Tuesday, 5 September 2017

New Gates For The Barn!

I mentioned this on Facebook a short while ago, but unforgivably, never quite got round to putting a post on here... so I'm now putting that right...

To finally complete the transformation of our lovely home on Skye - Roskhill Barn -  Sue and I decided to commission the making of a new entrance gate. After an internet search for such an item, we found ourselves so impressed by the work of artist/designer/blacksmith James Price, that we chose to put the job with him - even though he works in West Sussex, so there would be a slight problem in getting the gate up to Skye.

Anyway, to cut the long story shorter, once the gate was made (and we eventually ordered two gates plus posts), I ventured south in my little van and was able to load the gates into the back and bring them back myself. This was a cheaper option than having the gates packed onto pallets and brought up by courier - they are large and heavy items!

The next task was to remove the existing gate and its solid wooden posts. With much effort, I managed to get one post out of the ground, but the other defeated me. As luck had it, I was extremely fortunate to come across a labourer from a nearby building job having his lunch in his truck at the end of our road. I interrupted his sandwich to ask if he was interested in looking at a little job for me. I showed him the remaining post - still attached to the old and rusty gate. He immediately disappeared back to his van and returned with a heavy 5-foot long steel pointed-ended bar. After 15 minutes of very vigorous bashing and heaving, the concrete securing the post was broken and the post itself levered out of the ground. I very gratefully handed the guy a £20 note - with which he looked totally delighted - and now all I had to do was work out how to install the new gates...

I spent a couple of weeks thinking, and even tried a 'dry run'. Because of their weight, I could only just about move the gates on my own, but with the help of my sack barrow, I managed the task. I gradually built up the courage to undertake the job, and on one fine morning, I made a start. It actually turned out to be slightly easier than I had expected. Gravity and leverage did a fine job of getting the posts into the ground, and I only had to heave them out once to get the holes to an even depth. I used a quarter of a tonne of ready-mix concrete to set the posts into the ground. I don't think they'll move...

Ready to pour the concrete....!
To say that we are delighted with the finished result would be a considerable understatement. Every line and dimension in the beautifully designed gates is perfect, and their construction is a true work of art. They look absolutely right at our entrance, and elegantly compliment the rural and agricultural 'feel' of the Barn  To everyone else, they might just be gates - but to Sue and I, they are the icing on our Roskhill cake.

Roskhill Barn - and gates

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