Written by Carolyn
I’ve decided to extend the terracing on the seaward side of my cottage. It’s a big project but there will be many useful things I can do with a flat deck such as gain an ideal place to practice Taichi. And once the deck is created there will be a space beneath which I plan to turn into a room. A room so close to the sea that inside you’ll feel like you’re in a cabin on a boat.
When I ask my women friends what they think of the project they say it’s a great idea but don’t offer any practical advice while my men friends offer plenty of advice but all of it different. Take building materials for example; “Wood’s the obvious choice”, says one, “Steel’s your only option”, says another, “I swear by brick”, says the third’. Honestly, even I know that’s bonkers in a location like this. I’ve put my trust in two guys who go for the wood option. In his proper job Dan installs flight simulators but moonlights as a DIY master. I’ll work alongside him on the construction and we’ll be aided and abetted by Alan with hands like hams who builds sea breakers and houses in oak. I’m confident of my team. We had a meeting tonight and it’s agreed that technically everything can be accomplished, including the room underneath. On a rough tide the quantity of water that will be hurled at the structure presents a challenge but it won’t matter if it leaks a bit because the floor will be laid over shingle so the water can go straight through. I have a substantial wood pile collected from years of beach combing after storms. Lots of oak planking and several whalers 4m long which my ex and I rolled up the beach after a series of huge storms smashed up several sea breakers and pulled the supporting whalers from their deep moorings. But Alan tells me even the monsters will not be long enough and besides it too much trouble to work with such thick wood because it’s too heavy, my ex did but that’s complicating matters. The frame must be constructed from new wood says Alan; he’s given me the measurements and now I have to go to the wood yard to cost it. It’s pretty crazy to embark on such a structure in such a location especially with a bank balance like mine but I’m driven by a passion; I must practice tai qi facing the sea and sleep in that room.
Posterity seems to favour the idea because the BBC turned up last week saying they want to use the cottage for a shoot; a drama production called Luther. Location fees are generous so I was delighted. A number of crews have filmed here over the years and the money raised has paid for roof repairs, a new Aga, the greenhouse and, check out Cheryl Coles video for her song flooded; that paid for our last train tickets on the trans Mongolian to China. The BBC request has definitely arrived at a perfect time.
The producer, director and arts team came for a meeting and they were all very happy which was a relief. Two large generators will be delivered tomorrow (there’s no electricity here remember), the trucks containing props, cameras, lighting and other technical equipment arrive the day after. On Sunday the cottage will be ‘dressed’, including the installation of a false staircase to make it look like the sitting room has an upstairs and on Monday; costume, makeup, the catering wagon and the portaloo’s arrive, along with the actors and a crew of 40.
The next few days promise to be very amusing but I’m looking forward to the cheque so I can get down to the wood yard and order the wood for the terrace.