A few years back – probably 20 – I noticed people were beginning to preface everything they said with the word ‘So’. For example:

What would you like for breakfast?

So …what are my choices?

…and I thought to myself you know Justin, you’re not doing too bad if you’ve still got all your own teeth and hair, and you don’t plonk the word So in front of everything you say. Since then I’ve noticed that my hair is getting a bit thin, and I’ve got a dentist’s appointment coming up at the end of the month. Having already met the new dentist for a check-up I couldn’t help thinking how keen he was.

Why have I been so tardy in posting a new blog?

So …the reason is that I know you enjoy a bit of a break from me. A little time to heal. Not only that – we haven’t had broadband laid on to our small craftsman-built caravan until just now.


No holiday

This week, in an unthinking moment, we invited a ‘digger’ and his ‘digging machine’ onto our building plot. He turned out to be an absolute bastard for digging holes – we only had time to boil the kettle, sit down for a cup of tea and next time we looked out of the window the caravan was marooned. Now we can’t even go on holiday.  He was like a bloody mole.

Kit House

Kit House

Linda and I are building a straw-bale house – did I mention that? We went to the sawmill a few weeks ago to pick up our kit-house. We’re having a frame inside our straw bales. Bloody clever, really – all you have to do is design a house to your own specification; work out how many bits of wood you’ll need …and what size they should be; and then when you get them home, lay-out where all the mortise and tenon joints should go; cut them; raise the frame – and then you’re ready to begin the painstaking work of building yourself a house. In the photograph above Linda is sitting on a piece of wood at the sawmill. Like all the bits of wood around her, the one she’s sitting on now belongs to us. When I first caught sight of our stack of timber I had a short period of hospitalisation.

Why the f–k we thought that building a timber frame would be a good way to go about getting ourselves a house to live in …and why we thought we’d be the ideal people to take the task on, will be the subject of my future blogs.

The diligent reader will spot that this blog no longer claims to be about ‘living in the Hebrides’ but claims instead to be ‘An idiots guide to building a Straw Bale house’.

Don’t miss an instalment (which will be more frequent now than of late) and as an observant practitioner you’ll avoid the pitfalls of this new and exciting method of building by watching me fall into them first.

We’re not laying-on real electricity, but using ‘solar’. We’re not having real chlorinated, flourinated water either, hoping instead to divert water from a spring. We will be having real straw in our bales …not sure where they’ll come from, but they’re being grown, somewhere, as we speak.

In the next blog I shall tell you how much money we’ve got to spend and where we hope to save money on our build, and what progress we’ve made so far.

Let me know if you think a vlog would be a more interesting way of imparting information about our build.

Thanks for being there.


Phoenix from the Ashes

Canvas Flying, Seagulls Crying

Maritime Artwork




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7 Responses to So…

  1. Ian says:

    So…. Looking forward to following the blog.

  2. Robin says:

    Want a hand? I’ve never built a house before and this looks fun.

    • justintyers says:

      Yes please Robin. When we get 300 straw bales delivered, for example, we’ll be crying out for help. If there are other bits you’re interested in, like getting the frame up, or giving me a hand with some of the roof carpentry – and you live in the vicinity of Exmoor – it would be great to see you from time to time.

  3. Richard says:

    Interesting – I must admit a caravan with its own moat is a new one for me……..!

  4. JON HUNKIN says:

    Just thought I’d try your blog again, and really pleased to see the stack of timber knowing its to be mortice and tennon. I worked on the first european wooden house built in NZ in 1832. It was all constructed including interior walls with pit sawn 1/2 ” lining, only planed an the face edge, and very delicate tounge and groove edging. That big pipe in footings for drainage or What? Look forward to continuing and is the vlog a spoken accompanment.

  5. Pippa says:

    Looks fantastic………..wondering if it will appear on ‘Grand Designs’ sometime soon?

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