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Week 21
The French Window

This was the big event, two openings in the 20 inch thick wall, one for the French window and the other for the Kitchen window. We really didn't know how it was going to turn out, would the building collapse or would someone be brained by falling masonery? As it turned out, it went very well. We'd asked a chum, who's a builder, to do the job, because we didn't feel particularly confident about doing it ourselves. It was a case of supporting the wall where possible and then chipping away at it until the hole got bigger and bigger. We discovered a couple of things while the walls were being knocked through:
Firstly, the structure is extremely solid and even after a six foot gap in the wall the masonery stayed in place.
Secondly, the walls are constructed of clay and stone with only a light rendering of mortar. This was a revelation given the fact that these structures are so strong. Apparently it's like English Cob, keep it dry and it lasts forever but let it get wet and it returns to its natural mud state. The rooves protect the wall from the rain and when the rooves are lost you see so many of these buildings crumble. So any farmer with a field of stones and clay could construct a pretty sizeable and durable dwelling.

The Kitchen Window

Same procedure here although, because there had been an existing opening, starting the process was easier. However, the wall in this section was packed with more stone to support the narrow window. It took the same amount of time to knock this through as it did the French window opening, even though it was a quarter of the size.

Both Windows

The Brick Doorway between the Kitchen and the Bathroom

I was going to have a crack at this but, because we want to move things along, it seemed a better bet to get our builder mate to do it - while we had him locked in and unable to escape. Lo and behold, it took less than a day. The brickwork style mimics the style in the rest of the house.

The wall around the brickwork has to be rendered in order to highlight the pattern. It should look something like this.

This is a brick which came out of the internal wall between the Bathroom and the Kitchen. It still has its clay/mud mortar with an imprint of the brick above. Also there is some straw mixed into the mud, for extra strength I suppose..very biblical. That one was for Gaz and Penno.