Here on Pig Row as the wind picks up there is a location in the garden that is not affected. At one time the hill that runs behind our house ran all the way down to the back of the house.
The last owners built a retaining wall and sunk a section of the garden to create a wide passageway. This allowed them to put in a back door and an inside toilet. We are grateful for the latter as stumbling up a hill with a toilet roll in the middle of winter chills the imagination as well as other bits. I am probably one of the last generations who have used an outside toilet. My late Granddad had an outside privy which was cold in summer and cold in winter. Its walls where built from giant slabs of stone that resembled gravestones. I never understood why the door to the privy never came fully to the ground or reached up to the door jamb. These slivers of the outside resembled cinema screens and I never understood why they were there. Someone once told me it was to prevent explosions but I believe it stopped you from nodding off in the semi-dark. A quick blast from a north wind whilst clutching bog paper is enough to shrink the spirits and draw your buttocks up to your elbows.
So, I am a proud owner of a passageway that is never touched by cold blasts from the north. That means even in the foulest weather this small slither of land holds onto its micro climate. This means that I am presently resident there with an angle grinder, sandstone and slate. This is in a bid to finish the kitchen floor before heating engineers arrive. Our kitchen floor at Pig Row is the equivalent of an old fashioned roller coaster, it has its up and downs, and parts of it are rotten and damp. This has meant digging and concreting into the late hours. The problem with living in a property that you are renovating is that it becomes like one of those old fashioned puzzles where you move around squares to create a picture. This means that tiles are laid, floors are levelled, stone is pointed and sealed, and then covered with furniture from the other side of the room. This can be quite disheartening as the work you've done vanishes under a pile that resembles bric a brac. This bric a brac is then coated in dust from the concrete and from the angle grinding. No matter how many doors and windows you close to prevent the dust from blowing in it still manages to sneak in. It travels at light speed and arrives before you do with the slate tile. So, for the record, for sanity, here is our new kitchen floor minutes before it vanished under kitchen units, an oven and numerous pots and pans.