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an old sash window - not one of ours. Beautiful, but oh so difficult to repair

an old sash window - not one of ours. Beautiful in its dilapidation, but oh so difficult to repair

For the last couple of years we’ve been studiously ignoring our rotting windows and doors. Though I’ve murmured endearing little asides like ‘I think this window is a wee bit falling apart’ or ‘Oops, silly me. Look! Another chunk of door came off as I closed it.’ It fell on deaf ears.

The deterioration galloped on a pace along with our diabolically wet weather.  I became more direct. ‘I think it’s time we all made a concerted effort to SAVE the windows and doors. They are rotting’ No response. Nothing, nada, not a pipsqueak. Those who were meant to hear either buried themselves obliviously behind periodicals which two seconds before they were mindlessly flipping through or walked away swiftly before I could finish.

In a last ditch attempt I phoned the joiner…making quite sure everyone was gathered about ‘Hi, Greg. Remember I phoned you about our windows and doors the other day? Yes? Did you get the measurements…? No, no, I understand. Just an estimate. Of course. Really! No! That much? And that’s just for a repair? Okay. Oh heavens, so it would be really pricey for a replacement? Wow, that is a fair whack; I’ll have to think about it. It’s a lot of money.’


Frenetic activity. Sanding, scraping, gouging and scouring. Old paint, dead wood dried putty flying off. Buckets of water, litres of white spirit, bundles of wire wool and rolls of sandpaper. Olly set to with grim determination. Twenty-three windows in our veeery looong house, and five doors, all, bar one, glazed.

Filling, re-puttying, glazing-bar renewal, wood hardening and preserving, joinery and carpentry – without a doubt Robert’s your man. 23-windows-5-doors-all-bar-1-glazed…

The final titivating preparation, washing down and paint job – that’s me. 23 windows, 5 doors – all glazed, bar one…

So, over the last week, as the sun shone, the wood dried, we beavered and are continuing to beaver. Twenty-three-windows-five-doors-all-bar-one-glazed. It’s like the Forth Bridge – immense, never-ending and infinite. All to get done before it rains…

the thing is - I love gentle deterioration too...

the thing is - I love gentle deterioration too...

…jellying, pickling, picking, plucking, topping, tailing, chopping, washing, packing, boiling, setting, and pouring. It’s been a processing factory in the kitchen over the last couple of days. All currants, gooseberries and a second crop of rhubarb were ready and waiting to be preserved in one form or another. As we’re hanging around for the weather to come right to take in a field of hay for the sheep’s winter feed (sheep are not fond of wrapped haylage, even if it’s sweet and dry) it seemed the ideal time to make sure the larder shelves are on their way to becoming well stocked for any eventuality.

My in-between-waiting-for-things-to-happen job has also been to finish putting up the shelving in my office, sort out the horrendous piles of ‘very important’ papers which I then have to dare myself to throw away (usually put into black plastic sacks and stored for a year ‘just to make sure it’s not needed’ before they’re burnt!).

And now I’m bushed with aching back, dirt-streaked face and hair full of cobwebs from retrieving books in waiting (office used to be Will’s room).

well, we had to sample!

Locks Park Farm

Thanks for visiting my blog. All entries are presented in chronological order.

I have a small organic farm on the Culm grasslands near Hatherleigh in Devon, with sheep and beef cattle. I've been farming in the county for more than 30 years. I've set up this blog to share views on farming and the countryside - please do give your thoughts.



The Campaign to Protect Rural England has helped set up this blog. We want farming to thrive in England, and believe that it is essential that people understand farming and farmers better in order for that to happen. Paula's views expressed here are her own and we won't necessarily share all of them, but we're happy to have helped give her a voice.

Find our more about CPRE and our views on food and farming at our website,