Episode 3 Return to Pembrokeshire Farm


Episode 3

Griff Rhys Jones continues restoring his farm in Pembrokeshire. Work on the miller's cottage moves to the inside of the building. Meanwhile, Griff plans a music festival.


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Transcript


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A few years ago I was lucky enough to be able to buy 70 acres of land

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just over there.

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With that land came a farmhouse.

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A semi-derelict wreck,

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which we completely restored.

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Now we've moved on to two other buildings;

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A 200-year-old water mill

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and, next to it, what used to be the miller's cottage.

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It's time for Pembrokeshire Farm Phase Two.

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I'm sitting in the car park outside the council offices,

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waiting to hear the news of the planning application.

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The planning committee is meeting.

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George is with them. He's making his presentation.

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And I'm sitting in the car waiting

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cos I've been advised that it's not a good idea for me to turn up,

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sit in the public arena and sort of glower down the judges.

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We're applying for planning permission

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to convert the old water mill into a dwelling.

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I've given the job of designing it to my son George,

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who is training to be an architect.

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There is a lot riding on this, really.

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It would be quite disruptive to have to start over again.

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Rebuilding the mill has been a frustratingly stop-start business.

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Before we got planning permission, we replaced the old roof

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like for like.

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It was a pure maintenance job, because it had become dangerous.

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With new slates which were then covered with a limestone render

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in the traditional Pembrokeshire style.

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Meanwhile George presented a carefully thought-through design

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for its re-use,

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including an extension which he'd like to clad in bronze.

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The planners and conservation officers liked the ideas,

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but there were a couple of objections.

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Perhaps the bronze seemed a bit much.

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We're going to have to go to the planning committee.

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I get three minutes to sell the scheme.

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This meant that it had to go to consideration at higher level.

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George went to hear the verdict.

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We've had a bit of a disaster.

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It was something else causing problems now.

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When we replaced the roof the building had gained

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a few inches in height.

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This needed to be resolved first.

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We've asked them to put the application on hold for a few days

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and do a detailed measurement survey of the building

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to get to the bottom of the issue.

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Eventually it was accepted that the mill only increased in height

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because we had to install larger structural beams

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to meet modern building regulations.

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Now, at last, we can move on to consider the design.

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This brings us back to the car park and George having to re-submit ideas.

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What was the verdict?

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-Good news!

-Good news?

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Good news. They approved it. In fact, they unanimously approved it.

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They thought the principle of the modern design was good.

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They liked the lightweight approach.

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They thought the roof wasn't a problem

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and they thought the bronze cladding was very good and interesting.

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-Yeah, all very good.

-Congratulations!

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-Well done! Well done!

-What a relief!

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Finally, it's all go at the mill.

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The first job is to dig up a nasty cement floor

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to make room for underfloor heating.

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No radiators allowed.

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With 20 tonnes of rubble to shift,

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they have an ancient Egyptian system going.

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Brian is a slave-driver!

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We have to work to his pace!

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As a working mill, it would have had an upper floor to store grain on.

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George has recreated this with his design for a crog loft.

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The rest he's keen to keep as an open space.

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If you're looking at a family home, there's a real advantage

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in subdividing your rooms and giving people their own space.

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In this context, there's less of a need to break things up in that way.

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It loses a little bit of privacy

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but having the spectacular space was the more important thing.

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When families stay here, the crog loft will be a sleeping area for kids

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but the adults will sleep in the bronze-clad extension,

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which we're building from scratch.

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Local stone is at a premium. Nothing is wasted.

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I'm just picking these stones out.

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They're all to be re-used when we build our extension.

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I'm just picking out the good stuff.

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And anything not used in the extension is recycled.

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We needed a path to come across the bridge there

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to where the reed bed is, through the trees there.

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Colin, the landscape gardener, came through and cut it all back.

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So we've got a good path here but it's boggy underfoot.

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So we're taking cement and concrete that's come out of the mill

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and we're laying that down as a bed.

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Then we're putting scalpings over the top to give us a solid surface

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for people to walk down and enjoy this fantastic view.

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There are existing public footpaths which cross the farm

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and which we've helped to open up.

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We're also creating a new nature trail.

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A footpath along the stream, which will be planted and managed

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to encourage native species.

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Colin Parkinson is in charge of this project.

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The pathway coming through here will be a nice stone wall pathway,

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following the array of stones that I've left,

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so I can pick and choose the ones required to rebuild the riverbank.

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Ah, yes!

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Superb, you know? It just sat there like it wanted to.

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Some rocks just belong.

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Hopefully I'll find enough flat stones

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that will be able to withstand a large slab of rock on top,

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which is what we call a clapper bridge.

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Once we're across the river it's open land from there, I guess.

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You can't set foot in these fields and hills

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without disturbing magical stories of giants, fairies, monsters and heroes.

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Even the name of the farm has it's origins

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in the Welsh book of legends, The Mabinogion.

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So if Trehilyn means the place of Heilyn,

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does that mean someone called Heilyn actually lived here?

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I'm hoping Eifion Jenkins has the answer.

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What is the likelihood of this character

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having some form of existence?

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I think it's very likely he existed.

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I think these stories are about real people,

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real members of the aristocracy of the time.

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The heroes and the chiefs and so on.

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He would have been one of the seven survivors

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of a great battle in Ireland, who came back to Wales.

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And 'the place' of Heilyn? Does that mean we're in Heilyn's place?

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There's three possible answers to that.

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One is it may have been named after Heilyn,

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in the same way as Victoria Avenue and Victoria Place are named after

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a Queen who never set foot in them.

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Maybe a parent named their son after Heilyn the hero,

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to celebrate his deeds and adventures,

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and it was that Heilyn who established this place.

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Another possibility is that it was the actual Heilyn of the Mabinogi.

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Pembrokeshire played a very important part in that story

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and a lot of the events happened only a few miles from here.

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So it's perfectly possible that he may have come back here to settle

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and established this place himself. Who knows?

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Well, that is the one I like.

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Say you put your steel plate there?

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Back at the mill there's a more practical issue to address.

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How do we put in a second floor

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without cutting off all the light to the ground floor?

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George wants his traditional crog loft and I like the idea,

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but we still can't agree which end of the room it should go,

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or how high it should be.

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Here comes normal man.

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Normal height man, OK?

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Where above me now... Where does your ceiling start?

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You're slightly shorter than the height of an average man.

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But your ceiling starts kind of up here.

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Which isn't an enormous distance.

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You are a ridiculously gangly young man.

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I'm not! I'm a little under six foot in height!

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-Average height!

-Where does...?

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Your floor level in here is going to be at about 2.4 meters. Around here.

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What's going into the gap between the ceiling and the floor?

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There's sufficient space in that crog loft to fit everything we want.

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Quite comfortably. With that height.

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Far too low!

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-Higher?

-It's a little bit higher.

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They'll go, "I can't believe it!"

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There's still plenty of room above me!

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I'm not going to bang my head, or even a giant head.

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It's lower than most mezzanine platforms in most mill buildings!

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It's uncomfortable because it's too high!

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It makes you feel like you're in a schoolroom.

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If that light had reflector board...

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Once it's constructed they'll realise that I was right all along!

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Oh, dear. Well, we shall see.

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Meanwhile, there's one restoration project

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that's rather less contentious.

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That's the old showman's wagon Dave Yarwood,

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the master carpenter, is restoring.

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It's a gorgeous thing.

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Originally built in the 1920s

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and patched up several times over the years.

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Dave's job is to match the new build to the original.

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If I do my job properly the wagon should come back

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and look like it did when it was first made.

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And you shouldn't be able to see what I've had to repair.

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Feel good factor. As long as it comes out good!

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All the bad timbers that were rotten

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have been removed, leaving what could be left.

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From now on it's basically putting the wagon together again.

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It's time-consuming, certainly. It's taking a while.

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I'm hoping the wagon will feature in another fantasy I'm entertaining.

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A Glastonbury in Pembrokeshire.

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Griffstock.

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I want to raise some more money for a local project called Point.

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Last year I helped out with a charity show

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and it contributed to their new drop-in centre.

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It's purely a drop-in centre where young people can feel free.

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They've got their own space. They can be with their friends.

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Computers are here where they can do their coursework or homework.

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Today is the official opening of their own nicely-restored building.

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APPLAUSE

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Thank you. I want to say...

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All I want to say is that Ken has said everything that needs saying,

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so I don't need to say more.

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-I've had an idea...

-Yeah?

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To hold a little pop festival at Trehilyn.

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Oh, now then!

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We could have a little festival then the profits could go to the Point.

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Oh! That would be brilliant!

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And I wonder whether some of the young people who work here,

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will be interested in helping and organising it?

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That's wonderful!

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You would ask some of your connections

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-in the pop world...

-Uh, yes.

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Because I'm really quite well connected with... The Wurzels...

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No, actually I don't know The Wurzels at all.

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But I know people who know people.

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We'll have a look into it and see whether it's a feasible thing to do.

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I'd like to hold my little festival in August.

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In the school holidays.

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I'd like to have the mill, cottage and the wagon finished by then.

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It will give us something I think we all need.

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A deadline.

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This is the first time I've been back to the farm for a few months.

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I can't wait to see how it looks.

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Work on the mill has been stopping and starting.

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Things have been progressing quietly on the other part of the story,

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across the lane, at the cottage.

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Here it's really starting to look finished.

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Blisteringly white. The whole thing looks like one of those things

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my mother used to put on her Christmas cake.

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All looking very nice. Beautiful floor.

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I think the staircase has been very well boxed-in and achieved.

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Nice little cupboard, here.

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This is all excellent.

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I notice that George has had these painted grey.

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I'm guessing that this isn't an undercoat.

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And I'm also stating that that's a typical would-be architect

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banal solution to painting wood. Painting it grey.

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It's just an architect's cop-out, really.

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It actually makes the place dull and these days we've moved on from that.

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It's a way of saying, "I'd rather do it in black and white than colour."

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It's another subtly different shade of grey.

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Welcome to Grey Cottage.

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Feeling grey? Come and stay here and be grey with us!

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We've got a little bit of a problem cos I think the double bed...

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Da-y-ooo!

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OK.

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Ah. I've walked in the wet paint and ruined the paint.

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LAUGHTER

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It's amazing how difficult it is to tell where it's wet

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and where it's dry!

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It's only a pair of socks.

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Yes. And somebody's paint job.

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But we've never had any real problems with the cottage.

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George's plan followed the original footprint.

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The trouble is, now that everything's in situ,

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I can't help feeling that something is not quite right.

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It's a question of trying to make sure it's not...

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Whoever is staying in there needed an en suite bathroom.

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Because they're going to have to walk out

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and go into that uncomfortable route through everybody else

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having their dinner, if they go to bed early.

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Well, I would've put the kitchen there.

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And put the bedroom in there?

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Put the downstairs bedroom through where the kitchen is.

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Why didn't we do that, then?

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You'll have to ask the architect about that!

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Ye-es. No, that would... But...

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-It's still do-able!

-Ye-es! Wait a minute...

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Well, was it the architect? Or was it his client?

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We built the extension so we could put in a modern kitchen and bathroom,

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But, in fact, it would give more privacy

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to have a bedroom next to that bathroom.

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Yes, of course!

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This would be plenty big enough for a bedroom.

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So, while the architect's back is turned,

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the two old nuisances have started changing everything around.

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Can you see these little shapes under here?

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Oh, yeah.

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-And you hardly notice them at first.

-No, just those little details.

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We need a dresser for the kitchen.

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-How much is... Let's see...

-It's over three meters.

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It's bigger than the bedrooms upstairs!

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So in meters it's 1.75.

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That would fit quite nicely in our kitchen.

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This is quite a nice size bedroom, isn't it?

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And then you've got direct access from here,

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through here, into your little bathroom.

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You don't have to go through a living room.

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And then you would come through here, to the kitchen. Yeah?

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-Is it outrageously more expensive?

-It is a bit more expensive.

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I'll have to see if I can be persuasive.

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I'm over-ruling, possibly, what George has thought of now.

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I'll have to go through this with him very carefully.

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Over at the mill the team is getting ready to place the crog loft,

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the raised sleeping platform,

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into position.

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The main supporting beam is made of Douglas Fir.

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A dense, soft wood traditionally used in cottages and barns.

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This clever bracket is inserted inside the beam.

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It allows the weight of the platform

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to be evenly distributed throughout the wall.

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The new bronze-cladded extension has been designed

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to sit on a timber platform, above the remains of the old wheelhouse.

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Thus retaining the original ruins of the floor, intact, beneath.

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Want to get the beam out the door and back onto that standing.

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Then the rope can be tied around it.

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That'll take a lot of weight off your shoulder, hopefully.

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Fitting the crog loft involves considerable trial and error,

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because, like a lot of old buildings, nothing is straight or level.

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It needs to go about an inch.

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Because nothing is actually square in the mill,

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nor any of the other buildings we're working on,

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we have to make it look right to the eye.

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Rather than just by the measurements or just by the level.

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So that's the aim.

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We've got about three inches to try and lose

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without it being jarring, visually.

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It's time to confront George

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with the proposed change of rooms in the cottage.

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I don't know what you've seen.

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I haven't seen it since before most of this was in, really.

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I'm not sure how this is going to go down.

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-The staircase is very good.

-I've talked with Gill and...

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The shelves are yet to go on here.

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-Here's a thought...

-But are you happy with that?

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Yeah, it's fine.

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Now, we... Gill and I have had a long talk about this...

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And we've decided to do something quite radical.

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Mmmm... Which would be?

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Which is... To put the bedroom in there...

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And the kitchen in there.

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Well. Quite apart from the fact

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that that's a fairly impractical situation now

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cos everything is actually plumbed in in the kitchen.

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Yes, but it's... You see...

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The plumbing for the kitchen runs very close to the outside...

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Let me explain before we go... It wasn't my idea!

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It was Gill who's been here and she said, "Why isn't this your bedroom?"

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Have you got enough space for all of these kitchen units in that room?

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Yes.

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-You've checked?

-Yes.

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Oh, OK.

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We have to do a bit of jiggery-pokery to do it,

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but that will work on our side eventually.

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Well, if you want.

0:22:000:22:01

I'll acquiesce that one. I don't particularly dislike that idea.

0:22:010:22:05

Otherwise, how do you feel about what you've seen?

0:22:100:22:13

I think it's all turning out alright.

0:22:130:22:16

It's nice to see the first building I've designed coming together.

0:22:160:22:21

It's nearly finished!

0:22:210:22:24

-It looks lovely from the outside.

-Are you coming round to the white?

0:22:240:22:28

No, I like the white! It's quite nice.

0:22:280:22:31

It's very prominent in the landscape, a completely white building.

0:22:310:22:35

Time to check the showman's wagon.

0:22:550:22:57

Dave has been building new wooden sections

0:22:580:23:00

and painstakingly matching them with the original.

0:23:000:23:03

This is great!

0:23:040:23:06

Dave, this is all the new stuff, is it?

0:23:070:23:09

Yeah. This is it.

0:23:090:23:11

First time you've seen it, isn't it?

0:23:120:23:14

It's the first time I've seen the whole thing

0:23:140:23:16

with the metal cladding off.

0:23:160:23:18

It really looks the part, there.

0:23:180:23:21

This is very skilful, here. Very skilful.

0:23:210:23:24

'Cause we've got the old wood on top, and a marvellous piece of new wood

0:23:240:23:29

just worked in there.

0:23:290:23:30

That's lovely. Brilliantly done.

0:23:300:23:33

-How're we going to get in?

-Through the door?

0:23:350:23:37

The ambience of this place is actually 19... It's this finish.

0:23:410:23:46

-40s? Something like that.

-40s or 50s.

0:23:460:23:48

So what we need to do is go on the internet and look up...

0:23:480:23:52

Rather than trying to clean those up...

0:23:520:23:55

They're chrome and they've all gone...

0:23:550:23:58

Is look for very similar fittings to these sort of ones.

0:23:580:24:01

It seems a pity to even think about putting this in the open air.

0:24:010:24:04

We could turn this into an attraction!

0:24:040:24:07

"Come and see!"

0:24:070:24:08

You should have your sign on it saying,

0:24:080:24:10

"Griff Rhys Jones' Amazing Circus!"

0:24:100:24:13

Exactly, yeah!

0:24:130:24:14

HUMS TUNE

0:24:140:24:15

Oh, hello!

0:24:360:24:38

Hello. It's Paul and Victoria to see Kevin and Ellen, please.

0:24:380:24:41

I've given the job of organising the festival, in aid of the Point,

0:24:410:24:46

to my assistant Paul.

0:24:460:24:47

It was originally going to be a huge rock festival I called Pembrock,

0:24:490:24:53

which I thought was a good pun,

0:24:530:24:55

but that sort of fell apart.

0:24:550:24:57

So bring us up to speed.

0:25:000:25:01

The background of it, how this could come about

0:25:020:25:05

and most importantly, how we can help you.

0:25:050:25:07

We've got a London playwright who's writing a bit of theatre for us.

0:25:080:25:11

We'll get some actors to come and do that for us.

0:25:110:25:15

And we'll get some local music and lots of food, drink and merriment.

0:25:150:25:20

Ideally, that's what we would do.

0:25:200:25:22

What we'd like to do is go away, look at the proposal,

0:25:220:25:25

and give to yourself what we could bring.

0:25:250:25:27

This is a big venture. We do respect that, totally.

0:25:270:25:31

And we'd love to get involved

0:25:310:25:33

in some way, shape or form to help out.

0:25:330:25:35

-I think it'll work out great!

-Thanks for your time.

0:25:350:25:38

-We'll be in touch.

-Pleasure's ours. Look forward to it.

0:25:380:25:41

-Thank you all!

-And now I can do it!

0:25:410:25:44

At the moment the creeping sensation is there's a lot of things to do.

0:25:460:25:50

And not a lot of time.

0:25:500:25:51

I hope we can pull it off.

0:25:530:25:55

Another day, another problem.

0:25:550:25:57

I can't help noticing there's something going on with the lime.

0:25:580:26:01

What's happening on the roof?

0:26:010:26:03

It's not looking very pretty.

0:26:030:26:05

No. Is it sort of coming off?

0:26:050:26:07

It has been cracking.

0:26:070:26:09

And even though we had a tin roof over there,

0:26:090:26:12

the rain was being driven horizontally under the tin.

0:26:120:26:18

Then once the tin came off, it didn't stop raining.

0:26:180:26:22

So you think that's a damp issue?

0:26:230:26:26

It's because the lime hasn't had an opportunity to carbonate,

0:26:260:26:32

because it hasn't been dry enough.

0:26:320:26:34

Over at the mill, it's the same sorry story.

0:26:350:26:38

...to this sort of development happening here?

0:26:380:26:41

Because what we've got here is even worse, is it?

0:26:410:26:45

Yes. This is the same situation.

0:26:460:26:48

But worse.

0:26:480:26:49

Because this is a more north-easterly facing roof.

0:26:500:26:54

So it didn't dry at all. And it's just coming off.

0:26:560:26:59

Does that mean the whole roof has to come off?

0:26:590:27:01

No, not at all. Because putting the lime on is a contrivance

0:27:010:27:04

to mimic the old grouted roof.

0:27:040:27:07

So there's slate under there and it's completely watertight.

0:27:070:27:11

So it's only taking off the top coat of lime and re-doing that.

0:27:110:27:15

So we're just talking about something we've put on

0:27:150:27:17

to authenticate it's elderly appearance?

0:27:170:27:20

-It's that element that is failing?

-Exactly.

0:27:200:27:22

All we wanted to do is do the right thing.

0:27:220:27:25

And once again by doing the right thing,

0:27:250:27:27

we're right in the poo-poo, aren't we?

0:27:270:27:30

We don't have any insurance to cover ourselves against this sort of thing?

0:27:310:27:36

I don't know whether the site insurance would cover this.

0:27:370:27:40

I really don't.

0:27:400:27:42

Do you know what, Gill?

0:27:420:27:43

I hate these roofs.

0:27:440:27:46

Next week:

0:27:480:27:49

Will we remain open to the elements?

0:27:490:27:51

I think the windows will turn up beginning of July.

0:27:520:27:55

-This is cutting it seriously fine.

-Yeah.

0:27:550:27:58

And facing up to problems with lime.

0:27:590:28:03

We built a perfectly good slate roof,

0:28:030:28:06

and now slapped three layers of lime which is refusing to take.

0:28:060:28:10

So we now have to take the whole lot off and put it all back on again.

0:28:100:28:14

And the environment is at the forefront of our thoughts again.

0:28:160:28:20

It's pouring down!

0:28:210:28:23

Subtitles by Red Bee Ltd.

0:28:390:28:41

Griff Rhys Jones continues with phase two of the restoration of his farm in Pembrokeshire.

Restoration work on the miller's cottage moves to the inside of the building. Across the lane, building work at the mill has ground to a halt as the planning authorities investigate local objections to Griff's plans. Meanwhile, Griff makes plans for a music festival in Pembrokeshire.


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