Its back to the Stone and the last 20 years melt away as I remember the agony of deciding on the exact colour and cut we wanted for the retaining wall.
The first problem is that even if the stone we used for the wall then was still available ( and it wasn't) it would take 20 years to discolour on the house to match it. Not an option!
We looked at so many options that it was becoming a bit mind boggling. We had appointed Cornelius, who looked like he had just stepped out from filming Last of the summer wine. With a flat cap and a local dialect which meant it couldn't understand much of what he said, he was super smiley and had a mischeivious glint in his eye but his work was nothing short of stunning. We first met him at the top of a gusty remote mountain, building a dry stone wall in the middle of nowhere. Watching him turn a rubble of boulders into neat fist sized uneven blocks and fitting them together like they had always been that way, was an art form, rarely seen and we were mesmerised.
But time was against us. We were flying back to Dubai the next day, and still no decision made. If we failed then it would be months until we were back, and no progress could be made. And you kind of have to be there to see it in person. To try to decide on the end of a zoom call would have resembled trying to order a lipstick online.
He sent us to some Irish county far far away, to look at a house he had done years prior. It would, he said, be The One!
Loitering outside this house after a lengthy car journey with Billy and his dad in the rain was a bit disconcerting, as the owners had clearly spotted us through twitching curtains, assuming we were up to no good. I was at the point of abandoning the idea of stone altogether and just going for good old fashioned white render. But it would have made the house stand out like the Taj Mahal on that hill and then the neighbours would surely wonder about my judgement
I made the executive decision that having come all this way we would be bold and get a closer look but as honesty is the best policy I decided to knock the door first.
We were greeted with somewhat suspicion as you can well understand, and I was preparing myself for a hasty retreat, when we happened to mention that Cornelius had sent us. That changed everything!!
Several hours, several tours, endless coffee, then cake then sandwiches and more coffee and we had settled in like long lost friends. I will for ever be grateful to Bridget for her welcome, and for Cornelius for his faith. I was indeed The One!
And so what was the name of the stone we sought in that faraway county?? Donegal Slate! Local to our very house all along.
It must have been fate