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Watermill Blog -  Taking Stock
11th March 2008

As the title of this entry in our watermill blog suggests we took the opportunity of Martyn's return from holiday for taking stock of what we have achieved so far and what we still have to do.

It was pretty well a full Tuesday team, consisting of Martyn, Colin, John, Richard, Max, Headley, Kim, Derek and Jonathan. Some of us continued establishsed tasks but some new jobs got tackled as well.

light well

In particular, John made as start on the brick lining of the light well by the side of the front door of the mill.

We are calling this feature a light-well becasue we cannot think of any other purpose for it.

It sheds light into the upstream side of the gear pit and provides generous ventilation as well.

Like so many other places around the mill the brickwork has suffered from neglect, but unlike most of the building this brickwork looks as if it was poor workmanship right from the start.

Elsewhere Colin, Headley and Max continued the repair to the sack hoist pulley, Martyn and Kim finished fixing the sliding shutter in the large groundfloor window, Jonathan carried on repairing brickwork in the stable wall (it is a big wall) and Richard carefully dismantled the first of the windows from the front of the mill.

Derek spent his day clearing yet more undergrowth from the hedge by the roadside and then surprised us all by annoucing that the next time he comes he is going to be planting new bushes to rejuvenate the hedge.

As well as Martyn's return we also had a visit from Ian Harper, past president of the MAC, who brought us a supply of fruit wood that can be used to make gear teeth. A great opportunity to stop and conside progress to date.

It was an interesting exercise to look at just how much has been achieved since we took on this derelict watermill. The pool and watercourse has been opened up again, the waterwheel repaired and remounted so that it can turn uder water power. The steps beside the waterwheel have been rebuilt and a lot of landscape clearing has been done.

The mill building now has a sound roof and the windows that we thought would have to be replaced are either repaired or under repair. The windows in particular were going to be a very expensive item but the local Conservation Officer made it quite clear that she would rather see the original windows repaired. It takes longer to do the repair than to fit new windows but volunteer labour is cheap.

The stable building is also sound with new flooring in the hay-loft making a usable space without the risk of falling through the floor. Some of the belt-driven machinery that was once powered by the waterwheel is being restored and will be capable of being driven that way in the future. The stable itself is proving invaluable as a workshop and store

Inside the mill we have still got a lot of work to do, with repairs to the hurst, the timber frame that supports the millstones and mechanism, being the top priority. Much of the timber work around the millstones, the hopper and the tun is badly affected by woodworm and will need careful treatment to effect repairs while retaining as much of the original as possible.

We have all learnt a lot about how the mill was built and how it worked. Several of the team have picked up new skills or exercised skills they had forgotten they had, and we all seem to have enjoyed ourselves at the same time. Along the way there have been onehundred and fifty entries in this watermill blog

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