East Ruston Cottages

Location: East Ruston, Norfolk, United Kingdom

About us, Dermot and Sue Allen and our dog friendly holiday cottages. We started with the Old Forge running it for friends in 2005. In 2007/8 we were able to develop our own holiday accommodation, The Old Piggery. The Garden Room was added, belonging to another friend and the success of these prompted a further request to add Red Roofs at Hickling which has been doing very well. In 2012 we are embarking on our next project, New Barn. It isn't new at all (approx 180 years old) but it will be a fabulous new addition to our dog friendly holiday accommodation. Keep watching this space....!

Monday, February 19, 2007

February and the 'swimming pool'


The digger and driver arrived when they said they would and got stuck in straight away. First job was to pull off the front of the Piggery. They did it in the time I took to walk Atticus up the road to his other grazing and back again... about 40 minutes! This is what it looked like when I left....
and when I came back........
Over the next couple of days they broke up all the concrete pig troughs and took out that and the floor. I had to bring Atticus in during the day and was a bit concerned about what he would do with all this activity outside his stable door. The answer was ..... rubberneck. He thought it was all very interesting!
The next job for them was to clear the stock yard - lots of concrete to be broken up and moved and a load of cobbles also. I got to drive the dumper truck when the builder's son didn't turn up one day (they had a falling out - one of the pitfalls of a father and son team I suppose but still very annoying). The digger driver gave me a brief lesson in operating that too - bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach twice at the same time!!

Then it was round to the back garden to dig out some soil at the back of the cottage. The level was too high so needing reducing and the old area of concrete and bricks had never been very good and was breaking up so the whole lot came out. Unfortunately for the grass it had to be done on the wettest day of the year so far....!!

In the meantime work at the Piggery continued and the drains were sorted and cut in and some cement came and some more cement came and the window people came to measure up and some stuff was delivered and so on. The building inspector turned out to be a woman I know in the village - she has horses and I've used her outdoor school a few times. She came for her first visit and is very practical and open to bribes.....no, not really! She has been able to come up with some good compromises and solutions on the way things can be done to keep her standards up and our costs down.

As a diversion we took delivery of 5 orphan lambs all needing bottle feeding every 4-6 hours. As we seem to be up most of the day and night anyway it shouldn't be that much of a hardship!! They started off in the barn as they were only days old and the weather was pretty grim. Once it dried up a bit they were moved out into the garden.

Then the really big and exciting stuff starting happening. Our mini digger and dumper was whisked away and a huge lorry came with a huge digger and dumper on! The original plan to dig out the whole area behind the barn plus a little bit of the field was shelved on the advice of the digger driver and it was decided to use the field to dig out the area to lay the pipes for the ground source heat system.

So he started by taking off the top soil.....

then digging.........

Quite a lot of soil came out.........until finally we ended up with this!!

Several people have been by to look at it and those who asked were told that it was going to be a swimming pool (at 50m x 15m x 1.8m it isn't far off an Olympic pool size!!). If I felt really mischevious I told them it was the footings for a block of flats to house asylum seekers and immigrant workers!

Actually it did actually house some immigrant workers today, albeit temporarily, as the company who are laying the pipe use Polish workers.

I can't put videos on this (as far as I know) but if you click on this or maybe cut and paste the route into your browser you can see how much fun the dogs had and just what the digger looked like in action (some of you will find this more exciting than others!!)


Sunday, February 18, 2007

January 2007 - This year is going to be 'fun'

With Christmas and New Year and Dermot's standby out of the way we really knuckled down to work on the cottage before it all kicks off with the Piggery. Our builders came in and started various jobs - we have a lovely new gothic arched window to go in downstairs, cupboards to be fitted in the spare bedroom, floor boards to be laid all over the place, ceilings to be reinforced upstairs, new frame and door to the downstairs bedroom etc etc. Pity only some of it actually got done but it gave us some encouragement and it can be returned to when the Piggery is done - (months away yet!!!) This is how we are living at the moment though...could be improved upon!

My birthday happened in the middle of all this and with the house being in such a mess we took ourselves and friends off to The Forge, the holiday let I manage, for a lovely night. Dinner and Ukkers - what more can a girl ask for, especially as the dinner was cooked for me whilst I was out hunting at South Repps! Then a good dog walk and tea and cheese on toast the next day.....I know how to enjoy myself!!. I had some really very lovely presents - very grateful to all for all of them - really.

We had some work done on the flat in Stalham to get it ready for the new tenant, a work colleague, and then I had to divert the builders after a particularly windy night to tieing down the stable roof and pulling one of the barn doors upright!!

The pigs went towards the end of the month and I am grateful to Mick and Pauline of Mallow House Organics in the village for helping me load them. I have loaded two before but somehow three seemed more of a handful. They took about 20 mins to go on the trailer and they had to stay on overnight as I needed to leave at 7am to get them to Wells. They had thick straw bedding and water (which of course they kicked over!) and the cleaning out at home the next day took quite a while! Arthur and his team were as fab as ever - I got the trailer backed in for me and help getting the pigs off. It is so hard to do that bit. They don't really want to get off as it is yet another new ennironment for them. I really hate the unloading and leaving in the pens as I know only too well what the next step for them is but I am happy that they have had a good life, good food, natural environment, visitors, stimulation etc.

I picked the meat up a week later - full of flavour, generous of fat and I am really proud of how we reared them. The boys done good - full of locally grown apples, barley, peas, potatoes and beet.

In the back ground, Dermot, quite apart from flying round the world has been sorting out all the rainwater collection tanks, ground exchange heat pump system, windows, electricity, water supply and all the rest for the Piggery.

He managed a day out trail hunting at Gimmingham in the pouring rain. Maybe next season we can loan another horse so we can go out together.....??!!