If you follow my blog, you will know I love a challenge.  And even better is a time-related challenge!!

I’ve had a week when I was at home alone and I gave myself a challenge to do as much outside work on the house as possible whilst DH was away in France with 60 music students on tour.  Painting walls and doors was the first thing on the agenda, getting up at 6 am to ensure that I fulfilled my day’s work quota!….but I saved the special project to last!

We have a water pump which hasn’t been drawing up water all summer.  DH wanted to find out why.  So I decided to do it in his absence.  It entailed the use of a jack hammer to break up the concrete area in front of our main door, as I suspected that we had an existing well.  A friend came and did the hammering and I shifted the large amounts of concrete, and uncovered ….

A superb well – around 30 feet deep and built in brick but done in a way I’d never seen before.  Mind you, my experience of wells isn’t huge – maybe three in my lifetime!  There was about 6 feet of water at the very bottom, but the pipe to the pump was hanging in empty air around 4 feet from the surface of the water.  No wonder it wasn’t drawing!  The water table is too low at the moment!

My friend, who is a builder in his 70s, built several courses of bricks to bring up a proper well head and topped it with beautiful Staffordshire blue bricks – very heavy, dense bricks used in the past to create damp courses to stop the uprising of moisture up a wall.  He intends to build a couple of stays and a cross piece so that we can have a bucket.  But we shall be putting in a few bars across the mouth of the well topped with some wire mesh so that no-one can either fall in themselves, or drop anything down the well – by accident, or otherwise!!

As I write, he has come to help finish digging up the concrete so we can put gravel down.  Another piece of our house’s history come to life!  I love living in an old house!  You never know what you are going to find next!

Oh, yes….  DH loved what we have done – Phew!!

What was so wonderful about the whole week though wasn’t just the uncovering of an amazing piece of construction, but it was the hands-on full-on manual labour.  Not a huge amount of thinking, but a lot of hard physical work that left me exhausted in a good way, and thoroughly satisfied with my day’s work.  There’s something to be said for physical labour.  I slept like a baby, and enjoyed every day.

Next week we have another building challenge.  Hattie, my big old industrial power loom, and star of the YouTube video, Jacquard Loom Walkthrough, is beginning a new phase of her working life, and is going on a journey to Devon, to the Coldharbour Mill where she will be a carpet loom.  So this week is one where we have to take down the studio wall again, and dismantle her before a crane comes to lift her out and take her on her drive to the south west.  Wish us luck!!!!