Ok, we’re back!
Broadband has been connected and we’re surfing 2MB of internet goodness from the remote district of Ness, here on the croft at long last.
More thoughts on the move soon but meantime…
Week 1 on the croft…
First thing on the agenda is to convert the old byre into a loom shed to take my Bonas-Griffiths loom. Right now weaving Harris Tweed is my main source of income and without my loom on the croft then I just don’t earn. The Harris Tweed Act of Parliament 1993 decrees that Harris Tweed must be woven at the residence of the weaver so it’s not like I can wander into a factory and just keep pedalling. The loom weighs about a million tonnes and is over 3 meters long so finding a home for it has been a challenge.
The byre on the croft in a 1950’s/1960’s Board of Agriculture build (I think) and is pretty solid, some 8 meters long (haven’t measured tbh) by 5 metres or so wide with a high peaked and raftered roof. There are two rickety, old wooden doors, one in the gable end, and four cloudy skylights as the only source of natural light.
Until yesterday there were also an interior dividing wall, door frame and lintel and three stalls complete with old Oxford sinks as feeding troughs. There are a few nice old iron features for chaining cattle and some odd, old ceramic air vents. Dividing the stall-end is a water drain which drops about 6 inches into the concrete floor and runs to a drain in the far wall. That was until yesterday.
A day of swinging a sledgehammer brought the walls and stalls tumbling down and after an afternoon of clearing the remaining rubble there is a nice big airy space left to play with. The door and lintel were a bitch to bring down, made from hand poured concrete and barbed wire. But once they fell the rest seemed a breeze, very satisfying to be honest. I’ve left in the Oxford sinks to take out a little more gracefully with a hammer and chisel if I can, they look worth preserving, even just to sell on if not reuse. There’s a little tidying up to do on the floor and walls where the brickwork joined but it should come up nice and not necessitate re-screeding the floor. It has a lot of character and I’m loathed to make it shiny and new again.
There’s still a lot to do before it’s the way I want it, have some nice old light fittings and bulbs sourced, the walls will get limewashed, it would be good to get windows in and a wood-buring stove on the go for the winter. But it will be a perfect weaving shed when it’s done, a couple of Harris Tweed upholstered chairs and a place to stash a bottle of whisky and I may never want to leave it.
More on the croft and accompanying thoughts as it happens but we’re underway again.
All good things.