We’ve got the builders in. Well, actually les maçons have been in for the best part of the last three years, attending to large structural cracks, the odd exploded floor and the restoration of a cottage for our guardian. This time, though, it’s the final phase. The old sitting room in the main house - where the ceiling helped by falling in of its own accord – will be a place of safety at last.
It’s an old property. There’s a wooden lintel over the door of the restored cottage that is carved with the date 1624, though no-one can be quite sure whether that’s real or a previous owner’s folly. But this place does demand respect for its history, and the builders and architect we chose are true craftsmen with great feeling for stones and tiles. When new foundations and structural walls are built to solid modern specifications, they are always re-clad in their old stones.
And so the roof will go back on, the old lichen-pocked tiles dressing the new watertight wood. In those circumstances, even the piles of roof tiles against the courtyard wall have an integrity that, to my mind at least, makes them into something close to a work of art.