Traditional masonry repairs 2: it really is fascinating!


Back towards the end of February, and with some much-appreciated grant funding from Historic Scotland, I went on a 3-day course at the Scottish Lime Centre to do the second part of training in Traditional Masonry Repairs. And it was fascinating.

As well as building on the skills and knowledge learned in the first course, in November last year, all sixteen of us were taught about ‘plastic’ repairs (using pigmented lime mortars), lime-washing, analysis and reporting of problems in traditional buildings, ashlar pointing and lime harling. 

It was nice seeing folk again from the last course too. But the best bit is I’ve now got basic skills to apply to a real live project – the repointing of bits of our house (a wee part of which you can see in the photo above – what a mess). Already the knowledge I’ve picked up has been applied to other projects in the office, but usually with the caveat of I’d recommend getting in touch with the Lime Centre to double check…!



Community Consultation, Arisaig

Just back from an evening consultation with Arisaig Community Trust to get the village thinking about the future of the Land Sea & Islands Centre (LSIC) – the information and heritage point for the village. The three-question structure certainly generated a good bit of debate and there were plenty of Post-It notes to go through at the end. Alison at ACT is going to pull these together into groups of possible projects and then we’ll find out which projects are viable, and which the village wants to start with.

Perhaps the biggest question was what might happen with the Post Office when the current lease expires: should it be in the village shop? Should it be in the LSIC? Does the village still need a Post Office?

Around fifty folk turned out for the evening – pretty good when you consider that Comic Relief was on – and then headed over to Arisaig Hotel, which has just been taken over by locals Josh and Sophie Kingswood.

Professor Howard Liddell OBE

ImageProfessor Howard L Liddell OBE, boss at Gaia for six years, setter of standards and a man who always knew the right thing to do, passed away on 23rd February, aged only 67. Many folk have written obituaries in the last ten days, and his funeral yesterday was incredibly well-attended by family, friends and the numerous folk he worked with and influenced along the way. For my own part, he trusted me to do things I didn’t think I could and instilled a firm belief in the power of humanity to be able to do the right thing.

Last week, Australian architect Glenn Murcutt wrote: Adhere to good principles, and you will not have a problem, you will find a direction that is clear, we all produce different work, but the principles are the same, the principles are transferable, take the principles to different places, it is not aesthetics, it is simply ideas, understanding light, structure, order, space, and all these things are there to make an architecture of response, not an architecture of imposition.   These words seem to reflect what Howard pushed for too.