August began with the bad news that the timbers in our roof are in a worse condition than expected and it’s going to cost an extra £10k to replace them.  Our builder, Steve Cox, suggested we save ourselves some money by taking the tiles off ourselves.  After 8 days work, 2 soakings in the rain, countless bruises and one sore elbow, we wondered if this was actually because it’s just the job everyone else hates.

So far we’re really pleased we’re using Steve (  Not only does he keep a close eye on the work, he’s saved us money and more bruises by lending us mini diggers and other bits of kit.

Meanwhile thanks to the Homebuilding and Renovating  website  because after my previous blog post I had a call from the Energy Saving Trust.   They finally clarified that interest free loans are available to me – but the deadline was the end of September.  We finally established this with just two weeks to go.   There followed a frantic rush to get together all the paperwork needed to apply.  However the news that air source heat pumps may not be included in the government’s Feed In Tarriffs/Renewable Heat Incentive still doesn’t seem to have filtered through to architects and tradesmen.   We are now considering a last minute switch to a ground source heat pump…but had to apply for a loan for an air source pump because this is the technology our architect has been encouraging us to use.   Changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive does nothing to help self-builders to invest in renewables.

Finally, below is a picture of the lovely field of Barley behind us, which came second in the ‘Best Field of Barley’ category at Keith Highland Show.  Work had to stop briefly last week while we all rounded up a flock of sheep which had escaped from a nearby field.  ‘That’s life in the country’ my neighbour said.  Apparently that’s what a local farmer said to her when she came out of her house to find two escaped bulls in the road.

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