Friday, 8 October 2021

Patching Aunty Nellie's Room

If evidence be needed, this blog entry illustrates how the restoration of Balintore Castle, is preserving as much original fabric as possible. The two photograph below of current work in Aunty Nellie's bedroom show how we are patching-in the missing sections of lath-and-plaster with plasterboard. 

patching around the fireplace

patching round the window and, er,  Glen

The circular WC room in the corner of Aunty Nellie's room was in a far worse state than I had feared. As the bedroom proper had had its flooring taken out, we had been too busy balancing on the beams to pay attention to the turret room, which had a random pile of floor boards lying on the ground. When we lifted the floor boards, this is what we saw:

the adjoining turret room before

Glen had been standing in this small room. We are not sure what was holding him up as what was remaining of the beams, was totally rotten. Anyhow, here is the "after":

the adjoining turret room after

The floor beams were reconstructed, and indeed we used old original Balintore flooring. If you look very carefully, you can see the transition between the modern flooring in the bedroom proper (foreground) and the reclaimed original flooring in the turret room (background). We do not have much original flooring surviving from Balintore, and certainly not enough to do a whole room, but we can use it in small areas and ensure that we are recycling and preserving the spirit and material of the castle. 

A Walk with a Mobile

With the shorter days, it is ever more important to get out while it is light, and I managed to fit in a walk roughly between 6PM and 7PM this evening (29th September 2021), as the sun was dropping below the hills surrounding the castle. For the first time ever I strode out with a pedometer vis a vis, my mobile phone and an app! I had been talking to someone earlier in the day about strides counts, so figured now was the time. According, I did two of my normal walks back-to-back, to get that count up (5562!).

I walked to the upper weir which used to supply the castle's hydroelectric station, and then up over the top of the forest planted on the steep slope immediately behind the castle.

My other technological companion on the walk was the Seek app which is amazing at identifying animal and plant species.

Seek identified the genus of this coral fungus shown below as Clavulinopsis, but could not manage the species. However, with a little googling I am pretty certain it is Clavulinopsis luteoalba (or Apricot Club) which is common on grazed land.

Apricot  Club

Seek identified the heather below as Bell Heather (Erica cinerea). I knew this one already as my friend Andrew explained that the seed heads rattle like tiny bells. Amazingly, this is still mostly in flower with some seed heads, and its particularly deep colour contributes to the famous purple hue of the hills of Scotland.

Bell Heather

Seek identified the plant below as Common Heather (Calluna vulgaris). All you can see are the rather dull seed heads due to the time of year, but this is another plant which which contributes to the purple hue of the hills. I always feel cheated by an identification with "common" in the name, as it is just a way of saying "there is a lot of it about" rather than an identification per se.

Common Heather

For completeness, I should mention that the third of the three plants which contributes to the purple colour of the Scottish hills is Cross-Leaved Heath (Erica tetralix).

So one is never alone with a mobile. I fell into the trap of checking my stride count every so often, which is precisely why I had not installed such an app before. Hopefully, it will stay "all about the walk" and not about the numbers.