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It doesn’t take long to knock something down, and a lot longer to build something. But we should have a new conservatory-dining room by next spring.

Our initial plan had been to put a new, temporary roof onto the old conservatory to see us through the winter. Instead, we decided to push on, so Sam and brother Jack removed the roof, dismantled the conservatory front, dug the trench for the new foundations and exposed the rusted through water main (duly replaced). We’ve also ordered the steelwork for the new-look conservatory

We took this decision in the last days of the Indian summer hot weather. Now the skies keep opening. But after a night in the garden attempting to stem the flow of water into our kitchen, we now have sandbags, a properly plumbed down-pipe and a great view of the cows high up on Rodborough Common.

We found much of the roof was packed with old rolled-up newspapers topped with plastic corrugated sheeting and bitumen. The Sun, Monday 11 December 2000, declared “Wills cleans Throne”… complete with picture of the 18-year-old future king cleaning a loo. It had survived near two decades. The Sun, it appears, has some uses.

And all the prime soil and red Cotswold sand from the trench is now in black plastic rubble bags, neatly laid as a weed-killing carpet across much of the garden.

Next spring we should have a new, baronial dining room looking out over the next big task, turning what looks like a tip into something resembling a garden, albeit re-wilded.