Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sun rising and shed raising.

An orange summer Sunday sun rises over a soft blue silk sea the two young buzzards on fence posts silhouetted at the far end of the croft perch surveying the sweet scented meadow ready to pounce should any rodent or rabbit happen by. Rock doves tumble in the still air and the sound of waves folding onto the beach below so clear it could be at my door. The fescues drooping heavy headed full with damp seed and midges. If there is no breeze then in the mid morning heat we will suffer the unholy trinity of house flies, horse flies and midges but its Sunday and there will be no labouring for Father, Son or Holy Ghost. Men will seek out a quiet pastime, find sanctuary in their shed and the latest project, and retire for a second more thorough sober reading of the bible or local paper. The peat freshly dry from the moor heaped high must be stacked for the winter but not today, the sow thistles and sorrel need pulling from the rows of swedes but not now and down at the far end of the croft the few remaining unclipped sheep will have to wait for another day before they feel their freedom fleece.

My own old shed is nearing completion the random rough granite boulder walls an almost child like construction contrast with the newly bitumen blackened corrugated tin roof. It takes time, study, observation, discussion, hard graft as well as balls to rebuild an old stone barn. It’s been five years since I started to place back stones that had fallen, dig out the soil and rediscover its form, dating the pile of grass covered rubble was not easy but there were neighbours who remembered when these old walls supported a roof and that one was used for the lambs. During the uncovering I discovered the remains of timber, rusty tin and old tar lagged roofing felt plus the usual contents of a mid 20th  century midden. 

 The last stone to be heaved into place was the large recycled door lintel retrieved from a local demolition. The wheel barrow groaned as I teetered unsteadily alone the back of the house. I have discovered when dealing with heavy objects it is often safer on ones own to know exactly where that centre of gravity lies at any moment. Although it took many to raise the Calannish stone circles this stone lintel raising would be a one man job. So from barrow to window sill then wall top and from there on wooden rollers across a temporary wooden lintel and sideways into place, the one and only golden rule make sure your always above the stone for if it falls on you it will surely squash break maim or kill. Now with the walls more or less flat and with a gentle slope to the east I searched through a recently collapsed roof on the other side of the village for suitable timber, three A-frames should do it and nothing more than two meters long. Within a day the frame was up and the next day the new close boarding went on. This was followed by roofing felt and very bright and shiny corrugated tin which in order not to be a distraction to aeroplanes making their descent into Stornoway airport I painted bitumen black. And so there you have it a shed that once again is visible to our nosy parker satellite inspection and how long will it take before I get a planning contravention notice on this one, meanwhile the interior is already being put to use as it houses burning timber, bags of crumbled peat and garden tools, all it perhaps needs now before the winter is a door, a blue door?                  

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