Progress update

It’s been a week of steady progress.  This afternoon Mick and I went down and finished clearing out the byre.  The hay might still be on the ground getting steadily wetter, but at least we have somewhere to put it and Ronald, who I’ve been told is one of the best hay makers in the area and lives opposite Ethel’s House, has reassured me that I haven’t lost it yet, I just need to hold my nerve.  The byre looks an awful lot better, anyway.

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I found this under several years of dirt on the floor – hopefully it’s a good omen!

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I also have an update on the two photographs.  I tagged a couple of neighbours on Facebook to see if they had any idea and someone tagged a relative of Ethel’s, who very kindly messaged me with this:

Hello , I believe you have purchased ,my late mothers family home ,used to love going there for my holidays late forties early fifties .the photo of the man you found , is my late maternal grandfather , Hugh MacDonald , he died very young , in his thirties , possibly around 1910 era ( burst appendix ) leaving my granny with three young children ,and pregnant with the fourth , my late uncle Harry .we are not sure who the lady in photograph is , but think it may be my fathers sister Ina . If you find any more photos could be interesting .

So that means one of those photos is possibly over 100 years old – incredible!  I’m going to see if my Photoshop skills are good enough to retouch them, if not I may get it professionally done.  I’d like to get the originals and cleaned-up copies put in one frame to hang in the house.  The Uncle Harry referred to was Ethel’s husband.

Travis Perkins were supposed to deliver the ridge tiles on Wednesday, but rang Pete to say their crane was being inspected, so it would be Thursday.  Turned out there was a fault on the crane, which was fixed on Thursday, but then the lorry came west without our order on it.  They said they’d bring it on Friday, but had to go to Wick first, so Pete hooked up his trailer and went to get it himself.  Of course, it promptly rained, but they did manage to make a start and Mick has been up the scaffolding to get some close-up photos of our beautiful, beautiful roof.

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The chimneys will be re-pointed, but we’re going to leave that stone in-fill detail visible.

In even better news, David managed to give us a day, so we have some studwork going in upstairs.

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More clearing out

As I need somewhere to store the hay I’m hopefully going to be baling on Thursday or Friday, this week I’m concentrating my efforts on clearing out the biggest of the byres, which will apparently hold 250 square bales when it’s empty.  It’s the one we’ve been storing all the wood we stripped out in:

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Behind that piece of framework is an old electric cooker, which I found a load of nearly-new muffin trays and casserole dishes inside, and behind the hot water cylinder was the carcass of chest of drawers – in the one remaining drawer, I found these:


I’m asking around to find out who they were.  It’s looking like the man is Hugh MacDonald (who I think was Ethel’s father-in-law and my neighbour Christopher’s uncle), but no-one has yet identified the lady.

Whilst shifting some of the wood pile, I found another dated board.  This was on the underside of one of the shelves we took out of the kitchen pantry:


And this week’s cake?  Well, on Monday night Pete announced that since a packet of Silk Cut had reached £10 in the village shop, he was giving up smoking, so I thought I’d better come up with something a bit spectacular!


I’ve had the quote through from SSE Power Distribution for moving the overhead line and it’s come back at a very reasonable £194.28.  I forwarded it to Dougie for him to check that they’d included everything he needed, and he rang back this evening to say (a) it was fine, go ahead and (b) he was nearly non-contagious again and hoping to get up to us for a day this week.