I have just been up to the cottage to see how the builders are doing. They weren't there. Well, I tell a lie. The decorator was there. He gets the prize for being the first one to say "That's not in the spec. That'll probably cost you extra. It's a big job mind," when I asked about stripping the wooden beams that run along the ceiling of the sitting room. The other thing that was not there which I was expecting to see was the outside kitchen wall. When I rang my husband in rather a hurry to ask him whether he took it back down to London with him, he told me that the builders had been knocking a hole in the wall for a door and it sort of fell over. Something to do with the lime in the mortar. My husband is a trusting sort of chap. I asked: "Are you sure they weren't holding the plans upside down?" but he said "No", he didn't think so.
Before he did that "Mind it's a big job bit," the decorator had been stripping the walls of elderly paper. Over the breast of the blackened hearth, there was a picture of a boy drawn by his sister on the plaster. Their names proudly spelled out in wax crayon above the family portrait. I would have said she was about seven when she did it and that she was standing on a dining room chair to reach as high as she did. Her brother was an unfortunate child. He had orange scribbly hair and blue crosses for eyes and teeth. He looked happy though.