Saturday, 6 April 2019

Snagging Shutter Shock

My last trip to Balintore Castle was in part to identify the snagging issues in the holiday let accommodation approaching completion. As my friend Andrew drove me from Dundee Station to the castle, the words "I need a drink' tumbled out. Andrew looked rather shocked, and I had to explain that no alcohol was necessary. It was just that my mouth had gone completely dry because I was in a genuine state of fear.

There is an all too familiar medical condition called "castle shock", which occurs whenever I come back to the castle after some time away. Not only is there the alarming thought "What on earth am I doing?" but there is also the shock of the divergence between my expectation of progress and the reality of it.

This is not helped by the fact my builders do not tell me of any problems, despite my repeated requests, when I am away. In consequence, every time I arrive at the castle I am confronted by a number of things that have gone wrong that I did not know about. It is human nature for these problems to assume a higher precedence in one's head than any actual progress achieved.

This visit was the first time I had pre-castle shock symptoms, and my dry mouth was not misplaced, as I later went into full-blown castle shock. The normal ritual is that I ask Andrew to accompany me round the castle as looking around on my own would be too much. 

There were sufficient snagging issues this time, that I realised the launch of the accommodation needed more work than I had expected. It's not that the holiday accommodation won't be ready for showing on the open day, because with a simple clean the open day could happen now. It is just that one has to adjust one's expectations of what other peripheral things will or will not be in place for the open day. One obviously had a vision in one's head, and indeed one could not survive a castle restoration without the visions of Abbess Hildegarde of Bingen.

Castle shock generally disperses in around 3 days. However, my recent visits to the castle have been around 4 days! The antidote is generally to arrange some social event in these four days. It may seem like insanity, but the hysteria of trying to organise something under almost impossible conditions drowns out the castle shock and makes one bond with the castle again, while one's mind is occupied frying bigger fish.

Anyhow, one component of the castle shock were the 5 new kitchen shutters I had ordered at considerable expense which had been delivered and installed and painted while I was away. These are bespoke copies of the original surviving shutters. As I checked over the action of the shutters to create a snagging list, as some were not closing properly, I realised that the design of each of the 5 shutters was wrong.

original shutter
new shutter

The original shutters all have a paneled central section, matching the left and right sections. The new shutters just have a plain bit of wood in the middle, and compared to an original, the new shutter is not just wrong but less aesthetic.

old and new shutters together

The fault is going to be remedied, of course, and the mistake was honest so in the global scale of things it is not a major crisis, but it does mean I have something additional to chase up before the rapidly approaching open day, when there are enough things already needing doing as well as other snagging issues.

I did wonder whether I should mention snagging problems here, but the blog should be about the reality of castle restoration. The shutters with the error are a "moment in time" and I should take a snap-shot, both literally and metaphorically, so I will forever appreciate the perfected shutters. One often forgets the pain. Perhaps one should record more of it, so in that remembrance the pleasure is all the greater?