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  1. It's been a really tough few months. Problems at work (I got the timetable finished ready for September and now they want another one ready for straight after October half term), my best friend diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer and then the delay in planning approval leading to us appealing to the planning inspectorate to try for a non-determination decision. We have both been down in the dumps and on the verge of giving up. Two weeks off work (sick leave for stress, it was so close to a resignation letter you wouldn't believe) and the dark clouds have lifted, helped by an apology from work and a pay rise. Remembering what we did first time round, reminded me that there is a lot we can do now, while we are waiting to start on the main part of the project, that won't go to waste. Last time round, we got the end of the garden completely landscaped - it meant when we moved into the house - the garden still looked lovely. We also used the large wooden gazebo (built in sink and BBQ) to eat every night as there was more room in there for us and the kids than in the caravan. The question was, what can we do this time round that isn't wasting money, can't be included in the vat reclaim (no landscaping on the planning permission), and will not be ruined during the build. Front drive and Fencing!! So... The fence at the front of our plot needs replacing - the wooden posts are rotten and are only upright because they are leaning against the conifer trees that are there. These conifers are of course going which will make the oak tree stand out a bit more, rightly showing how magnificent it is. We were planning the fencing and how many concrete posts and gravel boards we were going to need when I had a brainwave 💡. How about building the wall out of the Isotex we want to build in (the one without insulation of course)? It means we get practise on using the stuff and actually pouring concrete without trialling it on our house! No idea how expensive it is going to be so I've asked the question to see if it is feasible or not. Other things that I am now googling and sorting out are: Lighting for the driveway Parcel delivery box Doorbell camera CCTV Illuminated house numbers Capping blocks for the wall Fencing for the rest of the garden area. Moving the electric meter to the front of the plot Planning the route of the new fibre optic connection under the front paddock (yes, we will shortly have fibre optic to the house after 4 years of suffering from the slowest broadband you can imagine). The parcel box that we like the look of is the Brizebox. https://www.brizebox.com/product/built-in-extra-large-rear-door-pay-in-full-449-00-excl-frame/ I want to build it into the wall but I also want to render over the bottom half of it - you can have the collection door on the front or the rear of the bottom half, however, I don't think the top half of the box protrudes far enough out to allow this to happen. I've emailed the question today to see what they say. Gallery picture 31 of 69 is the closest to what I want to achieve (without having plants in front of where the poor parcel man has to stand to put the parcel in the drawer!!). I want to move the electric meter box to the front wall so that it can be read without coming onto the property. Peter wants to leave it where it is. We are in discussions at the moment about the best way forward. It is currently housed in a brick pillar with a little bit of slate on top - I think that when the house is built, it is going to get hit by cars driving down past the house to the end of the plot as it will narrow the driveway unnecesarily. The pink circle is where this pillar is and where I thought the electric supply to the house ran - it actaully goes to the existing car port which is next to the purple square where the Garage (AKA sewing room) will eventually go and should miss all the excavations during the build. Now off to google covert cameras to go on the front drive somewhere!!