Starting To Clear

by | Dec 12, 2013 | 18 comments

When we set about purchasing our new site it was spring and there were predictions for a glorious summer, ideal for making a start on this new venture. The purchase did not run smooth though and if a delay was imaginable then it happened; the valuer couldn’t understand where the property started or ended, and the solicitor forgot to send off forms, then filled them in wrong, then forgot to send them off again…
I put the process to the back of my mind as best as possible because I wasn’t prepared to get over excited for something which may not happen. It was suggested that the issues must be an omen and perhaps the whole thing was simply never meant to be and whilst I didn’t go for this myself I did start to have doubts.

Today though, the reality has finally started to sink in for me and all doubt has gone. I feel now that everything about this property is right for us even if there is no end to the amount of work to be done – I can finally be excited!

Thinking back, the summer we had seemed far to hot to be grafting outside and what’s better than manual labour for keeping us warm this winter?!
While Richard’s been busy finding an hour here and there to plan out his workshop I’ve been weighing up all of the clearing that we’ve got to get done. There are several roofs around the site which have given way many years ago and now lie collapsed under a carpet of ivy and moss. There’s no rush to get this done as they are far away from the buildings we want to work on first but everything’s going to feel much more safe and organised with it clear so I’m going to start chipping away at it on afternoons. In a quick rummage today I’ve found that many of the tiles have survived unscathed so it’ll be worth going through and salvaging them. It’s a shame it gets dark so early but then we will be having the shortest day next week so that excuse won’t last.

I’m also working away at building our new website for this blog to help separate out the content in to clear categories. The changes are going to make it easier for those who’d like to follow along with the woodwork but avoid posts on our work at the barns and vice versa and I’ll be getting this up and running very soon.old roof

roof collapsecarpet of ivysorted tilesPre 1978



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About Helen Fisher

About Helen Fisher

Helen seeks to explore ways to live with greater joy & sustainability for both ourselves & the planet. Concepts which have led to the launch of her second business We Are Carbon. As the producer of our videos, Helen brings a unique perspective & injects life to our education ensuring it is both a pleasure to watch & easy to follow & learn from. Learn More About Helen & The English Woodworker.


  1. John Walker

    Straight out of ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ Richard.
    Try not to go over budget. 🙂
    Seriously, the Best of Luck.

    Looking forward to seeing the ‘Afterwards’ pictures.

  2. ian williams

    does look like you have your work cut out for you but im sure you will get it done eventually ,good luck with your endeavour . ian

  3. Chris Buckingham

    You have certainly got the right mindset by not getting too excited about the purchase whilst it is in the hands of the solicitor, they always seem to complicate anything they become involved with, nothing is worst than looking forward to getting started on your project, then find the people that you have relied on to “smooth the way” have messed up the whole deal, you were fortunate enough that it eventually went through, although you may question that sentiment over the coming years! Just don’t overdo things!

  4. Tom Heiting

    You guys have purchased a property that many of us in the USA would love to have. An old English countryside (dare I say) ‘estate’, with many buildings which offer many possibilities! Very ‘cool’.
    As mentioned, there will be mountains of work before it is all the way you invision it will become. But then when done and looking back, you will be able to be very happy and proud of what you then have accomplished.
    I wish you much success and hope it goes as smoothly as is possible for you both.
    Keep us posted (I love reading about your ventures – both woodworking and the ‘estate’).

  5. Scott Smith

    That is some beautiful property. You have a lot of work ahead of you. If I wasn’t on the other side of the pond I’d lend a hand. So much potential there. Best of luck.
    Scott Smith
    N.J. USA

  6. Mr Ronald Carl Dennis

    The progress of your labors will warm your heart and strengthen your resolve. Just make sure to pursue the neccessary before the needed.

    Best Wishes on your Journey.

  7. Gary N

    Hi Helen,

    I have been following your adventures since I first read about Richard in one your local woodworking magazines. Looks like you will have a beautiful place to live and work!

    Best of luck to the both of you in all you do.

    Gary in Southern California

  8. thekiltedwoodworker

    You have a vision, and that’s always important to have when taking on such a task.

    Very excited to watch this unfold!



  9. Dave

    Hey guys, I for one look fwd to both the woodworking and the plans and improvements to your property. Best of luck on both

  10. Graham Haydon

    Very exciting to see this unfold, I wish you all the very best and very much look forward to your journery.

  11. Mitchell

    Oh, you poor dear. I wouldn’t trade places with you right now, Helen, even for a set of the finest-made chisels. It would kill me if I had to decide whether to clean up after Father Time and Mother Nature, or leave it be to spend the next six months photographing every crack and crevice those two old buggers left me. You new digs look absolutely beautiful as they are, but maybe not so much if you are living with it. Good luck, whichever choice you make.

  12. Richard Brunelle

    A great deal of work indeed for this stately old farm. But I think it’s in the right hands, and can’t wait to follow the progress. I can see a great potential in this, as I’m sure you do too or you wouldn’t be there. One bite at a time I’m told is how you eat an elephant.

  13. Mark Jenkins

    Richard, I would love to see a post on some timber framing and it looks like you might be doing quite a bit of it. Timber framing has been called cabinetmaking on a grand scale! If you can get your hands on a chain mortiser and a portable bandsaw I bet you would have a blast. Best of luck to you and Helen! Mark

  14. Micheal Kingsley

    Good luck with the work, Looks like a lifetime of it ahead of you. I would sure love something like that IF I had the cash to make it all work out. Remember, when it seems like nothing will work out…Have Fun! That is the most important part of a project like this.

  15. robert putman

    things sure are run down a bit, lots of work to do, but, good hard work never hurt, and before long the place will be like new…

  16. Ian Elley

    Its really exciting to see what you have bought, ive been looking for a similar property for years !!
    Under all that ivy you never know what you might find, good luck to you both !!

  17. Mihai

    I see a very full 2014 in front of you.Fine site.
    Congratulations , and good luck! Keep us posted.
    A Very Good New Year !

  18. Andyryalls Ryalls

    Hi Helen
    Just to let you know that the carpenters fellowship are always looking for small jobs to use as training projects.
    It’s looking like you need some new trusses. If you wood like some free labour and some traditional framing help then I wood recommend you getting in touch.
    Wishing you all the best with your project.


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