Continuing the story of my house

February 2, 2012

I hope a word or two about our roof might be of interest. It is tiled in Collyweston slates which is local to this part of Northamptonshire and considered to be of unsurpassed beauty (if you like that sort of thing!) because of its colour and texture, which increases in depth and variety as it ages.  The rock-slate layer lies at a depth of between 20 to 30 feet, and has to be quarried  by hand. Collyweston slates are unique because they are split by frost action. Blocks of limestone called ‘logs’ are dug in December and January, laid on the ground, kept wet and exposed to a succession of frosts and thaws. They must never dry out or they are ruined.  Winters in the latter part of the 20th century being generally mild it has been virtually impossible to quarry new supplies, so what there is in existence  has become  extremely precious.

When we moved here in 1998 the roof had several large concrete patches on it and a week after we arrived a storm brought down a section leaving a hole about six feet square. The decision was taken to  re-roof and insulate at the same time. The house was dark with scaffolding for months but the result was well worth it, I hope you’ll agree.

The old slates that were in a fit condition were of course re-used, fastened to wooden battens…oak because a stone roof is a tremendous weight … with copper pegs (in the old days they sometimes used small animal bones) and the shortfall was made up with reclaimed Collyweston.  You can see from the photograps that the large slates are laid at the bottom reducing in size to little ones at the ridge.

Now, twelve years later, the moss is growing back and every day I get pleasure from glancing up at it for to me the roof is a thing of beauty.

2 Responses to “Continuing the story of my house”

  1. Cynthia Krehbiel said

    Hello Victoria, I have loved every one of your books and I am very upset because I can’t get ‘Stormy Weather’ in paper book form. I do not have a kindle and I hope never to own one. I like – no, like is not a strong enough word… I love books, you know, the real thing you can hold in your hand and turn the pages of. I have read the first few chapters on offer on-line and am very frustrated that I can’t continue!
    Sincerely, Cynthia Krehbiel, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    PS: I love your house, and I wish I had one just like it!
    the slates are very beautiful and so is the.. is that wisteria adorning the facade? By the way, you can see the date ‘1633’ in the photo you posted of your front door. If you look hard enough!

  2. Mary Lockhart said

    Hello Victoria,

    How lovely it is to discover your most recent novel on Amazon, at long last… Although, it is a mystery to me how they managed to include it in my Recommended list, since I hadn’t bought any of your previous books from them! The only thing left to ask for is an actual page for the book, so that reader reviews may be left.

    Like the previous poster, Cynthia, I live in Calgary. It’s nice to find a fellow Clayton enthusiast out here on the prairies, so far from the types of dwelling and landscape we love to read about in your novels. I actually work in a bookstore (Chapters) and still like to sell Moonshine to my favourite customers. But despite being surrounded by books all day, I’m only too happy to purchase ebooks whenever possible. Thanks for going this route!

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