Saturday 7 July 2012

Dumb and Dumber

I've just had a couple of hands-on days at the castle as my summer holiday - hurrah! There's nothing like the satisfaction of actual hands-on work, however minor, when one is fighting with restoration bureaucracy and trying to earn the money to pay for it.

Some friends and I finally dug out the bottom of the dumb waiter shaft, which was five feet deep with hard-to -excavate rubble, due to the mechanism in there. The picture shows the large crank wheel devoid of rubble. One day I will be winding my cups of cocoa up to my bedroom level. :-)

Some  member of the public has claimed that no work is going on at the castle and reported me to the Scottish Civic Trust on the 25th June! This is patently untrue as work has been continuous at the castle since I acquired it in 2007. I am a loss to know how this member of the public knows what is going on inside the castle or on the roof. I can only conclude that this is a vindictive act - but I have found that the castle brings the best out of some people and the worst in others. I have written to the Scottish Civic Trust to ask them to correct their website.

I received a letter today from the company that make "The Restoration Man" on Channel 4. They want to feature Balintore which is gratifying - as "The Restoration Man" has had some absolutely superb episodes on fascinating projects. I shall reply that my timescales are probably longer than theirs.

dumb waiter crank - now clear of rubble!

my shaft is in excellent condition


  1. Who would do such a thing? Some people lack sense!

  2. Fabulous about restoration man people - maybe the solution to financing Balintore's restoration is to become a tv star! It would be one of the best uses of licensing fees I've heard of. As for the complainers: isn't amazing how, even in the middle of nowhere, you can count on finding an idiot?

  3. Thanks for the sympathy on the unwarranted attack by an individual. If you have concerns about Balintore - come and help rather than criticise. And before you criticise, come and examine the evidence. That indeed was the "dumber" part of the title. There is a long way to go, but the building has been stabilised (i.e. saved for future generations) and is now moving forward.

    "Restoration Man" is on Channel 4 (i.e. no licence fee) but is a great program. My current favourite is "Restoration Home" and by coincidence they have also asked for permission to film. I would agree to filming if Balintore actually benefited (that's the ultimate test), but contrary to the beliefs of a number of people, these programs give their subjects no money whatsoever!

  4. David some people just have to stick their noses in things they don't know anything about.........just to be NASTY. Keep up the great work, this is a labor of love and not the construction of some prefab complex that will be gone in 40 years.

  5. We are limited by our knowledge and understanding. There was a white Art Deco villa near Gayfield football stadium behind the Tatties Neuk pub. Nothing spectacular and a little shabby, but it was Art Deco and there not so many of those about.
    It was re-clad to create a regular green box. Relatives in the town enthused enthused that it looked brand new. The house in Arbroath where I was brought up, of no interest to anyone but me, had the soft brown sandstone that is unique to Arbroath ( the same stone as the abbey) harled. A plaque dating it as 1875 was knocked off leaving a regular shield shape. It now looks brand new.
    Brave ventures like Balintore Castle are rescuing us from a global village where one building, one street, one town is indistinguishable from another.
    Keep it up Daivd.

  6. I too mourn those over-restored properties that are now neat but charmless boxes. At least Balintore Castle will never be over-restored and always be somewhat rough around the edges. Budget alone dictates this. :-)

    It is indeed a learning exercise. As I child I often passed a villa on the Prestwick Road in Ayr which had no roof. "How ugly" I thought. Years later I saw it in a book as a rare example of Art Deco.

    The good news is that on my request, the Scottish Civic Trust has today removed their two incorrect and damning entries about the castle, and indeed changed its status from "At Risk" to "Under Restoration". Phew!

    You have reminded me that I still haven't visited Arbroath Abbey. Thanks for your support.

  7. Hi David,

    Glad to hear that you like ‘Restoration Man’!

    You are correct that we do not give our restorers any money, although there are other benefits! I understand that due to the substantial nature of the restoration that your timescale is lengthy. One possibility would be to feature one part of the castle.

    Anyway, it would be great to have a chat, so do give me an email at

    Many thanks.

  8. I recently discovered definitively who was behind the suspected vindictive act of sending defamatory mis-information regarding the castle restoration to various authorities i.e. I obtained copies of the original communications. There were not only vindictive in intent, but were also breath-takingly evil attacks against my character. Other people who have read these communications, can scarcely believe them! My legal advice says there is a cast iron libel case in these alone which is why I am not giving away too many details at present.

    Anyhow, the intent of the person is to sabotage my restoration, and to take the castle away from me. Some people, sad to say, are clearly like that.

  9. Ha ha
    Moved to bed to continue reading and laughed out loud at the last picture and comment!

  10. I believe in karma ! May their haggis burn !