Sunday, 31 July 2011

Farmhouse tour

The holidays sort of begin now.

I say 'sort of' as none of us seem to remember how to down tools and just do nothing at all.

The extreme heat helps; it slows our movements right down and we end up sashaying slowly in a treackly effort to get from A to B.

The garden has been very neglected and despite efforts to mow grass and find a non nettle patch to put up the swing and slide, nature appears fuelled on anabolic steroids and the wild plants grow to monster proportions.

We are slowly emptying the house. It is too dangerous to go into some of the rooms now and a thick green mould grows on some of the walls.
We are impotent to do much as the way the law lies is stacked against agricultural tenants. We cannot dry out the walls until the roof is fixed and the landowner refuses to fix it. He will not let us buy our own home nor will he mend it so we are left in a difficult situation.

If we were to put on a new roof, we could be sued by the landowner. I cannot get my head around that one.
We have tried every route possible to get him to fulfil his legal obligation, to no avail.

We open the doors and windows to air the house.

Here is the living room.

The little square bit in the wood is for keeping salt dry. The floors are stone slabs from the local quarry.

The hall upstairs. The bucket is to catch the rain as it pours in through the roof. The walls are very patchy with damp and mould.

The rain comes in and used to run through the electricity source. The landowner cut the power five years ago for 'safety reasons'. We were billed for the £300 it cost to do this.

The bothy.

Three men who worked on the farm lived here.
Bothies played a big part in Scottish rural life. Men and women would attend annual 'feein' markets' which determined the farm they would move onto and work at. There are many songs about the farms which were less than ideal or mean; 'The Barren Yards of Delgatty' captures the despair of being fee'd to a miserable farm.

The men who lived in our bothy were there for thirty years and thankfully our farm never had a mention in the top ten of the despairing bothy ballads.

Inside is a mess. It has been used as a store room since the men retired in the late seventies and has never been cleared out since then. The little table in the centre of the picture was used for butter making.

I am going in to clear it out today but the ceiling gives me The Fear.

There is an upstairs! The photo is shaky as it was taken very swiftly from up a ladder as the roof is held up by cobwebs and luck.

We have a dilemma.
If we do not repair the roofs then another hard winter will see irreparable damage to the inside of the house. If we do it, then the landowner could exercise his right to sue us as it is his remit, his duty.

Tenant farmers have to ask the landowner if they may repair their own houses, using their own money and are scuppered if the permission is withheld.

21st Century Scotland.

The greatest little feudal country in the world.

I think there may be a bit to do before tools are laid down and the holiday proper begins.

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