We had been thinking about the idea of building a ‘panic room’ at the gable end of the cabin facing the prevailing wind. Even though the room would nestle under the verandah and therefore within the footprint of the house itself, we still needed to screen it off from where it could potentially be glimpsed from the road.
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Michelangelo
“What we need is a nice stone wall just here”, he said. ‘What a wonderful idea!’ I said. The local tip was still managing to yield both hardcore and rounded river stones, and – if you dug around enough – some very nice building stone. If there was a shortfall, he felt sure he could make it up from stones around our land.
The little feature alcove was my idea as Joe had come across a number of brick-sized pieces of granite and we had wondered how to show them off. He even managed to find an almost triangular piece of stone with a hole in it which he built in to the other side of the alcove. When the sun shines first thing in the morning, the alcove is lit up by a shaft of sunlight. Brilliant!
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” Vincent Van Gogh
The wall started on 18th February and by 4th March a mere two weeks later, there it stood, proud and very solid. It’s not quite finished yet as Joe’s crafted a seat out of largely unusable awkward shape stones. It’s been rendered but is now awaiting a coat of capa fina (Spanish exterior plaster) and a liberal wash with our trademark brown paint.
For the moment we’ve moved away from the idea of building a panic room, but all this effort wasn’t all in vain. Far from it! Not only do we gaze out on a beautiful piece of art drawn from a vibrant palette of stones but also, as we are people who value our privacy, we are secure in the knowledge that nobody can see us as we move around that side of the house.
“But, when the work was finished, the Craftsman kept wishing that there was someone to ponder the plan of so great a work, to love its beauty, and to wonder at its vastness.” Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–94)
Yesterday as I was wandering around with my camera, excited at finding the first pink butterfly orchid of the year, I caught sight of Joe sitting on one of his benches he had made around the land. He didn’t hear me approach and no word passed between us as I stood behind him. I would imagine that he, like me, was lost in wonderment at the majesty of nature that unfolded before us.