#EarWorms: 4 tracks that have “for posterity” written all over them – @Spector, @TWBS, @DanielRateliff, @OVSC

These five are in my forever hundred. Thoroughly recommended, along with the albums and other tracks associated with. Well, maybe not all of OVSC’s oeuvre (particularly MILF … you have been warned).

  • The Wood Burning Savages, America – Why is this not a global hit? Northern Ireland’s next big export.
  • Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Howling at Nothing, only slightly better than S. O. B. – an album of genius.
  • The Ouse Valley Singles Club, Girl from the Fens. Still listening to this, and still laughing! Who’d have thought … the video is priceless.
  • Spector, Bad Boyfriend. Keep coming back for more.

Nous sommes unis: By their guns become not their gun #paris #beirut

By their guns become not their gun,
by their killing hasten not their death,
by their hate, forget not the Love
which should infuse every breath:

so embrace them for they are unaware
of the mud they smear upon their souls;
embrace them so that they might learn
only Love is the answer to their call.

@what3words: Coordinates for #DunansCastle in three words, include fragment.curly.firebird and cups.domestic.inventors

Postcodes and GPS coordinates are, let’s face it, complex and easy to get wrong – particularly when you are trying to remember them to put them into your satnav / maps / google maps. The What3words app is the answer. I know without looking at the title of this post that the coordinate for the drivehead at Dunans is fragment.curly.firebird. The postcode covers at least three other houses and the GPS, well, I am just not sure. But a mirror image of a phoenix with curly feathers ripped in half, means that whenever someone needs an accurate location, I have it to hand, immediately…  Similarly, I have a visual image of a bunch of guys in lab coats, in a kitchen, drinking tea back to front … genius, particularly as they’re in the castle when they are doing it.

With 40,000 words and consequently 57 trillion combinations, the world can be covered in three metre squares, or the size of the average room. And it is all so memorable. So for example here’s one I particularly love which identifies a place I often have to meet newcomers to the glen in – flukes.reports.unicorns. However, I am not sure the committee would approve – but then I do have a mental image of a narwhal reading a paper inside out?!

For balance I should just add sheep.conga.pleaser … !

The #DunansCastle Manifesto for Lairds, Lords, Ladies and all supporters of the Restoration of #Dunans

Available at our online store, our manifesto needs very little introduction, except to say that when printed at A3 (420mm x 297mm), framed and hung on the wall it looks fabulous … well, I would say that!

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On Forargyll Now: Why have the Tories got it in for Onshore Wind?

Having heard about an article in the Oban Times, and reading the outraged comments on facebook and elsewhere, I felt moved to write something a little more detailed about the place of onshore wind farms in humanity’s efforts to combat global warming. The piece then morphed of course, but the result is certainly provoking debate.

You can find it here.

 

Schroomage: Plugs of Oyster, Lions Mane and Shiitake installed …

… ready for harvest next year, we think.

Actually, this is a test run, and one which may not bear any [funghi] fruit as we are using a substrate (the lime or linden) felled by an errant gust of wind in August 2013. Its been on my mind to try this for a while because, frankly, the log is no use to anyone given that someone, at sometime, a long time ago had banged a bunch of hand cut 6-8″ nails into the tree. These nails were so embedded in the log that we only knew they were there when the stripped off the tungsten tips of our mill blade on the Lucas Mill.

We thought there’d be only one or two, but it turned out there were a whole heap of them around a foot under the surface. A real shame because the wood would’ve been fantastic for a variety of uses.

So we are left with a big log, one which we thought to innoculate with a bunch of mushroom types to see which would take. Luckily on the surface we have a 4″x4″ half milled length which is perfect for innoculation (see here for the types and thicknesses of wood appropriate – lime being conspicuously absent). However, while this, and the final log from the monkey puzzle, will be further tested on, I found in my research that Alder (which grows like topsy here – ‘topsy’ being a technical term you understand) is a particularly flexible wood for the growing of mushrooms, so one of my projects for the next few months (to provide me with distraction from the all-consuming deskwork that is planning for the restoration of the castle) is to set up some shroom stands in the grounds and innoculate them with further types, including Evoki, Pearl Oyster, Lion’s Mane, Chicken, Shiitake. As you may have gathered, I love mushrooms, and given the enjoyment we have had from the Chanterelle we sometimes find in the woods behind us, I felt this might be a worthwhile endeavour!

Dunans Rising Phone App: iOS & Android Released …

… and of course we are still adding content and material, but finally dear old Apple have given the go-ahead for our app, which is on the iTunes store as I type.

To download one or the other for a nominal fee, please go to our app page here.

The app brings news, photos, video and tweets directly to hand, with tour booking, audio tours, virtual tours and the tour calendar all included. We’ve also shoe-horned the shop in to enable easy tartan purchasing, as well as more details about how to reach us, how to save money on your bills and contribute to the restoration at the same time, how to locate your plot and how to find our geocache (The Laird’s Purse).

We’re now looking at a tablet app – a completely different challenge!

Dunans Rising, modelled beautifully!

On an evening when the light faded slowly into limpid shadow, and there was a stillness about Dunans which spoke of Summer rather than very recent Winter, I found four willing volunteers to model Dunans Rising tartan garments.

Actually, that’s not quite right. Sadie and TWTC’s intern Alex decided it was high-time we had some of our lovely tartan modelled properly in the grounds at Dunans. I was dragged out and had a thoroughly lovely time directing my four willing models … the results speak for themselves!

All the items are available at our online store.

Thank you Sadie, Alex, H & G

Double-Double Yolker! Two eggs, four yolks …

Working lunch today at ScottishLaird was delicious and amazing at the same time.

Highly appropriate given that my dear old Grandfather was chairman of the Egg Board during the “Go to Work on an Egg” campaign in the 70s.

Cracking story to make a meal of, eh?*

*all jokes thanks to Jean

 

Dunans Steading: A deteriorating, neglected, historic building

We’re working very hard at Dunans, restoring and protecting Castle and Bridge – the castle is a B-listed structure, and the bridge is A-listed. If you have been following my posts you’ll know about our Conservation Plan for Dunans, and how we are moving from feasibility work, through design and investigatory works towards consent.

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Published in April 2014, our Conservation Plan

Associated with the site there are several other historic structures. One is the C-listed Fletcher Mausoleum: this building is the only one remaining in Fletcher ownership – which is entirely appropriate. Another is the old steading to the North-east of the castle, known as Dunans Steading – a building sold apart from the Castle in 1999.

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A 19th Century map showing spatial relation between bridge (top left), castle (bottom middle) and steading (top right)

Built at around the same time as the bridge was built it is believed the Steading was used as accommodation for the workforce who worked on the A-listed structure. Over the subsequent years this courtyard of buildings was utilised variously by the Fletchers as: mill for the timber needed to construct the castle; estate office, running the 40,000 acre estate; stables; hay barn; vehicle storage and general workshop space.

In the mid-2000s an application was submitted which the local authority insisted was accompanied by an application for Listed Building Consent. This Listed Building application was acknowledgement of the very particular place the building plays at Dunans. Not only does it stand in the historic policies of Dunans Castle, and has a direct functional purpose for the castle, but also the only access to it, is Dunans Bridge. This fact of access means that any use the owners of the Steadings make of the bridge has to be cognisant of the listed status of the bridge, the involvement of Historic Scotland and the Dunans Charitable Trust.

The other factor in this story, is the electricity supply to the castle. Originally of course, when both buildings were in the same ownership , the power supply could be routed to the steading and then onto the castle without problem. In fact, when it was installed Colonel Fletcher insisted the meters be sited at the Steading for ease of access by the electricity company, as well as ensuring the privacy of the family and the proximity of the working element of the estate for any queries. A sensible arrangement then.

However, when the Steading was split apart from the castle the meters weren’t similarly split – neither the electricity company or the then owners insisted on this, despite it being a condition of sale. This means then to read our bill – more of which in a subsequent post – I have to venture onto the neighbouring land, and in close proximity to fallen trees, smashed walls and very precarious gable ends pick my way to the meters, prise open the meter door and take the reading. A tri-monthly gauntlet.

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The approach to the Steading!
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The meters and the obstructions!

To record the state of things, and the danger to yours truly, this time I took some photos, and was inspired to write this post when I saw the results – a building in desperate need. The owners have refused us contact details (we believe they are based down in Kent), are not contactable through their agents, have not been onsite to our knowledge for over 2 years, will not talk to us, the owners of their sole access to their building. This is difficult when, as you’ll know, we are presently putting together an application to funders for of the restoration of the A-listed bridge – ie. £750K.

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Work on the bridge, Summer 2014

What is particularly galling is that both the steading and the bridge need work now, and therefore we need to have a reasonable dialogue with the owners about their usage of the bridge to enable work on the Steading and what their contribution will be to the restoration of the bridge.

That conversation is needed because until we have it, forward movement on either project will prove very difficult.

Here’re some more images of the problems …

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