Winter is coming. This is not the prelude to a series of fantasy books and a television series. Winter is on it's way, the rain is that little bit more colder and there are jobs that have been begging to be done all summer. This month is our last chance, so armed with a bucket, a trowel and some form of stubborn thinking, we have been completing those jobs we have refused to get someone else in to do.
Do It Yourself (DIY) is on the decline, apparently we're all too busy in the garden now to bother even holding a paint brush. Skills like pointing and building a new front door step may be lost. There is a tradition in our house that we build our own front doorstep. At Drovers there was literally an eighteen inch drop from the front door to the path. Before Andrew's back went, he dug out a large piece of stone from that garden, and used it to make a new front doorstep. Within a year we had newts living under it and fifteen years on - from what we have been told - it's still there and hopefully so are the newts. Our present front doorsteps have been in service for over two hundred years and have given up the ghost - we did want to send a sternly worded letter to the original stone mason who built them but we couldn't find a pen. It has been crumbling since we said goodbye to our old wood fired oven, having a twenty-seven stone oven land on the steps did not help the steps recovery. Last week it gave up the ghost and the entire piece of stone turned to dust. It was like a scene from Dracula when Van Helsing opens the curtains to spring clean and catches the blood sucker by accident, pfffft! gone. No more stone step. Thankfully, Andrew hoards stone he finds hidden the undergrowth of the garden. The new step is actually made out of old York stone roof tiles leftover from the roof and the remains of the tiling from our fireplace in the front room. Not wishing to waste leftover mortar, we went on to repoint some of the crumbling mortar on the back of the house.
This included blocking up the old flue hole from the old wood stove that came out the kitchen wall. Again, saved stone from Andrew who seems to have an illicit trade in used stone. Can you see where the flue was?
We're not great DIYers, we've learnt as we've gone along, a kitchen floor here, a doorstep there, some wall tiling here and a few paths here, here and here.