Saturday, 2 October 2010

Bringing on the wall, Day 46 - a level building field

The weather is so changeable at present - it was very windy and rained last night, but this morning was clear, dry and still.  Squiffany and I had breakfast and she wanted to watch television, and CITV was having a Horrid Henry morning, which could not possibly be bettered, so I left her there and went out to meet Dave.  She came out later to see us, and asked about the mortar.  I explained that it was used to stick the bricks together, like icing in a cake.  Dave said he'd been going to say glue.  When the Sage brought another pailful of mortar, he tipped it out of the bucket to fall "like a cowpat", he said.  Dave and I agreed we'd have described it as cake mix.

We had a good morning and it was warm in the sun.  The warmth of autumn, not summer, though.  Dave worked on the end pillar and I worked on the two courses needed to make the wall level all along, except for the middle pillar.
Poor photos, I'm afraid, but to take a more direct shot from the drive meant looking straight at the sun.  You can see that we've put the ornamental blocks in place.  If we get any more work done this autumn, we'll start on them.  Our priority is to complete the pillar if possible, but Dave and I worked out various contingency plans - in fact, a gate could be hung from the pillar as it is, if necessary.  There's no realistic possibility of the job being completed this year.
When we'd finished, the Sage went to fetch something to show Dave.  And here it is for you to see as well.
A little china cygnet, made about 230 years ago and still in perfect condition.  I love it.  It was last sold 24 years ago, and its (damaged) pair was sold too as a separate lot.  Those are the only two that I know of, though there are a few plain white swans about too.
I can't resist giving you a close-up shot.  It is a lovely simple piece of china, finely moulded and beautifully painted.

16 comments:

Marion said...

So will you have 4 walls at various stages of completion? The swan is indeed lovely. Would like to have it.

luckyzmom said...

The swan looks as if it has been well loved for 230 years.

Dave said...

If we had assistants holding golf umbrellas for us, and we worked every day for the rest of the month then we could probably finish the job.

Mike and Ann said...

I'm not really a ceramicist (?) but I love the swan. Where was he made?

Dave said...

Actually, looking at how much we've managed to build in just 46 half-days, a decent solid week's work should see it finished.

Not that we're likely to find 14 clear half-days between now and Christmas.

Z said...

Well, it's all one wall really, Marion, but it has a break in it for a gate, so there are two separate constructions. The first small section is completed, also the longer piece you see in the background, and the stretch at right angles to it coming towards us has a pillar halfway down for strength.

Dave, let's go for it*

The swan was very much loved by the previous owner - if I remember, I'll tell you the story. It's a Lowestoft cygnet. It is exactly the same size and moulding as the swans, the only difference is the painting, but that makes all the difference!

*completely insincerely

Roses said...

Well, I can offer my services as an umbrella holder on weekends, if that's any help at all?

Z said...

We may take you up on that, Roses - although I'm busy next Saturday, as it happens.

Ooh, you've just 'followed' me. How lovely.. *turns round and waves*

Rog said...

Stunning piece of pottery!

Roses said...

*waves hello to Z*

I didn't realise I wasn't following you. I'm quick like that.

But you still talked to me anyway. Ahhhhh....

Next Saturday, I'm booking a duvet day and the Saturday after that, if the weather permits, I'll be sorting out the pond area in my garden. But after that, I'm all yours.

Dave said...

Not many of our previous 46 days have been Saturdays, Roses. Apart from anything, I find it too confusing. I woke up this morning really unsure what day it was.

Eddie 2-Sox said...

I just don't get what's good and bad about pottery. This is old and probably worth a fortune. Does that make it better than the china swan I bought my mum for Christmas when I was eight? Probably. But they look the same.

Z said...

Darling Dave, you were the last person I expected to ever admit that.

As an ornament, no better, Simon. And it's 'worth' what someone will pay for it. There's often no logical sense to what is valued highly on the market, but in this case, I expect that your china swan was newly made, mass-produced by machine and manufactured by the thousand. This was made by hand, fired in a kiln heated by charcoal, decorated with great care in detail that must have taken hours, re-fired (a lot of china never even got successfully to the end of this stage) and then it has been cared for and, a fragile item, remained undamaged, for 230 years. And it's extremely rare. In its perfect condition, it may well be unique. So there is some reason for it being comparatively more valuable than your mum's Christmas present, except to her.

63mago said...

In a museum of cultural history both things would stand besides each other exactly for thet reason, for being themselves: A unique historical item and a modern piece produced under absolutely different conditions. The art historian old school would not even think about looking at the modern thing, hence we do miss a lot of things that in earlier times were part of "everyday" life and estimated as not worth to be collected.
What makes thing a unique item is what we see in it, want to see in it, the meaning we give things. And Adam named the things.

Eddie 2-Sox said...

Mago, who is Adam?

My china swan must have been soooo precious that Mum stored it somewhere incredibly safe, and that's why I never saw it again after wrapping.

63mago said...

Adam? The bloke made from clay ... I admit the reference is a bit over the top. I just looked again, must be 1.Moses, cap. 2, vers 19 oder 20, as I see he named animals only. Nevertheless it's Adam who gives them their names and thus takes possession, establishes his rule and "gives worth", attaches importance, if this formulation exists ... it's of worth when we (or Adam) want it to be worthwhile. Nothing other as what you and Z already described :)