I have a huge lump in my throat and a tear in my eye as I write this blog. It's not for me, or anything which relates to my condition, family or situation. I feel kind of guilty writing this blog after the very kind words Barefut wrote in her last blog entry.
Yes, you are right! The blogs look cute and very touching --- a very fine tribute to each other, so before we skip off into the sunset hand in hand, I'd just like to say a personal thank you before I get on with business as usual!
The whole week as been one of dust, bricks and more dust, bricks, dust, bricks -- you get the picture? I'm chewing the stuff literally but it's all for the cause of renovation -- final phase! I have a huge panoramic hole in my wall. The fields look lovely and ever so near. The birds sing louder and there's one **** of a draught blowing through my house. Before I begin to sound completely mad, please bear in mind that it's a necessary task in order to finish this house which has taken all of 5 years to complete.
Every brick is removed and cleaned. To attack the wall with a huge hammer would have been quite insane. These bricks are 400 years old and with every brick I clean, I feel a piece of history in my hand. Sure they're not perfect, bits of straw and an odd stone pebble hold the brick together. Some unfortunately will crumble as you scrape off all the old lime mortar and cannot be re-used. Still others are as good as the day they were made with the odd animal paw print or a workman's finger mark -- long gone are they!
Such craftsmen they must have been. The power tools of today could not contend with such pure workmanship. The wall is owed a sense of respect. It has stood since 1660 and only dampness has forced us to take it down. Three days have passed and it's only half way down, such is the care we are taking. I have 4 huge piles of bricks all sorted into categories. The very good ones, the nearly good ones, the indifferent ones (Twisted and mis-shaped) and the halves. I have a special pile too of paw printed and finger marked ones, which we'll put indoors as a feature at some later point.
The weather forecast is good for next week -- maybe we'll be able to lay foundations. The wall stands on blocks of stone at the moment and it will be no mean feat removing them from the ground. This has been the problem! Solid walls of brick with no cavity or damp course. The bricks are old and porous and water had penetrated the walls. We'll use damp proofing and form a cavity. The foundations will be deep and filled with stone chippings, mesh and concrete. A membrane will then be laid and special water resistant bricks will form the base at ground level.
Another layer of damp course will then be laid over the 3rd course of brick and then we'll build up from that!
I'm looking forward to moving into the other side of the house, having more rooms and space. Roll on summer when it will be all complete. Champagne on ice? Watch this space!