Saturday, 18 May 2013

beyond betwixt and between, grand designs update

When I have the opportunity I watch Grand Designs, relish the drama in Kevin McLeod's swagger as he unfolds the narrative surrounding yet another mishap in the over-arching story arc of a build project that has hit as many snags as the Turin Shroud.

And yet it was a journey I embarked upon, not so long ago now, heading into the fray with the understanding that deadlines were there for ignoring and plans were written in pencil primarily for the fact that their existence is purely in the imagination.

At the heart of all that was a story that had to be written, a journey of destiny. A decision of magnitude and overwhelming significance.

So far so good though.

The home, conjured up in my head when I was still young enough to have to push myself on to my tip toes to peer over the garden wall at Mount Grand, the Rathlin Island home of my father, is coming to life.

And it's there for everyone to see, both real and imagined. Even visitors to the island who, if they look carefully enough, will be able to see a bubble of magic bounce colourfully upon the hillside at Mullindress as the ferry boat pushes through the tempestuous tide and into the bay.

So, what stage are we at? I was over two weeks ago, a journey combining two things, the beautiful wedding of islanders Fergus and Tania, the very good friends of my children Daniel and Siobhan, and to check progress on the house.

When I had visited previously, the original dwelling was still in place. A subsequent visit, taken by my brother, his wife and son and my parents captured the founds in place, the cornerstone of my very existence vilifying my crazy creative urges. You'll remember those blue sky images from my last post.

At the visit a couple of weeks ago we tumbled around the corner at the top of the lane to discover the timber was on its way skyward, reaching high into the landscape, its strong back collecting the weight of the broad shoulders of the hillside with ease. A cursory glance of contentment winked back at me from the gaping eyes of the open roof as I bid farewell after a hectic two days visit. I waved farewell to this...

Remember this image, me standing in the living room door frame of the old dwelling...

Well, before I left the island a couple of weeks ago, the lounge of Mullindress looked like this... Quite astonishing really to see such a big development since my brother took the previous pictures...

It was an incredible sight, and all the more precious because Daniel, Emma and Siobhan were there to share the moment with us. It's surreal really, seeing what has always been a figment of the imagination come to life in such an extraordinary way. While we were there, after consuming the drawings in a three dimensional context for the first time, we decided to make some changes to the layout of the house.
I gulped and panicked, listening to the first moment of high drama funnelling through the open roof of the homestead. No drama though, after a chat with the architect and a walk through the new ambitions for the upstairs floor of the house it was all sorted within a matter of hours. I have to say, Kevin MacLeod would be tearing his heart out looking for the moments of jeopardy required to keep an hour of television ticking over with enough interest to compel the viewer to watch on.
So, I shouldn't be too cocky, and indeed I'm not, I'm aye expecting an unexpected moment of drama. Don't get me wrong, 'things' keep adding themselves surreptitiously to an already creaking budget but, ah well, I'll worry about them another day. But it's going okay. Overwhelming really.
Well, I thought it was overwhelming. But that moment of magic was still to come, and did just a week or so later when my good friends on the island, Jessica and Stephen, sent me some update snaps they had taken when my uncle took them on a little tour of the burgeoning site.
The windows are in, the blocks are up, the chimney has climbed into the sky, and there is a front door. I REPEAT, THERE IS A FRONT DOOR. This is a house, galloping with some aplomb towards becoming a home. Wow.
I guess you'll be wanting to see what I'm talking about...the pictures star my uncle Loughie and my friend Jessica.


So, now comes the really tough bit. Selecting the content. There's an increasing urgency to sort out the kitchen and bathrooms and then there's wood and tiles and an endless list of other things. But, there's a lot of badness in the world so these are amazing problems to have. Yet, those who know me will understand that shopping is not my thing....

I had a big enough dilemma in deciding to go for the grey window frames. But I've learned a lesson there. My heart was drawn to them immediately I saw them, but I was persuaded by other things to go for something I really didn't want....until someone on Twitter said if you don't stick with your instinct every single time you look at those frames you'll wish you'd chosen the colour your heart desired. Grey, like the landscape and sky, fits beautifully. It was the perfect choice. Why go against a heart that has been driving this project for a lifetime. It knows what fits better than anyone or anything...

So, I'm on the lookout for a couple of instinct shops ahead of the next site visit in a couple of weeks!