Last night I moved on to a couple of the half-timbered buildings, which require some new techniques, and learned quite a lot. In my boyhood, I had a sad experience with the old Airfix OO inn, and was scarred by it. I now realise that I tried too hard - you can't paint everything that's there, and if you do manage to succeed it will just look like a model of a house, rather than a house. [With the greatest of respect, Airfix kits never looked like real houses anyway.]
In fact, painting the Hovels buildings is a delight, because the sculptor has made such a nice job of them that all you have to do is identify what is there, and let it emerge by itself - the rougher the dry-brushing the more building-like will be the results. The half-timbered houses appear to come in two types - one is the expected finish, with the gaps between the beams plastered, and the other has the gaps filled with wicker, or maybe it is wattle-without-the-daub, choose your nomenclature.
The biggest act of faith is finishing off the whole building with the driest of dry brushings of a Dulux shade called "Khaki Mists 3" (which is not exactly poetic, you marketing people), to make it look dirty - to stop it looking like a kid's drawing of a newly built house on a Pergamon estate. Or so I imagine, in my apprenticeship - the act of faith is trusting that the brush is dry enough - too much paint and I am basically going to have to start all over again. An experienced eye might check what I've done and chuckle, "oh no - not the Khaki Mist 3 overbrush..."
Anyway - excellent entertainment for a snowy evening. While painting some terracotta pantile roofs, I was reminded that such tiles are very common in rural areas around here in East Lothian. A visitor once commented to me that some of the old cottages here have a surprisingly Mediterranean look for the Frozen North, and the answer is exactly straightforward - the roof-tiles are Mediterranean, and traditionally so. When the ships carrying coal from the mines of East Lothian used to deliver to Spain and Portugal (and we are talking sailing ships here), they would fill up with the local roof-tiles to ballast them for the return voyage - there was always a steady market for them. Which - in turn - reminds me that when we got our house extension built in 2005 we roofed it with Spanish slate, which seems a pleasing continuation of an old tradition, but in reality was mostly because we couldn't afford Welsh slate, and the council planners gave us a choice of only the two.
|Garvald, East Lothian, with roof tiles in evidence|
Thus I hope to have a bit less of the Pumphet Mauleverer and Castle Mauvoisin (I may have made these up) and a bit more Clagthwaite and similar. I love the whole subject of placenames, wherever they are. The North of England has some great names - I think Northumberland and Durham may have the best of the lot. Among so many, my personal favourites include Wide Open, near Newcastle, and the wonderful Pity Me, in County Durham. Long ago, I had reason to write to someone who lived at Hag House Farm, Pity Me, and I still treasure that address as a classic. If you happen to live there, no offence is intended at all, but it conjures up images which would not fit with the more comfortable Home Counties.
Since I am now rambling, I shall close.