Much as I enjoy my bricklaying and however effective the results might be if you accept I am by no stretch of the imagination a master craftsman, my efforts are in no way comparable to the the workmanship involved in the above wall. My Mum’s house is the one in the top middle of the photo (this is the back; the front overlooks the sea) and after 27 years she is to have a neighbour on the other side. An early advantage is that drainage works have almost completely done away with the ‘lake’ that used to appear in her garden after periods of rain, which are frequent). But back to the wall:
The size of the plot is such that the wall may take as long to construct as the house itself, but such is the diligence of the labourer that it is clearly a labour of love. He learned his craft in Yorkshire, constructing dry stone walls, but now lives locally and his skills are in great demand. He has had some rest days over Christmas but would normally be working a full day on the task in hand. Unlike Yorkshire, the walls are built from local slate, collected and sorted prior to use. Closer inspection shows the construction, double skinned with slate rubble in between, and a profile wider at the bottom than the top.
The top will have slate pieces on edge in the Yorkshire style (below left) unlike the slate boulders used by the Irish itinerants who built my Mum’s wall – using the term ‘itinerants’ not in a derogatory way but meaning they travelled round building walls to an excellent standard but could give no indication of when they would be back next for additional work or repairs. You can also see how meticulous the work on this new wall is in comparison.
My Mum thinks he possibly constructs about a metre of wall in his working day but I will try and catch him in action while we are here and find out a bit more – most impressive! However, in the absence of huge quantities of stone (of any sort) in situ at home I shall be sticking to brick for my walls…