Monday, October 01, 2007
We've got a man on a roof...
Only short days to go now until the luminous green roof of this little building ceases to be a landmark visible from space. From closer to home it's a bit of a blot on the landscape too - and I'll be oh-so-happy when it is clad in slate.
The man on the roof - our nimble footed son Dan - is tapping the slates into place even as I type. It won't be long now until we have the summer house of our dreams - we only have to wait for the year to go round again before we can use it comfortably.
It formed part of the old farmyard here at Lower House. We converted the sturdy stone-built barn into a dwelling and the yard itself into a formal garden. This little hovel with its one stone wall and timber frame was a calf house perhaps or home to a couple of overwintering beasts. I've heard it called the 'bull shed' too.
It's not an important building by any means - but it is a reminder, as is our barn, of the days when agriculture was practised on a smaller scale. No mechanised means then to scoop out the muck from a shed full of 50 cattle - just a man with a fork and barrow - the same man who shook in some fresh straw from a bale and hang up the sisal twine from a nail under the roof of random slates. The floor was of slate too - big chunky slabs which we found under a layer of fruity rich manure. Doors were smaller, roofs lower. I can relate to this scale.
Alan stripped the building back - much could not be salvaged. The wood was largely worm eaten and the roof slates crumbled. The floor slabs will be returned in due course. Eventually only the wall was left standing and this too was close to disintegrating - a weak mortar mix barely held the stones together. But with time and patience it was re-pointed - leaving holes for nesting birds. (Work was held up for a while last year when Redstarts moved in and reared a brood.) Using the original construction as a model and the summer house in the Font Garden at Wollerton Old Hall as inspiration Alan put the timber work into place. Square oak posts hold the roof up in the front - which will be open so we can sit and enjoy the last of the sun on a summer's evening. Roses will ramble up the stonework and fragrant flowers scramble in the border alongside. There is a weather vane to sit on the roof too, made by Alan at welding classes. What a handy man he is.
At last it is nearly complete - only the garden side to slate now. Excited? Moi? Yes, very. I see an opening ceremony taking place in the very near future....