At last! And we have been working like demons ever since, keeping pace with the green mantling of the land, adding our own finishing touches to Ian and Jenny’s roof.
Once the ridge is on, we roll out 3 foot of galvanised chicken wire along each side of it, fixing it to the ridge with hazel spars and twisting together any excess wire so that it fits to the shape of the roof exactly. To finish the wiring, we twist the top wires of each side together, which like drawing up a zip, pulls both sides tight together.
Next is sweeping and dressing. Every stem has a leaf around it; loose, dry and easily pulled away by the birds for nesting; so with stiff brooms we start at the top and sweep the coatwork clean. Finally we use our ‘leggetts’, the aluminium paddles with a honeycomb surface, to tap back any high points leaving the coat smooth, flat and shining gold in the sun.
Finally we extricate ourselves from our customers gardens with ‘The Big Tidy Up’. Daisy’s attention to detail comes into it’s own as she conducts a fingertip search through the flowerbeds for any evidence of thatching work. Once the scaffolding comes down, we return to dress the eaves, which may have had scaffold poles in the way, and then that really is it…. after every kind of weather and the nicest lunches made for us every day…we draw a breath, take stock, order materials, mend and patch anyone who is leaking….and then it’s on to the next one.