Lots of weather-induced loafing at the moment. I’m catching up on my education with this channel’s Curriculum. Turns out I’m a romantic monastic stoic. Who knew?

Watched, “The Last Flight of the Vulcan”. A wonderful old plane. I remember one rising up, full roar, from sea level flight and over the cliffs at Runswick Bay, where we were picnicking, as kids. I still haven’t recovered from the shock. I have a couple of spare parts for one, left by Ralph, though I’ve no idea what they do.

I should have been out selecting stones for the drawing room floor footings but: too wet. Monica has put together a slide presentation of the fittings and finishes she proposes for the room, which I need to review today. A few timely influences, such as the beeb’s “Restoring Ancient Monuments” have convinced her to attempt an honest, appropriate, consistent design rather than a pastiche of goodies from the antique shops. The room, even without its floor or ceiling, is a lot warmer and drier than it was with the wicking, sweating botches that she’s removed so we’re hopeful that it’ll be a great success and a safe place to keep instruments. 

She’s had similar success at another of Kevin’s two-bob houses where, by removing plastic paint and polystyrene insulation, a dripping ceiling has miraculously dried out without the planned replacement of its table-sized stone slates. The carpenter she’s working with—a friend of Kevin’s—is slowly understanding this forgotten system of building and appreciating the damage he and others have done with their “damp-proofing” over the years. I’ve suggested he and M set up as a house rescue team and they’re entertaining the idea.

The planning permission for the Mickle Barn has effectively lapsed. They slipped in a new condition when we renewed it, for a summer bat survey which we haven’t done. I was grumpy for a few days but Monica was understanding and it’s actually become a blessing. Rather than trying to finagle our ideas into Ralph’s permission, we can now present our own ideas as a complete design, in our own time. Meanwhile, I have less time pressure on digging the drainage and building the New Barn. As it happens, apart from the insertion of windows and moving in, most of the other components of the Mickle Barn can go ahead. I can replace the roof, rebuild the hay loft, even insert the oak frame, without bothering the Council. If I get them to inspect it, I can even put in a septic tank for the New Barn’s toilet that is sized for both buildings.

So, it’s a thinky time for me and a bit less time-pressured. My back doesn’t like the lack of exercise so I need to start lifting these bearers and joists onto my trestles, soon, to keep my fitness up. There are also a few trees and one short fence to put in, this season, that will help. Martin is sending some replacement Mulberries up from Devon, the Lost Field is being planted with Sweet Chestnut whips and we need to swap the Elder and Field Maple around in t’Other Bit to correct last year’s mistake. 

Don’t fancy much of that in today’s damp, though. Fortunately, with a huge supply of firewood and lots more owed to us, we can stock up the stove. Enjoying a good loaf-about is a great skill; perhaps one I’m better at than most?

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