How are you? I am fine. For the first time in the history of my progress reports, we actually have progress to report!
Our build has now officially begun, and a day later officially had its first major delay. We have found out the contamination results of our site's soil, and we know a lot more about its diggability too.
Also it's the first week back for the job I do in my spare time from being a highly-paid semi-professional blogster. 7 Days begins again this Friday night. If you are curious what's been going on inside 7 Days, here's a press release we put out on Monday.
Before I start I have to tell you that one of the keys is busted on my keyboard, and I can't even type it to tell you. The letter alphabetically after 'P' key is not working. The 'W' has been dicky for a few weeks and now for some reason its neighbour has given up completely. I hope I don't need to write any words that contain it, but forgive me if things are weird. I guess this keyboard is just of poor uality.
When I wrote last week we were just about to begin the build. And begin we did. Gemma and I turned up at the section (only 3 minutes drive from where we live now) last Wednesday at 8 am as the digger was being unloaded from the truck. We marked the trees to be removed with bright pink spray paint, and James began to chainsaw them down as the digger started to remove the grass from the slope.I think it might have been a CAT312LB 13 tonne digger, but I could be wrong.
The next job was removing the largest tree from the site, and the digger made short work of it. Tony is a maestro with the controls. I got a bit carried away and made a video of the whole thing.
The guy playing the accordion wasn't actually at the building site, which was disappointing. I met him on my trip to Adelaide last week. I was in that fine city to watch a bike race called the Santos Tour Down Under. We made some videos to advertise Adelaide as a place to visit. (I really recommend visiting Adelaide - and I'm not being paid to say that - I was in the video but now I've finished making the video, so I'm saying that in my spare time). When the videos are put online, I'll link to them. But in the meantime, because I'm a massive nerd, this was the best thing I saw in Adelaide.
Their very scenic seaside suburb has a palindromic name! For some reason they cut my long discussion of palindromes out of the video we made but there really aren't enough palindromic placenames. Can anyone think of any others in the country/world? Palindromic tourism is going to be the next big thing and Glenelg will be the Mecca. If palindromic names aren't a great reason to visit somewhere, then don't come around here asking me where you should go on holiday.
When the build started, as I mentioned last week, our soil sample still had not been certified clear by the lab in Hamilton. That meant we couldn't take our soil to the uarry in Three Kings. It was uite a uandry in the end because in order to get up the hillside last Wednesday, the digger did need to take out a whole lot of soil and rocks. So the excavator (A company called GlenRock because his name is Glen and his business has to do with rocks - it's the same sort of thing as KimDotcom but without the massive awfulness) took just one truckload to the alternate dumping site - 40 minutes' drive away in Coatesville - and then, after a day and a half of work, James called a halt to the digging. With all the vegetation gone and the cost of driving each load of dirt to Coatesville prohibitive, no more could be done until we had the test results back from the lab.
We are feeling quite proud of our delay. On Grand Designs (our role model) they always have delays, so we've ticked that box earlier than they ever do. A delay after less than two days has to be a record. It also feels really scientific and high-class to have as the reason, not rain or delayed glass from Germany but 'waiting for lab results'.
Here are the pictures of where we got to before our delay began. First, how the section has looked from the day we bought it about 18 months ago to last Tuesday.
And how it is now
As you can see the biggest change so far is that we've changed the colour of the sky. It took us ages to choose.
The great news is that the ground so far has been easy to dig away. There are some fairly large sized rocks - about the size of a tuba would be the biggest, but nothing the digger can't handle (since it has both a vegetation and a rock bucket I noticed) and no solid lava so far. We have however found some wonderful things that give an insight into the wonderful history of the land and the people who lived here in the past.
The antiue Smint box. Ye olde inhaler.
Gemma and I are going to have a glass case constructed so we can display these treasures in the house once it's finished.
And with all the trees gone we could get a really good idea of why we are so lucky to be building a house on this mighty volcano (the lava flow of which is widely reported to be the longest in Auckland - reaching all the way to PtChev - 11kms away - where it formed the Meola reef before finally cooling.)
As Thursday turned to Friday last week, then the weekend came and went and Monday passed, we still hadn't had the lab report back from Hill Laboratories in Hamilton. In last week's blogging post I mentioned the lab and was somewhat less than kind to Hamilton. I was rightly corrected by a commentster and reminded that it isn't cool to tease the Fountain City.
I started to panic, thinking that my blogging post had pissed off Hamilton and the town had turned on me, deciding to make sure we never build our stinking house.
I began to write a retraction of my awful lies about Hamilton and chlamydia, and penned a long and glowing summary of the city, its many beautiful shops and parking lots, its wonderful history, opportunity and local population who in my words "have New Zealand's lowest rate of genital infestation, full stop." I basically wrote that Hamilton makes even Adelaide look like a turd on the footpath. And I found some beautiful photography of some of Hamilton's greatest attractions.
"A competitor contemplates his next throw in Hamilton's favourite pastime "Beer Bowls"."
But then today we found out that the lab had given our sample a clean bill of health.
Our dirt is clean and our delay can end! So I'll save my Hamilton praise for a book I'm now in talks about publishing, called "Oh My Freaking God - It's Hamilton!" and I'll just leave you with some evidence of Hamilton's wonderful cultural life.
"Hamilton residents playing the part of herpes viruses stand on their 'freckles' rehearsing for the annual festival celebrating the city's historic victory against VD."
So now we are waiting. After the glow of the rapturous Waitangi Day festivities has died and the smiles have faded from all of our patriotic faces, the digging will start once more. In the meantime Gemma and I are finalising the contract documents and Grant and James of our builders Design Construction Home are making up the schedule for the build that will give us the finish date.
The last thing we did before we left the section on the first day of digging was to remember we hadn't done any kind of ceremony. So we borrowed James' shovel, framed up the shot so you couldn't see the digger and all the work that had already been done, and took this historic shot.
It's faked, but then all the greatest historic photos are.
Thanks for reading. I'm off to have a chocolate uik, and a uiet lie down on my uilt.
As usual please feel free to "Like" this blog's page on Faceingbook, which will bring you all the joy of an alert when a new posting is blogged. And email me if you have an ueries. Finally, here is another fine page of The House that Beebo Built for your childlike pleasure.