Today, I finally squeezed the truck down the steep, scary, narrow drive to Greystones Farm, where Ralph’s old friend Albert sold me his lifetime collection of salvaged oak, pitch pine, meranti etc. perhaps a ton of odd bits including some nice doors and, allegedly, a complete corner pew.

Monica has gutted the Drawing Room now. The floor boards and joists have come out and she’s debating what kind of floor to replace them with. The options for the structure are limecrete slab or bearers and joists; the finish will be second-hand boards or parquetry that we will make in the joinery. One item that was removed today was the curtain rod: Albert handed over a four-inch rod that will do the job, complete with pineapple ends. I guess I’ll have to turn the rings!

I keep the chippy, Shaun, interested by trotting out tools he’s never used. Today, I left him a small adze, side axe and draw knife so that he could cut the beams back, through the long-dead woodworm, to sound oak. He loves this exploration of traditional woodwork. He’s a really nice bloke, so it’s a joy to work with him like this.

So, here’s where Tony’s guitar will get to live!

My weekly cruise was around the upper part of the farm, last weekend. All is well apart from a hundred or so coppice oaks. The sweet chestnut are very happy so, when I reclaim the neighbouring third of an acre that got left outside our fence, more of these useful trees will go in.

I’ve just taken delivery of some water-glass and aluminium oxide powder. With a sack of Perlite, we’re going to try out making our own refractory plasters like this guy: If we succeed, the material will be useful for many of our pyromaniac projects such as forge, bakery, masonry stove, pottery stove etc.

Albert is a top electrician who has a vast collection of metalworking and other industrial goodies that he’s invited me to look over, though I couldn’t afford to give him what they’re worth. Still, at 92, with 85 years history in his farmhouse, it’s worth spending the day to hear his stories. Cousin Chris and I certainly enjoyed our day there, today, sharing yarns and pies.

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