I needed to block up the back door into the old kitchen, prior to demolishing it, but when I took the architrave off, this greeted me:
This is a view through the rotten door liner to the rotten oak frame behind. Completely and utterly rotten and gone. It isn't a huge surprise, given it's location.
I cleaned it up a bit, screwed a bit of timber onto the bricks, insulated, and boarded up the door. This insulation here in the door is more than in the rest of the house put together:
The roof of the larder was quickly removed, but the state of the slates was alarming. Remember I was hoping to re-use them.
I tried to take the slates off the old kitchen roof individually, but again, they were so soft and friable that I only got 4 or 5 off whole over the whole of the roof. They simply aren't re-usable. I really don't like slates, because of this deterioration.
Loads of rubbish:
I saw some droppings on the flat ceiling of the old kitchen. I wonder what could have done these?
This'll be the culprit:
A big fat rat.
Here's its partner:
Further up the roof was an old bees' nest:
And close by a wasps' nest:
Apparently wasps will often follow bees into a roof..........if you have bees one year the chances are you'll have wasps in the same place next year.
This roof was older than I thought, and had had a couple of interventions. Firstly, it must have had a ceiling under the rafters at some stage (hence the laths.........no sign of any plaster though, oddly). The main roof timbers are pine, but half-round, and not straight.The nails are cut nails. So, I'm thinking early 20th century or late 19th century. Clearly someone had re-roofed this outshot, using felt underlay. I'd guess this puts it (say) 1960 onwards. They had added some secondary timbers to the side of the rafters to try to straighten things up a bit. I assume the slates date from then. So about 50 years old, and not strong enough to support the weight of a sparrow........
You can see the original back wall of the house through the gap in the laths.
Plenty of active woodworm. No surprise, given that this is an unventilated roofspace, and an unheated house:
Standing on the modern ceiling joists, using a shovel to break the laths off.
Then off came the rafters, and I took the top 6 feet of chimney down too. The top couple of feet had been rebuilt using rock-hard sand cement mortar, wrecking all the bricks in the process. below that, the lime mortar meant that all the bricks will be re-usable:
I then got rather side-tracked into pruning a couple of greengage trees.