If there was one thing we could agree on, it was how great the stone wall was. It wrapped itself protectively around every side of the property, 20ft high, solid and sheltering.
3 am the night we moved in; we heard scurrying.
Quite a lot, actually – we sat up petrified, Will brandishing a torch in one hand and a trainer in the other; I was wearing a beanie hat because it was so cold.
We convinced ourselves it was just the heating making strange noises in a new house, but by day 3, we could safely say it was coming from within the stone wall.
Pest-control Sam, our newest friend, enlightened us with the fact that some Cornish walls are hollow and advised immediate repair.
On closer inspection, that wall did look quite holey with all manner of gaps, ivy and weeds growing abundantly. We had made a half-hearted attempt over the Winter, but now Spring was here, and we had renewed energy.
Saturday gave out sunshine, and off we went with rocks, stones, a chisel, mesh and steel wool.
Will was the experienced one, me the enthusiastic helper.
We stared, paced and tutted for a good 10 minutes then slowly but surely made progress. Will braved the brambles, I moved very small pieces of granite and pulled my side.
With heavy lifting off the cards for the foreseeable future, I retreated to the more serious business of choosing a palette for the exterior paintwork.
The original mural on the outside stairwell is soft pink and blue, sun-bleached and patchy. The Cornish stonework dotted around the courtyard varies from clotted cream to muted khaki brown, making a harmonious beginning, and the soft grey studio cladding is in pretty good nick, so it is definitely going nowhere.
I’ve found myself drawn to the newest addition to the fla,t the hanging egg chair, to sketch out ideas whilst inadvertently absorbing all the beautiful pastel colours of the morning and dusk skies.
Taking inspiration from our surroundings is a thread that weaves itself through all of our creative endeavours from Will’s painting practice to my ceramic design patterns.
I wonder if Sandra had done the same thing, sitting in a similar spot.
Assessing the work ahead
Update Jan 2022 – The fabulous Tim, lime mortar pointing the wall traditionally
Colour swatches of the Wall Mural & the studio
Big skies from the Egg Chair
Colour swatches for exterior woodwork and masonary
You can read the next update here – May 2021 – Under Pressure