Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The mythological roof

We realise that we are part of a cat and mouse game, a big joke.
Our landowner initially demanded proof from our bank that we had £50,000 for renovating the interior of his house. The letter which he received from us did not meet with his approval and it would appear that no letter, no roof.

The materials to provide a kitchen, heating, plumbing electrics; we have bought and stored them over the years yet no acknowledgement given to this cost nor the cost of renting somewhere else whilst the farmhouse roof decayed further over several years of harsh winters.

Given that the house belongs to the landowner, yet we still pay rent for the house, anyone with an iota of sense would think it prudent to upkeep the property that they own and when an article has reached the end of it's life eg a 150 year old roof, joists, wood, etc  'through fair wear and tear'  then under Scottish Agricultural Law, it is the responsibility of the landowner to replace the article and not the responsibility of the tenant.

Some landowners will attempt every dodge and ploy to evade their legal responsibilities, some will demand the Herculean Tasks and on completion will dream up a new task which will also be dismissed. It is a game for them, an amusement, an act of stalling for time whilst the Right to Buy for secure tenants is debated.

We have mucked out the Augean Stable aka the cow shed although we do this twice a year rather than once every thirty years, do not have one thousand cattle nor diverted the river. We used the tractor and shovels in the difficult corners. A graip in the impossible to reach bits.

We have chased cattle which ran faster than the Ceryneian Hind, have tightened the Belt of Hippolyta to the last notch after several difficult years due to climate change, which leads to the Apples of Hesperides - they won't grow because there is too much rain and too little sun.
 The Cretan Bull was rather a docile old chap who preferred nibbling buttercups and providing us with rather good calves to tearing up crops and levelling orchard walls.

Cattle of Geryon? Yup. Fed, watered and cared for them. Occasionally been chased by them, chased after them but I think we have Made Peace.

Mares of Diomedes? That is yet to come as Rosie wants a pony.....

The Stymphalian Birds; now they were a pain. Bronze beaks and metallic feathers that they could launch at their victims. They took over the countryside, destroyed crops and communities. Toxic dung.
We know them as factors and land agents these days.

The snow here is thick and hides pits and dips, excellent for trapping the Erymanthian Boar or catching you unawares when you stagger under the weight of a bag of sheep feed only to vanish from view and become flattened by the sack of feed. Let's throw in 'And Lose your Hat' and dignity

The Lernaen Hydra; The snake with several heads. Remove one of it's heads and another grows, it does not realise that only one of it's heads is immortal and is  poisoned by it's own venom. Easily distracted by crabs.....So, we are dealing with something a bit thick and toxic....Decorum prevents me from naming and shaming.

Which leaves the Nemean lion and the Cerberus. Well, it is late and it has been a day. The children have lurgy, the snow is deep, The Farmer and I are tired and I can't be bothered dealing with the lion. Today is not Deal With Lions day.

Cerberus.....the most difficult. Depending on tradition, beware the ample of thigh especially when it is ensconced in the Chair of Forgetfulness.
Be unafraid. Do not partake in fierce and heavy Frowning for no balm nor unction will rid thee of wrinkles.

Tell the beast what it can do with it's letter and foul attitude.

 Hoik the devil over your shoulder like a sack of sheep feed and drag it into the daylight.
 Kings will flee, feudal task setting will cease. The Right to Buy will manifest and the myth of the laird will vanish like smoke from our consciousness.
The land which was stolen from us and not compensated for will grow crops again.
We will have clean drinking water and be able to invite people over.
We have done the tasks set for us and will continue to do them but not for the Cerberus. We will do them for our family, our animals, for anyone who needs our help.

The sun might even come out.
It will shine on the new farmhouse roof.


  1. In what respect was the land "stolen from you"?

  2. Areas of land were fenced off for 'sport'. No agreement, no documentation, no rent reduction and no compensation. I would see that as theft given that we still pay rent for this land.

  3. I still cannot understand why, as PAYING tenants you are somehow being denied the most basic of all things - a roof over your heads! What is the official excuse from the landowner?

  4. The landowner has never given an official excuse, Last Alliance Studios, despite the house and roof being surveyed by various professionals (employed by him) over a period of seven years.
    In my opinion, this procrastination is an attempt to force us out....except we refuse to become another statistic of Clearance despite the inhuman treatment towards our family.

    Our situation is a perfect example of the lawlessness shown by some landowners when the Agricultural Law is ignored by them and they create their own rules.

    1. Yeah, there's procrastination and then there's being an absolutely despicable excuse for a human being. :/
      Keep fighting the good fight!

  5. Last Alliance Studios - "S mairg a chuireas air chul a dhaoiine fhein" - "Pity him who turns his back on his own people...."

  6. Blocking your attempts to remodel, while they themselves do not pursue even maintaining the property, is just plain wrong. I have to agree with your assumption. It kinda looks like they’re just biding their time until you get frustrated enough to leave the property.

    Conner Spear

  7. Thank you Connor.

    They have failed to maintain many of their houses and not just ours. Several houses lie derelict or in ruin. It is wrong on so many levels and prevents a healthy repopulation of the area.
    I might add that the landowner's house(s) are in an excellent state of repair and I'm sure the addition of the enormous outdoor cuckoo clock on the wall of one wing will come in handy for telling the time during the couple of weeks that (one of) the houses is used.

    We have no intention in leaving.

  8. Hello! How’s the situation at your farm? Have your roof renovations pushed through? I’m glad to hear that you’re sticking to the fight against this tyrannical landowner, and I hope you finally get to have that new roof over your heads. :)

    Though it’s weird that he doesn’t renovate the vacant ones that lie in ruin. If he’s planning to sell the property, he would at least do that. Maybe he’s just lazy and greedy.

    Maricela Milum

  9. I couldn’t imagine how the landowner can stand looking at his houses that are slowly rotting and starting to become ruins. These are his/her investments that can help him/her in the future. Well, I hope things are doing well as of this moment and I hope your landowner has finally decided to renovate his/her houses, especially the roof over your head. Anyway, I hope you can keep me posted on the recent status of your house. :)

    -Kemberly Loyd-

  10. Thank you, Kemberly. It beggars belief that anyone would knowingly allow their houses to fall into such repair and sadly in this glen, our house is one of several which have been left to decline.
    We are no further forward but are waiting to hear from our M.P. who had a meeting with the estate last week.
    It is a sad and shocking state of affairs when the Scottish government are aware of our situation (and no doubt other tenant farmers in a similar situation) yet they are complacent and like to keep silent on the matter.

    On the plus side, the farm land is thriving, the sheep and lambs are outside and the calving is just away to begin. The oats took this year and we are ploughed and ready to sow new grass.

    I will let you know what the M.P. says once we hear from him.