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Saturday, 27 August 2011


Matt was here early with the new roof – or rather the materials of which it will be constructed. There really wasn’t as much as I’d expected.


As I think I reported yesterday, I dug Mercy out of the sand and got up to the ranch house okay. I hadn’t been back here long when the advance party of four showed up and got straight to work.



The tin should go straight onto the north-facing roof, but at the back, which catches the sun all day, the shingles are rough. So that was the first job, to strip them off.


The boards underneath were in excellent shape, but the danger with tin is that it will allow condensation underneath it, which will rot the wood; so a layer of tar-paper is required.


Days like this I’m glad to be what I am, a writer. Working up there when it’s 93 in the shade, and most likely around 120 in the sun... well, you can have it. I did a fair amount of outdoor work when I was younger, but most of the time the major discomfort was the cold. By far the hottest job I ever had was indoors, when I used to do eight-hour shifts melting fifty-six pound blocks of cocoa-butter in vats at Rowntree’s chocolate factory in York.

According to Matt, as many as twelve or fourteen guys were due to show up for this gig. According to the guys who are here now, I can expect another five tonight, making nine in total. I’ve moved out of my bunk-room and pitched my tent up on the hill, where it looks kind of lost.


I’ve been meaning to  start camping out, and have been waiting for cooler weather. But here’s my motivation. All I need to remember tonight is to check it for snakes before I bed down. But before that, I think I am required to drink a bit of beer. Tough old life….

I must return briefly to my tent. It looks lost amidst a sea of hills out there, but the fact is it’s barely half a mile from the house. I shall be back here quite early, I expect – as soon as the insects wake up – and then  off to Gordon to stock upon grub.


Fuller report tomorrow.