The iconic blue paint on the larch cladding is nearly 12 years old and still looking good – from a distance, at least. It doesn’t flake, but wears away – and fades – slowly, with areas with less thickness (or taking more of a battering from the weather) looking thin first. It’s a very, very expensive paint (strictly, an opaque micro-porous wood stain) from Finland – where they know a thing or two about wooden houses. Being an eco-friendly paint, it’s water-based, and requires reliably dry conditions : we don’t get those until the letting season underway, making it difficult to schedule.
Funnily enough (well, not funny at all), the Coronavirus shut-down in April and May has provided us with the perfect conditions to get both the East Wing and Cross-Wing done : both the light blue vertical boards and the dark blue eaves. We had just enough paint still in stock – left over from the original painting, in fact – to complete this work ; which is a relief, because, with no income coming in, it would have been difficult to justify spending £300 plus perhaps £15-£20 p+p for a 10 litre tin!
We painted the West Wing three years ago – it’s more exposed and deteriorates quicker. In future, however, we want to have to paint only a small section of the whole house in any one year, so we will paint one ‘section’ (defined by corners) each year – which will be easier to fit in where there’s an odd day vacant between lettings in spring or summer.
Building of the new croft store / shed has reached an important milestone : the heavy lintols – weighing very nearly a tonne – have been raised aloft, over the big doorway. Soon we’ll be ready to raise up the roof! Perhaps we’ll be visited by a rainbow again, then.
The shed is being built on the concrete slab built last year, down in the depression down by the shore, and thereby will be substantially screened from view by the house ; and we’ll also be planting native shrubs and trees.
Three years ago we had a fibre-optic broadband/phone line installed at Carrick, allowing us to offer guests free unlimited access to high-speed internet, but also free calls to UK landlines. Guests making the most use of the phone are those who need to keep in touch with close family – a Home Hotline, as it were, or thier own small business. Mobile networks here are patchy, so the landline provides guests with assurance that they will not find themselves cut off from the outside world!
Now we’re able to lift two key limitations on that service. First and foremost, calls to UK mobile phones are free – just the same as to UK landlines. Secondly the 1-hour limit is gone : no longer is it necessary to keep an eye on the time, and that’s for calls to both landlines and mobiles.
And if you need to call international numbers, we can – on request – enable that for you , and you’ll pay for calls just what they have cost us – as you will see from the call log from our phone account.
This upgrade is not just about a home hotline for emergencies, but providing the peace of mind of a home-from-home.