Cold Comfort Farm

Part of our great plan for the garden is to have a feature wall, behind which will sit a sort of secret garden for the children.

This feature wall has gone through several iterations since we thought about it. My first and greatest idea was to have copper pipes with green and blue bottles threaded onto them and capping them with finials and curlicues.

We kicked this idea around for ages. The main reason we’re not doing it is because copper is so damned expensive these days that if we left any outside it would be nicked in under a fortnight.

I am sad about this, as I wanted my fence to turn a lovely verdigris colour…

But the only way I could do that would be to wire the whole fence up to the mains, which would be brilliant as a burglar deterrent, less brilliant for the cat and the children.

Plan number two involved making a wall out of doors, external doors with all the door fittings still on them.  We wanted to go to a reclamation yard and buy about fifteen different doors.

It would have been fabulous.

This week Jason and I found a reclamation centre not too far from where we live, and sneaked off to go and look at doors.

I was very excited.  I love a good reclamation yard.

I generally leave, sulking, because I cannot have an ornamental fountain, fourteen lions mounted on plinths and a gryphon for the roof – but it’s still fun.

We set off in the pouring rain, into the highways and byways of the county.  We drove up and down the lane the site was supposed to be on three times until we realised that the dilapidated and frankly menacing looking farm with the blistered sign and giant, padlocked gates was what we were looking for.

We pulled up to the gates and noticed a small laminated notice that said:

‘If you want reclamation, ring this mobile number. Do not come into the yard – dogs are loose.’

Sometimes you see these signs warning of dogs, and you think – ‘If a dog lives there, I’ll eat my hat.’

You didn’t think that here.  You thought – ‘Eeek’ and stayed in the car.

We called the number.  A sombre figure in a dark coat with the hood pulled well over their face shambled over, followed by four or five of the most enormous dogs I’ve ever seen.

Basically they were furry horses with really sharp teeth.

We parked the car and followed the chap down a muddy cart track.

The rain was pounding down, nobody spoke, the dogs wove in and of our paths silently, getting so close you could feel them brushing against your coat.

It was quite unnerving.

We got to the barn with the doors in.

It was huge, and full of doors of every possible description – which was a relief, as by this time I was fully expecting some kind of meat locker with bodies hanging from hooks, ready to be dipped in an acid bath.

The problem with the barn was the fact that it was very, very dark, so we couldn’t see much, and the further into the barn we got, the more of a problem there was.

We asked for the light to be switched on.

The chap, who, by this time had been joined by two other people said:

‘There int no light.  We’re sellin’ up, so there were no point in gettin’ electricity were there?’


So we stumbled about, using Jason’s phone as a torch.

I found some doors I liked, and that was when we hit upon the second problem with the barn.

We asked for prices.

My favourite door was £650.

My next favourite doors were £300 each.

The cheapest doors were £100 each, and they were horrible.

So that was that.

As we were leaving the chap said:

‘It’s a daft idea.’

We looked at him.

‘Even external doors will weather badly in the rain.  They’ll just fall to pieces within twelve months.’

This was useful to know.

We thanked him.

As we were leaving he said:

‘Yeah. It’s a daft idea – and it would have looked bloody stupid anyway.’

That’s us told then.

5 responses to “Cold Comfort Farm

  1. We once stayed in a place where parts of the external walls were made of adobe (you could use concrete though) with glass bottles laid like bricks in it, so the light filtered through. It was bloody gorgeous. Could you do that? I can’t link directly to the pic, but if you look here and scroll though the pics you can see some of them.

    • That looks great, but I think it will be too expensive in terms of build cost and our budget. I will show it to the garden designers though. We have talked more about the doors and are looking at ways we might be able to make it happen anyway.

  2. What a miserable, unimaginative git! You could have yacht varnished the doors or done something else to preserve them.

  3. He would have thought it was a marvellous idea if you’d bought his overpriced doors. I agree with Sarah – miserable git.

  4. Sarah and Jenny – he really didn’t like the door idea at all! I think if we had bought his doors he would have been gutted to see them used like that!

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