21st June 2015
Once upon a time, around 13 years ago, an estate agent in Clapham drove me to an unfamiliar back street and opened the gates to a rubbish-strewn, fox-stinking wilderness over-shadowed by a towering six-stemmed sycamore. Ford and I immediately sold up and bought the site, where we did our best to protect the sycamore and built a house that was in many ways inspired by it: Tree House.
The tree did not survive. I don't think we killed it, as one of the stems was already dying when we bought the plot. We took them down one by one and the logs revealed a deep fungal infection, We removed the last two stems just before we moved out of Tree House, having sold it to buy the land next door. I saved some of the logs and got them milled (see blog number 4) with the intention of using them in the construction of The Orchard. Last September (blog 46) Ford and I took the dried out boards to the workshop in Kent and cut them to size for the shelves planned for our double-height library.
A month ago I went back to the workshop and prepared the carcasses for the shelves but then got distracted by the greenhouse. Today, Ford and I finally put the first line of shelves in place. In each of the five bays there are four boards that were once conjoined, so the shape of the logs can be seen and felt in the shelves. A spot of oil and they can live happily ever after under a hundred weight of books on opera.