Our architect thought there may be an issue getting a sycamore tree root out yesterday as it was partly under the old wall and the back boundary fence. We're waiting for an update on this but don't think it should be a problem. The contractors made a worrying discovery yesterday in the top soil; a lot of used hypodermic needles. I was quite surprised when I first heard about it, but when you think the front house and therefore the garden were left derelict for many years, and the plot is 'urban' (if you can call it that!) then it's probably not that unusual. It's just not nice to think our contractors are working with that sort of thing, and now means our top soil will need to be sifted and the sharps removed from site. Anyway, on the bright side, and after we politely declined suggestions for the house names 'Needle Cottage' and 'Dundealin'.......with all those 'additives' in the soil my vegetables should be huge!!
Today the contractors were pegging out and will start digging on Tuesday. They also discovered a lovely silver birch at the bottom of the garden which we're keeping, and a maple tree that is currently in the middle of the garage but that they're hoping to be able to dig out and replant for us to use later. One of the attractions of the plot was that it would have established trees when the house was finished, so we're really pleased with this.
In other news, our water is being connected on Monday. Hooray! They'll be stop-go traffic lights on the main High Street whilst Severn Trent do their work! Our structural warranty application has been accepted which is great news and just in the nick of time as their surveyor also needs to look in our trenches before concrete is poured. BT are carrying out their survey this week too to see whether we will need an overground or underground connection, and electricity seems to be progressing.
One hurdle at the moment is the Conservation Officer at the Council isn't that happy with our brick and slate samples that we submitted for approval. Our planning permission states that the materials chosen have to be 'in keeping' with the main house as it's a listed building. We thought we had chosen well, but it would appear that the Conservationist wants natural slate, even though there are no neighbouring houses with natural slate. Anyway, our architect is on the case and doesn't seem unduly worried. Apparently conservationists can be a bit blinkered and sensitive towards these things, and in some ways they ought to be to preserve the history. Just hoping they won't be too sensitive though or we'll be scavenging reclamation yards for old bricks and slates!
PS - the picture is taken from our actual foundation drawings.