Sunday 18 January 2015

Winter Wonderland

winter wonderland at Balintore Castle
Given this season's failure of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen's "Winter Wonderland", it behooves us to appreciate that the current super-abundance of snow in Scotland and the county's heritage, can themselves create a genuine winter wonderland without artifice or refunded admission charges.

Andy was up on the roof to check chimney operation a few days ago and snapped this wonderful photo.  Sometimes a blog entry needs no more justification than the right image!

On Yer Arris

Castle work is an ever eternal spring of new vocabulary. My builder Andy kept talking about the arris when we discussed fireplace installation.  As I did not wish to reveal my ignorance after several weeks of feigned understanding on my behalf, a recent trip to Wikipedia proved rewarding. An arris is the "sharp edge caused by the intersection of two surfaces". Of course, all internal and eternal corners are thus arrises, but round some of the fireplaces at Balintore there are funny surfaces at 45 degrees, which yield noteworthy and challenging angles or arrises.

The fireplace below has just been installed to replace an original marble one that has long since been ripped out. You may recognise the fireplace from an earlier blog post where I picked it up close to Ascot.  You can see that the mantle shelf juts out into free space on the left side, and embeds itself into the wall on the right - weird? Well, the marks on the walls indicate that this is entirely as it was originally, and that the reclaimed fireplace is exactly the same size as the original.

reclaimed fireplace installed in Balintore bedroom

None-the-less I was left with some residual arris guilt, in the sense that although we had adhered to conservation practice, the spatial arrangement wasn't entirely satisfactory. Cut to the Downton Abbey Christmas episode which I have just watched. What jumped out at me is a rather sad admission. In one of the bedrooms there is also a fireplace installed on unfortunate arrises. Can you see they have given the wall a little kick on the right hand side of the fireplace so that the fireplace does not cut into the wall as at Balintore.

fireplace in Downton Abbey bedroom

Anyhow, who would have thought that Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, would have absolved my arris guilt?  Thanks to Barrie and Andy for the installation work. I merely helped lug the bits about!