Monday, 19 July 2021

Courtyard Troughs II

This is a follow-on post from the earlier entry on the courtyard troughs that we planted-up for the 10th July open day.

The open day has come and gone, so I had a chance to re-photograph the troughs today as they are, I reckon, at their flowering peak.

Just as the plants in the troughs have gown so have the weeds in the carefully weeded courtyard, for which I must apologise. Friend of Balintore, Simon, wanted to re-weed the courtyard on the evening of the open day - but we were so against the wall with other more essential tasks - that I forbade it.

Simon told me I looked as though I had the troubles on the world on my shoulders during the open day. :-) No truer words were spoken. My builders had been called off the job unexpectedly 4 days before the open day, so at 1:30 AM on the morning of the open day, I was still filling, sanding and painting the Servants' Hall.

Unexpected last minute withdrawals, meant I was trying to print out copies of the event's handout at 6 AM, just as my printer was beginning to fail; running out of toner and running out of paper. 

At 11 PM before the open day, I was putting chalk arrows and numbers on the floors for a self-guided tour round the building. Friends had come up with the genius idea of using chalk and then bought some chalk supplies the evening before. This did save a lot of effort compared to signs - as it was easy to add in extra marks for clarity rather than print another sign.

As "freedom day" (from most covid restrictions) was rescheduled from before the open day to after the open day, extra work was involved to ensure we followed covid protocols. And although we did have contingency planning for this, the sheer amount of hard work involved took its toll. In the end the 10 volunteers did a brilliant job to achieve covid compliance and the standard reached was exceptionally high.  

Coupled to an un-expected, but gratifying, high turnout which caused parking issues - the stress levels were running high on the day. Volunteers bravely jumped onboard to help marshal the situation. In the afternoon the crowds thinned out somewhat, and things settled down so I was finally able to enjoy chatting to guests. 

One might ask "Why do I put myself through this?". :-) Well, with a A-listed building like Balintore, bought with a compulsory purchase enshrined in law, there is a need to be publicly accountable and to show the ongoing restoration in progress. Also, having an open day forces a number of things: getting phases of the restoration completed (or almost completed) for public presentation, and focusses the mind wonderfully on what the next phases might be - not just in terms of the restoration but in terms of how things may operate. For example, post open day we are currently considering a much higher level of community involvement. 

And of course, without the open day we would not have, friend of Balintore, Karel's wonderfully planted up troughs. :-)

the cool colour trough

the warm colour trough

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Top Floor Cushions Covers

Thanks to friend of Balintore, Violet,  for sewing cushion covers for the window seats that Gregor built on the top floor of Balintore Castle.

The colour of the paint in the "purple room" is called "Highland Thistle". I am afraid the name did sway me, because it felt so appropriate for Balintore. Accordingly, Violet covered the cushion in a thistle print out of her rag bag, and picked up the wall colour by covering the buttons in a purple velvet. The pitch pine lining in the window seat is from Lochee Parish Church in Dundee, and the patina is so great, I could not bring myself to paint over it.

seat cushion in purple room

I told Violet I was going to go for a mid-green paint for the "green room". However, by the time Violet chose a green fabric from her rag bag, I still had not nailed the paint colour. I finally chose "Greenhill" from B&Q as it was on special offer. When Violet's cushion arrived, I was astonished how closely the colour of the fabric and the paint matched. Kismet!

seat cushion in green room

For the "red room" I supplied Violet with a forgiving damask, that would blend with anything warm. Again, the paint colour was chosen afterwards, and thankfully there was no glaring clash. Note how Violet has carefully centred the pattern.

seat cushion in red room

Violet did this amazing work for free! I gave Violet some Python programming hints for her Data Science college course homework in return. However, this doesn't count as it was such fun! 

It goes without saying, that I am delighted with the cushions and the clear attention to detail which in my view lifts the atmosphere of the rooms.