Sunday, 10 February 2008

Synchronised Stonework

Last Thursday, Jon snapped Mick and Brian working in perfect harmony cleaning the stone around the top of the front door - a moment of synchronisation well spotted. The darker patch of wall shows where the cleaning and repointing has been done. It's a laborious, slow but necessary process as we want as much original stonework to show as possible. Any stone that is too crumbly or poor has to be replaced along the way. The mortar will take some time to dry to its chosen colour but with any luck this present spell of fine weather - wonderful after last week's blizzards - will continue. We are all doing our best to make sure the gods give us a good few weeks of dry weather because the next major work is a complete re-roofing, the raising of the purlins to make space for new rooflights. And it can't be done in persistent rain (or heaven forbid, snow). When all the walls have been cleaned up and repointed, they will be coated with some kind of fixative so dust won't constantly be trickling down over everything. The air is thick with it now and I worry that the men aren't wearing masks. (Apparently, one of my great-grandfathers was a stonemason and died of silicosis.)

Floorboards are now in place upstairs and are being put in place downstairs. At present, the downstairs floor level is so low we can't see out of the windows and all rooms seem to tall and narrow creating an atmosphere I find overwhelming and intimidating. By our next week's visit, we should have a better feel for the final look. I wish there was a better way to get usptairs than a precipitous ladder. I have never been good with any sort of ladder, even if safely fixed in position but seem lately to have turned into a complete wimp, developing an irrational phobia. I have only done it once and hope never to have to again. Everything seemed so high up - again probably because the floor level downstairs is so low and I began to wobble.
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