Blog with a photo

As this is our second blog I am going to try and import a photograph from Tory Bush Cottages.

Obviously I have succeeded in importing the photo and whilst not showing the cottages themselves it is still of interest, next time I will preview the photos and select one that shows the cottages in their rural setting.

The photograph was taken by one of our guests in May 2008 and is a view from the bedroom window of apartment 6 looking out over the garden towards Slieve Bearnagh, the mountain with the Volcano type crater to the left of centre in distance. ( it is not a extinct volcano, the Mournes were not volcanic but a magma intrusion, where molten rock swells up under the existing rock surface a bit like a blister under skin) through time the existing rocks have wore away to expose the Mourne Granite.)

The Granite is a very durable rock and has been used to form the cobbles of numerous English Towns, particularly in Liverpool and Lancashire, perhaps the cobbles of Coronation Street are Mourne Granite. The Plinth of the Albert Memorial in London is made of Mourne Granite.

The Diana Memorial in Hyde Park London whilst made of Cornish Granite has a connection with Mourne in that the firm of Stone Masons who built the memorial are from Mourne, McConnell and Sons of Kilkeel cut the memorial from 545 pieces of Cornish granite.

Now there is little Granite extraction in Mourne and so McConnell’s are working with stone from all parts of the world with an expertise acquired whilst working Mourne Granite and past down through generations of the one family. Presently they are working with Thassos Marble from northern Greece on a memorial for Richmond Virginia USA. This memorial coincidentally is to replace a previous Marble memorial that has virtually disintegrated as a consequence of atmospheric pollution.

Back to the photo, the Mountain in the centre of the skyline is Slieve Meelmore and the hill in front of that is Clonachullion, which I believe means hill of the Holly Trees but I will check that out for the next blog.

In the photo of the grounds of Tory Bush there are three things to note, the black Bee hive shaped structure in the bottom right hand corner is a compost maker in which we mix grass cuttings and old cardboard boxes, on their own neither compost well but make ideal compost if mixed. During the summer we generate amazing amounts of grass cuttings at Tory Bush so will have to develop a larger scale means of composting it. We tried adding food waste to the compost makers at Tory Bush but this just attracted rodents so we are looking out for a system specifically for food waste, possibly a wormery.

In front of the compost maker in the grass there is a silver manhole cover and this is the lid to one of the two large underground rainwater storage tanks that collect the rain from a number of the buildings at the cottages and is used to supply the Washing Machines for the laundry at Tory Bush. From this it can be gathered that we have strong enviromental principles at Tory Bush but more of that in future blogs.

The final thing to note in the photo and perhaps a little mundane is that the garden contains 3 clothes lines, well now it doesn’t, it just has one. Originally the grounds at the cottages were quite open with little defined boundaries, but we recognised that as a weakness, people seemed to prefer there own space so over time we built walls, planted hedges, put on gates etc., to such an extent that people were hesitant to enter this garden to use the clothes lines. We have had to give each house it’s own line. The initial thinking was that we did not want clothes lines spoiling the overall look of the place so they were placed out of view in this garden, but the same cause that gave rise to the requirement for individual clothes lines also provided the solution. The hedge and tree planting we used to give individual house privacy also provided secluded corners were the individual clothes lines could be located.

So now from the roadside critical view of the cottages the clothes lines are quite obscured.

Hope that last bit not boring, but it typifies a lot of the thinking we put into our actions at the cottages.


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