebbledash so I wish you well with your project. I'm CERTAIN that you will notice a big difference in the moisture levels insude the house when you strip it off and the walls miraculously start to breathe again. We have been amazed at how much drier our house has been on the inside since we started removing the cement render and that's even before the brickwork and pointing are repaired. Also we still have gypsum plaster everywhere on the inside so there's even more scope to dry it out by replacing that with lime plaster once we get the outside sorted.

      We hope to get the builder in to start the outside work soon, so please keep watching the progress and feel free to comment or ask questions. I'll do my best to give sensible answers!