The pizza oven series part IV- the foundation is built

Firstly I would just like to say a massive thank you to all my readers of my blog in its first week. Thanks to you I’ve had over 209 visitors from England, Ireland, Belgium, America and Australia! Thank you so much. If you enjoy this blog, please become a follower by clicking the follow button at the top of the page.

So, after the initial shock of a spasming back I armed myself with paracetamol, a back support and set to work with my girlfriend! After making the foundation frame, the next part was to fill it in with cement. Now, looking back, the best thing to do would have been to get a cement mixer, but we decided to do it ourselves, in a wheelbarrow! Using a mixture of two parts concrete to one part ballast we got it to a sloppy consistency and poured it into the square hole in the frame. It took over 20 wheelbarrows to fill it!!!……. let’s just say that I’d advise you do any mixing in a proper cement mixer and leave it at that. 😉

Shazam!! It’s a box! 

After having a solid block (which we were so proud of!) the next job was to put wooden sleepers in top of it to help to make a plinth. This would be hollow in the middle and filled with various bits. We bought proper treated wooden sleepers and they were very heavy! Stacking them in 4 pieces and onto of each other, the bad then began to resemble a cube. It was very exciting watching it build and get taller and taller! I also very much enjoyed using our drill to drill in stews to hold hem in place. Quick tip- always check that the battery on your drill is fully charged before using it. It’s very annoying both waiting for it to charge when you’re ready to go and also seeing it slowly die on you whilst desperately thinking, No, hang on!!….it’s nearly in!!…

A finished plinth 
Once the big wooden cube was built, we then filled it with a mixture of hardcore, then sand and glass bottles (to hold the heat) vermiculite (google it) and more sand. A very fun part of the process involved me dancing on top of the sand to tamp it down. There is a video of me doing this, which I’m trying to find. As soon as I do I’ll get it up here. We also had some fun taking pictures and playing with adding captions using a comic book app, which created some pretty cool photos. 

Me playing Thor
Then we placed bricks on top to finish off the plinth. The only part that my girlfriend and myself did not do was cut the bricks. We invited a very kind man round one Saturday to cut a few bricks in half for us, as he had a special tool. It was immensely loud and sliced through the bricks no problem. He also helped us to re arrange the way we had stacked them in two minutes. He was like a Tetris master! As we built this together, my confidence in my abilities to make things grew. We were both learning on the job, with only a vision, YouTube and a bundle of enthusiasm. And it was lots of fun! We also were feeling very satisfied know that we were building something together which would last a long time. So with the plinth, the foundation complete, it was time to begin making the actual oven!…

Tomorrow’s post, the oven is completed!

Year 2016 Highlight- My own Pizza Oven! Part I

This year myself and my girlfriend completed building our own pizza oven! My love of pizza has lasted well over twenty years, including trips to Italy, France and even Malta. Pepperoni and extra cheese was always my favourite topping. I gradually scaled back how many I ate as I got fitter, but I still reserved them for and occasional special treat. My girlfriend knew of my love for the beautiful crusted delight and last summer she asked me an incredible question,

“Do you want to learn how to build a pizza oven on a course or do you just want to build one in our back garden??” 

Well, what do you think I said?….
Next instalment coming tomorrow Thursday 8th December! ☺️

Year 2016 highlight- building my own pizza oven! Part II

It had been our relationship anniversary and myself and my girlfriend popped out for a romantic Italian meal. We have a strong love for food and cooking and as the conversation flowed around such, she dropped this question. 
“Erm,” I wasn’t sure. 

Now if I just learned how to make it, I’d have nothing at the end of it. Whereas if we made one, I’d have my own…

“Let’s make one!!” I blurted out.

Her eyes lit up and she smiled widely, 

“Awesome, let’s do it!” She replied enthusiastically. 

And so we set to it. I love my girlfriend for she always inspires me to try new things, to be willing to fail, to stretch myself. And this certainly did! Up until then I’d always said to myself that I wasn’t particularly skilled with my hands, that I want practical. But I now know that this was just lazy thinking. I’ve played guitar for over 15 years and did Jui Jitsu for 12, both of which rely on a body mind connection and are very practical. But at this point I didn’t know that, I just knew that I wanted pizza!

So we set to it. With s big of money saved and YouTube we began to think of what we wanted it to look like. But I had no idea just how difficult it would be and that before it was finished, it would challenge me immensely and even risk my health.

Tomorrow’s instalment- building the pizza oven!…

The pizza oven series part III Making the pizza oven

It was a lot more difficult than I imagined it was going to be, but also so much better.

The first day I started making it was on a hot, sticky Sunday afternoon in July 2015. I was very confident that I could dig a square hole in the corner of the garden and make a small wooden frame to outline the perimeter of the oven. I thought it would only take a couple of hours, well….more like six hours!!…

Here is the spot where it all begun…

It was very challenging digging the ground as the soil was very dry and even then moving onto making the wooden base was a nightmare! Nailing together four planks of wood wasn’t difficult, but making sure that they were exactly straight sure was. Then once the hole had been dug, andthe wooden square base put in, it took me a further two hours using the spirit level to get it properly level! Our garden is on a slight hill, so I had to pack mounds of soil up around the base at one end and then re-check it was level with the other fours corners. At last, when the little bubble in the spirit level was in the middle of the two lines (anyone who has used one understands this satisfaction) I had competed the first part!

 I was so happy to see this sight….

I was too exhausted to be excited. It was after 8pm and the air was still muggy and I was soaked with sweat, after moving around and contorting into all sorts of positions whilst working. Unfortunately, that evening, I was awoken by a very sharp pain in my back, upon siting up quickly, it shot through my lower side and I knew that my back had locked out! It took me ten minutes to get out of the bed and out of the bedroom, hanging off the top of the door and bannister, to try and keep my back from leaning too far forwards. Then  I sat on the sofa in pain for a good few hours before shuffling back to bed. It would be over two weeks before it healed well enough to be 100% but I had a pizza oven to finish!….

Tomorrow’s instalment- The pizza oven takes shape! Coming Saturday 10th December